I am the Enid H. Anderson Professor of English and Chair of the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I teach courses on English syntax and grammar in use. You can follow our programs in English linguistics on Facebook. Additionally, I am a founding member of the UW-Madison Language Sciences Program.

“Words have a temper, particularly verbs. Adjectives you can do anything with. However, I can manage the whole lot of them.” (Humpty Dumpty, Alice in Wonderland)

In my research and teaching I explore the regularity of structure (grammar) and the quirkiness of individual words. The “temper” of English verbs – the relationship between their meaning and their behavior in syntax – has long been the focus of my research. I have also published on the relationship between syntax and genre, the history of scientific writing, the grammar of persons diagnosed with dementia, and linguistic prescriptivism.

Two projects I am working on are a book on what people consider “Bad Grammar” in the 21st century and a textbook on grammar beyond the sentence (Discourse Syntax, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2022). Learn more about the Grammar 21 Survey here.  I also direct the student-created Grammar Badgers project.

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