- Paperback: 576 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 4 edition (31 May 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0071396543
- ISBN-13: 978-0071396547
- Product Dimensions: 17 x 3.3 x 23.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,500,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Hammer's German Grammar and Usage, 4Ed Paperback – 31 May 2002
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|Paperback, 31 May 2002||
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The reviews for Hammer's grammar made it sound perfect for my needs. They were right on! This grammar is 550 pages of DETAILED explanations illustrated by many helpful examples. I've only just begun the first chapter (less than ten pages) and I've already learned invaluable information.
Did you know, for example, that the gender of 80% of all German nouns can be determined just by looking at the form and/or meaning of the noun? I knew of a dozen or so clues, but after working through these first pages I have learned many, many more and am much more confident with using nouns I know for which I've never memorized the article. Only 20% of nouns actually need to have their gender memorized. I'm now working through similar tips for determining the plurals, which are equally easy to determine just by looking at the noun - once you know how.
There is also a small section tucked away in a corner that explains how to determine whether one uses an, auf, in, zu, or nach as a preposition to indicate going "to" a location. I thought these also just had to each be memorized for each possible case. Nope, it's very logical and this book will explain it to you along with countless other details that will bring your German much closer to a native level (like whether to use genitive, "von", or apposition in measurement phrases).
Now, if this is nothing new to you, Hammer might still be helpful (though if your German is really great and you only have problems that natives have, you probably just need to work through the various volumes put out by Duden). I know I've never learned this stuff, and I certainly don't teach it in my college courses. Hammer's grammar is likely too much for beginners (a bit like drinking out of a fire hydrant), but its perfect for intermediate and advanced learners who have questions that have just never been answered by their textbooks or by the grad students who teach them.
Also, the workbook is the newest edition, matching the grammar, even though the image here on Amazon is from the older edition (at least at the time that I am writing this). It has excellent exercises, and I do recommend it. For rounding out your vocab, I recommend Cambridge UP's "Using German Vocabulary." It is far more exhaustive than the vocab books by Baron and others.
EDIT: I wrote this review in December of 2006 and it is now November of 2009. This grammar has proven to be indispensable. I have read it cover to cover multiple times now and refer to it consistently as both a student and teacher of German.
As far as the discussion on the index and cross-referencing here in the reviews is concerned: I think they are both great. They make it so easy to find anything I have a question about quickly. In three years, I have not yet been let down by the index and can find what I need in at most 30 seconds. The table of contents has also proven to be useful as I've gotten more familiar with the book and need to find a specific point quickly.
Hammer's has also proven to be very useful for producing translations in my academic writing. The section discussing all of the subtle shades of meaning added by modal particles has been especially useful in accurately rendering the nuances of the original (modal particles are words that add expression or attitude like auch when it doesn't mean "also," ja when it doesn't mean "yes," or doch; there are 36 of them). In many other respects Hammer's helps me produce accurate translations when unabridged dictionaries let me down.
I've only grown in appreciation of Hammer's thoroughness and its clarity. Every serious student of German should own a copy.
Inspite of this background, on any given page of this manual, there are tips and tricks to assist me in refining my language skills. This book has it. If it is not there, you in all likelyhood don't need to know it. The themes are logically laid out. Any and every topic is easy to find. This book is highly recommended. Beginners should not resist having this gold mine in his library.
If you're studying German, you have to purchase this book; there's no debate. Even if you're a beginner and some of it might seem a little "too" detailed, you'll find yourself more and more glad that you have it there as your German improves.