Approaches to Grammar (Q1074)

30 credits, Level 4

Spring teaching

This module introduces you to descriptive grammar. You will explore questions such as: what do speakers know about the grammar of their language, consciously and unconsciously? How can we use speakers' knowledge to uncover the 'hidden rules' of language? What is the internal structure of words and how can we go about grouping words into categories so that we can label them and describe their general properties? How are words grouped together within a sentence?  What sorts of tests can we use to uncover and describe this internal structure of sentences? What does it mean to describe something as 'subject' or 'object'?  What kinds of grammatical differences distinguish a statement from a question or a command?  What's the difference between verbs like 'must' and 'love'? How are complex noun phrases structured? How can we identify clauses inside sentences, and what are they doing there?

This module will provide you with an understanding of the way in which words and sentences are constructed, and will equip you with the skills to break sentences down into their constituent parts, to construct and test hypotheses, and to represent sentence structure by means of tree diagrams.  The module will be based on English and other languages. 

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 44 hours of contact time and about 256 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: