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A Comprehensive Grammar Of The English Language (Randolph Quirk, 1985).pdf



 


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FOREWORD. THE WAYS OF THE MONKEY are not so many as I thought when I started. In fact, there are fewer than two hundred of them. To be exact, there are just ninety-six. And they are not a minute apart. The title may allude to the six ways of the animal which is locked up in the city of gold, an allusion to the philosopher's parable of the cave, the reference to the bewitching powers of the witch of Endor, but most of the 'ways' are not at all profound and are rather elementary. The men who have written them have not been much distinguished, and if some are not famous, most of them have little more than a niche in the lexicographical history of the English language. Nevertheless, the contributors - writing mainly in their own characters - have made a great contribution to our knowledge of the English language, and this little book should be of interest to everyone who cares about language. To those who have never thought much about it the title may not sound very impressive; but for those of us who are interested in the history of the English language it is a piece of valuable information. The fact that most of these 'ways' are so recent is something of a puzzle. It may be that, like the recent novel, they are the product of the democratisation of style in the course of a century; but it may be that there is something deeper behind it. It may be that the widespread literary taste for 'travel books' as a specialised genre might account for the number of these 'ways'. But, whatever the explanation, the value of this little book cannot be overestimated. We have no more extensive collection of these little pieces of information about the way in which the English language works than we have of most other valuable and interesting historical facts. It is all around us: in the speech and writing of our time. These 'ways of the English language' are no more than a reference guide. They have not been condensed into a set of compendious rules; but they do contain a wealth of useful information. Much of the success of the book lies in the fact that the writers have tried to give us their own words and have not hidden their own opinions. In a few cases they may have trespassed on other people's copyright; but in no case have they been copied and pasted without acknowledgment. Most of the 'ways' are short: the longest of them is only two pages; but they are all

 

 

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A Comprehensive Grammar Of The English Language (Randolph Quirk, 1985).pdf

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