Vol. 6. No. 2 R-1 September 2002
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English Practice Grammar

Michael Macfarlane
Garnet Pp. 224 + answer key
ISBN 1-85964-131-8 (paper); £ 9.95

I was quite excited about receiving English Practice Grammar based on its description, and I was a bit disappointed after reviewing it and putting it to use with my students. I have used many other grammar books and I think there are better ones to use than this. The author points out that this book should be used when one has a particular problem in grammar. However, I did not find it to be the most useful reference tool I have ever seen.

This book should not be used as a course book, but rather one that is perhaps recommended to intermediate college level or adult students if they are studying British English either by themselves and/or if a supplementary text is required.

The font in this book is not very inviting and the author puts an awful lot of information on every page. However, to his defense he does make his reader know that there are several authentic texts used throughout the book. Perhaps too many were used. For example, on page 57 the author uses five authentic texts, thus providing a bit of "authentic overkill."

Table of Contents

The book's table of contents is broken into various sections including Basic verb forms, question forms and answers, modal auxiliary verbs, passive verb forms, infinitives and ing forms, conditional forms, reported speech, nouns and articles, other determiners and pronouns and relative clauses.

There are two-page units that present the grammar rule on the left side of the page with practice exercises on the right side. Four-page units deal with larger grammar areas in more detail.


The book reflects British culture and thus it might not be appropriate for an American audience. Furthermore, the content in some units is not useful because there are many possible answers and this might confuse students who will not be able to benefit from an in-class explanation. For example, exercise 4 on page 9 contains an exercise about directions. The verbs offered as possible answers include drive, follow, go, pass, take and turn. Many of these answers could be interchangeable in this particular exercise and therefore learners may be easily confused. since the author intended only one correct answer for each .

Overall this book does not offer anything new, however it does provide a vast array of written exercises for learners' to complete. With answers in the back, learners can check their work upon completion.

Wendy Schatzman

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