GRAMMAR NOTES: ABOUT THE SIMPLE CLASSIC UNIVERSAL ENGLISH GRAMMAR
Amazingly, not many people know that English
grammar is not the product of
grammarians/linguists. No, Sir, it was some philosopher mathematicians who have defined
the 17th century, in France. Furthermore, mathematicians worked with
the end of the 19th century. Their goal was to come up with a logic system (Grammar itself)
that was "universal": exactly the same one in any language
in the Universe!
That aspect means that English grammar is structured
and it functions
exactly the same as the French grammar, the German one, or the Chinese one.
Four hundred years later, in LSEG4, we can assert that
those great mathematicians did a wonderful job for us, and for the
Unfortunately, in the 20th century, it was the grammarians (the linguists)
developing grammar (including English grammar). This is the reason a
lot of new descriptive grammatical "currents" began to unfold. For example:
1. within the
general current of “Generative Grammar” have appeared the theories of:
“Transformational Grammar”, “Generative Semantics”, “Relational
Grammar”, “Lexical-Functional Grammar”, “Nanosyntax”, “Generalized
Phrase Structure Grammar”, “Head-Driven Phrase Structure
2. the current of “Categorical Grammar”
has been funded on many
structural theories (fairly important), as is the “Tree-Adjoining
3. the “Dependency Grammar” current, based on dependency relations,
has sparked the following syntactic theories: “Algebraic Syntax”,
“Word Grammar”, “Operator Grammar”, “Meaning-Text
“Functional Generative Description”;
4. the current of “Stochastic
Grammar” was based on a few
probability theories (used in programming) as were: “Neural Networks”, “The
Theory”, and “The Stochastic Context-Free Grammar”;
5. the “Functionalist” current includes the theories: “Functionalist
Discourse Grammar”, “Systemic Functional Grammar”, “Cognitive
Grammar”, “Construction Grammar”, “Role and
“Emergent Grammar”, etc.
The point to note is, today, a decent citizen could study
Grammar for one year, two,
five, even for ten years, without actually learning Grammar! Sounds absurd, right? Well,
the sad reality is that the linguists have turned the plain and simple Grammar
and the universal one that was developed by mathematicians] into a "literary
mess"—intentionally, more likely.
Anyway, the good news is, now
we have "Logically Structured English Grammar
4" [plus "LSEG4-Exercises Workbook"] to straighten things up!
Grammatical analysis starts in Sentence Syntax with
identifying 5 simple
functional relations—and things happen exactly the same in any language
known. Once that all syntactical functions are properly determined
in Sentence Syntax, Grammar steps down to Morphology: a
(local) form and structure analysis based on 10 atomic elements.
[Considering other dimensions, way more complex, grammatical
analysis may start in Complex Sentence Syntax first, and then it
steps down to Sentence Syntax and to Morphology. Complex Sentence
Syntax also works with a few universal analytical models/principles.]
In its first part, Morphology is again universal, the same one in
any language known. However, there is a certain point in Morphology beyond
which we do have to start with a specific Grammar: say, the English
one. Now, it happens that the English grammar is one of the
simplest in the entire World—if not THE simplest—therefore it is
perfectly suited to become a conventional interpretative
template-model of universal Grammar for any language on the Planet!
Mastering the classic and universal Grammar today, in our particularly demanding
complex society, means that any learning process becomes about ten
times faster! Further, a very well
(self-)educated person is going to be superior in abilities to any possible
competition—extraordinary, isn't it? You see, dear readers, we do have the means; the
rest is up to you. [Sooner or later, everybody will have to study our books; therefore, it
is best to assure yourself a good head start.]
The history of grammar starts in
antiquity, about 2500 years ago. However, "modern grammar" (with the Syntax
invented by a few incredibly intelligent French
mathematicians. Particularly interesting is the fact that
the author of the fundamental principle of "one grammar for all
languages in the Universe" [aka "The Laws of
Thought"] was Mr. René
Descartes (1596-1650). Amazingly, The Laws of Thought
were also the starting point of Boolean Algebra; therefore,
can enjoy today this extraordinary IT Revolution thanks, again, to
Descartes! Even more, Mr. René
Descartes is also credited as the father of modern
philosophy—although not many "professional philosophers"
know that, lately. Mr. René
Descartes, a Scientific Titan of our Civilization, has left us the famous words in Latin "Cogito,
ergo sum" ["I
think, therefore I exist"].
Anyway, the point to note is that the great mathematician and philosopher
René Descartes was not a
"professional"; he was a . . . mercenary! Yes, Sir, a very
skilled soldier of fortune, and a formidable swordsman! On
the other hand, it is worth mentioning that most of the
great inventors of our Human Civilization were not
professionals, working in reputable institutions.
