The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language

Typographical and Other Errors

The table below lists all known typographical errors in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Most are very small: one-character spelling mistakes, spacing errors, character transpositions, and the like. On page 1036, in a fit of typographical nerdiness, we even correct an en dash (–) to a hyphen (-).

Only a handful of the errors involve facts (and one of those, a glaring slip on page 518, involves not grammar but the geography of the Big Apple).

Cases of the book giving or implying a wrong syntactic analysis are very rare indeed, but here are four examples:

  1. On page 332 the tree in [11] shows the PP from Lloyds as a complement ("Comp:") licensed by the noun salary, but it should surely be analysed as a modifier, and the tree structure is compatible with that. The PP should have the function label "Mod:" above the category label "PP".

  2. On page 560, in [21], the use of laureate as a postpositive adjective is illustrated with Nobel laureate, but in that phrase the noun laureate is the head and Nobel is an attributive modifier. We should have cited poet laureate, where the head noun is poet and laureate does function as a postpositive adjective. (Notice that the plural of Nobel laureate is Nobel laureates. The plural of poet laureate — rare, because any given country selects a unique poet for that title — would be poets laureate under the analysis we are talking about, though many people would treat the phrase as if it were a word, and write poet laureates. It is clear that laureate as an adjective is being lost from the language, even in postpositive function with the head noun poet.)

  3. On page 912, the term "Determinative whose" is incorrectly used, twice: whose is the genitive inflected form of the pronoun who, so although it functions as determiner, it belongs to the pronoun category, not the determinative category.

  4. On page 1365, the example set [3] is introduced by noting that "canonical and non-canonical versions do not invariably have the same truth conditions". The intent was to point out that a passive (non-canonical) will not always have the same meaning as its active (canonical) counterpart. But our illustrative sentences involve negation: we note that the active clause Kim didn't sign many of them could be false (if Kim signed thousands of them) while the passive clause Many of them weren't signed by Kim was false (if only three remained unsigned), so the two don't have the same truth-conditional meaning. But since negative clauses are defined as non-canonical (p. 46), "canonical" was the wrong word to use. The sentence preceding [3] should have said that non-canonical clauses do not invariably have the same truth conditions as their syntactically more basic counterparts.

Even in these cases, however, the correction involves changing just a single word.

A second table is given following the main one which shows a few entries that we now think should have been in the lexical index but were missed in the first printing (they were added in the second), plus a few further entries that we now think should have been added.

Some of the errors have been spotted by the authors, and others by alert readers around the world – and we mean literally around the world: we have heard from readers in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Korea, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the UK, and the USA. To be specific, we thank Adam Albright, Randy Alexander, Michael J. Corrigan, Peter Culicover, Jim Donaldson, Stephen Drage, Vanja Dunjko, Dennis During, Simon Goodwin, Lloyd Humberstone, Benson Ibe, Dae-Ho Kim, Hideki Kishimoto, Audrey Laroche, Chungmin Lee, Geoffrey Leech, Stan Legacy, Maurice McCallum, Joybrato Mukherjee, Will Oxford, Paul Postal, Brett Reynolds, Adrian Stenton, Roland Sussex, and Jonathan Swinton for their eagle eyes and their kindness in taking the trouble to write.

We list in total about 100 errors here. The book has 1,860 pages, so that's about one error every 19 pages.

We'd be grateful for messages about any further errors that might be discovered. They should be emailed to

Table of Errata and Corrigenda

We write "\\" to signify a line break. A prefixed + means we definitely know this was corrected in the second reprinting or a subsequent one. Each line has four main fields: page number, location in the page, erroneous text, and corrected text.

