A practical Vedic grammar has long been a desideratum. It is one of the chief aids to the study of the hymns of the Veda. Many years ago in the preface to his edition of the Rigveda Max Muller said, 'I doubt not that the time will come when no one in India will call himself a Sanskrit scholar who cannot construe the hymns of the ancient Rishis of his country.' It is mainly due to the lack of such a work that the study of Vedic literature, despite its great linguistic and religious importance, has never taken its proper place by the side of the study of Classical Sanskrit. Till the publication of the author's Vedic Grammar in 1910, no single work comprehensively presented the early language by itself. That work however is too extensive and detailed for the needs of the student, being intended rather as a book of reference for the scholar. This work is to a great extent based on the author's large Vedic Grammar, it is however by no means simply an abridgement of that work. For besides, being differently arranged so as to agree with the scheme of his other work Sanskrit. Grammar contains much matter excluded from the Vedic grammar. It, for example, adds a full treatment of Vedic Syntax and an account of the Vedic Metres. Thus it constitutes a supplement as well as an abridgement of the Vedic Grammar. The term 'Vedic' is here used to comprehend not only the metrical language of the hymns but also the prose of Brahmanas and the Brahmana like portions of the Atharvaveda and of various recensions of the Yajurveda.
Arthur Anthony Macdonell was a noted Sanskrit scholar- born at Muzaffarpur in the Tirhut region of the state of Bihar in British India, the son of Charles Alexander Macdonell, of the Indian Army. He was educated at Göttingen University, then matriculated in 1876 at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, gaining a classical exhibition and three scholarships (for German, Chinese, and the Boden Scholarship for Sanskrit).
He graduated with classical honors in 1880 and was appointed Taylorian Teacher of German (language) at Oxford. In 1883 he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig and then became Deputy Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford in 1888, and Boden Professor of Sanskrit in 1899 (a post that carried with it a fellowship of Balliol College, Oxford).
Macdonell edited various Sanskrit texts, wrote a grammar, compiled a dictionary, and published a Vedic grammar, a Vedic Reader, and a work on Vedic mythology; he also wrote a history of Sanskrit.