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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally indispensable for TEFL teachers
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...
Published on 4 Aug 2008 by Ian Shine

versus
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good reference but not the most practical or ideal
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...
Published on 17 July 2010 by Moonflower


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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally indispensable for TEFL teachers, 4 Aug 2008
By 
Ian Shine (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
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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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Handy guide to refer to, 7 Sep 2006
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This review is from: Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical English Usage, 16 Nov 2011
This review is from: Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
If you're doing a CELTA course, serious about teaching English or just curious about the English language then you might want a good grammar book. I recommend this one because it has a very clear layout that makes it easy to find what you want. I looked at several other grammar books before choosing this one and I felt this one was uncluttered and easy to use by comparison. It has lots of useful, real-life examples of the grammar in action, and is good for explaining why certain phrases and idioms are structured as they are. It also includes several enlightening glossaries (for example, newspaper headlines and taboo words). It's a really interesting book to dip in and out of.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have book, 27 April 2011
This review is from: Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 5 Sep 2010
By 
J. S. Clifford (Wokingham, Berkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very useful book, 6 Feb 2010
This review is from: Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant reference or study book., 26 Aug 2010
This review is from: Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
I am studying English. I find this book very helpful for either studying English or using as a reference book.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars peter jacques, 27 April 2009
By 
Mr. Peter A. S. Jacques (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difference between 2nd and 3rd edition, 10 Jun 2009
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This review is from: Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
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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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good reference but not the most practical or ideal, 17 July 2010
This review is from: Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
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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Practical English Usage (3rd Edition)
Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) by Michael Swan (Paperback - 21 April 2005)
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