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on 12 July 2005
I have been using this book for a year and a half now, as support for students who need a quick reference for points of grammar they do not understand. It has been excellent in this way, and does not claim to be totally comprehensive (the blurb states 'intermediate - upper intermediate'). The test at the beginning is another way of saving time - finding the student's weakness, turning to the relevant page and fixing the problem.
True - English grammar is deceptively easy at the beginning, and becomes vast later on, but students have to start somewhere, and this book provides funny and relevant explanations. No book can claim to provide a purely systematic approach to English because the language simply has not evolved in such a way. No amount of snobbery can hide this fact. Moreover, the language is uniquely different from other European languages in that, for example, with English, there is no governmental body which has to authorize new vocabulary.
I have taught people of different nationalites, and I have noticed that speakers from Germanic linguistic groups, tend to want to apply the rigidity of their native languages to English. But English does not function in that way - and Swan has recognised this and has attempted to make the density of the language more accessable.
Grammar is explained in layman's terms and as concisely as possible - there are areas which seemingly overlap or contradict, but this is the nature of the English language itself. So there is an exactness about this book which I have witnessed tidy up points previously confusing for students. It is particularly good on the tenses for instance. It maintains a light-heartedness through its cartoons, which at the same time provide real and funny examples of grammar allowing the student to fully consolidate the target grammar point. This may just come down to your sense of humour - there are jokes about thieving bishops, 'armed' teachers, for instance, that I thought were hilarious!
So if you want an attractive alternative to the volumes of excercises allowing one to pound one's way through to an advanced level, without comprehending how to actually use English, then this is the book for you.
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on 22 July 2017
This will really help in learning English grammar.
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on 27 May 2017
Quick delivery and item well packaged.
Loads of examples and pictures with activities to do. Can teach from it and do tasks yourself to improve language.
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on 23 January 2017
Excellent seller. Fully recommended
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on 14 January 2000
As an EFL teacher I find this book invaluable. It divides English grammar into topic areas, and then subdivides these into lesson-length sections. The examples/exercise sentences are much less brainless than usual; quite relevant and grown-up. There are answers at the back, which may be an advantage or a disadvantage. The explanations are mercifully clear and short. The only thing I'm less keen on is (or are?) the pictures, which are scrappy and can be hard to interpret. But A1 all in all.
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on 24 March 2006
In my opinion this is a very good grammar book. It is clear, concise and it enables students to get an understanding of the ways in which the English language works. This in itself is no easy task for any book or author.
So, in spite of some negative reviews on this site, I would not hesitate to say that you should have a look at this title because it really is unique in its approach to teaching grammar. The whole format and design is very appealing to the eye, especially when many other grammar books are so dull to read. There are frequently pictures and little captions on each page to help engage your interest. Grammar rules are summarised well, and exercises are clearly laid out.
I would recommend this to ESL teachers, and to intermediate level students (and above) who want to consolidate their knowledge of the myraid and complex workings of English.
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on 30 December 2007
I have used this book consistently for my first twelve months of Tefl in Prague. I generally carry it to deal with 'curve-ball' questions - it is excellent for short clear answers on a wide range of grammar points - and I photocopy the exercises as supplementary materials. Of course, it is not a workbook in itself, it is more of a reference book - that may explain some of the odd criticisms on here. The layout takes a little getting used to, as well, but once understood it is excellent. I bought four related titles when I started teaching, but this one has earned its keep.
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on 16 October 2003
I love this book and have just persuaded my employers to order it instead of the usual grammar practice book...[you know the one I mean.] For self-study it works best as a revision guide though only suitable for low-intermediate and above. It works well in class - the organisation and arrangement of key points is clear, and unlike another reviewer I have never found it confusing or contradictory. The cartoons are a great idea - being able to understand a cartoon in a foreign language is a great achievement, and most of them are very funny! Recommended!
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on 23 January 2002
This book does what it says, it does explain how english works, the only thing is, that it does it in a really bad way. The wording of the book is often confusing and at points seems to contradict itself. I often found I had to read sections a couple of times before following what the author was trying to get across. The pictures are equally confusing and really appear as if done by an amateur. I am training to be an english teacher and have read other similar books, all of which I would have to recommend above this book.
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on 27 August 2004
I must say I was extremely disappointed with this book. Compared to similar reference materials this book is both confused, contradictory and frequently amateurish. I must also say that I found the tone of the book to be extremely patronising and the illustrations were often ludicrous. As someone with over twenty years of classroom experience, my advice is that you leave this mess of a book well alone and spend your hard-earned cash on something less sloppy.
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