3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Almost everything you need to know,
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This review is from: Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
I'm about to embark on my first TEFL job, so bought this book as it seems to be the definitive single volume work on English grammar. It looks as though It will be useful to both native English speakers and to learners of English. The layout is simple: a brief but interesting and entertaining introduction followed by an encyclopaedic guide to various points of English grammar listed alphabetically, and finally a comprehensive index. The middle section lists most of the grammatical points you're likely to come across, and many that you might expect not to fall within the scope of a book on grammar: such things a taboo words, differences between British and American usage and difficult words that are similar but not identical in meaning (such as 'continually' and 'continuously').
Before beginning this review I decided to put the book to the test by looking up something that has always flummoxed me (and I've been speaking English for a very long time now!); the difference between 'which' and 'that' when used as conjunctions. I couldn't find anything that would enlighten me, not in the alphabetical encyclopaedia nor the index. I had better luck with a second test; when to use 'may' and when to use 'might'. This was easy to find, and the explanation was very lucid. Oh well, the English language is so vast and complex that a truly exhaustive grammar book would no doubt have to run to several volumes. For a single volume that will fit into my backpack and not cause any problems at the airport, this is probably as good as it gets. If my TEFL experience brings to light any particular problems or highlights, I'll let you know.