48 books like Cambridge Grammar of English

By Ronald Carter, Michael McCarthy,

Here are 48 books that Cambridge Grammar of English fans have personally recommended if you like Cambridge Grammar of English. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain

Norbert Schmitt Author Of Language Power: 100 Things You Need to Make Language Work for You

From my list on learning and using language well.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my career in 1988 as an English language teacher in Japan. I originally went for a one-year adventure, but soon found myself fascinated by language, and how it is learned and used. This eventually led to a professorship at the University of Nottingham, where I have the good fortune to consult on language issues worldwide. I have researched language extensively, but all of my previous publications were meant for an academic/educational audience. I wanted to produce a book for general readership which outlines all that I have learned in 35 years of language research, and Language Power is the result. I hope you find it useful in your language-based life. 

Norbert's book list on learning and using language well

Norbert Schmitt Why did Norbert love this book?

When researching my book, I consulted many books on literacy, but this is the one I liked the best.

Many books describe ways to improve reading and writing ability (especially for children), but this one goes beyond that and explains why we need to do them. The answers lie in the way the brain functions, and how it adapted to handle written language over the ages; in essence, how the brain learned to read and write. If we understand that, then the paths towards improving literacy (both child and adult), and addressing problems like dyslexia, become much clearer. 

Maryanne Wolf masterfully weaves historical, psychological, and educational perspectives together to present a fascinating window into the world of reading and writing. Read the book, and the reason for the quirky title soon becomes clear.

By Maryanne Wolf,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Proust and the Squid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Everything about [this] book, which combines a healthy dose of lucid neuroscience with a dash of sensitive personal narrative, delights ... a beautifully balanced piece of popular-science writing' Boyd Tonkin, Independent
'For people interested in language, this is a must. You'll find yourself focusing on words in new ways. Read it slowly - it will take time to sink in.'William Leith, Sunday Telegraph
'An inspiring celebration of the science of reading.' P.D. Smith, Guardian

'We were never born to read', says Maryanne Wolf. 'No specific genes ever dictated reading's development. Human beings invented reading only a few thousand years ago.…


Book cover of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language

Norbert Schmitt Author Of Language Power: 100 Things You Need to Make Language Work for You

From my list on learning and using language well.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my career in 1988 as an English language teacher in Japan. I originally went for a one-year adventure, but soon found myself fascinated by language, and how it is learned and used. This eventually led to a professorship at the University of Nottingham, where I have the good fortune to consult on language issues worldwide. I have researched language extensively, but all of my previous publications were meant for an academic/educational audience. I wanted to produce a book for general readership which outlines all that I have learned in 35 years of language research, and Language Power is the result. I hope you find it useful in your language-based life. 

Norbert's book list on learning and using language well

Norbert Schmitt Why did Norbert love this book?

This is the ideal coffee table book on language. It contains an astonishing amount of information on virtually every aspect of language, ranging from interesting tidbits that might be useful in a trivia game (How many languages are there in the world?) to more extended discussions of weightier issues (What is dyslexia?). 

It is the perfect book for dipping in and out of, because every page you might open up to contains something intriguing about the way language is described, used, learned, or lost. It is meant for a general audience, but when I read it, I found many new ideas that led me to advance my own academic research. 

The fact that it is now in its 3rd edition shows just how useful and popular this wide-ranging gem is.

By David Crystal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

This new, thoroughly revised edition of the acclaimed Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language incorporates the major developments in language study which have taken place since the mid 1990s. Two main new areas have been added: the rise of electronic communication in all its current forms from email to texting, and the crisis affecting the world's languages, of which half are thought to be so seriously endangered that they will die out this century. * All language statistics have been updated, and additional information provided about their linguistic affiliation * All topics involving technology have been revised to take account of recent…


Book cover of Words in the Mind: An Introduction to the Mental Lexicon

Norbert Schmitt Author Of Language Power: 100 Things You Need to Make Language Work for You

From my list on learning and using language well.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my career in 1988 as an English language teacher in Japan. I originally went for a one-year adventure, but soon found myself fascinated by language, and how it is learned and used. This eventually led to a professorship at the University of Nottingham, where I have the good fortune to consult on language issues worldwide. I have researched language extensively, but all of my previous publications were meant for an academic/educational audience. I wanted to produce a book for general readership which outlines all that I have learned in 35 years of language research, and Language Power is the result. I hope you find it useful in your language-based life. 