  Page Where What it says What it should say
+ viii line 7 Üniversität Universität
+ xii line 14 (p. 48) (p. 49)
+ xiii line 11 up [24] what you insisted that we need 1098 [24] what you insisted that we need 1089
+ 11 fn. 3 the London/Oslo/Bergen (LOB) corpus the Lancaster/Oslo/Bergen (LOB) corpus
+ 24 5 lines up the  photographs the  photographs
+ 47 3 lines below [3] the passive [iiib] the passive [iiia]
  50 tree [8b] PredComp PredComp:
  62 line 6 a request to close the door. a request to close the window.
+ 79 line 8 in Ch. 16, §10.3 in Ch. 16, §10.1.3
+ 140 6 lines below [3] T12 Tr2
  150 line 11 the accepting her offer the accepting of her offer
  167 5th line below [13] if Kim's situation had been conceptualised if Jill's situation had been conceptualised
+ 176 2 lines above [5] it important it is important
+ 217 11 lines up (text) think in a passive clause consider in a passive clause
+ 218 4 lines below [6] think consider
+ 219 line 2 die leave
235 3rd line after header (c) [iv] with precede/follow [v] with precede/follow
+ 241 example [11],
line (f)
/   X   /   X N/A   N/A   N/A   X
+ 247 4 lines below [4] her Jo
  252 4th line of last full paragraph the be of [3i] the be of [3a]
+ 261 example [26] almost raw almost raw
269 end of shaded box (cf. Ch. 12, §5.4) (cf. Ch. 12, §6.4)
299 4th line after [10] the Dean met (with) Pat the Dean met (with) Kim
332 tree in example [11] Comp: Mod:
+ 349 example display at line 12 [51] [53]
+ 412 example [7b] Nom: Nom
  440 lines 6-7 The one exception is the noun denizen... There are no known exceptions.
+ 446 example [13ii] fifty miles an hours fifty miles an hour
+ 446 line 10 indefinities indefinites
474 4th line up Mary's letter in [iii] Mary's letter in [xiii]
+ 479 below example [63] the suffix's attaches the suffix  's  attaches
+ 518 line 9 the Bronx naming a district in Manhattan the Bronx naming a borough of New York City
529 line below example [3] preceding the def- preceding the indef-
+ 529 6 lines below example [3] An adjectives that All adjectives that
  530 3 lines below example [7] predicative PPs with idiomatic meanings, such as in a bad predicative PPs with idiomatic meanings, such as in a bad
+ 530 12 lines up Predicative adjuncts in front position . . .  Predicative adjuncts in front position . . .
540 last line Ch. 16, §10.3 Ch. 16, §10.1.3
+ 547 example [33ii] It surely isn't [That important] It surely isn't [that important]
+ 560 in [20], second line drunk drunk BrE
+ 560 line 3 up (not counting footnote) a Nobel laureate the poet laureate
+ 560 line below [20] Those in [20] have to do with medical health or condition. Those in [i] have to do with medical health or condition.
+ 561 line 9 We take these to involved We take these to involve
  588 line before [45] the relevant concept is not "except", but "more than" the relevant concept is not "except", but "no more than"
+ 599 line 8 Adj Ps AdjPs
  620 tree (c) in example [9] NP (at the right child of the root PP node, under Comp:) PP
+ 626 bottom line of text In [i] the In [a] the
+ 627 line 2 in [ii] in [b]
+ 629 example [7] ii a. you can certainly rely __ oni you can certainly rely on __i
  640 line 11 require a complement – a for phrase require a complement – a from phrase
+ 692 line 1 [iii] even has a path [ii] even has a path
704 3rd line after [6] And in [iib] And in [iiib]
733 2nd line in [35v] see Ch. 15, §§10–11 see Ch. 15, §§2.10–2.11
+ 912 line 10 up, header (a) Determinative whose Determiner whose
+ 912 line 5 up With determinative whose, With determiner whose,
+ 1036 2 lines below [8] gerund–participials gerund-participials
+ 1037 line 20 The meaning in both [i] and [ii] The meaning in both [ii] and [iii]
  1042 5 lines after [17] into an NP in an NP
  1043 example [20] ii I felt the need \\ need of a better knowledge of Hebrew and archaeology.] I felt the need \\ of a better knowledge of Hebrew and archaeology.]
  1045 example [32] iii [where they went last year ___i]. [where they went ___i last year].
  1050 example [51] iii the knoll behind the missioni, the knoll behind the missioni,
1055 line 18 in [ib] in [iib]
1082 1st line after [10] While [i] is fully acceptable, [ii] is ungrammatical. While [a] is fully acceptable, [b] is ungrammatical.
  1105 line 5 more satisfactorily than we did last year better than we did last year
+ 1173 example [2] iii subordinate embedded in a larger clause
  1218 line 2 of text whereas in [ii] whereas in [b]
1223 18 lines up very unlikely in [iii] very unlikely in [iic]
+ 1229 example [14] help (B) NS help (B) NS
  1232 example [28] ackowledge acknowledge
  1247 2nd line of blue-shaded section but only of convince but only of accept
  1253 3 lines up likely, probably, certain, likely, probable, certain,
  1263 12 lines up Wantstraightforwardly Want straightforwardly
+ 1276 example [5] i [on Monday, on [Monday,
+ 1276 example [5] ii [on Monday on [Monday
+ 1280 example [14] i b. [on Tuesday or Wednesday]. on [Tuesday or Wednesday].
+ 1284 example [28] i [the premiers of Queensland and Tasmania] [the premiers of Queensland and Tasmania]
1305 2nd line below [38] [iia/iib] [ib/iib]
1321 note 41 similar to that of yet similar to that of yet
1325 2nd line below (d) [85] of §2.2 [85] of §2.11
1349 line 4 __ unlocked the __ unlocked the
1349 7th line below [39] The nonce-constituent analysis Nonce-constituent coordination
1365 sentence just above [3] Secondly, the canonical and non-canonical versions do not invariably have the same truth conditions: Secondly, non-canonical clauses do not invariably have the same truth conditions as their syntactically more basic counterparts:
1389 3 lines above section header 5.3 (cf. the three days later of [11vi]), (cf. the three days later of [1vi]),
1458 4th line below [18] in [i] refers in [18] refers
+ 1587 line 4 up length, moth, strength length, strength
+ 1587 line 5 up lath, oath, sheath, lath, moth, oath, sheath,
+ 1605 example [44] thrive thrive R
+ 1623 line 23 consraints constraints
1652 7th line after [15] comparable to that seen in [14] above comparable to that seen in [11] above
+ 1725 line 23 (' or ' ') (' or ")
  1736 example [4] ii b he did not want have to he did not want to have to
1741 foonote, bottom line to whit to wit
+ 1755 example [11] ii 'She She
1771 line 8 Sumney Summey
1777 Sumney entry Sumney Summey
1778 last entry Anna Anne
+ 1796 column 3 let 208, 271n, let 208, 270n,
+ 1809 line 3, col. 2 tortelleni 1594 tortellini 1594
+ 1817 line 3 co-indexing 49, 68, 1037, 1039, 1085, 1088 co-indexing 49, 68, 1037, 1039, 1085, 1088, 1454
+ 1823 ‘fused-head’ entry 384, 384-5,
  1828 line 9 of column 2 metalinguistic negation 724, 1101n metalinguistic negation 724, 790, 1101n
+ 1837 line 21, col. 1 1582n 1581n

