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Understanding English Grammar, 9th Edition

By Martha J. Kolln, Robert W. Funk

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Sep 19, 2011


This market-leading text for grammar courses is a comprehensive description of sentence structure that encourages students to recognize and use their innate language expertise as they study the systematic nature of sentence grammar.

A practical blend of the most useful elements of both traditional and new linguistic grammar, the text emphasizes whole structures, most specifically the ten basic sentence patterns introduced in Chapter 3. Two key features separate this book from others: its clear organization and its user-friendly, accessible language. Both students and teachers appreciate the self-teaching quality that incremental exercises provide throughout the chapters, with answers at the end of the book.

Table of Contents


All chapters have Chapter Previews.



Part I



 1.         The Study of Grammar: An Overview    

English: A World Language

Three Definitions of Grammar    

Traditional School Grammar

Modern Linguistics    

Structural Grammar    

Transformational Grammar    

The Issue of Correctness    

Language Variety    

Language Change    

Language in the Classroom    

Key Terms    

Further Reading    


Part II: The Grammar of Basic Sentences

All chapters in Part II have Key Terms, Sentences for Practice, Questions for Discussion, and Classroom Applications


2.       Words and Phrases 

Form Classes

Nouns and Verbs

The Noun Phrase

The Verb Phrase

NP + VP = S

Adjectives and Adverbs

Prepositional Phrases

The Structure Classes


3.         Sentence Patterns

Subjects and Predicates

The Sentence Slots    

The Be Patterns    

The Linking Verb Patterns    

The Optional Slots    

The Intransitive Verb Pattern    

        Exceptions to the Intransitive Pattern    

        Intransitive Phrasal Verbs    

The Transitive Verb Patterns    

        Transitive Phrasal Verbs    

        The Indirect Object Pattern    

        The Object Complement Patterns    

Compound Structures    

Exceptions to the Ten Sentence Patterns    

Sentence Types

Interrogative Sentences (Questions)

Imperative Sentences (Commands)  

Exclamatory Sentences  

Punctuation and the Sentence Patterns    

Diagramming the Sentence Patterns    

Notes on the Diagrams    

        The Main Line    

        The Noun Phrase    

        The Verb Phrase     

        The Prepositional Phrase    

        Compound Structures    



4.         Expanding the Main Verb

The Five Verb Forms    

         The Irregular Be

Auxiliary–Verb Combinations    

The Modal Auxiliaries    

The “Future Tense” 

The Subjunctive Mood    

Tense and Aspect        

Using the Verb Forms   

Exceptions to the Verb=Expansion Rule    

The Stand-In Auxiliary Do    

The Verb System of African American Vernacular English    


5.       Changing Sentence Focus

The Passive Voice

            The Passive Get

            The Transitive-Passive Relationship

            Patterns VIII to X in Passive Voice

            Changing Passive Voice to Active Voice

The Passive Voice in Prose

            Other Passive Purposes

The There Transformation

Cleft Sentences


Part III:            Expanding the Sentence

All chapters in Part III have Key Terms, Sentences for Practice, Questions for Discussion, and Classroom Applications


Form and Function


6.         Modifiers of the Verb: Adverbials

The Moveable Adverbials


Prepositional Phrases    

Nouns and Noun Phrases     

Verb Phrases    

        Dangling Infinitives

        Participles as Adverbials    


Punctuation of Adverbials    


7.         Modifers of the Noun: Adjectivals

The Determiner    

Adjectives and Nouns 

            Prenoun participles   

Prepositional Phrases    

Relative Clauses    

Participial Phrases    

        Passive Participles    

        Movable Participles    

        The Participle as Object Complement    

        Participles as Adjectivals or Adverbials    

Punctuation of Clauses and Participles    

Multiple Modifiers    

Other Postnoun Modifiers    


        Noun Phrases    





8.         The Noun Phrase Functions: Nominals

The Nominal Slots    


        Punctuation of Appositives    

Noun Phrase Substitutes    


        The Pattern of the Gerund    

        The Subject of the Gerund    

        Dangling Gerunds    


        The Subject of the Infinitive    

Nominal Clauses    

        The Expletive That    


        Yes/No Interrogatives    

        Punctuation of Nominal Clauses    

Nominals as Delayed Subjects    


9.         Sentence Modifiers

Nouns of Direct Address: The Vocatives    


Subordinate Clauses    

        Punctuation of Subordinate Clauses     

        Elliptical Clauses    

Absolute Phrases    


Relative Clauses    



10.       Coordination

Coordination within the Sentence    


        Elliptical Coordinate Structures    

        Subject–Verb Agreement    

        Parallel Structure    

Coordinating Complete Sentences    




        Diagramming the Compound Sentence    


Part IV:            Words and Word Classes

All chapters in Part IV have Key Terms, Questions for Discussion, and Classroom Applications


11.       Morphemes 

Bases and Affixes    

Bound and Free Morphemes    

Derivational and Inflectional Morphemes    



Compound Words    


12.       The Form Classes


        Noun Derivational Suffixes    

        Noun Inflectional Suffixes    

        The Meaning of the Possessive Case    

        Irregular Plural Inflections    

        Plural-Only Forms    

        Collective Nouns    

        Semantic Features of Nouns    


        Verb Derivational Affixes    

        Verb Inflectional Suffixes    


        Adjective Derivational Suffixes    

        Adjective Inflectional Suffixes    

        Subclasses of Adjectives    


        Adverb Derivational Suffixes    

        Adverb Inflectional Suffixes    


13.       The Structure Classes


        The Expanded Determiner    




        Simple Prepositions    

        Phrasal Prepositions    


        Coordinating Conjunctions    

        Correlative Conjunctions    

        Conjunctive Adverbs (Adverbial Conjunctions)    

        Subordinating Conjunctions    







        If and Whether (or not)    



14.       Pronouns

Personal Pronouns    


        The Missing Pronoun   

Reflexive Pronouns    

Intensive Pronouns    

Reciprocal Pronouns    

Demonstrative Pronouns    

Relative Pronouns    

Interrogative Pronouns    

Indefinite Pronouns    


Part V:             Grammar for Writers


15.       Rhetorical Grammar

Sentence Patterns    

        Basic Sentences    


Sentence Rhythm    

        End Focus    

Focusing Tools

Choosing Verbs    

        The Overuse of Be   

        The Linking Be and Metaphor    

        The Passive Voice    

The Abstract Subject   

          Who Is Doing What? 

The Shifting Adverbials    

        The Adverbial Clause    

        The Adverbs of Emphasis    

        The Common Only    



        Word Order Variation    


        The Coordinate Series    

        The Introductory Appositive Series    

        The Deliberate Sentence Fragment    



Using Gender Appropriately    

Key Terms    


16.       Purposeful Punctuation

Making Connections    

        Compounding Sentences    

        Compounding Structures within Sentences    

        Connecting More Than Two Parts: The Series    

Separating Prenoun Modifiers    

Identifying Essential and Nonessential


Signaling Sentence Openers    

Signaling Emphasis    

Using Apostrophes for Contraction and Possessive Case    


Part VI


Glossary of Grammatical Terms    


Appendix on Sentence Diagramming


Answers to the Exercises    




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