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4.6 out of 5 stars126
4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 4 August 2008
In my time as a TEFL teacher this book came in useful on numerous occassions. TEFL textbooks have notoriously shoddy guides to grammar, which are often detrimental rather than helpful for student and teacher. Swan doesn't have any practice exercises, but everything is laid out plain and simple, from the most straighforward grammar points to the complexities of cleft sentences.
As a teacher, especially in my first year, I would have sunk without a trace if it hadn't been for this book. You simply cannot do without it as a TEFL teacher, or as a serious English language student. There's not much more to say about it than that!
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on 7 September 2006
I've found this book very useful and easy to use for grammatical queries. You know how it is when you're not just quite sure about something, e.g. hypen usage - well this book is great to have at hand.
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on 6 February 2010
This is a very useful book for a non-native English speaker who wants to be proficient in this language. It is very well structured (all the entries are in alphabetical order) so you can find easily anything you are interested in. Explanations are given along with a lot of examples that make everything clear.
I warmly recommend this book.
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on 5 September 2010
Very little can be said except that this book has to be essential reading for anyone doing an English course. I found it excellent
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on 10 June 2009
When I started studying English at the university, in 1999, I was required to buy this book for one of my classes. At first, I found it a bit overwhelming, partly because of its size and partly because it took me a little while to figure out how to use it. But once I got the hang of it, this book has been my most valued reference work, along with Oxford's ALD.
Since I have the second edition, I'm considering whether I should buy the revised third edition. If anyone can tell me, how much the two editions differ from each other, I would be much obliged :-).
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on 27 April 2009
I lost this book whilst travelling but found that there is no substitute. Swan really is the master of grammar and his presentation is superb.
It does need a good understanding of grammatical knowledge so not recommended for the elementary student.
would suit trainee TEFL teachers.
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on 26 August 2010
I am studying English. I find this book very helpful for either studying English or using as a reference book.
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on 12 March 2014
This is not an exercise book.
Despite this, the book is fantastic. It is laid out very clearly with headings that allow you to search for a particular area of grammar in moments. It is comprehensive or at least I have yet to find a grammar question that it doesn't cover.
Each grammar point is clearly and concisely explained and then a couple of examples are given.
The nature of the conciseness is that at times, it may be difficult for intermediate (and certainly lower level) students to understand the full sense of the meaning. It does not over-explain anything. It does however, for advanced students (say B2+) and natives give the correct amount of explanation to then be able to add the understanding of the grammar to their current knowledge of grammar.
All grammar points are here but the nature of the book is that it would be difficult to study and is best used for referencing.
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on 17 July 2010
I am a native English speaker and have obtained a grade A from a CELTA and DELTA course. As part of my preparation, I had a list of recommended books to read on grammar. Most new ESL teachers usually are not an complete expert with English to begin with. So to fine tune their grammar, some suggested books are given to aid to help improve their teaching; this was one of books recommended.

This is a hard book to digest and not meant to be used as an aid to refresh your grammar. It is a very comprehensive and text heavy textbook. It's mostly a language reference book for terms you may not have covered in class.

The book is very large, about 690 pages long so by default this is a reference book. If you're thinking of taking one on your travels, this is not recommended for practical reasons.

The way the book is structured is rather broken up and it tries to cram things together before simplifying them first. It jumps around a bit and can be quite confusing.
For example:

Contents Overview
--------------------
verbs, tense and aspect
future 211 - 221
present tenses 461 - 466
past simple and progressive 421 - 422
perfect verb forms 427
present perfect 423-425
progressive (continuous) verb forms 470-472
...
etc.

Particularly for verb tenses or complex items, it would have been good if there were some diagrams or illustrations (though there a few tree diagrams to illustrate what each word is in a sentence structure later on). I know many students would benefit from this.

I have read a few grammar books now and I find the best ones to prepare you for a CELTA or TESOL course are those ones which can not only illustrate an answer but also apply it to real spoken English. It's all very well to recite passages from books if they want to but then it's not entirely useful for the student. Again, reinforces my earlier point that this is a reference book and does not 'teach'.

If you're clueless about your grammar, this book is probably not structured enough to guide you through it. However, it can be used as a book to brush up on your grammar with. I found the best way was to use it for alternative explanations to other grammar books I'm currently using for perspective.

As a teacher I no longer use this book during my past years of teaching . For casual teachers travelling the world with limited time, you are better off using the internet or getting a more general and downsized grammar book. For learners of English Language who are intermediate to expert, this could be useful to have if you don't like using the internet as another point of reference.
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on 27 April 2011
Very well presented and accessible approach to English language structure. Got it when I was thinking of doing a TEFL course - was the recommended book.

Sold to a friend who was doing some English teaching here in France and bought another copy for my daughter who is doing a Proof-reading course in the UK.

Very useful for students and teachers alike.
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