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3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 18 October 2003
This is a comprehensive grammar that does not go into unnecessary detail.This work is not a high-flyer but is honest and sound. It is user-friendly in its approach and serves the learner well. In my view the greatest merit of this book is its reliability. It does not make grand promises, it does not promise you the mastery of the Portuguese language, but what it does does it well.I am encouraging my students to use this grammar.
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on 11 October 2004
I am a student of Portuguese and have tried other grammars. Hoping to economise on money, first I went for some cheaper books but I regret it now. Since the late nineties the mass market has been littered with a number of sub standard Portuguese grammars. This grammar is a fortunate exception and I am glad I have bought it. You pay more but you get a grammar you can feel comfortable with, you can trust it will not let you down, unlike some amateurish grammars that do not know what they are talking about and confuse more than help.
This grammar helps by giving you info you feel you can rely on and by the way this info is presented. It is all very well organised, each section is numbered, so you can find what you are looking for. The index is quite long, and you can find everything there. It gives you the section number for what you are looking for. Sometimes a page number would be easier but you can't go wrong with section numbers. This is a grammar I can recommend to any learner of Portuguese.
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on 30 June 2004
This is an excellent book, I used it as a reference tool to help me get a grasp of the basics of Portuguese grammar. I found it most helpful because it gives examples of every point made. The section on Brazilian Portuguese was also an interesting read. I would and have recommended it to others who are learning Portuguese. I would recommend it to complete beginners right up to degree level as a tool as a handy and concise guide.
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on 26 June 2013
For me this is one of the best grammar books available for Portuguese, which can be a challenging language grammatically. It is really well laid out, so that you can find what you're looking for pretty quickly. The presence of worked examples is also invaluable. I bought several grammar books on Portuguese when I was learning, and this ranks as probably the best I have come across.

It seems to be designed as a reference rather than a course, so if you're looking for something that can teach your Portuguese grammar from scratch, I would suggest buying a course such as Teach Yourself Portuguese, an using this as a companion.

I now use Portuguese professionally, and continue to use this book as a reference now and then, which I hope will give you some idea of its longevity and value.
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on 7 December 2012
Like others have said, this grammar book is not an in-depth analytical exposé of every grammatical aspect of the Portuguese language. Likewise, it does not claim to be THE best grammar for Portuguese, and it does not make any sweeping statements that is aims to take learners up to C1/C2 of the CEFR.

With that said, what this book does do is offer a clear, concise, and easy-to-follow breakdown of both Brazilian and European Portuguese grammatical aspects which are used in everyday language and which are vital (essential) for understanding and communicating in Portuguese. It summarises, in basic, non-academic lingo, the 'what' elements of grammar and the 'how' elements, and provides some examples of these in practise. As an English native, I have progressed through the state education system with the emphasis on English language and literature being on poems, texts, and analysis, as opposed to the learning and application of grammar. This book is useful as it allows English natives, who haven't been taught by a national curriculum which focuses on grammar, to grasp the tricky (but necessary) elements of Portuguese grammar.

I have to correct myself somewhat - if I give the impression that this book is not comprehensive, then I am lying. This book is comprehensive in its explanations (it covers all verb tenses, phrases, prepositions, sentence structure, word order etc. etc.). It does not, unfortunately, have more than 2 or 3 examples for each point, which I find one of the only downsides to this book.

The book is expensive, yes, and it is relatively small. You might buy it, and think, 'why on Earth have I bought this? I have n't even looked in it, what a waste!' but I can assure you that this book *does* and *will* serve as a useful reference work for you during your study of Portuguese. I would encourage university students to shell out the cost of a cheap night out and buy this book, as it is well worth the money.
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on 3 June 2006
Perhaps for a beginner this summary of Portuguese grammar would be a help - in its favour it's clearly laid out and pretty comprehensive in its coverage. For a beginner who needs an introduction to the rules of the language perhaps it has some use, although even then I would say that Silva's Essential Portuguese Grammar - weighing in at 100 pages - has *all* the useful information contained in this volume.

What gets me is that the section on verbs - the most complex and difficult part of the grammar - shows no intelligent understanding on the part of the authors. For example, one of the reasons I bought a meatier grammar like this was in the expectation that there would be an explanation of the difference between the present subjunctive and future subjunctive - a point which has always confused me. The book helpfully explains that the present subjunctive is for "actions referring to a present/future situation" while the future subjunctive is for "eventuality of a future action". It then goes on to say that it often follows words referring to a future or uncertain action e.g. se (if), but you can't use rules of thumb like that because both other subjunctive tenses and indeed the indicative can follow se. The authors waste a lot of space groping towards an explanation by using examples when what the reader needs is an understanding of the conceptual difference between the tenses. A quick look in Manuela Cook's excellent "Portuguese Verbs Explained" made everything clear: "[the future subjunctive should be used when] from the speaker's point of view, action will materialize or not depending on someone else's decision." It is possible to be clear and concise *and* explain how the language *works* not just how it *looks*.

