Watch this video for a quick tour of the English Grammar Profile Online:

The research was primarily carried out by Anne O'Keeffe and Geraldine Mark - both authors of English Grammar Today. Their work was reviewed and moderated by an expert panel that included Michael McCarthy and Ron Carter - world-leading experts in using corpus linguistics for language analysis.

The primary source of data was the Cambridge Learner Corpus, a 55 million-word corpus comprising over 250,000 scripts from Cambridge English exams at all levels, and from over 130 countries around the world. So it is a great resource for seeing just what sort of language learners from around the world actually use.

The grammar of English is complex, but finite. From the evidence of course books and reference books such as Cambridge University Press’s Cambridge Grammar of English and English Grammar Today, there are core features that are considered essential for learners, including tenses, articles, the major word classes, modal and auxiliary verbs, word order, reported speech and so on. Based on this canon of grammar and on evidence from the larger, multi-billion-word Cambridge English Corpus, the researchers were able to draw up a long list of grammar features to search for in the learner data.

 

 

SUPER CATEGORIESSUB CATEGORIES
ADJECTIVES Combining
  Comparatives
  Modifying
  Position
  Position
  Superlatives
ADVERBS Adverb phrases – form
  Adverbs and adverb phrases: types and meanings
  Adverbs as modifiers
  Position
CLAUSES Comparatives
  Conditional
  Coordinated
  Imperatives
  Interrogatives
  Phrases/exclamations
  Relative
  Subordinated
CONJUNCTIONS Coordinating
  Subordinating
DETERMINERS Articles
  Demonstratives
  Possessives
  Quantity
DISCOURSE MARKERS Discourse markers in writing
FOCUS Focus
FUTURE Future Continuous
  Future expressions with be
  Future in the past
  Future perfect continuous
  Future perfect simple
  Future simple (with will and shall)
  Future with be going to
  Present continuous for future use
  Present simple for future use
MODALITY Adjectives
  Adverbs
  Can
  Could
  Dare
  Expressions with be
  Have (got) to
  May
  Might
  Must
  Need
  Ought
  Shall
  Should
  Used to
  Will
  Would
NEGATION Negation
NOUNS Noun phrases
  Noun phrases – grammatical functions
  Plural
  Types
  Uncountable
PASSIVES Get and have
  Passives: form
PAST Past continuous
  Past perfect continuous
  Past perfect simple
  Past simple
  Present perfect continuous
  Present perfect simple
PREPOSITIONS Prepositions
PRESENT Present continuous
  Present simple
PRONOUNS Demonstratives
  Generic Use
  Indefinite -thing, - one, -body etc
  Possessive
  Quantity
  Reciprocal
  Reflexive
  Subject/object
  Substitution, one, ones, none
QUESTIONS Alternatives
  Tags
  Wh-
  Yes/no
REPORTED SPEECH Reported speech
VERBS Linking
  Patterns that clauses
  Patterns with to and –ing
  Phrasal
  Phrasal-prepositional
  Prepositional
  There is/are
  Types

Accessing the EGP

The English Grammar Profile is available as a free, online resource, through the English Profile website. Please note that the Terms Of Use for this resource do not allow other organisations to promote commercial materials as “English Profile informed” without written permission from the English Profile core network members.

For more detailed guidance on searching the EGP, please download our user guide.

How to search the EGP

The are two ways to search the EGP: simple searches, and advanced searches. A simple search allows you to search the whole dataset for your key word, e.g. "permission":

EGP simple search permission

An advanced search allows you to filter your search results by grammatical categories and CEFR level.

What's in the EGP?

Each entry in the EGP dataset corresponds to an element of grammatical competence. When you conduct a search, your results will appear as a table, with one row for every element:

EGP single element row

Each row contains information in some or all of the following fields:

Element: an individual aspect of grammatical competence; these fall into three  sub-types:

  • Form: this entry concerns grammatical form, e.g.

EGP element form

  • Use: this entry concerns different specific uses of a grammatical form, e.g.

EGP element use

  • Form/Use: this entry indicates both form and use, where the particular form is rarely used for any other purpose, e.g.

EGP element form and use

Super Category: the broad category of the grammatical element, e.g. adjectives, clauses, modality, negations, reported speech etc.

Sub Category: a narrower category of the grammatical element, e.g. comparatives, future in the past, might, uncountable etc.

Level: the CEFR level at which the element is typically mastered.

Lexical Range: the lexical development within the grammatical feature, indicating limited/increasing/wide vocabulary with bar chart icons.

Can-do statement: the can-do statement associated with the grammatical element, e.g. can use but to join a limited range of common adjectives, after be.

As well as the fields above, you can access more detailed information by clicking on the "i" icon in the "Details" column. Each entry contains some or all of the following information:

  • Corrected learner examples: examples of the element taken from the CLC and modified, where necessary, so that they are “expert speaker like”.
  • Uncorrected learner examples: examples of the element taken directly from the CLC. These examples may contain learner errors.
  • Comments: alert the user to limitations with the data, e.g. that there may not be enough data to provide sufficient evidence for the feature, or that a different type of data (e.g. spoken) may be needed.

Understanding the following terminology will help you get the most out of the English Grammar Profile.

Can-do statement: the can-do statement associated with the grammatical element, e.g. can use 'but' to join a limited range of common adjectives, after 'be'.

Comments: alert the user to limitations with the data, e.g. that there may not be enough data to provide sufficient evidence for the feature, or that a different type of data (e.g. spoken) may be needed.

Details: clicking the “Details” button shows more information about the grammatical element.

Element: an individual aspect of grammatical competence. These fall into three sub-types:

Form: this entry concerns grammatical form, e.g.

Form comparatives

Use: this entry concerns different specific uses of a grammatical form, e.g.

Use future

Form/Use: this entry indicates both form and use, where the particular form is rarely used for any other purpose, e.g.

Form Use conjunctions

Examples: examples of the grammatical element taken from the CLC. These fall into two sub-categories:

Corrected learner examples: examples of the element taken from the CLC and modified, where necessary, so that they are “expert speaker like”.

Uncorrected learner examples: examples of the element taken directly from the CLC. These examples may contain learner errors.

Level: the CEFR level at which the element is typically mastered.

Lexical Range: the lexical development within the grammatical feature, indicating limited/increasing/wide vocabulary with bar chart icons.

Sub Category: a narrower category of the grammatical element, e.g. comparatives, future in the past, might, uncountable etc. Click here for a full list of sub categories.

Super Category: the broad category of the grammatical element, e.g. adjectives, clauses, modality, negations, reported speech etc. Click here for a full list of super categories.

Subcategories

GrammarThe English Grammar Profile (EGP) is a sister resource to the English Vocabulary Profile, and has been put together by Anne O'Keeffe (Limerick University) and Geraldine Mark, the co-authors, along with Ron Carter and Mike McCarthy, of English Grammar Today (Cambridge University Press). Mark and O'Keeffe investigated the extensive data in the Cambridge Learner Corpus to establish when learners begin to get to grips with different linguistic structures. 

A series of insights from their research will be posted on this page, each one putting the spotlight on an interesting aspect of learner grammar development. Please note that all of the learner examples come from the Cambridge Learner Corpus, a 55-million word electronic collection of written learner data. The examination and the candidate’s first language are given in brackets after each learner example.

See the latest Grammar Spotlight entry below. Scroll right down to the bottom of this page to browse through previous entries.


 

Cambridge University Press