Survey of English Usage
Annual Report 2019


1. News

1.1 Memorial event for Randolph Quirk

On 9 July 2019 the Survey of English Usage, UCL, the British Academy and the Wolfson Foundation organised a memorial event to celebrate the life of the eminent linguist and scholar, Professor Lord Randolph Quirk CBE who died on 21 December 2017.

Randolph Quirk 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.

Randolph 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.

The programme was as follows

14:00   Welcome and introduction: Bas Aarts
14:15 Dick Hudson: ‘The educational background to Randolph’s achievements’
14:45 Jenny Cheshire: ‘Randolph Quirk, relative pronouns, and sociolinguistics’
15:15 Liliane Haegeman: ‘Register-specific subject omission in written English’
16:15 David Denison: ‘Randolph Quirk and serial relationship’
16:45 David Crystal: ‘Marginalia memorabilia’

As can be seen by the tributes on this page, Randolph was well-respected and much-loved in equal measure. If you knew Randolph personally, were inspired by him you can add your tribute on this page.

More information

1.2 The Oxford handbook of English grammar

Published just before Christmas 2019 (with a publication date of 2020), the Oxford handbook of English grammar, edited by Bas Aarts, Jill Bowie of the Survey of English Usage and Gergana Popova of Goldsmiths, University of London, this publication is an authoritative, critical survey of current research and knowledge in the grammar of the English language. The handbook contains 31 chapters.


  • addresses foundational areas of research methodology;
  • explores a range of theoretical approaches to English grammar;
  • covers all the core subdomains of grammar, including morphology;
  • examines the relationship between grammar and other areas of linguistics;
  • explores grammatical variation across genres and dialects, and change over time.

The handbook’s wide-ranging coverage will appeal to researchers and students of English language and linguistics from undergraduate level upwards.

More information (OUP site)

1.3 Statistics in corpus linguistics research (to be published 2020)

Coming soon from Routledge, written by Sean Wallis of the Survey of English Usage, this book is written for linguistics researchers who use corpora. But any researcher in the social sciences who uses statistical methods will benefit from its approach. It focuses on the ‘Binomial’ statistics of choice – where participants choose between options, or speakers express themselves with different alternative words or constructions.

The book teaches statistical thinking in an original and more intuitive way. Traditional textbooks focus on significance tests, which are difficult to understand and remember. This book uses confidence intervals instead – an approach that is highly visual, allowing us to see uncertainty and significant differences on graphs immediately.

It contains a number of original statistical tests and methods. It explains how to compare the results of different experiments, how to use statistical reasoning to guide ‘data cleaning’, how to address problems of sampling from corpora, and how to apply corrections to statistical models. It is full of practical advice and methods for students and researchers of corpus linguistics.

1.4 Made at UCL & BETT

The Survey took part in Made at UCL event, a community event held throughout the College on 5 October 2019. Our ‘story’ can be found here.

We also took part in the annual Bett Education Show at London’s ExCeL with an Englicious stand. We were part of the UCL Educate team, UCL’s research accelerator programme for education technology (‘EdTech’).

UCL Educate Englicious

1.5 UCL Festival of Culture

Kathryn Allan was involved in two events in UCL’s Festival of Culture (June 2019): she interviewed Prof. Lynne Murphy (University of Sussex) at the event ‘What’s wrong with American English?’, and co-organised a session on ‘Languages of London: Celebrating Languages and Multilingualism in the City’, which featured a panel discussion involving linguists, anthropologists, geographers, educators, and multilingual speakers.

1.6 Englicious

On 20 March 2019 the Englicious website ( was relaunched, with a completely new design adding new functionality and improved navigation.

Try Englicious - just click on the image above.

If you haven’t yet heard of Englicious, here’s some information about the site:

What is Englicious?

  • an entirely free online library of original English language teaching resources, especially grammar.
  • closely tailored to the linguistic content of 2014 National Curriculum for England
  • relevant for students and teachers at Key Stages 1-5.
  • includes grammar, punctuation and spelling test practice material.
  • uses examples from natural language corpora.

EngliciousEnglicious will help students:

  • learn about English grammar in a fun way, using interactive online resources, including exercises, projects and games, all of which can be projected onto an interactive whiteboard
  • develop their literacy skills, with a focus on spelling, punctuation and writing
  • stimulate their enjoyment of (using) language, both in spoken and written form
  • enhance their confidence
  • improve their test scores, especially the Year 2 and Year 6 Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling tests in UK schools

Englicious offers teachers:

  • year-by-year overview of the new programmes of study and attainment targets in the 2014 UK National Curriculum
  • hundreds of fully prepared lesson plans, including everything from bite-sized starters to larger projects, for use in the classroom
  • assessments for evaluating student attainment and progress
  • a complete and rigorous overview of English grammar
  • the entire 2014 National Curriculum Glossary, enhanced with new terminology enabling teachers to use terminology consistently throughout the Key Stages
  • professional development materials for teachers to brush up on their own knowledge
How to Teach Grammar

The Englicious project now has over 10,000 registered users.

