English for the Natives: Discover the Grammar You Don't Know You Know

English for the Natives: Discover the Grammar You Don't Know You Know

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) Harry Ritchie

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Paperback $13.45
  • Publisher: John Murray Publishers Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 202mm x 28mm | 380g
  • Publication date: 10 October 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1848548370
  • ISBN 13: 9781848548374
  • Sales rank: 8,972

Product description

Discover the grammar you already know. 'My first English lesson was grammar with the terrifying Mrs Petrie. She spent the entire time marching up and down the classroom, thwacking various items of school furniture with a ruler while she banged on about the ING part of the verb. I sat there, vibrating with fear, desperately trying to figure out what on earth she could mean. Irregular Negative Gerund? Intransitive Nominative Genitive? It was only years later, when I was teaching English to foreign students, that I realised that English grammar wasn't obscure and wilfully difficult but a fascinating subject which I was already brilliant at - and this book will prove that you are too.' Forget the little you think you know about English grammar and start afresh with this highly entertaining and accessible guide. English for the Natives outlines the rules and structures of our language as they are taught to foreign students - and have never before been explained to us. Harry Ritchie also examines the grammar of dialects as well as standard English and shows how non-standard forms are just as valid. With examples from a wide variety of sources, from Ali G to John Betjeman, Margaret Thatcher to Match of the Day, this essential book reveals some surprising truths about our language and teaches you all the things you didn't know you knew about grammar.

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Author information

Harry Ritchie is a former literary editor of the Sunday Times and is the author of five previous books including Success Stories, an analysis of the English literary scene of the 1950s, and The Last Pink Bits, a tour of Britain's remaining colonies. He was born in Kirkcaldy, was educated at Edinburgh University and Lincoln College, Oxford, and now lives in London.

Customer reviews

By A Liew LH 06 Apr 2014 5

What a wonderful read! I learned (learnt), was entertained, was consoled, was elated and was so impressed by the author's wit, charm, tolerance and superb use of the language - long live English indeed!

Now, I can add another book to the list of "give-aways" because I only give away books I condone!!

Keep up the good work.....

Review quote

Ritchie's approach to English grammar in this entertaining book on the subject is a relief Sunday Times A hugely entertaining read, full of attitude and verve and sharp running jokes. And underneath all this lies rigorous linguistic heft, which gives the book real authority Daily Mail I learnt a lot about my own language from English for the Natives, and about how our language and our understanding of the world have developed in tandem. And I particularly appreciated Harry Ritchie's bold dismantling of the metaphysics of Chomskyan structuralism. Wonderful to have such a fresh first-hand observation of how language actually works Michael Frayn Essential reading Nick Hornby Clear, trenchant, funny, Ritchie makes thinking a pleasure John Carey An engaging response to an educational disaster ... This book is sensible, valuable and written with a sense of fun TLS How many new books are there about words, grammar and language? Nonetheless, Harry Ritchie's English for the Natives leaps to the top of the pile for its sharp, good sense, linguistic rigour [and] sense of humour Marcus Berkmann, The Spectator On the pleasantly scholarly end of the word book spectrum. Informed by linguistics, it has a particularly good discussion of the controversy between "innatists" (following Chomsky) and others Guardian