Author(itie)s and Sources in the Prefatory Matter to Eighteenth-Century English Grammars for Children

María Victoria Domínguez-Rodríguez


During the eighteenth century, language-experts were increasingly concerned with correctness and appropriate social expression. As a result, English grammar went through several attempts to codify and prescribe rules for correct usage, so that the number of these works increased rapidly from the 1760s onwards and reached a notable peak in the 1790s. In order to find a place in an increasingly saturated marketplace, authors, editors and publishers variously resorted to selling strategies that included, for instance, adding value to the English grammar by incorporating rich prefatory or post-main-text matter. This paper deals with author(itie)s and sources explicitly mentioned in the prefatory matter of eighteenth-century English grammars for children, with a focus on metacomments aimed at endorsing the book with reliability and validity for teachers and young learners. The study is based on acknowledged author(itie)s and sources so as to identify which were most commonly cited in the material examined, on the one hand, and to discuss the different reasons articulating this practice, on the other.

Keywords: English grammars; eighteenth century; paratext; prefatory matter; metacomments

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