"Grammar" is not an exact science, but a system for describing language use, and in this respect "Grammar" is to a large extent what linguists, teachers and students make it out to be. It can appear frighteningly complex when seen through the lens of linguistics - which is how it may seem when approached through one of the classic 1800-page linguistic grammars of English studied at university - or relatively simple.... which in most situations it really is.
As a concise pedagogical reference grammar, A Descriptive Grammar of English is designed to highlight the essential rules and principles of contemporary English grammar, and clearly illustrate them through a multitude of carefully selected, unambiguous and pertinent examples of modern style and usage. In this respect it fills a gap on the bookshelf between, on the one side the heavyweight university grammars of English, with their painstaking attention to detail, and on the other side the practice grammars of English which are extensively used in the world of TESOL. .
As a reference grammar, it explains and illustrates all the essential principles of contemporary English grammar; as a pedagogical grammar it does so in a way that is designed to clarify and demystify the rules, not to complicate them. And as a concise grammar, it concentrates on the fundamentals of English grammar, cutting through the jargon to explain them with a pragmatism and simplicity that will be appreciated not just by students, but by teachers too.
Originally written as a practical reference book for college students, whether native speakers or learners of English as a second or other language, A Descriptive Grammar of English is also a valuable tool for teachers needing clear and simple explanations of English grammar, accompanied by multiple examples with which to illustrate contemporary English usage. Taking standard English as a benchmark, it distinguishes when appropriate between written English and spoken English, and between British and American usage in the rare cases where these differ.