English grammar and usage
Page owner: Information director
Online access to a variety of Oxford grammar, usage and punctuation information may be possible using your library card or ATHENS number or through subscription.
Editing into Plain English by Luke Finley, Laura Ripper and Sarah Carr
Punctuation: A guide for editors and proofreaders by Gerard M-F Hill
Rediscover Grammar by David Crystal (paperback, Longman, 3rd edn, 2004)
One of many thoroughly useful titles by our current honorary president.
The Penguin Guide to Punctuation by R. L. Trask (paperback, Penguin Reference Books, 1997)
The University of Sussex also hosts a freely available site of Larry Trask's Guide to Punctuation.
A Student's Introduction to English Grammar by Rodney Huddleston, Geoffrey K. Pullum and Brett Reynolds (paperback, Cambridge University Press, 2nd edn, 2021)
From the book’s blurb: ‘Intended for students in colleges or universities who have little or no background in grammar or linguistics, this teaching resource contains numerous exercises and online resources suitable for any course on the structure of English in either linguistics or English departments. A thoroughly modern undergraduate textbook, rewritten in an easy-to-read conversational style with a minimum of technical and theoretical terminology.’ Geoffrey Pullum presented a lecture at the 2017 SfEP conference.
Accidence Will Happen: The Non-pedantic Guide to English Usage by Oliver Kamm (paperback, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015)
From the book: 'The Times columnist Oliver Kamm takes on the pedants in this witty, authoritative and sometimes provocative guide to the use and abuse of the English language.'
English for the Natives: Discover the Grammar You Don't Know You Know by Harry Ritchie (paperback, ebook, John Murray, 2014)
This book has proved useful as it provides a straightforward description of the common grammatical terms, which can be valuable when trying to explain a change or suggestion to an author.
For Who the Bell Tolls: The Essential and Entertaining Guide to Grammar by David Marsh (paperback, Guardian Faber Publishing, 2014)
Described by Mark Forsyth as 'A splendid and, more importantly, sane book on English Grammar'.
Practical English Usage by Michael Swan (Paperback, Oxford University Press, 4th edn, 2016)
'Written for ESL learners but good for editors, and if you have regular ESL clients you could recommend they get this.' From the blurb: 'Completely revised and updated to reflect changes in language use.'
Because Internet: Understanding how language is changing by Gretchen McCulloch (paperback, ebook, audiobook, Vintage, 2020)
All about internet linguistics, this is an eye-opener for anyone interested in what's happening in language now.
Bad English: A history of linguistic aggravation by Ammon Shea (paperback, ebook, MP3, Perigee Books, 2015)
'It dismantles the case for a whole range of linguistic stickles and peeves. Lots of them are ones we're all familiar with and that are covered in other guides too (literally, hopefully, decimate, different than, nounification/verbing, and the rest), but Shea does it particularly entertainingly.'