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A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish, 4th edition (HRG) 4th Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0340810330
ISBN-10: 0340810335
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'The Butt and Benjamin New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish is an essential reference tool for all interested in the Spanish language. The most extensive and accurate single-volume comprehensive source of information on contemporary Spanish language currently in existence in the English language, it replaces and surpasses the Ramsey-Spaulding Textbook of Modern Spanish.'
George DeMello, Professor of Hispanic Linguistics, University of Iowa

'The most important event to occur in the descriptive linguistics of Spanish for many years'
The Times Higher Education Supplement

Language Notes

Text: English, Spanish --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: HRG
  • Paperback: 582 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 4th edition (April 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340810335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340810330
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,145,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Butt was born in South-West London, UK, in 1943. After eight years secondary education in a rural boarding school, where he developed a lifelong love of the countryside and a deep dislike of all forms of sport, he went on to study Modern Languages at Trinity College Cambridge. In 1965 he became a lecturer in Spanish at King's College, University of London, where, in 1969, he completed a Ph.D. thesis on the political thought of the young Miguel de Unamuno.

He spent all his working life in the Spanish Department of King's College, where he eventually became Professor of Modern Hispanic Studies.

He retired in 2002, and now lives in Marylebone, London. His interests are linguistics, computers, literature, politics, history, and his hobbies are walking and reading.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have over 20 years experience as a college teacher of Spanish and as a federally certified Spanish court interpreter and, in my opinion, this volume is without equal among Spanish grammars. What you find here is not available anywhere else: an empirical, scholarly presentation of Spanish as it is spoken throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
This is not an intermediate grammar as some reviewers have asserted. It is not a repetition of conventional grammar rules as they have been handed down for generations. There are much simpler books that explain the use of the subjunctive, the mechanics of noun-adjective agreement, verb conjugation etc.
Rather, this book describes how literate people in different countries (or regions of countries) use the language in real life. It tells you to what extent they respect the traditional academic rules of grammar, and to what extent they break them and change them. In other words, it tells you what the living rules of the language are in distinct places.
All of this is supported by copious citations from the writings of novelists, scholars, journalists, etc. making it an eminently readable book. It's very easy to pick it up to search for the answer to a specific question and end up reading for an hour because it contains so much fascinating information.
In short, it is a superb and eminently useful piece of scholarship, which belongs on the shelf of any serious student of the language.
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Format: Paperback
This is the best guide by far that I've seen to Spanish grammar. It has everything in it, covering even obscure topics that other books ignore, such as the future subjunctive and the neuter ello.
What makes the book particularly interesting is that it discusses Spanish as it is actually written and spoken, not just how the grammarians would have it. And it's quite up to date, also, discussing, for example, how Spanish makes plurals of the numerous English words that have entered the vocabulary in recent years.
What is also interesting is that the book explains how the language is used in different countries. It's the first book I've seen that truly gives a feel for the differences between Spanish Castilian and Latin American Spanish (and the differences in the different varieties of Latin American Spanish). The book supports its explanations with numerous examples taken from contemporary writing throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
This book is truly an astounding resource, well worth the price.
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Format: Paperback
As a Spanish major in college, I didn't feel like buying any more grammar books to read since they got so damn expensive and I hardly needed to use them (they were kinda ineffective). But, little did I know would I be making an investment of a lifetime with 'A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish'. I sat down one night and, hestitantly, I opened the book...hours later, I was still reading it. I am very much into detail, and man, this book has got details! I love it now and I will never use another grammar reference guide again. So if you want to dissect the Spanish language, I throw my support to this book.
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Format: Paperback
An amazingly detailed book designed to answer any question you have regarding the structure of the Spanish language, be it Castillian or Latinoamerican. Each chapter has example after example devoted to the nuances of every aspect of speech or writing you could possibly encounter.
My only caveat - you can't possibly "read" the thing. It's better utilized as a reference book. It's the place you'll go when all your slimmer volumes have you stumped.
My approach is to carry around "Buscalo" (Clarkson, Campos) which tells me - as an intermediate learner - what I need to know in 219 cleanly-spaced pages instead of 572 densely-packed ones. I've always got this Butt/Benjamin work on the shelf as a "just in case" backup tool.
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By A Customer on May 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
I would classify myself as an intermediate Spanish student. But this book is aimed at those at a higher level or knowledge of Spanish. But even as an intermediate student, I found this book frustrating because of its layout. I wanted to learn more about the Impersonal "Se" and I found myself reading from cross reference to cross reference. Frustrating.
If you are interested in the fine details of Spanish (and I like grammar), then this is the book for you. But if you are still acquiring the language, may I recommend "Manuel De Gramatica: Grammar Reference for Students" by Eleanor Dozier and Zulma Iguina. I hope this helps others.
Kevin
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Format: Paperback
This is an extremely comprehensive reference; I haven't yet come up a with a grammar question that it doesn't answer. However, I do want to warn prospective buyers that this book is a reference, not a textbook. The information is densely packed, and assumes that you are familiar with grammar terms in English. If you don't know the difference between a gerund and a participle, or what a "non-restrictive relative clause" is, finding what you need from this book will be difficult.
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Format: Paperback
this is one of the best books I've ever seen about ANYTHING, never mind Spanish. I actually got it while I was still a beginner (as opposed to an "intermediate beginner" now?) and it was like having the ark of the covenant opened before my eyes. It gives a brilliant, clear overview of the language without sparing any of the subtle nuances. It's very readable, even entertaining, drawing from a broad variety of literary and journalistic sources for examples. Especially useful is the section on "pronominal" verbs, which are usually simplistically called "reflexive" in other books, leading to a tremendous amount of confusion as soon as one sees how ubiquitous they are in Spanish.

here's a hot tip-- the Oxford Spanish Grammar book is actually a slim, highly condensed version of this book by one of the same authors. an even hotter tip-- the Oxford Spanish Dictionary and Grammar is a small volume that combines the above grammar book with a small dictionary- extremely handy and light!
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