I recently bought this book for a client of mine who is looking to take the CAE this year. I didn't have a copy myself so I ordered two, and when it arrived it reminded me that I'd used it a lot when I used to work in schools and language colleges.
A week or so later I bought it for another client of mine who works as a senior executive in a large multinational, because I had been stuck on where we could go next with his grammar. He has no intention of taking the exam. When I gave it to him he told me that he already had a copy in his home country, but was quite happy to have another copy because he had once been told by an English teacher that there "are only two grammar books you need to learn English. The first is English Grammar in Use, and the second, if you are serious a learning to use English at a higher level, is Grammar and Vocabulary for CAE and CPE."
Personally, I don't think English Grammar in Use (English Grammar In Use with Answers and CD ROM: A Self-study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Students of English
) is as good as everyone thinks, but this book certainly is. Yes, it's excellent for those taking the respective exams, but it is just as good for those who just what to know, understand and use more complex English.
Let me see if I can explain why. Most books that deal with Grammar and Vocabulary are not, they are published separately. There are some, like the very good 'Language Practice' series by Michael Vince (Advanced Language Practice: With Key
, Intermediate Language Practice: With Key
, First Certificate Language Practice: With Key
, Elementary Language Practice: With Key
) that put vocabulary in a separate section at the back. This book, however, incorporates the vocabulary section in each unit.
There are fifteen units covering different topics, such as Modal Verbs, Passives, and Determiners and Pronouns. Each unit is laid out in the same way, which mixes thorough explanation with practice. Let me give you a typical example:
Unit 7 - Adjectives and Adverbs
Entry test (how much do you know about this topic?) - 1 full page
The Basics (a full page of explanation with four subheadings)
Sections 1-3 (each section deals in more detail with the topic with a full page of explanation followed by a full page of practice)
Vocabulary Sections 4-5 (each section deals in more detail with the topic with a full page of explanation followed by a full page of practice)
To save you counting, Unit 7 is 12 pages long. That is a lot of detail.
And it's the kind of detail that my clients demand.
What I particularly like about it is that fact that it tackles areas that 'students should already know'. For example, I have several French clients who still have problems with 'this' and 'that'. This area can normally only be found in Elementary and Intermediate grammar books, which is no good for my clients; this book deals with it at a much higher level.
I also have an Indian client who has some difficulties with one particular aspect of British English when compared to Indian English: Indian English tends to use the continuous form for many verbs that British English would consider to be Stative. This book has a whole vocabulary section on this which he found very useful.
On top of all this, there are highlighted 'Watch Out' paragraphs which point out danger areas and common mistakes.
This book tough for learners. But for those who want to both learn and teach in a more traditional way to understand complex (but still useful) British English, this book is a must.