Grammar advice on the go

simulation of iGE on iPhone4

I just found out this week that linguists at University College London have developed an app called interactive Grammar of English (iGE). The app is based on the British Component of the International Corpus of English (ICE-GB) developed by the UCL Survey of English Usage, which started in 1959 by Randolph Quirk, and which already has produced several grammars since its inception. The iGE is the latest of these and offers itself as a ‘comprehensive introductory course in English grammar’.

It’s quite easy to use and has interactive exercises, complete with feedback, to test what you have learned. All in all, at less than five euros it’s a nice addition to students’ resources. I’m not sure I’d go as far as to chime in with its creators’ cheer that “Learning grammar can be fun!” but at least with this app you can do it wherever.

Will this kind of usage-based descriptive grammar bring normativism, usage and descriptivism closer together by virtue of those in need of usage advice having easy access to it?

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About Robin Straaijer

Linguist of the history of prescriptivism in English. Lover of photography and comedy.
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