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Department of English - Survey of English Usage (F10)

The Survey of English Usage ('the Survey') was founded in 1959 by Randolph (now Lord) Quirk. Many well-known linguists have spent time doing research at the Survey. Among them are: Valerie Adams, John Algeo, Dwight Bolinger, Noël Burton-Roberts, David Crystal, Derek Davy, Jan Firbas, Sidney Greenbaum, Liliane Haegeman, Robert Ilson, Ruth Kempson, Geoffrey Leech, Terttu Nevalainen, Jan Rusiecki, Jan Svartvik, Joe Taglicht and many others.

The Survey of English Usage carries out research in English language Corpus Linguistics, and was the first centre in Europe to undertake this type of research. From its inception in 1959, the Survey collected samples of naturally-occurring language for the purposes of description and analysis.

See our history pages and commentary from some well-known Survey alumni.

Corpus Linguistics is the study of naturally-occurring language structure and use by first collecting samples of spoken or written language and second, analysing these samples.

The first corpus projects predated cheap computer power and mass storage. The original Survey corpus was first recorded on reel-to-reel Revox tape recorders, transcribed by hand, and then typed up, stored and annotated on paper cards (above, right).

The advent of modern desktop computing has completely changed all that. Recent major corpus projects, such as ICE-GB and DCPSE, were digitised, transcribed, annotated and indexed on computers. We have developed software tools to help us undertake this work and, partly as a result, the range of possible annotation has grown in sophistication.

Once such a resource is constructed, what can you do with it? A significant theme in our current research concerns how best one may exploit computerised corpora for linguistic purposes.

Department of English - Survey of English Usage (F10)


F10 English Grammar for Teachers

The new National Curriculum requires school teachers to teach English grammar, starting in primary school.

This one-day course is designed to help primary and secondary school teachers who:

  • feel uncertain about their knowledge of grammar and want to improve their confidence in teaching it;
  • want to refresh their knowledge of English grammar.

The course covers the key concepts of English grammar as laid out for each Key Stage in the National Curriculum.

It's taught by UCL experts and is brought to you by the team that runs Englicious, a free online learning and teaching resource for English grammar.

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24/11/201724/11/20177[Read More]
26/01/201826/01/201816[Read More]
23/03/201823/03/201820[Read More]
08/06/201808/06/201820[Read More]
06/07/201806/07/201820[Read More]
Teaching English Grammar in Context

F10 Teaching English Grammar in Context.

The new National Curriculum requires teachers to teach English grammar, starting in primary school and maintained throughout Key Stages 3 – 5 at secondary school.


There are plenty of debates around the nature of how grammar should be taught, but in this course we advocate the use of a contextualised approach, using tools from literary linguistics and stylistics. This means teaching and learning about grammar through the use of authentic texts, and encouraging discussions and explorations around meanings, choices and effects. This highly interactive course is designed for secondary school teachers who want to find out more about such an approach.


Based on the latest developments in educational and linguistic research, the course is designed to help teachers who:


  • want to explore interesting and engaging methods for teaching grammar in relation to a range of texts, genres and styles;
  • want to learn about recent developments in stylistics and how this can be incorporated into a meaningful grammar pedagogy;
  • want usable and accessible teaching ideas to take back into their own classrooms;
  • want to maintain and develop their students’ KS2 grammatical knowledge.
StartEndPlaces LeftCourse Fee 
09/02/201809/02/201822[Read More]
11/05/201811/05/201825[Read More]
15/06/201815/06/201825[Read More]
13/07/201813/07/201825[Read More]

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