Advanced Grammar in Use
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  • Advanced Grammar in Use
  • Martin Hewings
  • Published by: Cambridge University Press
  • Level: Advanced
  • First Published in: 2005

Advanced Grammar in Use is a self study course book with 100 units which help prepare students for the Cambrige Advanced Proficiency Exam or the IELTS.

REVIEW BY Maureen St. George Book EXPERT
Review posted: 31/10/2013
Have you used this book?

Advanced Grammar in Use author Martin Hewings immediately opens his introduction to the student by stating that this book is specifically for self-study. In his introduction to the teacher, he reiterates that point before conceding that teachers can easily use this in class for extra practice.

The rest of the book is just as clear and concise as his introductions, although the sheer size is enough to make the student think twice. Advanced Grammar in Use is 294 pages, consisting of: 100 units, a study guide, four appendices, additional examples, a glossary at the back, and a CD-ROM. It rightly looks and feels dense. Inside, the text is equally dense, although cartoon drawings dot the pages. Basically, this to me should come with a warning that it’ll cause back pain.

What the book lacks in fancy decoration it makes up for with clear language and Hewing’s ability to really get the point across in as few words as possible. In fact, Hewing also points out in his introduction that he made a point to use as few grammar terms as possible, which works to the book’s benefit. In lieu of long-winded explanations, Hewing simply and quickly states what the topic at hand is used for and then covers the rest of the page with a multitude of examples.

Each of the 100 units is two pages long. The first page is, as stated, filled with short explanations and tons of examples, as well as any exceptions to the rule and he occasionally compares and contrasts similar grammar points (e.g., except and except for). As this is an advanced book, many of the first units review verb tenses before moving on to points like passive voice, leaving out information and it- and what-clauses. The text is sometimes broken up by presenting the examples in a table or chart. Examples are separated into numbered sections so students can quickly see what examples align with the corresponding numbered exercise.

"Advanced Grammar in Use is ideal for learners preparing for the Cambridge Advanced Proficiency or IELTS examinations, and is informed by the Cambridge International Corpus, which ensures the language is authentic and up-to-date." Martin Hewings (Author)

The second and last page of each unit is filled with exercises. They range from gap fills and underlining the correct choice to finishing sentence prompts and rewording sentences. Students may check their work in the answer key at the back of the book. The answer key expertly points out when and why multiple answers may be correct. Additionally, if students aren’t sure where to start, they may flip to the back of the book and take a multiple choice test that features a few questions from each unit so students can see which units will prove a challenge.

The treasurable back of the book additionally features extra exercises, a glossary defining grammar terms, and four appendices covering passive forms, basic question formation and quoting. This is a wonderful resource, as students have probably already learned these skills but may need a brush-up. The fourth appendix is a list of all the irregular verbs set out in a table listing the bare infinitive, past simple and past participle – the veritable Bible for English students from elementary up. Finally, the book comes with a CD-ROM, which features even more exercises, hundreds of test questions and even the ability to create your own tests.

Advanced Grammar in Use is a basic meat-and-potatoes English book. It offers exactly what the author says it will. At times, the vibe can feel a little “don’t look back” as there is only one unit per grammar point. Only a few times is there overlap from one unit to another or a two-part lesson, like verb tenses or passive voice, respectively. There are no unit reviews, although this is somewhat relieved by the CD-ROM and numerous exercises at the back.

However, in spite of or perhaps because of the basic premise, this book is incredibly versatile. The teacher and/or student can pick and choose their way through the units. Students can put the study guide at the back to good use to see where to start, and can easily make some headway without a teacher by their side. Students who studied English formally or those who just picked it up will find equal value in this book. And teachers can choose to work through a whole unit or just use the examples as extra support, or create any combination they choose for a well-rounded class.



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