Is grammar giving you a headache?
If only there were a magic spell to take away the pain and frustration!
If you’re like most English language learners, you probably find the topic uncomfortable. Don’t worry, many of us native English speakers aren’t too fond of it, either.
Grammar is complicated. There’s a lot of information to take in and understand, and even English speakers break grammar rules all the time. You might be surprised to know that a lot of native speakers can’t explain the ins and outs of grammar, they just know what sounds correct and what doesn’t.
I didn’t master the rules of English grammar until I became an English teacher. Before that, there’s no way I could have explained the difference between past simple and present perfect verb tenses!
Now those definitions are ingrained in me, and I don’t have to think carefully about which tense to use (like second language learners) because I’m comfortable with them. I know what sounds right without having to think about it.
Learning how to master the complicated topic of English grammar is hard. It’s going to require a lot of work and dedication. With the help of a good English grammar workbook, you, too, can learn how to be an English grammar wizard.
Why You Should Embrace Grammar Studies
Some people like to focus on other areas of English and skip studying grammar together. Unless your goal is to learn enough survival English to take a trip to an English-speaking country, I wouldn’t recommend neglecting your grammar studies. Here’s why:
- The meaning of your sentence can be lost due to poor grammar. Remember, the purpose of improving your English skills is so that you can effectively communicate. That won’t happen if others aren’t able to understand what you’re trying to say.
- Knowing the grammar rules helps you look like a native speaker as well as write faster and more efficiently.
- Learning grammar is extremely important if you need to communicate in English at the university level or in the workforce. A professional audience demands professional quality. Using correct grammar puts you on the same level as others in your field.
Tips for Becoming a Grammar Wizard
- Just because being a grammar master takes work doesn’t mean it has to be boring. You just need to find an engaging English grammar workbook that complements your learning style.
Some students prefer to have workbooks that are filled with creative ways to approach grammar, while others enjoy reading grammar rules and then solving problems.
- Use FluentU’s English learning platform.
- Decide how you want to study grammar. As long as you find it fun and engaging, you’re guaranteed to succeed. Mix and match your resources so that your routine stays fresh, or stick to one book or online resource you especially enjoy. How you learn is up to you!
- Take advantage of the number of excellent grammar resources available online for free to complete practice exercises and activities. Utilizing your new skills will help you retain them.
Here are some workbooks that will help you get to where you need to be.
The Top 6 English Grammar Workbooks to Take You to the Next Level
“The Best Grammar Workbook Ever!” by Arlene Miller
This award-winning workbook promotes itself as a one-size-fits-all book that suits the needs of every student from age “10 through 110.” What makes it different than other grammar workbooks out there is the easy-to-understand approach that the author takes to learning grammar.
“The Best Grammar Workbook Ever” doesn’t force students to memorize boring grammar rules. Instead, they learn English grammar through examples and context, just like native English speakers.
Also, if you really want to boost your English grammar knowledge, try using it alongside “The Best Little Grammar Book Ever!”—a textbook that explains the material covered in the workbook.
“ESL Intermediate/Advanced Grammar” by Mary Ellen Muñoz Page
If you’re tired of learning English from books that don’t understand the unique challenges that English language learners face, this book is right for you. It’s written by a bilingual author who knows what it’s like to learn a second language and explains the content in a way that’s perfect for ESL students.
The book is a mix between textbook and workbook, and it explains different grammatical structures as well as gives you various problems related to the topics. It’s filled with test-taking strategies to help students prepare for the TOEFL exam and covers the basics of articles, prepositions and verb structures.
The workbook even comes with its own comprehensive glossary, so you don’t have to worry about carrying around a dictionary every time you study.
If you’re preparing for an upcoming English proficiency exam, “ESL Intermediate/Advanced Grammar” is a must-have book to add to your study collection!
“Understanding and Using English Grammar: Workbook (Full Edition with Answer Key)” by Betty Schrampfer Azar, Rachel Spack Koch and Stacy A. Hagen
If your proficiency level is somewhere between intermediate and advanced and you’re someone who loves to study independently, “Understanding and Using English Grammar” is filled with all of the in-depth knowledge that you need to understand grammar.
The workbook is loaded with challenging problems and helpful examples that cover the basics of articles, verb conjugation, punctuation and many other important grammatical areas that can help you speak and write English like a native speaker.
Not all books come with an answer key, so check to make sure that you have the full edition before ordering your copy. You can even use the workbook alongside the “Understanding and Using English Grammar” textbook to really send your grammatical skills to the next level.
“English Grammar in Use” by Raymond Murphy
Although the full title of this resource is “English Grammar in Use with Answers and CD-Rom: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Learners of English,” it’s actually great for students of every skill level. It focuses specifically on British grammar, making the workbook perfect for learners who plan on taking the IELTS exam.
What’s great about this particular book is that it’s not strictly a workbook, but rather a mix between a grammar textbook and workbook. The first few chapters cover the easy grammar topics, but as you progress further into the book, the content becomes more challenging.
The good news is that every chapter starts with easy-to-understand explanations and plenty of examples, so you can get a good understanding of the material before you start solving the problems.
“English Grammar in Use” also comes with a free CD-ROM that’s filled with bonus supplementary material, including in-depth explanations and extra problems to solve. If you’re looking for a well-rounded workbook that focuses specifically on British English, this is one of the best books on the market.
“Focus on Grammar” Series Workbooks
“Focus on Grammar” is a series of grammar books broken up into the following proficiency levels, from beginner to advanced:
“Focus on Grammar” workbooks are designed for the student who benefits from structure and organization. If you’re someone that prefers explanations over context and want to know the ins and outs of each grammatical rule covered, this is the perfect book is for you.
The “Focus on Grammar” workbooks are designed for classroom use as well as self-study, so students benefit from a versatile workbook that covers meaning, form and practical grammar knowledge.
“Schaum’s Outline of English Grammar” by Eugene Ehrlich
“Schaum’s Outline of English Grammar” is more than just a workbook, it’s a comprehensive grammar guide that’s loaded with grammatical material and practice problems. This workbook is perfect for students who like to memorize rules and terminology. The material is presented in a straightforward way with definitions and explanations, but it doesn’t provide much for students who learn through scenarios.
For this reason, it’s only recommended for learners who benefit from traditional learning styles and don’t need illustrations and creative activities to memorize grammar. With that said, “Schaum’s Outline of English Grammar” can take any dedicated student from intermediate to advanced provided you stick to the book’s structured learning program.
It’s even great for aspiring writers!
Remember that learning English is a process that takes time and dedication. These resources will help you incorporate grammar into your study routine and increase your overall fluency.
If you take advantage of these ideas, you’ll be on your way to becoming an English grammar wizard!
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.