In 2019, we visited several schools to teach Continuous Professional Development (CPD) courses, and hosted courses at UCL, engaging with hundreds of teachers from primary schools through to post-16 level.

We published a book called How to teach grammar for school teachers with two parts: part I focuses on English grammar subject knowledge while part II focuses on the pedagogical principles we advocate for the teaching of grammar with many practical teaching ideas.

Dr Ian Cushing left the Englicious project to take up a lectureship at Brunel University, London. We are grateful for his excellent work on the project.

From 1 December 2019 Luke Pearce joined the Englicious team. Luke has extensive experience in teaching English in secondary and further education and has taught English as a foreign language (EFL) overseas and English for academic purposes (EAP) courses at universities. He has also taught GCSE English Language and Functional Skills in secondary schools and further education providers. He has a CELTA, PGCE and Master’s in Education and Language from the University of Sheffield. For his dissertation, he conducted a critical discourse analysis into the role of regional varieties of English in the GCSE English Language specification.

Follow Englicious on Twitter
Englicious on Facebook
Englicious Youtube channel

1.7 English Grammar Day 2019

Jointly organised by the Survey of English Usage, the University of Oxford and the British Library, the fifth English Grammar Day took place on Monday, 8 July 2019 at the British Library in London. These events are aimed at members of the public, and especially teachers.

The programme was as follows:

10.15 – 10.45 Charlotte Brewer, Hertford College, University of Oxford: ‘Grammar and gender: do dictionaries keep up?'
10.45 – 11.15 Jon Hutchinson, Reach Academy, Feltham: ‘Making the implicit, explicit; teaching all children the language of language’
11.45 – 12.15 David Denison, University of Manchester: ‘So, let’s talk about so
12.15 – 12.45 Ingrid Tieken–Boon van Ostade, Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands: ‘No complaint tradition in the Netherlands?’
14.00 – 14.30 Barbara Bleiman, English and Media Centre: ‘Grammar and reading – necessities and opportunities’
14.30 – 15.00 Rob Drummond, Manchester Metropolitan University: ‘Language and identity: in defence of the non-standard’
15.30 – 16.45 Any Questions–style panel discussion
Chair: John Mullan, University College London

More information (BL site)
Grammar Day 2016 video (Youtube)

The next English Grammar Day will take place on Monday 6 July 2020, again at the British Library. You will be able to book on the British Library Events page during the spring.

1.8 London-Lund Corpus 2

Bas Aarts took part in an event to celebrate the launch of LLC–2, the second iteration of the London-Lund Corpus. LLC–1 was compiled as a collaborative project by UCL’s Survey of English Usage and Lund University in the 1980s.

The new LLC–2 Corpus was compiled by Dr Nele Põldvere, Dr Victoria Johansson and Prof. Carita Paradis. Nele recorded the sample materials during several research visits at the Survey. LLC–2 is described on its website as follows:

“LLC–2 is a half-a-million-word corpus of spoken language with data recorded in 2014–2019 with adult educated speakers of British English. On the one hand, the corpus is a resource for studying contemporary speech from a synchronic perspective and across different registers and groups of speakers. On the other hand, it is designed according to the same principles as the original London-Lund Corpus with data from the 1950–1980s. To this end, it facilitates principled comparisons across different time periods of English with roughly 50 years in between. The corpus design includes: face-to-face conversation, mobile phone/Skype conversation (landline telephone calls in LLC–1), broadcast discussions and interviews, parliamentary language, spontaneous commentary, legal language and prepared speech.”

The LLC–2 Corpus offers exciting new opportunities for the study of spoken English.

2. Research

For a full overview of research publications, presentations, etc. by members of the Survey, see Section 4.

2.1 Nuffield Grammar Project

The Nuffield Foundation

With Professors Dominic Wyse and Bas Aarts as Principal Investigators, researchers at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and at UCL’s Survey of English Usage were awarded a grant by the Nuffield Foundation to examine whether teachers using the Survey’s Englicious website ( to teach six- and seven-year-olds about grammar can help pupils’ writing.

This project, which combines the expertise of scholars in two UCL faculties, has now been underway for a year.

EngliciousThe manualisation of the Englicious intervention was completed. Ten lesson plans were written for delivery in schools. These were reviewed by a group of four year 2 teachers. The lesson plans were also peer-reviewed by the research team.

The training programme was delivered last autumn and in January to two cohorts of teachers.

The selection of project schools at random from the stratified list of all state primary schools in London has been completed, and this spring the team will be visiting the intervention and non-intervention schools.

