Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Onwards & Upwards
on 20 May 2011
If you have already mastered all the usual areas of Italian Grammar, this book will help you to revise the harder aspects of the language and it presents a new review of what you may already know. The exercises are particularly good, being a lot more thoughtful and demanding than those in earlier books like the same author's 'Complete Italian Grammar'. At the same time, this book is quite short, 167 pages before you hit the answer keys in the back. There are other books that cover the harder and less memorable parts of Italian grammar in more detail but they lack the pleasant accessibility of this text. I enjoyed working through all the exercises and comparing my answers with those suggested. It has been a good experience. Why therefore have I given it only 4 stars? Well, as is sadly too often the case, these college/school books from America lack the final polish before going into print: Barron's books are notorious for this failing. There are some obvious blunders that could easily be avoided, such as printing one sentence in Italian in an exercise that is intended to be put into Italian. On the other hand, in the answer pages, there are useful notes explaining, or reminding the student, why a particular translation or accidental form has been chosen.
Having said that the exercises are generally good, I can tell that the author has compiled them in a fairly rapid fashion : we teachers can spot the lapses that our colleagues tend to make in such circumstances. The same phrase will appear in consecutive sentences; sometimes a point of syntax will be introduced that is really going to be analysed much later in the book.
If however you have done a few months of good work in Italian and feel happy in reading and speaking day-to-day idioms, this is definitely the book for you. You will become much more confident with those subjunctives and conditional clauses, with the regular traps of prepositional usages and the oddities of noun-formation. It will also greatly boost your self-esteem when you spot typos or blips in the text which you yourself can correct. It's not expensive and, believe me, it's well worth getting and working at. I got through all the exercises in a fortnight.