Swan M. Basic English usage
List of entries 5
Words used in the explanations 10
Phonetic alphabet 12
Basic English Usage 13
The purpose of this book
This is a practical guide to common problems in English grammar and usage. It is written for foreign students who would like to know more about English, and who want to avoid mistakes.
The book is written especially for intermediate students, but more advanced learners may also find it useful. The explanations are made as simple as possible. Students who want more detailed and complete information should read my more advanced book Practical English Usage, also published by Oxford University Press.
Explanations are mostly in ordinary everyday English. It has been necessary to use some grammatical terminology (for example, adverb, subject, clause, modify). These words are explained on pages 10-12.
The kind of English described
The book describes standard modern British English, and gives realistic examples of spoken and written language (both formal and informal). Incorrect forms are shown like this: '(NOT / have seen him ycctcrday)' There is some information about American usage, but the book is not a systematic guide to American English.
This is a dictionary of problems, not a grammar. Points are explained in short separate entries, so that you can find just the information you need about a particular problem — no more and no less. Entries are arranged alphabetically and numbered. A complete index at the back of the book-shows where each point can be found. (There is also a list of all the entries on pages 5-9).
How to use the book
If you want an explanation of a particular point, look in the index. Problems are indexed under several different names, so it is usually easy to find what you want. For example, if you need information about the use of / and me, you can find this in the index under T, 'me', 'subject and object forms', 'personal pronouns' or 'pronouns'.
Basic English Usage: Exercises, by Jennifer Seidl and Michael Swan, gives practice in the various points that are explained in Basic English Usage.
I should like to thank the many people whose suggestions and criticisms have helped me with this book, especially Norman Сое, Stewart Melluish, Jennifer Seidl and Catherine Walter. I am also most grateful to all those — too many to name — who have sent me comments on my book Practical English Usage. Their suggestions have helped me to improve many of the explanations in this book.
I should be very glad to hear from students or teachers using this book who find mistakes or omissions, or who have comments or suggestions of any kind. Please write to me c/o ELT Department, Oxford University Press, Walton Street, Oxford 0X2 6DP.