It happens that intelligence has nothing to do with titles, awards,
reputation, and whatevers; intelligence is totally random: it
just pops up out there, somewhere . . . or not.
Despite the fact that it is, possibly, the simplest on the Planet, English grammar
appears to be particularly difficult to master
appropriately, for both native and ESL speakers, due to the following:
1. in each English speaking nation, grammar is
taught as a local, national or regional version;
2. the pronunciation of the English words is frequently atypical,
unrelated to their written form;
3. there are many words having multiple grammatical meanings;
4. there are many words having multiple implicit semantic meanings;
5. there are words having the same form, though they take different
meanings, depending on the functional place they have within the
6. morphologic elements have regular and irregular grammatical
7. there are numerous exceptions to grammatical rules;
8. English is particularly enriched by “implicit meanings”, more
than in many other languages;
9. English is a particularly dynamic language.
People used to say that English was "the international business
language"—well no, not any
more, dear friends. Today, for the entire planet, ENGLISH IS THE INTERNATIONAL STANDARD
LANGUAGE. Note that there are many good reasons behind this social-reality; two of the most
1. the Computer Revolution we live these days;
2. the fact that the English Lexicon is the richest, and the most advanced,
to any other language on the Planet.
The classic/traditional and universal English Grammar comprises/incorporates the following main parts:
4.1 Sentence Syntax
4.2 Complex Sentence Syntax
Orthography / Punctuation
implementation of direct/Indirect (literary)
Not many readers are aware about "the nature" of the English
grammar (and of any grammar).
of all, Grammar is Syntax (this is, Sentence Syntax), and then Morphology. Note that
Morphology alone doesn't work, due to a morphological phenomenon named "Grammar
In other words, grammatical analysis starts in
Complex Sentence Syntax
(naturally, only when there is a complex sentence to analyze), then it steps
down to Sentence Syntax, and
then it moves to Morphology. In order to understand Grammar, someone needs to master
Sentence Syntax to perfection! The true beauty is that Sentence
Syntax is not even difficult, providing that you start learning it using
The words of a language are pronounced using specific sounds which are
studied by a branch of Linguistics named “Phonetics”. Generally,
Phonetics is a stand-alone branch, just as Grammar is. In English,
however, Phonetics becomes a sub-branch of Grammar because they work
together, and they are strongly interdependent.
Spoken English does not follow the written form, therefore phonetic mistakes are
quite frequent. English grammar handles all mistakes, in either oral or
written format, therefore Phonetics becomes automatically a subordinate
branch of Grammar. In other words, Phonetics, as a grammatical branch,
is one of the instruments we employ to use English correctly.
People coming from foreign languages start learning English with
Phonetics. For them, the English sounds need to be translated into
the sounds specific to each foreign language. Further, once the ESL speakers
achieve a satisfactory degree of fluency in English, they continue
relating to Phonetics in order to deepen and polish their skills. In the
other side, native speakers cannot write new English
words, or foreign names, without knowing phonetics. In most instances
they “spell” the names in order to write them correctly; when reading,
however, things are really difficult. Phonetics helps native speakers to
enrich their vocabulary, and to overcome any regional/customary/atypical
“Morphology” is a generic term used to name any
form and structural analysis
performed on elementary/atomic components. Morphology, as a
grammatical branch, studies the words of a language grouped into the
following "morphologic elements" (also named “parts of speech"):
The above categories of morphologic elements are the same in any
language (in the Universe), and English makes no exception: only
ten morphologic elements are needed to form clear/perfect sentences in any language.
However, in most English grammar books there are only eight
categories of morphologic elements presented: the articles are
(wrongfully) considered adjectives, and the numerals are either
categorized as adverbs or adjectives, or they are simply ignored.
In many grammar books there is great
confusion about Morphology. A “phrase” is not a morphologic
structural and functional unit, simply because it cannot be:
do not exist as structural units in English grammar. Many authors
group a few related morphologic elements in order to form a “phrase”:
for example, a noun plus its article, plus adverbs, plus adjectives.
That is not a phrase, dear readers. Nouns, adjectives, and adverbs
(for example) are perfectly defined atomic morphologic elements, each having a
clear morphologic functionality within the sentence structure.
