Exploring English Grammar

Academic year
Subject Area
Linguistics-Anglo-American Studies
Language of Instruction
Other Languages of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites


Teaching Methods

Oral presentations, lectures, practical exercises, group work, class discussion. Assessment according to the Rules of Assessment of the 1st cycle of studies.

Learning Outcomes

This curricular unit provides an overall view of the syntax of modern English, by focusing on the internal structure of the English sentence and its constituents, with a special focus on the correspondence between phrase structure, functional and thematic structure of the clause. Students become familiar with basic tools for language description and analysis of syntactic patterns. The goal will be to develop students’ knowledge of selected syntactic phenomena and stimulate their interest in the study of English grammar.

At the end of the semester, students should be able to

i) Identify word classes applying morphological and distributional criteria;

ii) distinguish between phrase structure, functional structure and thematic structure;

iii) identify and analyse phrases, grammatical functions and thematic roles;

iv) apply descriptive techniques, theoretical concepts  and styles of argumentation associated with linguistic analysis.

Work Placement(s)



The topics addressed in this course, include

1. Word classes, morphological and distributional criteria.

2. English phrase-structure, phrase-structure rules, dominance relations, internal constituents, nucleus and modifiers.

3. The Verb Phrase, the Noun Phrase, the Adjective Phrase and the Adverbial Phrase. 

4. Grammatical functions (Subject, Direct Object, etc.) and the correspondence between phrase-structure syntax and functional syntax.

5. Thematic roles (Agent, Beneficiary, etc.) and the correspondence between phrase-structure, grammatical functions and thematic roles.

Head Lecturer(s)

Ana Alexandra Ribeiro Luís

Assessment Methods

Final Assessment
Exam: 100.0%

Periodic Assessment
Other: 25.0%
Mini Tests: 25.0%
Frequency: 50.0%


Aarts, B. (2017). English Syntax and Argumentation (5th Edition).Red Globe Press.

Aarts, B.; Chalker, S.; Edmund, W. (2014). The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar. Oxford: OUP.

Börjars, K.; Burridge, K. (2010). Introducing English Grammar. London ; New York : Hodder Education.

Burton-Roberts, N. (2016). Analysing Sentences: An Introduction to English Syntax. London: Routledge.

Huddleston, R.; Pullum, G. eds. (2002). The Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: CUP.

Miller, J. (2016). Introduction to English Syntax. Edinburgh: EUP.

Radford, A. (2016). Analysing English Sentences. Cambridge: CUP.

Thomas, L. (1993). Beginning Syntax. Oxford: Blackwells.