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4.4 out of 5 stars25
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 22 March 2004
I was amazed by the other reviews here. I've been a teacher for twelve years and have always found this book invaluable! And the new edition is so much an improvement on the old. For busy teachers in a rush, the clearly-marked headings and bigger lettering are a godsend! The cartoons are clear and self-explanatory and many a grammar table has found its way to my blackboard! Don't just rely on reviews, look for yourself. The A-Z of Grammar and Usage has everything a teacher or student needs to understand English grammar!
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on 13 April 2005
I too am surprised at the negative comments about this book. I recently completed the Cambridge CELTA course and found this book unmissable for quick reference. The index system makes it easy for you to find what you are looking for and the grammar points themselves are presented in plain English. I would recommend this book to any EFL teacher.
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on 16 October 2006
I have used this book teaching EFL for 5 years in Ecuador and it has been a God send. Foreign learners always want to know why you say something and this book explains it all when you don't exactly know why . It is not a novice book and is clearly laid out though not as well as the earlier edition.
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It's one thing, I found out when I first thought of retraining as an English teacher, having an implicit knowledge of English grammar and usage. It's quite another making that knowledge explicit so you can share it with others. I needed help.

A visit to the local library was unsatisfactory - they had books, but they left much to be desired. Leech et al's A-Z was on the college's recommended reading list, so I thought I'd give it a try.

The first thing to underline about this book is that it is very much a reference work: it's not something that will fascinate if you decide to sit down and read it end to end. As such the format works reasonably well, with key topics being given their own entries, some clear explanations of terminology and some good examples given.

However, perhaps it's just me, but there are times when the authors make a sweeping generalisation that contradicts usage, and times when actually getting to an answer to your question seems like too much effort, as for example when I wanted to find out about Tenses. What I was expecting from this was a definition of the word Tense, and at least a clear list of what the tenses are. Instead the entry for Tenses gives examples of tenses, and refers the reader forward in the book to Verb Phrases, and back to Present Tense and Past Tense. Still the question is not answered when you go there, and in fact you have to know to look for Present Simple, Present Perfect and so on to find out about the tenses themselves, and the closest to any clear tabulation of tenses is in a section called Time Lines. This all contrasts poorly with, for example, the treatment of Spanish tenses in Kendris and Kendris's 501 Spanish Verbs which, whilst itself not being perfect, is at least coherent and to the point.

There are also some moments of ambiguity, as for example in the list of irregular verbs where "awoke" is given as the past participle, and there is a reference to "wake". Surely the past participle is "awoken"; and why the reference out?

So, although I would recommend this book, it is only with some reservations. But I'm also pretty sure that much of the book will come in useful in years to come, so a reasonably sound investment.
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on 23 September 2006
Aghast at the negative reviews for this book, I think I might have stumbled across the problem. I've taught for almost ten years and still use this book a lot. However, I'm not sure it's that useful for those starting out as novice's knowledge of grammar is perhaps too thin on the ground for the format provided by Leech. For a book that guides the teacher through the grammatical process and develops their knowledge through exercises aimed at teachers, get 'Grammar for English Language Teachers' (though it's no easy read itself) and get the Leech book for quick reference once your have built a basic overall knowledge of the subject.
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on 18 October 2012
An incredible help so I understand the ins and outs of all grammar. It has good examples on all verbs. The tenses are self-explanatory and it has now become my main bookd for English Grammar.
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on 24 March 2013
I recommend this book to everyone I come into contact with in the course of my work. I know other teachers and trainers do too. I use it in my job as a teacher trainer every day around the world. Why? Because it is easy to understand and that is really important when you are teaching grammar. You can teach from it. It is organised in such a way that each piece of information is clear and the illustrations and diagrams support your understanding of the explanations. A real work companion. The best.
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on 30 March 2003
I purchased this because i am doing an online tefl course with i-to-i. I have done the first year of an english degree but never really learnt the grammatical part. This book, although recommended by the course, is not exactly for beginners or easily accesible. You have to cross reference everything you want to know. Nothing is all in the same place so you spend most of your time flicking between pages. It is comprehensive but if your looking for something that will give you a basic idea of english grammar and that will guide you through, DONT get this book! Sorry but its pretty pap!
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on 14 May 2009
An A-Z of English Grammar and Usage (2nd Edition)
I am also amazed at the negative reactions to this book. They should try reading things like "Practical English Usage" by Swan or Parrot's grammar, which are much more technical, but equally good in their own way. I found this easy to use. If you want to find a "conditional" you will find it under "conditional" or "if". The explanations are clear and concise.
I had a real problem understanding more technical grammars and the A-Z enabled me to understand things quickly and easily. It also got me through a CELTA .Since then I have used it in lesson preparation and found it extremely useful.
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on 7 October 2010
Useful book, but a lot of cross reference and this might make it difficult to use for absolute beginners in grammar. Good for ESOL and EAL tuition.
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