Norbert's book list on learning and using language well

Norbert Schmitt Why did Norbert love this book?

Most languages consist of huge numbers of different words. For instance, estimates for English range from hundreds of thousands to millions of words. 

While no person knows every word in a language, they will still hold a repertoire of many, many thousands of words in their mind (their mental lexicon).  Dictionaries are useful for describing this ocean of words, but an intriguing question is how the human mind manages to learn and remember so many, and then to find the exact ones it wishes to use from the numerous alternatives. 

Aitchison’s genius lies in how she is able to draw on quite complex psychological research, but yet still distill it into a fascinating and very readable account of how the mind achieves these formidable tasks.  You will come away from this book with an increased appreciation of just how clever the mind is in acquiring, storing, and retrieving vast amounts…

By Jean Aitchison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Words in the Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book deals with words, and how humans learn them, remember them, understand them and find the ones they want. It discusses the structure and content of the human word-store or 'mental lexicon' with particular reference to the spoken language of those with English as their native language. Since the first two editions of Words in the Mind were published, work on the lexicon has expanded quickly. This growth is reflected in this third edition, which contains substantial new material. There is an extra chapter on layering and meaning change, and several others have been considerably enlarged. The notes and…


Book cover of How Languages are Learned

Norbert Schmitt Author Of Language Power: 100 Things You Need to Make Language Work for You

From my list on learning and using language well.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my career in 1988 as an English language teacher in Japan. I originally went for a one-year adventure, but soon found myself fascinated by language, and how it is learned and used. This eventually led to a professorship at the University of Nottingham, where I have the good fortune to consult on language issues worldwide. I have researched language extensively, but all of my previous publications were meant for an academic/educational audience. I wanted to produce a book for general readership which outlines all that I have learned in 35 years of language research, and Language Power is the result. I hope you find it useful in your language-based life. 

Norbert's book list on learning and using language well

Norbert Schmitt Why did Norbert love this book?

When I took my Master course in English Language Teaching in 1992, this was one of the suggested sources.

I loved it, and so did my fellow students, because it explained language learning in an extremely clear and straightforward way. Later, as a professor, I found that my own students were similarly enthusiastic. But do not get the impression that this is just a good ‘academic’ textbook. It was written for novice English teachers, many international, and so the language is non-technical and accessible.

Lightbown and Spada take the reader through the process of language acquisition step-by-step, with numerous examples and illustrations, and with a conversational writing style. This makes the book suitable for any interested reader who desires an introduction into how languages are learned, and how they should be taught. Now in its 5th blockbuster edition, with even more pictures and examples. 

By Patsy M. Lightbown, Nina Spada,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Languages are Learned as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in its 4th edition, How Languages are Learned is highly valued for the way it relates language acquisition theory to classroom teaching and learning and draws practical implications from the research for the language classroom. How Languages are Learned is widely used as a reference book on teacher training courses, and for new and experienced practising teachers.


Book cover of Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Joel Schwartzberg Author Of Get to the Point! Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter

From my list on improving your presentation prowess.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my journey in communications as a competitive public speaker in high school and college, culminating in a national championship. That experience inspired me to help others develop their public speaking and presentation skills, especially effective point-making, which is fundamental to communication success but rarely addressed by trainers. Nowadays, I’m thrilled to combine my skill, experience, and passion in my work as a speechwriter and speech coach for organizations ranging from American Express to State Farm Insurance, as well as a speechwriter for a major nonprofit and contributor to media outlets including Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Newsweek.

Joel's book list on improving your presentation prowess

Joel Schwartzberg Why did Joel love this book?

Mignon is one of my writing idols, so this is rightfully one of my writing bibles.

No one’s better than Mignon—best known as “Grammar Girl” on her podcasts and in her books—at separating fact from fiction when it comes to grammar. She also has an extremely friendly, supportive style that builds trust right away, like getting advice from your neighbor (who happens to be omniscient about language and word usage).

I felt this myself as one of Mignon’s guests on her very popular podcast. Quick and Dirty Tips is like having Mignon’s skill and insight on call, and that’s an amazing and invaluable resource for any writer. 

By Mignon Fogarty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl, is determined to wipe out bad grammar - but she's also determined to make the process as painless as possible. One year ago, she created a weekly pod cast to tackle some of the most common mistakes people make while communicating. The pod casts have now been downloaded more than seven million times, and Mignon has dispensed grammar tips on Oprah and appeared on the pages of "The New York Times", "The Wall Street Journal", and "USA Today".Written with the wit, warmth, and accessibility that the pod casts are known for, "Grammar Girl's Quick and…


Book cover of Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing

Mark William Roche Author Of Why Choose the Liberal Arts?

