Michael Swan (writer)

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Michael Swan is a writer of English language teaching and reference materials.


Major publications include Practical English Usage[1] and Basic English Usage[2] (Oxford University Press). Other books are Grammar,[3] an introductory book on why languages need grammar and what they do with it and, with David Baker, Grammar Scan[4] (Oxford University Press), a collection of diagnostic language tests.

Michael Swan is also the co-author, with Catherine Walter, of The Oxford English Grammar Course,[5] of How English Works[6] and The Good Grammar Book[7] (all with Oxford University Press), and the New Cambridge English Course series (with Cambridge University Press). In 2012 the Advanced level of the Oxford English Grammar Course won the newly established Award in English Language Teaching (ELT) Writing, conferred by the British Council in collaboration with The (UK) Society of Authors.[8]

Michael Swan's interests include pedagogic grammar, mother-tongue influence in second language acquisition, and the relationship between applied linguistic theory and classroom language-teaching practice.[9] He has written articles on all these topics, and is known for influential articles on the communicative approach and on task-based learning.[10][11][12]

Michael Swan is also a widely published poet. His poems, some serious, some funny, all written in deceptively accessible language, have been published in several poetry magazines such as Acumen and The Frogmore Papers, as well as in more unexpected places, including the BBC Wildlife magazine. His collection When They Come For You[13] was published by The Frogmore Press in 2003, and his second collection The Shapes of Things[14] was published by Oversteps Books in 2011. In 2005 he won The Times' Stephen Spender Prize for poetry translation with his translation from the German of a section of Rilke's "Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes".[15] He won The Poetry Society's 2010 Stanza Poetry Competition, with his poem "I Wasn't There".[16]


  1. ^ Michael Swan (21 April 2005). Practical English Usage. Oxford: OUP. ISBN 978-0194420983. 
  2. ^ Michael Swan (18 Oct 1984). Basic English Usage. Oxford: OUP. ISBN 978-0194311878. 
  3. ^ Michael Swan (24 Nov 2005). Grammar (Oxford Introduction to Language Study ELT). Oxford: OUP. ISBN 978-0194372411. 
  4. ^ Michael Swan and David Baker (10 April 2008). Grammar Scan: Diagnostic tests for Practical English Usage (3rd ed.). Oxford: OUP. ISBN 978-0194422741. 
  5. ^ Michael Swan and Catherine Walter (2011). The Oxford English Grammar Course. Oxford: OUP. ISBN 978-0194420754. 
  6. ^ Michael Swan and Catherine Walter (30 Jan 1997). How English Works: A Grammar Practice Book (With Answers). Oxford: OUP. ISBN 978-0194314565. 
  7. ^ Michael Swan and Catherine Walter (8 Nov 2001). The Good Grammar Book (With Answers). Oxford: OUP. ISBN 978-0194315197. 
  8. ^ "British Council Teaching English". Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "Mike Swan's official website: English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics". Retrieved 17 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Swan, Michael (2006). Brown, ed. "English in the present day". Encyclopedia of language and linguistics (Elsevier) 4: 149–156. 
  11. ^ Swan, Michael (September 2007). "Grammar, meaning and pragmatics: sorting out the muddle". TESL-EJ 11 (2). 
  12. ^ Swan, Michael (Autumn 2005). "Legislation by hypothesis: the case of task-based instruction". Applied Linguistics 26 (3): 376–401. doi:10.1093/applin/ami013. 
  13. ^ When They Come For You, The Frogmore Press, 2003, ISBN 0953138364
  14. ^ The Shapes of Things, Oversteps Books Ltd, 2011, ISBN 978-1906856199
  15. ^ "Winning The Times Stephen Spender prize for translation". The Times. 7 November 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2011. 
  16. ^ "The Poetry Society's 2010 Stanza Poetry Competition". Retrieved 17 March 2011. 

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