In this article we’re going to go over a series of books that should be on the shelf of every English teacher. I’m talking about Cambridge’s Grammar in Use series. There are three books in the series, Essential Grammar in Use, English Grammar in Use, and Advanced Grammar in Use. They are basically a grammatical reference guide for English teachers and students. It is marketed towards English students but in reality is much more of a teacher’s resource. Let’s get started
For the most part, these books have just about any grammatical pattern that you can think of. The beginner grammar book has over 100 units, the intermediate grammar book has over 140 units and the advanced grammar book has 100 units. Each unit goes over a particular grammar point, also you will find that some units compare and contrast grammar points that are often mistaken for each other. Each unit is two pages, on the first page you will see a number of example sentences using the grammatical point and you also have some easy to understand explanations. The second page is full of various exercises related to the grammatical point. Generally there are anywhere from 2 to 4 different sets of questions. In the back of the book there are a few appendixes that have lists of various irregular verbs, shortened forms, spelling differences and other supplementary material. There are also additional exercises related to each unit. Then we have a very useful study guide which is a basic test of grammar that has over 200 questions that can be used to pinpoint students’ weak points.
Author: Raymond Murphy
I really don’t say this about many of the books that we review but I absolutely believe that at the least every teacher needs to own the beginner and intermediate grammar books, Essential Grammar in Use and English Grammar in Use. If you can you should also purchase the advanced grammar book, Advanced Grammar in Use. Many native speakers and teachers need a reference book like this because we may know if something is correct or not we might not necessarily know why. We might also not be able to clearly explain the grammar to students who have a limited amount of English ability. This series of books does that for us. The explanations and examples are simply put, great. You can take the examples and explanations straight from the book, write them on your blackboard and with a little work your students will quickly understand. The books also do a great job of differentiating between the different uses of the same grammar patterns. For example, present perfect has many different uses so in the Essential Grammar in Use book there are three separate units that go over each of the three different uses of present perfect. Each unit has its own example sentences and explanations as well as practice questions. The practice questions are very good as well. If you have a student that is having a particularly hard time with some sentence or conversation you can take out this book, give the student a quick explanation and then give them some homework problems so that they can practice at home.
Honestly, I can’t really think of anything that I didn’t like about these books. Keep in mind that this is not supposed to be a textbook. It’s a teacher’s reference guide to grammar. As a teacher’s resource this is as good as it gets. The only small complaint I would have is that the book seems to be targeted towards English students rather than English teachers. If you had a very motivated student who was putting quite a lot of time into their studies then this may be handy but without a doubt this is best used as a teachers reference guide.
I said it twice already in this article but not only do I recommend the series of books I insist on it. If you are beginner teacher go out and buy these books today. It will save you so many headaches it is well worth the price. Before class take a look at your lesson plan, notice any grammatical patterns that you will have to explain and then quickly look up those grammatical patterns in these books to get yourself some great example sentences and very easy to understand explanations. Simple as that.