It is hoped that the project’s outcomes will have implications for the way that children are taught grammar during Key Stage 1 of the National Curriculum for England.

The team members are:

More information

2.2 Keywords Project

Kathryn Allan edited a special issue of the journal Critical Quarterly (61:3), titled Keywords for Today: Reflections, Reactions, Futures. This includes a piece on the word environment, written jointly by Kathryn and Alan Durant.


ICECUP IIIICECUP is our research platform designed for carrying out research with parsed corpora.

The very latest version of ICECUP is compatible with versions of Windows from XP to 10 and is fully 64-bit compatible. As a service to the Corpus Linguistics research community, the software is available as a download 'release candidate' from here. This means that if you have already got a licence for ICE-GB Release 2 or DCPSE you can upgrade to the latest version of the software from our website for free.

If you have never used ICECUP before and would like to try it out, you can download a sample corpus and get all the software and help files for free.

How to order ICE-GB

How to order DCPSE

2.4 Blogs

The Survey has three blogs:

Bas Aarts’ Grammarianism blog.
Sean Wallis’ corp.ling.stats blog.
And the Survey blog.

2.5 Survey seminars

Survey seminars are open to everyone, and are announced on our website (see Events).

The following research seminars took place during 2019.

  • Wednesday 30 January, Cliff Oswick: ‘Integrating Discourse and Materiality’
  • Wednesday 13 March, Geri Popova: ‘Deadjectival nominalizations in -ness: mind the gaps’.
  • Wednesday 13 November, Marcello Giovanelli: ‘Siegfried Sassoon and the Experience of War’.
  • Thursday 6 December, Zsófia Demjén: Metaphor and distress in lived-experience accounts of voices that others cannot hear’.

3. Teaching

3.1 Summer School in English Corpus Linguistics

Summer School

Our seventh Summer School in English Corpus Linguistics ran from Monday 1 July to Wednesday 3 July 2019. It attracted a large number of participants from all over the world, including a large contingent of students from Meiji University in Tokyo.

Bas Aarts and Sean Wallis taught a tailored version of the Summer School at The English Corpus Linguistics Symposium, University of Brescia on 19 June 2019.

The eighth annual Summer School will take place from 1-3 July 2020.

More information, including how to book

3.2 Continuous Professional Development

The Survey has offers Professional Development courses to teachers in primary and secondary schools who need to teach the requirements for grammar, punctuation and spelling in the National Curriculum for England.

The Survey also offers bespoke courses for teachers in schools (INSET courses). For more information, please email the Survey.

3.3 MA in English Linguistics

Most Survey colleagues teach on the MA program in English Linguistics (with pathways in ‘English Corpus Linguistics’ and ‘English in Use’) which attracts students from all over the world.

Our graduates have gone on to PhD scholarships in the UK and abroad, as well as careers in teaching, publishing, and public relations.

Prospectus and more information

4. Publications, conference presentations, talks, dissertations and other studies using Survey material

Please let us know if you would like us to include your publications based on SEU material. We would appreciate it if you send us offprints of any such publications.

Aarts, B., I. Cushing and R. Hudson (2019) How to teach grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘What for?’ In: N. Yáñez-Bouza, E. Moore, L. van Bergen and W. B. Hollmann (eds.) Categories, constructions and change in English syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 54-80.

Aarts, B., S. Wallis and I. Cushing (2019) ‘Exploiting parsed corpora in grammar teaching’. Linguistic Issues in Language Technology (LiLT) 18.5. 1-36. » ePublished.

Aarts, B. and I. Cushing (2019) ‘Making grammar meaningful: grammatical subject knowledge and pedagogical principles for grammar teaching’. Teaching English 19. 52-54.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘Taxing taxonomy: how easy is it to categorise words?’ Macmillan International Higher Education Blog. » ePublished.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘Teaching English grammar: the Englicious approach’. Languages, Society & Policy: Dialogues. » ePublished.

Aarts, B. (2019) Plenary lecture: ‘Auxiliary and lexical verbs in English: three approaches’. Research in English Linguistics conference, Universities of Mainz and Frankfurt, Germany.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘Linguistic analysis in schools: the Englicious approach’. Presentation at the inauguration of LASER (Language Analysis in Schools: Education and Research). British Academy, London.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘The custom of speaking: how English has changed’. Memorial Lecture for Professor Jan Rusiecki. University of Warsaw, Poland.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘Oblique predicative for’. Lecture for the Philological Society. Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘The English Corpus Linguistics Symposium’. One day symposium taught with Sean Wallis at the University of Brescia, Italy.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘How to teach grammar’. Presentation at the workshop on pedagogical linguistics, University of Leeds.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘Attributive V-ing modifiers in English’. Presentation at an event to honour Emeritus Professor Richard Hudson, British Academy, London.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘Research in spoken English: the London-Lund experience’. Paper presented at the international symposium Spoken Language across Time, Centre for Languages and Literature, University of Lund, Sweden.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘Grammar in the classroom: the UK experience’, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘Predicative for’, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.