From my list on books for students about to enter college.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a graduate of Williams College and Princeton University and now a professor and former dean of arts and letters at the University of Notre Dame. As dean, I learned that too many of Notre Dame’s students were majoring in business. Invariably, when I asked them about their rationale, they would confess that their favorite courses were in the arts and sciences. They might have followed their passions, I thought, if they and their parents had a deeper sense of the value of a liberal arts education, so I wrote this book to answer their questions and give them justified confidence in the value of liberal arts courses.  

Mark's book list on books for students about to enter college

Mark William Roche Why did Mark love this book?

I read this book when it came out in 1985, as I was polishing my first book. I recommended it to a senior colleague who had written several books and edited a leading journal. He took it with him to some beach on winter vacation as he was completing his next book. When he returned, he said he was so engrossed in the book that his wife got mad at him for not putting it down. He loved it as much as I did.

If you have mastered this book, your writing will improve dramatically, and you will not need another style manual for the rest of your life. 

By Claire Kehrwald Cook,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Line by Line as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The essential guide for all writers. With over 700 examples of original and edited sentences, this book provides information about editing techniques, grammar, and usage for every writer from the student to the published author.


Book cover of The Elements of Style

Randall H. Duckett Author Of Seven Cs: The Elements of Effective Writing: 41 How-To Tips for Creators

From my list on learning how to write effectively.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love language and its power to inform, inspire, and influence. As I wrote Seven Cs: The Elements of Effective Writing, I researched what others have said about writing well and honed it down to these resources, which I quote. During my decades as a journalist and marketer, I developed and edited scores of publications, books, and websites. I also co-wrote two travel guides—100 Secrets of the Smokies and 100 Secrets of the Carolina Coast. I’ve written for such publications as National Geographic Traveler and AARP: The Magazine. A father of three women, I live in Springfield, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, with my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. 

Randall's book list on learning how to write effectively

Randall H. Duckett Why did Randall love this book?

This book is old, like early 1900s. It was first drafted by William Strunk, Jr., who distributed a version to his students at Columbia University in 1919. E.B. White (author of Charlotte’s Web) modernized it in the ’50s. It went on to sell millions of copies and become one of the most influential guides to English. Why the history lesson? Because it’s remarkable how relevant it remains in 2022. It can feel dusty and literary, but it offers nuggets of wisdom like “omit needless words” that influence writers like me today. I shamelessly ripped off the concept of “elements” for my book. The “little book” is short—the fourth edition is 42 pages—but mighty. It deserves a spot on your physical or virtual bookshelf.    

By William Strunk, E.B. White,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Elements of Style as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You know the authors' names. You recognize the title. You've probably used this book yourself. This is The Elements of Style, the classic style manual, now in a fourth edition. A new Foreword by Roger Angell reminds readers that the advice of Strunk & White is as valuable today as when it was first offered.This book's unique tone, wit and charm have conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers. Use the fourth edition of "the little book" to make a big impact with writing.


Book cover of Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process

Randall H. Duckett Author Of Seven Cs: The Elements of Effective Writing: 41 How-To Tips for Creators

From my list on learning how to write effectively.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love language and its power to inform, inspire, and influence. As I wrote Seven Cs: The Elements of Effective Writing, I researched what others have said about writing well and honed it down to these resources, which I quote. During my decades as a journalist and marketer, I developed and edited scores of publications, books, and websites. I also co-wrote two travel guides—100 Secrets of the Smokies and 100 Secrets of the Carolina Coast. I’ve written for such publications as National Geographic Traveler and AARP: The Magazine. A father of three women, I live in Springfield, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, with my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. 

Randall's book list on learning how to write effectively

Randall H. Duckett Why did Randall love this book?

Just as King is a master of fiction, the late, great John McPhee is a nonfiction master. He gained fame as staff writer for The New Yorker, then authored dozens of books on such diverse subjects as fishing, geology, and transportation. (Trust me: His fascinating novel-like prose is more engaging, enlightening, and enrapturing than those topics imply.) In 1999, he finally won a well-deserved General Nonfiction Pulitzer on his fourth try. In this treatise on writing well, McPhee offers insight into his craft, including diagrams of story structure he shared with journalism students at Princeton. The book appeals to my logical side; in my book I say I see writing as like building with Legos, putting together one colorful block at a time to eventually form a 7,541-piece Millennium Falcon. 