Additions to lexical index (these references were missing in 2002 but have been added in recent reprintings)
+ Page Where What it says What it should have said
+ 1784 line 6 of column 3 buy 230, 232, 235, 248, 260, 285, buy 220, 230, 232, 235, 248, 260, 285,
+ 1786 nearly halfway down column 2 contain 167-8, 1432 contain 167-8, 220, 1432
+ 1788 line 10, col. 2 dive 296 dive 296, 1604
+ 1795 line 11 of column 2 inquire 975-6, 978, 1027, 1529 inquire 220, 975-6, 978, 1027, 1529
+ 1806 col. 3, below line 14      spit 1604
+ 1811 one third down column 3 wonder 170, 600, 871, 882, 958 wonder 170, 220, 600, 871, 882, 958

Finally, this is as good a place as any to state a general warning that a few lists of lexical items that are claimed not to have some property are longer than they should have been — they get shorter each time we look at a larger corpus. One example is the list of strictly transitive verbs, those that take a truly obligatory object (see section (b), Selective obligatoriness, on page 246). We include the verb use as strictly transitive; but in connection with illegal drugs an objectless use has developed (Amy is using again). Verbs taking strictly obligatory objects are extremely rare, especially if one considers secondary forms (occurrences in non-finite clauses like infinitivals or participials are more likely to be able to dispense with the object NP).

Another example is the list of monosyllabic adjectives that do not inflect for comparison (see page 1583, [9]). Inflected forms of the adjectives we list there (cross, fake, ill, like, loath, prime, real, right, and worth) are certainly very rare; but crosser definitely occurs (and was more frequent in British writing about a century ago); faker and iller and realer can occasionally be found; and so on. Although *worther and *worthest do not appear to exist at all, in general, monosyllabic adjectives that absolutely never inflect for grade are extraordinarily scarce; we only list ten, and even that is too many. We should probably have listed just worth, loath, and perhaps prime.

Last edited Fri Jul 14 12:34:09 BST 2023 by GKP.