Aarts, B. (2019) ‘Auxiliaries in English: dependent verbs or lexical verbs?’ Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.

Allan, K. (2019) (ed.) Keywords for today: reflections, reactions, futures. Special issue of the journal Critical Quarterly (61:3).

Allan, K. (2019) (ed.) ‘Introduction’. Critical Quarterly (61:3). 4-9.

Allan, K. and A. Durant (2019) ‘Environment’. Critical Quarterly 61:3. 67-84.

Cushing, I., B. Aarts and R. Hudson (2019) How to teach grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cushing, I., S. Wallis and B. Aarts (2019) ‘Exploiting parsed corpora in grammar teaching’ Linguistic Issues in Language Technology (LiLT) 18.5. 1-36. » ePublished.

Dwyer, K., A. S. David, R. McCarthy, P. McKenna and E. Peters (2019). ‘Linguistic alignment and theory of mind impairments in schizophrenia patients’ dialogic interactions’. Psychological Medicine, 1-9.

Dwyer, K. (2019) ‘Impoverished linguistic alignment in schizophrenia patients’ dialogic interactions’. Exploring Language. Presentation at the workshop From Genes to Brains to Minds. Aston University.

Gries, S. Th. (2019) ‘15 years of collostructions: some long overdue additions/corrections (to/of actually all sorts of corpus-linguistics measures)’. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 24:3. 385–412.

De Felice, R. and E. Moreton (2019) ‘Identifying speech acts in a corpus of historical migrant correspondence’, Studia Neophilologica 91:2. 154-174.

De Felice, R. and N. Põldvere (2019) ‘What you give is what you get: Advice-giving and uptake in conversation’. Paper presented at the 40th ICAME conference, Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Hoffmann, T., J. Horsch and T. Brunner (2019) ‘The more data, the better: a usage-based account of the English comparative correlative construction’. Cognitive Linguistics 30.1.

Hudson, R., B. Aarts and I. Cushing (2019) How to teach grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hundt, M. (2019) ‘It is important that mandatives (should) be studied across different World Englishes and from a Construction Grammar Perspective’. In: P. Núñez-Pertejo, M. José López-Couso, B. Méndez-Naya and J. Pérez-Guerra (eds.) Crossing linguistic boundaries. London: Bloomsbury. 211-238.

Jach, Daniel (2019) ‘Preposition placement in English as a second language: a usage-based Approach’. PhD dissertation, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena.

Mehl, S. (2019) ‘Light verb semantics in the International Corpus of English: onomasiological variation, identity evidence and degrees of lightness’. English Language and Linguistics 23.1. 55-80.

Murphy, M. L. and R. De Felice (2019) ‘Routine politeness in American and British English requests: use and non-use of please’, Journal of Politeness Research 15:1. 77-100.

Rodríguez-Abruñeiras, P. (2019) ‘“So we get to discuss what varieties of English are flourishing at the moment, so we have Philippine English, for example”: On the use of exemplifying markers in Philippine English’. Paper presented at the 40th ICAME conference, Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Röthlisberger, M. (2019) ‘The effect of register on syntactic alternations: An exploratory study of regional variation in the English dative alternation. Paper presented at the 40th ICAME conference, Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Shakir, M. and D. Deuber (2019) ‘Compiling ICE add-on corpora for internet registers: opportunities, challenges, and solutions’. Paper presented at the 40th ICAME conference, Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Van Driessche, L. (2019) ‘Retrieving prepositional arguments from ICE’ Laetitia. Paper presented at the 40th ICAME conference, Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Wallis, S.A. 2019. ‘Comparing χ² tables for separability of distribution and effect: meta-tests for comparing homogeneity and goodness of fit contingency test outcomes’. Journal of Quantitative Linguistics 26:4, 330-355.

Wallis, S.A. (2019). ‘Investigating the additive probability of repeated language production decisions’. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 24:4, 490-521.

Wallis, S.A, I. Cushing and B. Aarts (2019). ‘Exploiting parsed corpora in grammar teaching’. Linguistic Issues in Language Technology (LiLT) 18:5. 1-36. » ePublished.

Wu, Zhen (2019). ‘Early Mandarin loanwords in contemporary English: the influence of transcription systems on orthography’. English Today 36:1. 23-29.

Ziegeler, D. and C. Lenoble (2019). ‘The stative progressive in Singapore English: a panchronic perspective’. In: P. Núñez-Pertejo, M. José López-Couso, B. Méndez-Naya and J. Pérez-Guerra (eds.) Crossing linguistic boundaries. London: Bloomsbury. 239-266.

Bas Aarts

January 2020

This page last modified 28 January, 2021 by 7Survey Web Administrator.