10 Advanced French Grammar Books to Lift Your French to New Heights
Once you lift off into the world of advanced French grammar, soon you’ll know ins and outs of the language that many natives haven’t even mastered.
Fluency is out there for the taking, so choosing to really work through your grammar is a smart move to make.
And to keep you from drifting off the wrong way, we’ve pulled together the top 10 best advanced French books to get you there.
- 1. “Help Yourself to Advanced Grammar”
- 2. “Le Petit Grevisse”
- 3. “Collins Advanced French Grammar”
- 4. “A Comprehensive French Grammar”
- 5. “The French They Never Taught You”
- 6. “The Ultimate French Review and Practice”
- 7. “Cours d’Analyse Grammaticale”
- 8. “Le Bon Usage”
- 9. “Savoir-Faire: An Advanced French Course”
- 10. “Un Style Certain: Les Mots Pour L’Ecrire”
- Why Use Advanced French Grammar Books?
- And one more thing...
1. “Help Yourself to Advanced Grammar”
If you’re an independent learner and prefer to take matters into your own hands, then “Help Yourself to Advanced Grammar” is a great choice.
With all of the required grammar patterns for advanced students, the book takes its students on a thorough tour of some of the trickiest language rules, ensuring that they understand them to the best degree.
Reinforcement activities. There’s nothing worse than spending hours learning complicated French rules, only to have forgotten them the next day. This book understands that most of us probably aren’t gifted with photographic memories, and provides handy reinforcement activities at the end of each lesson—designed to cement even the trickiest of topics in your mind.
Focus on self-study. Solo students rejoice; this book is written under the assumption that most of its readers won’t have a teacher at hand to explain things. As a result, grammar rules are laid out clearly and explained in careful detail. Lessons are completely comprehensive, ensuring that you have understood everything before beginning new material.
Helps to identify problem areas. Even the best students have an area of French grammar that they find tricky. The trouble is, everyone struggles with different things and when you learn on your own, it can be hard to identify where you’re going wrong. “Help Yourself to Advanced Grammar” contains diagnostic tests and activities, enabling you to pinpoint any areas of difficulty and look out for them in the future.
Regular testing on complex grammar points. The words “testing” and “grammar” aren’t exactly things that students dream of, but if you’re an advanced learner, they are essential parts of learning. Testing is a great way to highlight any learning issues, plus it’ll help reinforce what you’ve learned.
2. “Le Petit Grevisse”
The more accessible sibling of the grammar bible “Le Bon Usage,” “Le Petit Grevisse” is an essential text to add to your grammar arsenal. Used all over the world, the book answers any and every grammar-related question that you might have. If you take your learning seriously, you will want to take it with you wherever you go.
Used by French natives. If the grammar is good enough for native speakers, then it is certainly good enough for advanced students. Containing examples of some of the most tricky and niche vocabulary points out there, “Le Petit Grevisse” is a regular in French classrooms.
Clear explanation of tricky grammar rules. This book didn’t earn its reputation by accident—it contains some of the most accessible and clearest explanations of the hardest rules out there. “Le Petit Grevisse” is designed specifically with French students in mind, so it relies on the simplest and most in-depth examples possible to make grammar second nature.
Illustrative language examples. When it comes to tricky grammar points, seeing the rules in action can often be responsible for the elusive “a-ha” moment. “Le Petit Grevisse” provides just that, and more often than not, its simple vocabulary makes tricky grammar seem incredibly clear.
3. “Collins Advanced French Grammar”
One of the leaders of reference books everywhere, Collins’s take on advanced French grammar is just as comprehensive as you would expect. It’s filled with illustrative examples, useful vocabulary and phrases to take with you in your studies. Presented foremost as a reference guide, this book deserves a spot on your shelf.
Split into easy-to-manage chapters. “Collins Advanced French Grammar” is organized into chunks, perfect for getting through one lesson at a time. Grammar points are not overwhelming or complicated, so the book will help build your confidence.
Appendices provide additional learning material. It also contains references to a number of great grammar texts and supplementary learning materials, so you can essentially pick up an entire grammar library!
Explains points with clear examples. After each grammar point, learners are provided with clear examples of the rule in use, making information much easier and more accessible.
Detailed translations and examples. As well as advanced grammar, this book contains an entire list of useful French vocabulary and language examples. From the brand behind the best bilingual dictionaries out there, you can expect lists of useful and interesting French vocabulary.
4. “A Comprehensive French Grammar”
“A Comprehensive French Grammar” is a great option for students who want to take a really in-depth look at the rules that they’re learning. With content taken from one of the most respected linguistic minds out there, the book contains everything that advanced students need to learn.
Written by a renowned French scholar. Edited and revised by French scholar Glanville Price, this book has the academic stamp of approval. Not only was Price educated at the Sorbonne, but he also boasts an incredible history of illustrious French teaching and lecturing roles. If you were looking for the real deal, then this is surely it.
Packed with advice and examples. This book is about more than just tricky French rules; each lesson comes with useful advice and clearly illustrated examples, formed to make even the trickiest grammar rule incredibly accessible.