The other thing that annoys me about this book is that space is filled with lengthy and irrelevant vocabulary lists which are of little value. Firstly because they spell out the absolutely obvious e.g. "Está de acordo? - Do you agree?" and immediately below it "Não está de acordo? - Don't you agree?". Secondly it includes usages like this: "O que e isto? - What's this?" failing to warn the reader that in Brazil saying isto rather than isso is going to sound similar to "Dost thou know where the bus stop is?". Brazilian variants are treated in a separate section - of limited use because you have to learn the more extensive European version first, and then how Brazilian differs. Either do as Silva does and explain the variants together - thus guaranteeing that no points like this can be missed by the reader - or as Cook does and explain Brazilian as the standard, and treat the more complex Portuguese version as an extension. After all 89% of Portuguese speakers speak Brazilian dialect, and *100%* understand it (not true of Continental dialect).

So in conclusion... beginners: handle with care. Those with any prior knowledge of the language: avoid like the plague.
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on 5 June 2014
Currently studying in Brazil and went on a grammar book binge. Couldn't say I would recommend this one. Incredibly light and low on exceptions and added analysis. This lets it down in its candidacy for being the go-to grammar book on the book shelf, but I would use it check something very quickly, to not have to wade through what could be superfluous info if what I were looking for were reasonably simple (lets say pluralisation of nouns, irregular verbs in the present). But then again, it's not cheap, so to buy it just for that isn't worthwhile.
Some of the noted on Brazilian Portuguese in the appendix I found quite suspect in places. Seems like this was a Portuguese of Portugal book written by experts in that area (for example the pronunciation first chapter is phonetically PofPort, it's only in the appendix that it considers the idiosyncrasies and, in my view, beauty of BrazPronun (palletisation etc).
Do yourself a favour and don't just skim the surface of grammar with this book. Buy the exceptional Modern Brazilian Portuguese Grammar (John Whitlam) if it's Brazilian Portuguese you're especially interested in (great additional notes on informal uses; THE best one I've found written in English) and couple it with a grammar written in Portuguese if you're at a higher level, Nova Gramatica by Cunha e Cintra is an absolutely transparent (but not simplified) and articulate read (in contrast to another port.grammar, one of Bechara's for example, whose smug tone, deliberate obfuscation and prolixity and the awful presentation of his books lends to a headache and the raising of crossed index fingers in the face of that horrible Grammar monster we all met at School). Hope I've not done the Portuguese a disservice here, as all my references here are Brazilian publications (Whitlam lives in Rio).
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on 9 July 2011
While this is a decent review of Portuguese grammar, I can't recommend it to anyone focusing on the Brazilian version. In the introduction, the authors write that they want learners to develop `mid-Atlantic' Portuguese. This sounds like me: I need to speak to Brazilians but would like to understand European Portuguese. Unfortunately, the layout means that this is almost impossible as it's incredibly difficult to use for anything other than learning European (and probably African) Portuguese. (Anyone interested in Brazil should get hold of Modern Brazilian Portuguese Grammar (Modern Grammars) by John Whitlam.)

The first two sections of the book are devoted to Grammar and Functions and these areas are covered pretty well. The problem is that almost everything about Brazilian Portuguese comes in a third section and only includes the bits where the Brazilian version is different. In effect, the variety used by over 80% of Portuguese speakers is covered in a series of hard-to-spot footnotes, as if it were a minor variant. I'm not sure why the authors decided on this format, as it would be far more useful to have everything side-by-side, especially as the differences are sometimes huge (object pronouns, for example).

I also started to wonder how accurate the Brazilian section is after I noticed this omission. According to the book, `gente' is only a vocative and `can't be used as a subject pronoun': have an informal chat with any Brazilian and you'll probably find it used both ways within 10 minutes. It's one thing not to recommend foreigners to use the gente=nós construction, but it's so widespread that it seems a strange to say it doesn't exist. On the other hand, it's good to know that people in Portugal might not like being called `você'.

As I said at the beginning anyone learning Brazilian Portuguese should get hold of John Whitlam's excellent, and far more in-depth, grammar. To be fair, that book has the opposite problem as it only covers Brazilian Portuguese, but at least it never pretends otherwise.
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on 23 January 2014
Good value good bookand very easy to read The product was exactly as described in the advertisement what else can I say
Good for beginners
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on 27 April 2013
This book is an excellent reference and will be for years to come. It is easy to use and covers basic, practical Portugese whilst also having the depth of grammatical construction when required. I am enjoying using this to teach myself Portugese, it is logical i and easy to find information for my required sentence constructions as i do not want to learn only tourist language. This book is a very comprehensive language guide written and presented in user-friendly format.
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