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Practical English Usage 3rd Edition
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As a guide to practical usage rather than rules of grammar, incorrect usages that have fallen into common use are typically described as "informal" rather than "incorrect"; likewise, the grammatically correct form is typically described as "formal" or "very formal English". This may annoy militant grammarians but should please writers and teachers less inclined to attack split infinitives or sentences ending with prepositions. (Those who wish to wage war over these usages will find ample rules of engagement, however.) Practical English Usage also includes practical topics such as the truncated grammar of newspaper headlines, the standard form of a business letter and even a brief mention of mobile texting conventions.
My two minor complaints: first, the avoidance of grammar jargon in the organization of the book can take some time to adapt to.Read more ›
The volume I used fifteen years has since followed me to Singapore and eventually to the United States. Although I, having developed proficiency in the language, no longer use the book, I still hold much respect for it. I have used quite a lot of ESL books and Swan's work easily falls into my top-three list.
For anyone learning English as a Second Language, or anyone who has to teach it, this book is indispensable. It covers issues of usage, not grammar (eg: When is the present perfect tense used, not how to form it.) It is designed for international students etc. as can be seen in the entries on 'false friends' like 'sympathetic' with reference to other European languages. I love the way Swan deals with language as it is actually used (he weighs in on the who/whom debate by giving details on what people do say, rather than what they ought. Other good features include a list of swear-words with a rating to help give an indication of their strength. As a native English speaker, I too have found this book very useful (it is slowly teaching me the monstrous spelling rule and irregularities of the English language).
What I dislike about this book:
Can't fault it. Perhaps the SMS abbreviations are quite dated even a couple of years on. But documenting in print youth abbreviations in Email/SMS etc. are a problem with no solution.
Where to from here:
'Practical' 'English' Usage'. It does everything it says on the box, and does it well. If that is what you need, this is the book you need.
The sections are replete with examples to illustrate the point that Swan is making. The language is very accessible and I have used this book as a rescue resource for difficult questions asked by students.
Perhaps one point, as mentioned by another reviewer, is that the information on each element is not extensive. However, considering that the book weighs in at "hefty" and covers a huge range of things, this is not surprising. One could easily justify supplementing it with another grammar book or two in order to get that comprehensiveness.
However, for everyday teaching purposes, "Practical English Usage" is a mainstay and a fantastic resource.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My go-to reference guide for all my English needs :) Very thorough, easy to find things.Published 8 days ago by SunnySideUp
To my mind, this is the best available book which deals with English Grammar.
About construction. The main part of book is "entry. Read more
Easy enough to understand, with helpful little graphs.. I've put it to use quite a few times as an English tutor. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gicky
So well organised into 'easy to understand' and practical parts. Much better than an ordinary grammar textbook with decidedly pertinent additions. Just love it!Published 1 month ago by Kate Bradford
Oxford learning material. We can only expect the best.
I recommend it for sure.
It's like a grammar dictionary. Useful for English learners.
It's better to refer pages in stead of numbers in the index,though.