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How English Works: A Grammar Practice Book (With Answers) [Paperback]

Michael Swan , Catherine Walter
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Jan 1997 0194314561 978-0194314565
Combining rich illustrations and authentic exercises, How English Works makes the learning and practising of grammar both a pleasure and a challenge. The author's imaginative and wholly original approach to the presentation and organisation of their text offers students a lively, purposeful package to give them a confident command of English forms and their uses. Designed for students working on their own, but also ideal for use in class, How English Works covers all the key elements in the standard EFL grammar syllabus, and many other topics which are often ignored.

Product details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (30 Jan 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0194314561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0194314565
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 17.6 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 199,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'An exciting and innovative book... definitely a book worth looking at, and anyone interested in the way English grammar teaching is going should get their hands on How English Works as a matter of priority!' - The TEFL Farm

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
How English Works is for learners of English who want to speak and write more correctly. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book has earned me money 12 July 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been using this book for a year and a half now, as support for students who need a quick reference for points of grammar they do not understand. It has been excellent in this way, and does not claim to be totally comprehensive (the blurb states 'intermediate - upper intermediate'). The test at the beginning is another way of saving time - finding the student's weakness, turning to the relevant page and fixing the problem.
True - English grammar is deceptively easy at the beginning, and becomes vast later on, but students have to start somewhere, and this book provides funny and relevant explanations. No book can claim to provide a purely systematic approach to English because the language simply has not evolved in such a way. No amount of snobbery can hide this fact. Moreover, the language is uniquely different from other European languages in that, for example, with English, there is no governmental body which has to authorize new vocabulary.
I have taught people of different nationalites, and I have noticed that speakers from Germanic linguistic groups, tend to want to apply the rigidity of their native languages to English. But English does not function in that way - and Swan has recognised this and has attempted to make the density of the language more accessable.
Grammar is explained in layman's terms and as concisely as possible - there are areas which seemingly overlap or contradict, but this is the nature of the English language itself. So there is an exactness about this book which I have witnessed tidy up points previously confusing for students. It is particularly good on the tenses for instance.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent grammar reference book 14 Jan 2000
By A Customer
As an EFL teacher I find this book invaluable. It divides English grammar into topic areas, and then subdivides these into lesson-length sections. The examples/exercise sentences are much less brainless than usual; quite relevant and grown-up. There are answers at the back, which may be an advantage or a disadvantage. The explanations are mercifully clear and short. The only thing I'm less keen on is (or are?) the pictures, which are scrappy and can be hard to interpret. But A1 all in all.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Book 24 Mar 2006
By sunsoul
In my opinion this is a very good grammar book. It is clear, concise and it enables students to get an understanding of the ways in which the English language works. This in itself is no easy task for any book or author.
So, in spite of some negative reviews on this site, I would not hesitate to say that you should have a look at this title because it really is unique in its approach to teaching grammar. The whole format and design is very appealing to the eye, especially when many other grammar books are so dull to read. There are frequently pictures and little captions on each page to help engage your interest. Grammar rules are summarised well, and exercises are clearly laid out.
I would recommend this to ESL teachers, and to intermediate level students (and above) who want to consolidate their knowledge of the myraid and complex workings of English.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Useful Standby 30 Dec 2007
I have used this book consistently for my first twelve months of Tefl in Prague. I generally carry it to deal with 'curve-ball' questions - it is excellent for short clear answers on a wide range of grammar points - and I photocopy the exercises as supplementary materials. Of course, it is not a workbook in itself, it is more of a reference book - that may explain some of the odd criticisms on here. The layout takes a little getting used to, as well, but once understood it is excellent. I bought four related titles when I started teaching, but this one has earned its keep.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I would advise you to think again 9 May 2004
as a trainee english teacher (TEFL) i taught 2 lessons using material lifted straight from this book, and was told after the lessons that my material was factually incorrect. it is very over-simplified and english grammar just isn't this straight-forward and i don't think it should be packaged that way. the descriptions are also very short, leave a lot unsaid, badly explained and it can often be confusing as to what exactly is meant! precision, clarity and awareness of exceptional cases are so important in grammar and this kind of simplification just doesn't help. i recommend you look elsewhere for a grammar guide.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - both in the class and for self-study 16 Oct 2003
I love this book and have just persuaded my employers to order it instead of the usual grammar practice book...[you know the one I mean.] For self-study it works best as a revision guide though only suitable for low-intermediate and above. It works well in class - the organisation and arrangement of key points is clear, and unlike another reviewer I have never found it confusing or contradictory. The cartoons are a great idea - being able to understand a cartoon in a foreign language is a great achievement, and most of them are very funny! Recommended!
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not really up to scratch 23 Jan 2002
This book does what it says, it does explain how english works, the only thing is, that it does it in a really bad way. The wording of the book is often confusing and at points seems to contradict itself. I often found I had to read sections a couple of times before following what the author was trying to get across. The pictures are equally confusing and really appear as if done by an amateur. I am training to be an english teacher and have read other similar books, all of which I would have to recommend above this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well worth it, quick arrival and exactly how described. thank you.
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Barry Alder
5.0 out of 5 stars Get it when you can
For English teachers loooking for good grammar reference or practice books, this is a must. It's a pity that it not printed any longer and hard to find and purchase.
Published 4 months ago by K
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, very slow delivery
I've used this book before and needed a new one because my old book was a mess. The book's in great condition but delivery extremely slow.
Published 11 months ago by Lisa
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing book for grammar
this book could be used for inter-advanced learners as it is all in English. It clears all grammar aspects, full of fun and useful! Read more
Published 18 months ago by Alina Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend
The best book I've ever used, helped me so much with my English! Very pleased with the purchase, easy to use.
Published 18 months ago by zikii
5.0 out of 5 stars English!!
Bought as gift for a french person - she loved it. It would be good for a nerd of English
Published 19 months ago by MargaretB
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic ESL tool.
A must for serious esl teachers. Explains in a clear and logical manner the workings of the English languare. Michael Swan is a master...
Published 19 months ago by Edward Drohan
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than I thought
I wanted to learn the English grammer better and I was not sure what to buy. I end up buying 3 different books. This one is the one I use the most. Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2012 by Eli
5.0 out of 5 stars useful and clear
How English Works is easy to use, full of examples and makes the language seem more accessible.
I teach English and I like to use this book to evaluate my students' level and... Read more
Published on 11 Oct 2011 by Julia Malross
4.0 out of 5 stars great grammar book
Clear, brief, easy to understand.
For people who need quick advice on grammar issues.
Published on 7 Nov 2010 by Syl
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