ENGL2004 English Syntax

Instructor: Dr Lauren Van Alsenoy

First semester, 2014-15
6 credits
Form of assessment: 100% coursework
3 contact hours per week

3-year cohort: Passed ENGL1009 with at least a C grade or passed 2 introductory courses (with at least one from both List A and List B)
4-year cohort: Passed 3 introductory courses (with at least one from both List A and List B).

The syntax of a language is the way its users combine words into sentences. This is more commonly known as the grammar of a language, which explains the title of the textbook we will be using, (Oxford Modern) English Grammar. This course will study how speakers (or perhaps first and foremost writers) of English construct their sentences. It will introduce the different kinds of building blocks English speakers have at their disposal and how they combine these into structures of varying degrees of complexity.



Topics to be discussed will include: prescription vs. description, the structure of words, lexical and phrasal categories, constituency, phrasal structure, modifiers vs. complements, syntactic functions, sentence types, main vs. subordinate clauses, coordination and subordination, finite vs. non-finite clauses, tense, aspect, modality, information packaging.

This course will provide you with the vocabulary you need to be able to talk confidently about sentences, i.e. the units that make up texts, and will therefore be of interest to you irrespective of whether you are a language or literature-oriented student. At the end of the course you should master the relevant terminology, be able to identify categories and functions, and to analyze the structure of a sentence.

There will be a three-hour combined lecture and exercise session each week.

Assessment for the course is 100% coursework. This is made up of two in-class tests (50%), oral contributions in the exercise sessions (10%) and a final term paper (40%).

Prescribed text
Aarts, Bas (2011) Oxford Modern English Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Recommended reading
A list will be provided in the first course session.


Last updated: 26 August 2014