The Survey of English Usage carries out research in English Linguistics. It was the first Corpus Linguistics research centre established in Europe (and the second in the world). We have been building corpora and analysing grammar for more than 50 years, and our parsed corpora and software remain world-leading.

We are based in the Department of English Language and Literature at UCL.


News, events and resources

Survey Seminars

We are pleased to announce that the Survey Seminar speakers for the Autumn term are Billy Clark and Lynda Muggleston.

On Wednesday 28 November, Lynda Muggleton (Pembroke College, Oxford) will speak on Andrew Clark and the language of the first World War.

More Information

The ISLE 5 Conference
ISLE 5 – The 5th International Conference of the International Society for the Linguistics of English

The Survey of English Usage hosted a major international linguistics conference, ISLE 5, from 17-20 July, 2018, at Senate House, University of London.

The conference is the Fifth International Conference of the International Society for the Linguistics of English.

For more information about the conference see the ISLE 5 Conference website.

English Grammar Day 2018

The fifth English Grammar Day took place on Monday, 9 July at the British Library. It was jointly organised by the Survey of English Usage, the University of Oxford and the British Library. Members of the public joined leading language authorities to reflect on the state of, and attitudes towards, English grammar and vocabulary. Speakers at EGD 2018 included the well-known linguist David Crystal.

English Grammar Days have been very successful events: they were fully booked and attracted a great number of teachers and school children, as well as members of the public and the press.

You can watch the short video below about the 2016 English Grammar Day.

More information from the British Library

Summer School
Summer School in English Corpus Linguistics

Our sixth Summer School in English Corpus Linguistics ran from Monday 2 July to Wednesday 4 July 2017.

The Summer School is an introduction to Corpus Linguistics for students of language and linguistics and teachers of English. Participants should have a basic knowledge of English linguistics and grammar. Students will gain experience with a state-of-art corpus and an understanding of basic statistical ideas.

If you are interested in applying for next year, you can contact the Survey.

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In memoriam: Lord Randolph Quirk

It is with great sadness that we announce the death on 21 December 2017 of Randolph Quirk, Founder of the Survey of English Usage.

Randolph was born on 12 July 1920 on the Isle of Man. He studied at University College London, where he later became Quain Professor in English Language and Literature. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of London from 1981 to 1985.

Quirk became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1976 and was knighted in 1985. He was President of the British Academy from 1985 to 1989 and became a life peer as Baron Quirk of Bloomsbury on 12 July 1994.

Quirk is well-known for founding the Survey of English Usage at UCL in 1959, but most of all for the monumental Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985), which he co-authored with Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik. This book, which became known as Quirk et al. is one of the great standard reference grammars of English.

Randolph’s memory will be cherished here at the Survey.

We send our deep condolences to Lady Gabriele Stein.

Bas Aarts
Director, Survey of English Usage

Quirk’s autobiography (an interview with Keith Brown)
UCL tribute
Telegraph obituary
Guardian obituary
Times obituary

More tributes are available on our blog, where you can add your own.

English Grammar for Schools resources published

We are pleased to announce that we have published a set of new Englicious grammar resources for teachers and children in UK primary and secondary schools.

Written by Bas Aarts and Ian Cushing, using simple language and practical examples, these classroom resources explain the key grammatical terms in the English National Curriculum that primary and secondary school teachers are expected to teach. Prices start from £2 for a knowledge organiser, with savings for bulk purchases.

The resources are a spin-off from our Teaching English Grammar in Schools project and are published by UCL Business. Income helps to support the Englicious project.

For more information, for prices and how to order, click on the images above.
View high-resolution previews of our print resources

Grammar Practice KS2

App for iOS - Android coming soon

Our very latest mobile app, Grammar Practice KS2, is designed for UK primary school students to test themselves in preparation for the Key Stage 2 Grammar Test at the end of Year 6.

