German: An Essential Grammar
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  • German: An Essential Grammar
  • Bruce Donaldson
  • Published by: Routledge
  • Level: Beginner
  • First Published in: 2006

This is a practical reference guide to the core structures and features of modern German. It presents a fresh and accessible description of the language, this engaging grammar uses clear, jargon-free explanations and sets out the complexities of German in short, readable sections.

Review posted: 13/12/2013
Have you used this book?

Understanding a language is one thing; using correct grammar when you speak that language is another. The truth is, mastering the correct grammar of a foreign language is not an easy thing. Most of us cannot just “pick up” proper grammar through conversing with others; we actually have to devote time to studying grammar.

The easy thing about German is that a lot of words sound similar to English. “Bekommen” means to “come”, “morgen” means “morning”, and so on. In fact, some German and English words are the exact same; “alarm”, “astronaut” and “asthma” are just a few words that have the same meaning in both languages. The hard thing about German is the grammar. Simply mastering which nouns are masculine and which are feminine can be quite painful.

Many Germans will be able to decipher what you are trying to say despite your imperfect grammar. However, if your goal is to sound like a “real German” or to be fluent, then mastering grammar is not optional. The book German: An Essential Grammar can help you to understand the ins and outs of German grammar.

The chapter topics include things like “punctuation”, “case”, “articles and other determiners”, “pronouns”, and much more. Each chapter starts by giving a summarized introduction to the topic. Following the introduction, there are often explanatory charts that convey the grammatical concept. Many such topics will have more than one subtopic to explain. In the chapter “verbs”, for example, the book first explains “formation of tenses” and gives examples divided into “past”, “present” and so on. Then, the chapter goes on to talk about “modal auxiliary verbs” which includes subtopics of “double infinitive constructions” and “modals used with perfective infinitives”.

"This is a book that also works great as a reference to keep on the shelf and pull out when needed."

The book is well organized and very thorough. Although most of the students who use this book are beginner students, even students who are a bit more advanced would benefit from using German: An Essential Grammar. This is a book that also works great as a reference to keep on the shelf and pull out when needed.

If you are a German teacher, this book will work great in the classroom. With 15 chapters in total, this book can easily last an entire academic year. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that there are no exercises in the book. You will have to provide students with written assignments for every unit so they can practice what they learn and you can assess how well they are progressing. You don’t need to worry about making photocopies or worksheets; your activities can be simple sentence formation in their own notebooks.

All in all, German: An Essential Grammar is a great book for self-taught students with real dedication or for classroom use.



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