English is a huge language. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the English language has over 600,000 words! English has one of the largest pools of vocabulary of all the world’s languages. But what good are words if you don’t know how to put them together into thoughts?
Grammar is important to know because it gives you the tools to organize your thoughts. If you don’t know a tool exists, you cannot use it. This is where a clear, straightforward grammar book is useful. The best grammar books are no-frills showcases of English grammar with plenty of exercises to complete. They let you know about a tool and practice it without needless discussion most learners aren’t interested in. Your grammar book should show you a tool, how to use it, then set you to practicing.
Understanding grammar means expanding your ways to express yourself. Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to say something, but you didn’t know how? This is where studying grammar using a straightforward grammar textbook shines. A good grammar book empowers you to use English on your terms.
With a good command of English grammar, you will increasingly find yourself in less of those frustrating situations where you can’t say what you want to. If you have more tools in your grammar toolbox, you have more ways to structure and organize your ideas in English. It’s the same idea as building your vocabulary.
Do you know the proper way to use conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs? Do you know what a relative clause is? What about a subordinating clause? These are all things that a good grammar book can teach you. If you get a good one, it will be simple and straight forward to learn too because it will clearly show you what each of those things are and exactly how they are used in English.
All you need from your grammar book is a presentation of the grammar rule and an example of how to use it. You don’t need all the extra background information outside of these two things. I recommend “Practical English Usage” as an example of a grammar book that does this very effectively. This grammar book is very affordable and it is the best example I’ve seen of a book that simply introduces new grammar ideas with easy to understand explanations.
The avoidance of this extra information makes the presentation of the grammar very straightforward and easy to understand for learners. You don’t need to know the discussion surrounding grammar and why to be able to use a new grammar point. Most native speakers never learn why grammar works the way it does, but they are still able to speak English fluently. If you aren’t interested in the hows and whys of English grammar, your grammar book should be as simple as possible to get your working with real grammar as quickly as possible. (If you would like a book that goes deeply into grammar, I suggest Analyzing English Grammar.)
A well laid out grammar book works as a reference too. If you buy a grammar book full of additional information aside from the grammar points, you have a book that is hard to use as a reference. It’s difficult to refer back to a grammar point you would like to practice again when the book buries it in a mountain of excessive grammatical information.
You want to be able to crack open the textbook and quickly find the information you’re looking for. You don’t want to have to sift through it like you’re hunting for treasure.
Plenty of Exercises
Aside from quick and clear grammar explanations, your grammar book should offer some way for you to practice the point you just learned. This is important because it helps you memorize the new grammar point better than only reading about it. There is no substitute for direct experience; you will memorize the information more easily and clearly if you practice it soon after learning it.
A streamlined process going from the explanations to exercises will lead you to using the new grammar in your everyday English situations. I recommend the companion exercise book for “A Practical English Grammar”. It offers exactly what you need for exercises to practice new grammar tools and it is available very affordably on Amazon.
A well put together grammar book will help you quickly and efficiently pick up new grammatical points for you to add to your toolbox. The book you choose should be practical this means that it isn’t full of excess information that you don’t need to use the new point properly. The most important part of the grammar book is its exercises. You want to be able to immediately put your new knowledge into practice.
This leads to better retention and an active ability to use the new grammar point. I pick up a grammar reference book for every language I study and I hope I’ve shown you why a straightforward English grammar book will be useful for your studies too.