ENGL 321

English Grammar and Usage (3 credits)

Course Description:
In this course, we will undertake an analysis of Modern English structure using the methods of traditional grammar. Topics studied will include parts of speech; grammatical functions; phrase, clause, and sentence types; and nominal and verbal categories. We will briefly examine the history of traditional grammar, focusing on its codification in prescriptive rules of usage in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Attention will be paid to the nature and usefulness of these rules and to their formulation in contemporary usage manuals. In addition to giving students a thorough grounding in English traditional grammar, the course shows how modern theories of linguistics owe not only their terminology, but much of their conceptual framework to this most influential descriptive model of English grammar.

Pre-requisites: Third-year standing and completion of the Writing Requirement. No special pre-requisites are required.

ENGL 321 satisfies requirements for the English language major (Category 2, “Structure of the English Language”), the English language minor, and the English literature major (“Optional Restricted Courses”), but not the English literature minor. It (partially) satisfies admission requirements for the secondary teaching programs in English Education and English as a Second Language in the Faculty of Education.

Course materials:
Available on course website:
Class slides
Self-testing exercises and answers

Required textbook:
Bas Aarts, Oxford Modern English Grammar (Oxford University Press, 2011). ISBN 978-0-19-953319-0

Course evaluation
one midterm examination              25%
one written project                        30%
final examination                          35%
online quizzes                              10%

Online quizzes and examinations
These are similar in nature to the self-testing exercises. They are primarily fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, and short answer questions. The midterm and final may also include a longer essay question.

Written project
In this assignment, students provide a specific, convincing academic argument about the current status of a prescriptive rule or point of usage based on two types of linguistic evidence: 1) a survey of grammars and usage manuals, using at least three different sources, and 2) an examination of actual usage based on searches on online corpora, including the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), the Time Corpus, the SOAP Corpus, the Strathy Corpus of Canadian English, and/or the British National Corpus (BNC). The paper is approximately 2000 words in length.

All materials of this course (course handouts, lecture slides, assessments, course readings, etc.) are the intellectual property of the Course Instructor or licensed to be used in this course by the copyright owner. Redistribution of these materials by any means without permission of the copyright holder(s) constitutes a breach of copyright and may lead to academic discipline.