By John McPhee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Draft No. 4 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Draft No. 4 is a master class on the writer's craft. In a series of playful, expertly wrought essays, John McPhee shares insights he has gathered over his career and has refined while teaching at Princeton University, where he has nurtured some of the most esteemed writers of recent decades. McPhee offers definitive guidance in the decisions regarding arrangement, diction, and tone that shape non fiction pieces, and he presents extracts from his work, subjecting them to wry scrutiny. In one essay, he considers the delicate art of getting sources to tell you what they might not otherwise reveal. In…


Book cover of Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words

Richard J. Carwardine Author Of Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power

From my list on what made Abraham Lincoln a great president.

Why am I passionate about this?

How could a historian of the US not find Lincoln an endlessly fascinating figure? As a young(ish) university teacher, I jumped at the invitation to write a study of the 16th president, but didn’t expect it to win the coveted Lincoln Prize. When it did, in 2004, the community of American Lincoln scholars made me, a Welsh professor from Oxford University, doubly welcome. In several books I’ve examined Lincoln’s political skill, strategic ambition, and moral purposes. But he was more than a gifted pragmatist. His greater goal was to leave his nation stronger and a little closer to realizing the principles of equality laid out in the Declaration of Independence of 1776.

Richard's book list on what made Abraham Lincoln a great president

Richard J. Carwardine Why did Richard love this book?

Lincoln was a great communicator, whose greatest speeches deliver emotional power through unfussy language. Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of the best-selling page-turner Uncle Tom’s Cabin, knew a thing or two about language. She said Lincoln’s compelling words had “the relish and smack of the soil.” Douglas Wilson’s study is an exercise in historical detection. Sleuth-like he uses the successive manuscript drafts of Lincoln’s speeches and public letters to show his care in choosing his words, and how alert he was to sense, sound, imagery, context, and clarity. Lincoln’s Sword is a masterpiece, a showcase of the literary and political sensibilities that made Wilson an acclaimed winner of the Lincoln Prize.

By Douglas Wilson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lincoln's Sword as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Widely considered in his own time as a genial but provincial lightweight who was out of place in the presidency, Abraham Lincoln astonished his allies and confounded his adversaries by producing a series of speeches and public letters so provocative that they helped revolutionize public opinion on such critical issues as civil liberties, the use of black soldiers, and the emancipation of slaves. This is a brilliant and unprecedented examination of how Lincoln used the power of words to not only build his political career but to keep the country united during the Civil War.


Book cover of Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language

Leslie Lehr Author Of A Boob's Life: How America's Obsession Shaped Me--And You

From my list on put the fun in feminism.

Why am I passionate about this?

From Lehr’s prize-winning fiction to her viral New York Times Modern Love essay, exploring the challenges facing contemporary women has been Lehr’s life-long passion. A Boob’s Life, her first project since breast cancer treatment, continues this mission, taking all who will join her on a wildly informative, deeply personal, and utterly relatable journey.  And that’s exactly the kind of books she likes to read – the ones that make her laugh, nod in recognition, and understand a little more about life. She recommends these five books to everyone who asks.

Leslie's book list on put the fun in feminism

Leslie Lehr Why did Leslie love this book?

Ok sure, she had me at the title. But Montell dives deep into the language we use every day that, yes, often demeans women. Many of our body parts were taken from Latin words that dudes used to describe them. And the meanings weren’t always flattering. She also explains the positives of Valley Girl-Speak such as “like” and of vocal fry, and women are so fast to say “sorry.” Did you know that “hussy” used to mean housewife and “slut” meant a messy person that could be a man? Or that “bitch” used to be a gender-neutral name that had nothing to do with dogs? And why are some words considered feminine and others, male? Read this book to find out. 

By Amanda Montell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Wordslut as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I get so jazzed about the future of feminism knowing that Amanda Montell's brilliance is rising up and about to explode worldwide."-Jill Soloway

A brash, enlightening, and wildly entertaining feminist look at gendered language and the way it shapes us.

The word bitch conjures many images, but it is most often meant to describe an unpleasant woman. Even before its usage to mean "a female canine," bitch didn't refer to women at all-it originated as a gender-neutral word for "genitalia." A perfectly innocuous word devolving into an insult directed at females is the case for tons more terms, including hussy,…


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