Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers

Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers (2nd edition)

by Nigel A. Caplan

University of Michigan Press, 2019

An e-book is available from Amazon or in Adobe Digital Edition format. A UK Kindle edition is also available.

Exam copies, desk copies, or buy from the publisher (US/Canada)

Buy from | Eurospan in the UK/Europe |

Answer key (for self-study) available as an e-book from Amazon (Kindle format)

NEW! Listen to Nigel discuss grammar and graduate writing on Scholarly Communication, a podcast from the New Books Network!

Grammar Choices (2nd edition coming January '19) | More information

Grammar Choices is a guide to the choices available to academic writers in English. Although there are certainly some rules governing acceptable and unacceptable grammar, there are far more choices to be made among grammatically acceptable forms that have different meanings. The ability to control these meanings will help students communicate more effectively and efficiently in graduate-level and professional academic writing.

Grammar Choices is a different kind of grammar book: It is written for graduate students, including MBA, master’s, and doctoral candidates, as well as postdoctoral researchers and faculty. Additionally, it describes the language of advanced academic writing with hundreds of real examples from successful graduate students and from published texts, including corpora.  Activities encourage students to investigate the language choices that are typical of their own academic disciplines or professional fields through structured reading and writing activities. Grammar Choices can be taught by itself, used as a self-study text, or combined with Academic Writing for Graduate Students, 3rd edition (Swales & Feak, 2012).

New in the 2nd edition!

  • new sections on parallel form (Unit 2) and possessives (Unit 5)
  • revised and expanded explanations, but particularly regarding verb complementation, complement noun clauses, passive voice, and stance/engagement
  • a restructured Unit 2 (clause combination) and significantly revised/updated Unit 7 (hedging and boosting)
  • new Grammar Awareness tasks in Units 3, 5, and 6
  • new exercises plus revision/updating of many others
  • self-editing checklists in the Grammar in Your Discipline sections at the end of each unit
  • representation of additional academic disciplines (e.g., engineering, sociology, management) in example sentences and texts and in exercises
  • more accessible to students outside the US (fewer cultural references; more explanations of differences between British and American English)
  • speaking activity ideas for teachers (in the Commentary available on the teacher section of the University of Michigan Press ELT website)
  • Read more about changes to the second edition!

Answer Key and Commentary

Since Grammar Choices is used as both a class text and for self-study, the Press has published the answer key in two different formats:

  • The answer key alone is available for purchase as an ebook from the publisher (Adobe format) or Amazon (Kindle format)
  • The Commentary (including teaching notes, cross-references to Academic Writing for Graduate Students, speaking activities, and the complete answer key) is available for teachers who adopt the textbook. Visit the Michigan ELT website or contact the publisher for more details.

Table of Contents


Unit 1: An Approach to Academic Written Grammar (clause and sentence structure, noun phrase, word form) [excerpt available online]

Unit 2: Clause Combination (conjunctions, connectors, non-restrictive relative clauses, parallel structure)

Unit 3: Embedded, Noun, and Complement Clauses (restrictive relative clauses, noun clauses)

Unit 4: Verb Forms (including tenses, passive voice, subject-verb agreement, subject-verb inversion)

Unit 5: Noun Phrase (count/non-count nouns, articles, adjectives, nominalization, possessives)

Unit 6: Hedging, Boosting, and Positioning (modal verbs, conditionals, evaluative language)

Unit 7: Collocation and Corpus Searching (how to use online corpora, lexical collocations)

Unit 8: Beyond the Sentence (old-new information structure, theme, paragraph patterns)

See this and all my other textbooks on Amazon.

Are you using Grammar ChoicesDo you have questions or suggestions? Leave a comment for me!

10 thoughts on “Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers”

  1. Nigel, this looks like a very good book. I teach IELTS in Singapore and I’ve been trying to find good writing books for my IELTS students – I focus on teaching the IELTS writing components. Do you think this book, as one targeted at graduates, would be too difficult for IELTS students targeting say 6.0 to 7.0?

    Also, seeing you’re an expert in writing, I’ve always found that my students (especially those from say an Asian language background which is so different from English) need help in syntax. I’ve never found a very good book on Syntax – one that focuses solely on that and can be used with students of lower levels. Do you have any recommendations?

    I’ll be checking out your book!

  2. I am happy just to have it (online or in the book).
    Could you please check something in the commentary? For Unit 4, page 22 of the commentary, Q2 of the Grammar Awareness exercise gives the answer as “moving to the present progressive – has made”. I think it should be the present perfect simple (has made) as the answer. This may have slipped through the editing – and I may be wrong, so please double check.

  3. I don’t see the answer key you refer to? I see separate vocabulary pages and a key to those, but I don’t see answers to the exercises throughout the text? And yes, I would say having these in the book would be much much better from a teaching perspective. BTW I have the first edition. Thanks.

    1. Demian, the answer key is there, but it’s called the Commentary. It contains answers to all the exercises that have reasonably discrete responses. Some teachers get very upset if the answers are in the book, so they are published separately. Thanks for using Grammar Choices. Do take a look at the new edition!

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