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Grammar Patterns

Grammar Patterns


What are grammar patterns?


Grammar patterns are ways of describing how words are used in English. A grammar pattern tells us what phrases or clauses are used with a given adjective, noun, or verb. For example the adjective afraid can be used with a that-clause (He was afraid that...) ) or a prepositional phrase with of (She is afraid of...). The verb give can be used with one noun phrase (She gave some money) or two noun phrases (She gave the children some money) or a noun phrase and a prepositional phrase with to (She gave some money to the children).

This website is unique in listing all the grammar patterns used in English, and all the words regularly used with a given pattern. These lists are based on corpus research carried out by lexicographers at Collins COBUILD, and by experts at the University of Birmingham. Grammar patterns can also be seen in the Collins learner’s dictionaries, as well as on this website.

In association with the University of Birmingham, we provide material which language teachers can use with their learners in order to introduce them to Pattern Grammar. Written by an experienced corpus linguist and teacher trainer, these exercises and activities are designed to heighten learners’ awareness of grammar patterns, and to give them practice in recognising and using particular patterns.

We also include a series of videos presented by Prof. Susan Hunston demonstrating Pattern Grammar in practice.
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