3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Innovative and Refreshing!, 6 Nov 2008
This book is based on the British national "corpus," a database of about 300 million words from various written and audio sources. Statistical analyses of the corpus have revealed the most common words and word-groups in English. Instead of presenting traditional chapters with organized grammar structures (to be, to have, etc.) this book presents 100 of the most common words and the word-groups they appear in most frequently, starting with a/an and ending with you.
The approach is refreshing (the book won an award for innovation in English language teaching), and it is well thought out. For example, the various uses of words like "just" are explained simply and clearly. One disappointment is that this natural approach would seem to be best for beginners, but the book is designed for intermediate and advanced students. Another problem is the choice of listing the words in alphabetical order. That makes it easy to look for words, but offers no rationale for choosing any other order (e.g. the most common words first?).
There are also exercises with an answer key, and some amusing examples of British usage, e.g. "too clever by half," which means pretentious. Students who have already waded through a traditional textbook of elementary English grammar will probably find this book a pleasing change of pace, and my first experiences in using this book with advanced students have been positive. Highly recommended!