Pranjković is a Bosnian Croat, born in Kotor Varoš in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the classical secondary school in Visoko, he received a BA degree in the Croatian language from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Zagreb. In 1974 he became a member of the Department for Croatian Language at the same faculty. Today, he is a professor of standard Croatian language.
As a learned linguist and philologist with a wide spectrum of interests, Pranjković made important contributions to several linguistic areas. His syntactic studies Croatian Syntax, Second Croatian Syntax and Croatian grammar (published in co-authorship with Josip Silić) are generally considered important works for the modern Croatian syntax. Other areas of his work are general linguistics, history of Croatian philology in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the linguistic heritage of Bosnian Franciscans. This last topic was the subject of several studies of Pranjković, as well as the book Croatian Language and the Bosnian Franciscans, where he described the linguistic area which was crucial for the development and standardization of the Croatian language, but which was greatly neglected until his work.
Aside from linguistic theory and history, Pranjković engaged in many disputes and comments in the press, especially with his great rival, Stjepan Babić. His articles have been collected in several books. Pranjković has polemicized with virtually every Croatian linguist of the older generation. He has criticized their prescriptive approaches to language. However, French linguist Paul-Louis Thomas and Croatian linguist Snježana Kordić have described and criticized puristic and prescriptive tendencies even in Pranjković’s publications.
As a versatile linguist, Pranjković made important contributions to stylistics.
- August Musić, 1989
- Adolfo Veber Tkalčević, 1993
- Kronika hrvatskoga jezikoslovlja (Chronology of Croatian Linguistics), 1993
- Hrvatska skladnja (Croatian Syntax), 1993
- Lingvistički komentari (Linguistic Comments), 1997
- Jezikoslovna sporenja (Linguistic Disputes), 1997
- Hrvatski jezik i franjevci Bosne Srebrene (Croatian Language and the Bosnian Franciscans), 2000
- Druga hrvatska skladnja (Second Croatian Syntax), 2001
- Jezik i beletristika (Language and Belles Lettres), 2003
- Gramatika hrvatskoga jezika (Croatian Grammar), co-author, 2006
- Sučeljavanja: Polemički dueli oko hrvatskoga jezika i pravopisa, 2008
- Ogledi o jezičnoj pravilnosti, 2010
- "Crnogorski jezik je veštačka kreacija". B92. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
- Thomas, Paul-Louis (2003). "Le serbo-croate (bosniaque, croate, monténégrin, serbe): de l’étude d’une langue à l’identité des langues" [Serbo-Croatian (Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian): from the study of a language to the identity of languages]. Revue des études slaves (in French) 74 (2-3): 315. ISSN 0080-2557. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- Kordić, Snježana (2004). "Autizam hrvatske filologije (odgovor Ivi Pranjkoviću)" [Autism of Croatian philology (response to Ivo Pranjković)]. Književna republika (in Croatian) 2 (7-8): 254–280. ISSN 1334-1057. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Kordić, Snježana (2005). "U službi politike (odgovor Ivi Pranjkoviću)" [In service to politics (response to Ivo Pranjković)]. Književna republika (in Serbo-Croatian) 3 (7-8): 171–200. ISSN 1334-1057. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- Kordić, Snježana (2005). "Kroatistika i nacionalizam (odgovor Ivi Pranjkoviću)" [Croatistics and nationalism (response to Ivo Pranjković)]. Književna republika (in Croatian) 3 (9-12): 211–238. ISSN 1334-1057. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- Kordić, Snježana (2009). "Neprimjeren opis jezika: recenzija knjige Josipa Silića i Ive Pranjkovića, Gramatika hrvatskoga jezika" [An inappropriate description of language: Review of the book Josip Silić and Ivo Pranjković, Croatian Grammar]. Znakovi i poruke (in Serbo-Croatian) 2 (1): 93–110. ISSN 1840-3239. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2012.