Pattern Grammar

Pattern Grammar is a corpus-driven grammar of English which describes the syntactic environments of lexical items (see Hunston and Francis 2000). It was developed as part of the COBUILD project, and led to a two-volume ‘Grammar Patterns’ series (Francis et al. 1996, 1998).

Pattern Grammar resources have been used as the starting point for a number of linguistics publications working within the framework of Construction Grammar, which also views lexis and grammar as inextricable – most recently Ellis et al. (2016).

Along with a growing interesting in the theory of Construction Grammar and its pedagogic implications (e.g. Herbst 2016), there has been a strong movement towards the use of authentic materials and electronic corpora in the language classroom (see e.g. O’Keefe 2007).

It is therefore an interesting time to explore the practical applications of Pattern Grammar, which can be defined as a corpus-driven, bottom-up approach to identifying a comprehensive database of linguistic constructions across English, working at different levels of schematicity.

Pattern Grammar resources have the potential to impact on the fields of language teaching, lexicography, and school literacy.

Collins Grammar Patterns Online - an upcoming resource from HarperCollins - will make the Pattern Grammar research freely accessible.