Developed as a spin-off of the Englicious project, GP KS2 contains:

  • Extensive practice material — 50 exercises with nearly 3,000 test questions.
  • The complete 'non-statutory' New UK National Curriculum Grammar Glossary as a bonus, plus explanations from the Englicious website.

The test changed this year — our app is up-to-date.

Grammar Practice KS2
Other UCL English Apps

Our website is 'mobile-friendly'. Hand-held users have the option of a new 'mobile reader mode' alongside the standard desktop view.

Release Candidate 2 of ICECUP 3.1.1 now available

The latest version of our state-of-the-art ICECUP software is now available as a beta release for download from our website ahead of the official release in 2016.

The Release Candidate 2 package contains a new software codebase created with Visual Studio, and a new complete help file. Most importantly, the software has been reworked extensively to ensure that it is compatible with 64bit and 32bit versions of Windows, from XP to Windows 10.

You can also download a free ICE-GB sample corpus to experiment for yourself.

Watch a 'flash' preview demo of ICECUP
Download the software

Free Grammar Resources for School Teachers — the Englicious Website

We are pleased to see our Englicious website going from strength to strength, with more teachers signing up every day. Englicious ( is an online resource for improving the teaching of English grammar and literacy in UK schools. Our site uses the latest UK National Curriculum grammar terminology and spans both the primary and secondary sectors.

We also run a course for school teachers, in conjunction with the UCL Institute of Education, called Grammar for Teachers, which uses Englicious.

Englicious website
English Grammar for Teachers course

In the following video, school teachers at St Aidan's Primary School, North London, talk about their experience using Englicious in the classroom.

Grammar Teaching KT Project
Teaching English Grammar in Schools

Englicious was developed out of the AHRC Knowledge Transfer Fellowship Creating a Web-Based Platform for English Language Teaching and Learning started in 2010. This project involved building a website of interactive structured English language courses with a grammatical focus, initially tailored to the goals of the National Curriculum’s Key Stages 3-5. The resource consists of lesson modules dynamically accessing the corpora based at the Survey. The project was subsequently supported by the EPSRC via a UCL BEAMS Enterprise Award in 2012.

The Survey was subsequently awarded Follow-on Funding in 2013 for Impact and Engagement by the AHRC to develop teaching and learning materials for English primary schools. The new content is specifically aimed at pupils at Key Stages 1 and 2 in three domains, namely spelling, punctuation and grammar, and forms part of the Englicious website. This short project started on 1 September 2013 and ran for six months.

St Aidan's Primary School NATE

The UCL team worked closely with a number of partners, namely the National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE), St Aidan's VC Primary School in north London, and UCL Business PLC (UCL’s Technology Transfer company).

More information

Academic guidance in your pocket!

App for iOS and Android

We are proud to announce the release of Academic Writing in English (AWE), a new app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android devices. AWE is an interactive self-learning course in academic writing that takes you on a journey from critical thinking skills and organising your writing, via questions of English word choice and grammar, to identifying (and addressing) ambiguity in your own writing.

AWE is for undergraduates, postgraduates, professional academics and secondary school students preparing for university – in short, anyone who does academic writing. It is for native and non-native speakers of English.

Grammar at your fingertips:

App for iOS and Android

We are proud to announce the release of the iGE App for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android devices. The interactive Grammar of English is a complete course in Modern English Grammar. iGE updates our popular Internet Grammar, and presents it as a mobile application for a phone or tablet.

Click here for more information. The latest iGE 1.1 release is published for Android and the latest Apple devices.

Click for sales info
Parsed Corpora of English

Two major parsed corpora of British English are available to order from the Survey of English Usage.

The Diachronic Corpus of Present-Day Spoken English (DCPSE) consists of 87,000 trees and 800,000 words of spoken English across the decades. Release 2 of the British Component of the International Corpus of English (ICE-GB) is an upgrade of the popular 1 million-word ICE-GB corpus. Both corpora are released with the new ICECUP 3.1 software.

More information, free sample downloads and order forms are here.

Full contact information

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This page last modified 8 November, 2018 by Survey Web Administrator.