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Customer Review

on 17 July 2010
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

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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