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A New Reference Grammar of modern Spanish 3rd Edition (Hrg)
A New Reference Grammar of modern Spanish 3rd Edition (Hrg)
by John Butt
Edition: Paperback

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb intermediate-advanced grammar book, 31 Aug. 2006
Note, if you are looking for a beginners grammar book, take a look at 'Spanish Grammar' by the same author.

(This review applies to the 3rd [2000] edition). I can only recall a couple of times when I could not find a satisfactory answer in this book, so I'll give it 4.9 out of 5, and I'm fairly pedantic.

One example was the use of the subjunctive after 'no saber si'. In peninsular Spanish this is a complete no-no. However, while watching a Latin American [subtitled] version of the Matrix, I noticed the phrase 'No sé si estés listo para ver lo que quiero mostrarte.' (Morpheus talking to Neo near start of film). As I was confused by this usage I had a look in the book and it does concede that use of the subjunctive varies in Latin America after the construction 'no saber si ...', however it didn't go into any more detail.

The other item is that I would have liked more examples in the modal verbs section to differentiate between phrases such as:

Debí ir.

Debí de ir.

Debía haber ido.

Debería haber ido.

Habría debido ir

Hubiera debido ir.

(note it does cover some of these, but not exhaustively)

...and various other forms such as: 'should have', 'would have', 'could have', 'may have' and 'might have'.

But maybe it's just me who found the endless ways modal verbs can be strung together confusing.

Other than these two minor points, I found the book extremely detailed, with thousands of usage examples throughout the book.

This is the only advanced grammar book I have. There is no need for another, as it has answered 99% of all my questions.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2011 1:30 AM GMT

Spanish Grammar
Spanish Grammar
by John Butt
Edition: Paperback

43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Grammar Book Beginners - Intermediate, 27 Sept. 2003
This review is from: Spanish Grammar (Paperback)
This is the recommended grammar book for both the 1st and 2nd year of the Open University courses, and I can't really fault it. Only if you are an intermediate/advanced student wanting to now something in intimate detail will you find this book lacking.

Talk to me Spanish Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced
Talk to me Spanish Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced

60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Álvaro, no toques los pasteles!, 10 July 2003
He's always being naughty in the panadería. I don't know, the youth of today!
This software is most fun when you get to have virtual conversations. One such exercise is when you have to go shopping to buy everything for a dinner party for 20 people. You get asked a question and can supply one of three possible answers. It has various exercises on pronunciation, and is mostly focused on speaking and listening tasks. The pronunciation drills give you a score from 0 - 7 for your efforts, which is invaluable for honing your accent as you while away the long winter evenings. One thing to note is [I think] your spoken effort (or burp, possibly, if you've just eaten) is compared to a reference answer (or did I dream it?) So mimicking the speaker doesn't always yield the highest score, and on some words I could never quite fathom out what I was doing wrong (perhaps reference answer subject to burping interference also?) Since native speakers will drop letters here and there (e.g. in English the g at the end of any word ending in -ing, I found that speaking like a speech therapist (had one as a Spanish teacher once, clearest Spanish I've ever heard) and getting your mouth open wide and pronouncing every syllable in a deliberated fashion gives good results. As you only have a few seconds to cough up your verbal offering, this becomes rather more tricky when the sentences are long.
Plus points:
-you won't get anything better at this price
-good speech recognition gives essential feedback
-it's amusing
-free headset, not that I've tried it because I use a USB phone handset
Minus points:
-not for absolute beginners (I would guestimate it at around mid-GCSE level)
-it doesn't always show the pronunciation score on every exercise, on virtual conversations for example. Bizarre, as it's the most useful feature, so you'd think it would be present on all speaking tasks.

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