In 2007 the English Teachers Association of Queensland published in their journal Words'Worth a series of eight articles with the general title `Grammar at the coal-face', presented as a `teaching resource'. Two of the articles, `The structural basics' and `Functional elements in a clause', by Dr Lenore Ferguson, give an account of aspects of English grammar concerning the parts of speech, group and phrase classes, and clause structure: These two papers together are here referred to as `the Coalface Grammar'. Unfortunately, the Coalface Grammar contains an exceptionally large number of errors — over sixty in fifteen and a half pages of relevant text — but the author refuses to acknowledge more than half a dozen. This gave rise to a dispute. A number of documents by Rodney Huddleston relating to this dispute are posted here, together with one by Professor Randy LaPolla.
Note that the Coalface Grammar was written primarily from the perspective of Hallidayan functional grammar, but a good number of the errors involve misinterpretations or misrepresentations of that theory.
1. Errors in the Coalface Grammar. PDF format, 41 pages, A4 paper; copyright © by Rodney Huddleston, 28.11.09.
The main part of this document is devoted to a detailed catalogue of sixty-five errors in the Coalface Grammar. It works through the latter page by page, citing pages from the text and explaining the errors in them. It urges that the work should be revised and corrected, or at least withdrawn.
2. Coalface Grammar letter from Australian Linguistic Society President. PDF format; Pt 1: 3 pages; copyright © by Randy LaPolla, 20.07.08; Pt 2: 4 pages; copyright © by Rodney Huddleston, 20.01.10.
Part 1 of this document is a letter written by the then President of the Australian Linguistics Society, Professor Randy LaPolla, to Dr Ferguson, endorsing the criticisms made by Rodney Huddleston in item  below. The letter was summarily dismissed by Dr Ferguson and the ETAQ President, Garry Collins, without any discussion of the criticisms; part 2 of the present document, by Rodney Huddleston, deals with these responses.
3. Letter to Queensland secondary school principals about the Coalface Grammar. PDF format, 3 pages, A4 paper; copyright © 2010 by Rodney Huddleston.
Following the refusal by Dr Ferguson and ETAQ to acknowledge and correct most of the errors, Rodney Huddleston wrote to principals of secondary schools in Queensland, warning them that the Coalface Grammar contains a great many errors and providing a link to this website.
4. Reply to Dr Ferguson's response to `Errors in the Coalface Grammar'. PDF format, 9 pages, A4 paper; copyright © by Rodney Huddleston, 30.01.10.
Dr Ferguson's response to `Errors' (item 1 above) was posted on the ETAQ website (http://www.etaq.org.au) in January 2010 for about three months. ETAQ have declared that they will not publish any further material on the Coalface dispute, so Rodney Huddleston's reply appears here instead.
5. A short history of the Coalface dispute. PDF format, 6 pages, A4 paper; copyright © by Rodney Huddleston, 31.01.10.
A summary account of the main events in the dispute from the initial contact in July 2007 to the posting of `Errors' and Dr Ferguson's response on the ETAQ website in January 2010.
6. Coalface Grammar letter to Garry Collins of ETAQ. PDF format, 13 pages, A4 paper; copyright © by Rodney Huddleston, 06.01.10
This is a set of comments on a first draft of Dr Ferguson's response to `Errors'. She removed a number of personal comments as a result, but the main substance of the final version of her paper remained the same: a refusal to acknowledge more than a few errors and a refusal to consider the evidence presented in `Errors'. The letter also contained an eleventh-hour appeal to the ETAQ Management Committee to withdraw the Coalface Grammar if it was not revised and corrected.
7. Response to `Reflections on Grammar at the Coalface'. PDF format, 9 pages, A4 paper; copyright © by Rodney Huddleston, 30.08.09.
The September 2008 issue of ETAQ's journal Words'Worth included a piece entitled `Reflections on Grammar at the Coalface', containing statements by the Management Committee and the author on what they called the `media attack' in The Australian. The approach to The Australian was said to have been unnecessary and unproductive, and there were critical remarks on the unnamed retired academic responsible Rodney Huddleston. He in due course submitted a response, but it was rejected without explanation, so it appears here instead.
8. Problems with the Coalface Grammar. Browsable file. PDF format, 17 pages, here., copyright © 2008 by Rodney Huddleston.
This was the first published survey of the errors in the Coalface Grammar, uploaded to the ETAQ website in April 2008, but subsequently removed. The Coalface Grammar was said to be written predominantly from the perspective of Hallidayan functional grammar, though many of the errors involve misrepresentations of the latter. The present paper is divided into three parts: the main focus was on inconsistency, error and confusion in the Coalface Grammar itself, with shorter sections on `Problems with functional grammar' and `Simplifying functional grammar'.
A short overview of English syntax based on The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, by Rodney Huddleston. About 13,500 words, browsable HTML format (some tabbing problems with the format). Word format version here. Copyright © 2008 by Rodney Huddleston).
Background An attempt to provide a very brief survey of the main outlines of English syntax as conceptualized in The Cambridge Grammar (Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum et al., Cambridge University Press 2002) and A Student's Introduction to English Grammar (Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, Cambridge University Press 2005). Since The Cambridge Grammar is about 85 times as long as this article, the survey provided here understandably very terse, and the exemplification is very limited. This initial version of the Overview was written primarily for the English Teachers' Association of Queensland website, offering an alternative account of the grammar to that provided by the `Grammar at the coalface' articles mentioned above, but it might also be useful as a more general web-accessible orientation guide, similar in purpose to those provided in Chapter 2 of The Cambridge Grammar and Chapter 2 of A Student's Introduction.
Ideology, power, and linguistic theory. An article by Geoffrey K. Pullum (PDF format, 15 pages; copyright © 2004 by Geoffrey K. Pullum).
Background This unpublished paper is the written form of a talk that was given by invitation at a session of the Modern Language Association in December 2004. It deals with various issues relating to the forces that appear to motivate prescriptive grammarians.
Prescriptive grammar in America: The land of the free and The Elements of Style. To appear in English Today. . An article by Geoffrey K. Pullum (PDF format, 20 pages; copyright © 2010 by Geoffrey K. Pullum), under consideration for publication.
Background This paper is a rewritten and expanded version of a talk given at a workshop on Normative Grammar at ISLE 1, the first conference of the International Society for the Linguistics of English, University of Freiburg, Germany, 8-11 October 2008. It addresses the manifold shortcomings of William Strunk and E. B. White's book The Elements of Style as a guide to grammatical writing. For a shorter discussion, see 50 years of stupid grammar advice by Geoffrey K. Pullum The Chronicle of Higher Education 55 (32), 17 April 2009, Chronicle Review section, B15 (print-ready 3-page version here).