True, we do have phrases in Morphology that work (morphologically)
as one single morphologic
element: equivalent-nouns, equivalent-adjectives, equivalent-verbs
(or “phrasal verbs”) etc. However, once we do identify an
equivalent-morphologic element, it ceases to be a “phrase” anymore: it
is just the morphologic element per se (noun, adjective, verb, etc.)
and the constituent words lose their individual meanings. Again,
phrases do not exist as structural units in Morphology (or in
Another source of confusion is generated by the fact that Morphology
studies the “form” of the morphologic elements: that is,
form within the sentence structure based on the desired/intended
meaning, and not (necessarily) the individual form of the
elements. For example, nouns are seldom used alone; they are one
component in a structure, and their form is influenced by, or it
influences, articles, adjectives, adverbs, other nouns, plus the
All morphologic elements in a sentence work together in setting/controlling
the right form of
one morphologic element, according to the meaning and to the
morphological rules. A clear example of a structural form is the
adjective: adjectives do not exist without their determined nouns.
If one adjective does not have a determined noun, then it becomes a
pronoun or an equivalent-noun. Therefore, “structural form” of an
adjective is: the adjective plus its determined noun.
Morphologic elements take different forms and structures, and
Morphology is grammatical branch needed to study them individually. However,
words are also related to one another, and they have
particular functions within the sentence structure.
Another grammatical instrument, named Sentence Syntax, is employed to analyze
the functions of syntactical elements. “Syntax” is a generic term
used to name a particular type of analysis based on functionality. As a grammatical branch,
Sentence Syntax helps
meaningful and logic, complex structures of words: sentences.
Based on the interdependent relational functionality, Sentence Syntax
groups the words simplified into the following categories of
4. objects (direct, indirect, and prepositional)
5. adverbials (of time, place, evolution, manner)
The subject and the predicate are
principal syntactic elements; the attribute, object, and adverbial
are secondary syntactic elements.
There is great confusion about Sentence
Syntax. First of all, note that the major category of "attribute" is
not acknowledged in many grammar books due to . . . whatever.
However, the categories of "subject-complements" and
"object-complements" are presented as being “syntactic elements”,
although they are in fact just particular subcategories of
attributes! Even more, the “complements” do not exist as syntactical
elements per se; a
complement is exactly what its name suggests: a complement of a
syntactic element (subject, predicate, object).
Readers beware: in Sentence Syntax we consider only subjects,
predicates, attributes, objects, and adverbials; nouns, articles,
adjectives, pronouns, numerals, verbs, adverbs, and prepositions do
not exist in Sentence Syntax!
COMPLEX SENTENCE SYNTAX
The next level of grammatical analysis, a superior one, is Complex
Sentence Syntax. This time the basic/atomic components are complex
structures, named “clauses”, and the rules governing them are set by
Complex Sentence Syntax. A complex sentence may be formed from
principal clauses in coordination relations to one another, or by
clauses in subordination relations to one principal (main) clause.
It needs to be pointed out that a clause is a structural unit
within a complex sentence; further, the term
“clause” does not exist outside the Complex Sentence Syntax
Morphology and in Sentence Syntax
we cannot use the term "clause" because it makes no sense.
Complex Sentence Syntax is a difficult, complex, grammatical analysis; it is
1. Analogy to Morphology (and/or)
2. Analogy to Sentence Syntax
Still, in spite of all problems, Complex Sentence Syntax is
greatly needed to shape correctly complex meanings that span on many
In many grammar books there is great
confusion about Complex Sentence Syntax—and about Sentence
Syntax. Never mix together Morphology, Sentence Syntax, and
Complex Sentence Syntax because they are three different grammatical
of them helps in analyzing/controlling the meaning, though
each has a different domain of applications, specific functions, and
each works with different basic/fundamental/atomic elements.
ORTHOGRAPHY / PUNCTUATION
Particularly important is the fact that no grammar book is truly
finished without a thorough, sufficiently developed, Punctuation
chapter. “Punctuation” is the instrument employed to make grammar work for
us, in society, in our day-to-day activity. In other words,
of the amount of grammar we are able to control, we need punctuation in
order to make grammar work beneficially for us.
Note that English punctuation was and is developed “naturally”, by
writers, publishers, and critics, not by some centralized academic
institutions. People learn English punctuation from the books dedicated
to presenting it, except most of those important books have (way too)
many hundreds of pages, analyzing complex and very complex topics.
Further, in order to extract the essence from such books, it takes a lot
of time, and remarkable efforts—fortunately, Logically Structured
English Grammar 4 did that for you.
The difference in knowing punctuation or not—let’s say, only in our
daily email activity—is translated either into writing nice, correct and
comprehensive messages, or in scribbling some senseless graffiti marks. You
see, dear readers, the English language is particularly beautiful;
however, it is only up to us to make it even more beautiful, a lot more
clean, and way more profound in expression. Now, considering all these,
it may be the Punctuation part in LGEG4 is “THE” most important one!
A complete grammatical reference, very easy to learn: Logically Structured English Grammar 4—as theory plus exercises!