Free Grammars for Programming Languages

C/C++, COBOL, Ada 95, PL/I (etc) Grammars for Compiler Construction

Free Programming Language Grammars for Compiler Construction

Looking for an ANSI C grammar? ANSI C++ grammar? COBOL grammar? PL/I grammar? Ada 95 grammar? (And so on.) This page lists some places where you can get free grammars of various programming languages. These grammars may be in the Backus-Naur Form (BNF), extended Backus-Naur Form (extended BNF), or some form ready for input into a compiler parser generator like yacc, bison, and the like. These free programming language grammars can be useful as starting points if you are thinking of writing your own compiler or interpreter for that language.

If you are looking for tools for compiler construction, check out the Free Compiler Construction Tools page.

The book Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools (Aho, Sethi, Ullman), affectionately called the "Dragon Book", is frequently cited as the book on compiler design and construction. If you are using lex, flex, yacc or bison (or any of their workalikes), you may also find the O'Reilly book Lex & Bison useful when you build your compiler.

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Free Programming Language Grammars for Building Compilers

ANSI-ISO Pascal Grammar

This site contains the Yacc and Lex grammar for the Pascal programming language. The parsers and lexers generated by the grammer will be in C. They will accept as input a Pascal program.

ANSI C++ Grammar

This is not exactly a grammar of ANSI C++, since it actually accepts a superset of C++ constructs. However, if you're thinking of writing your own grammar, this might serve as a starting point for your own. It is taken from the Working Paper (1996) for the Draft Proposed International Standard for Information Systems--Programming Language C++.

GNU ANSI C/C++ Grammar

There's nothing like the grammar and source code of an existing world famous compiler, the GNU C/C++ Compiler, to use as a template for your own compiler design. This compiler, and consequently its grammar, is regularly updated to keep up with the ANSI standards.


According to their website, "this grammar has been recovered from IBM's VS-COBOL II Reference Summary" and is supposed to be "fully-tested".

COBOL Language Grammar

This grammar, in its current incomplete and uncorrected form, was apparently "recovered from IBM's COBOL Language Reference".

OS PL/I V2R3 Grammar

Using an automated tool, the grammar given in IBM's OS PL/I V2R3 Language Reference is available from this website. It is apparently still incomplete.

Ada 95 Grammar

This grammar of the Ada follows the Ada 95 Reference Manual. It is currently incomplete.

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