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Linguistics 3: The Syntax of English: Present and Past


Admission requirements

Linguistics 2 must have been successfully completed.


In this course, a follow-up to Linguistics 2: The Syntax of English, we study the sentence structure and word order (syntax) of English. We mainly pay attention to the syntax of present-day standard (British) English, but also to several syntactic phenomena in non-standard varieties of present-day English and in earlier stages of English. We introduce Chomsky’s generative theory that we will use to explain the syntactic phenomena of English.

Course objectives

  • Students have the ability to analyse and represent the syntactic structure of English.

  • Students have the ability to formulate syntactic arguments.

  • Students know some important descriptive tools and theoretical concepts of generative syntax.


The timetable is available on the BA English website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture (1 hour p/w)

  • Tutorial (1 hour p/w)

Course Load

The course load is 140 hours.

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and tutorials: 26

  • Time for preparing the homework (reading + exercises): 34

  • Time to prepare for the quiz, written assignment, and exam: 80

Assessment method


Mid-term quiz, mid-term written assignment, end-of-term exam.


  • In-term quiz: 15%

  • Mid-term written assignment: 15%

  • End-of-term exam: 70%


  • If the quiz mark is lower than the exam mark, the quiz mark will not be taken into account and the exam mark will count towards 85% of the final mark (the assignment counts towards 15% of the final mark).

  • A minimum mark of 5.5 is required for the written assignment and the exam.


The end-of-term exam and mid-term written assignment can be retaken if one or both grades are below a 5.5. There is no resit for the in-term quiz.


Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than two tutorials means that students will be excluded from the tutorials. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared, not participating and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • study materials (course programme, written assignment: guidelines and topics, etc.)

  • course-related announcements

Reading list

  • Trips, Carola. 2015. English syntax in three dimensions: History – synchrony – diachrony. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. (The Leiden University Library offers online access to this book.)

  • A selection of articles/book chapters (if these are not available in the University Library, they will be made available in Blackboard).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

NB: First year students will be enrolled by the coordinator of studies.

Students other than from the BA English language and culture cannot take this course.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.

The coordinator of studies is Else van Dijk