Details further learning material. Of course, the lessons don’t stop when the book ends, as it also contains references to other grammar books which can supplement your learning routine. With the really tricky rules, it can pay to understand them from multiple angles, and this book tells you exactly where to find such varying approaches.
5. “The French They Never Taught You”
Based on the niche grammar subjects that largely go unnoticed, “The French They Never Taught You” is perfect for picking up on the grammar of the locals.
More than just a grammar book, this one is written to inspire students to take an interest in language—so if you’re a vocabulary geek, this one’s for you!
Tackles unusual learning points. Niche grammar points are the name of the game in this book. Proposing new ways to think about old rules and presenting grammar in a way never before seen, this alternative view of the already-saturated grammar market might just be the breath of fresh air you were looking for.
Focus on complex French terminology and vocabulary. As is often the case, the most complex grammar rules come equipped with some of the most French terminology. To make things really clear, this book looks in depth at some of the most complicated French vocabulary, making even the most head-splitting of grammar rules relatively accessible.
Created to achieve fluency. This book shows students easy routes into complicated grammar rules, thus making fluency more attainable. Looking at grammar rules you never even thought about, the book is a great way to start thinking like a native.
6. “The Ultimate French Review and Practice”
Based around the French lifestyle, “The Ultimate French Review and Practice” incorporates advanced grammar into lessons about French history and culture.
Includes notes on French culture. Packed with notes about French culture, documents from French speakers and illustrative exercises, this book teaches grammar points in cultural articles, making learning more accessible and memorable.
Uses French vocabulary in exercises. In order to really flourish in French, it’s essential that you have a good understanding of French vocabulary—which this book introduces alongside grammar exercises.
Applies examples to everyday conversation. This book presents its lessons within the realms of everyday conversations, using dialogue common to most students. Taking information from the book to real life has never been easier!
Looks into French verbs and conjugations. Advanced students understand better than most that French verbs and conjugations are tricky topics, and this book pays particular attention to the ways that verbs work in relation to grammar.
7. “Cours d’Analyse Grammaticale”
“Cours d’Analyse Grammaticale” is incredibly focused in its approach to grammar and is aimed at an advanced-level student. If you’re looking for the whole grammar package, this could be the book for you.
All French, all the time. The lessons and content in “Cours d’Analyse Grammaticale” are written entirely in French. While picking up difficult learning points in French may seem hard at first, these lessons are designed to have the maximum effectiveness and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you pick things up.
Focused on advanced grammar. If you’re concerned that you’ll have already covered the language points in this book, don’t be. The book is designed to be a complete grammar guide and to lead its students into fluency, so expect to look at each lesson with a lot of vigor and focus.
In-depth analysis of vocabulary. French vocabulary plays a big part in this textbook too and, rather than just offering direct translations, “Cours d’Analyse Grammaticale” takes a focused look at each vocabulary point it makes, associating it with a relevant grammatical rule.
8. “Le Bon Usage”
If you’re looking for content straight from the native masters themselves, “Le Bon Usage” is the book you should consider. A French grammar and vocabulary book, “Le Bon Usage” is used in French schools and is the reference guide hundreds of native learners use each year.
Grammar-focused. The grammar in “Le Bon Usage” is designed to serve fluent speakers, so if you’re searching for a complete, comprehensive guide, this is the place to look.
Used by native speakers. As mentioned before, native speakers keep a copy of “Le Bon Usage” to refer to difficult grammar points and verb conjugations. Very few native speakers master all forms of grammatical French, so don’t feel ashamed if you need to use the book for reference frequently.
Revised editions are available online. As the French language morphs, grammar and vocabulary come and go. Unsurprisingly, the book is constantly being updated to match the changes happening in real life. While “Le Bon Usage” is frequently revised and republished, there are up-to-date editions always available through the website, making it incredibly easy to stay ahead of the advanced learning curve!
Index of phrases and vocabulary. “Le Bon Usage” isn’t all grammar, though. You can expect to pick up an entire arsenal of useful and relevant phrases in its index. In the book, you can get a pretty comprehensive look into advanced French and, along the way, get to grips with using French in real life, too.
9. “Savoir-Faire: An Advanced French Course”
“Savoir-Faire” is probably the best “combination” course out there, utilizing a variety of different learning materials and exercises to arm its advanced students with the best possible tools.
Structured with clear, progressive lessons, it moves students through different topics with each chapter, designed for complete comprehension and the move into French fluency.
Balances listening, writing and reading. Each chapter focuses on every element of the French language, using the same topic point as a way between the learning styles. Moving between listening, writing and reading, students are encouraged to think quickly in French and rapidly differentiate between the different learning styles.
10 chapters focused on separate topics. Each chapter of the “Savoir-Faire” textbook is focused on a different topic. And in the various exercises, the chapter takes a focused look at the subject at hand. The book comes with lots of secondary material, including a teacher’s book and three 60-minute audio files.
Final project to perfect learning. Presented in a progressive structure, each chapter of “Savoir-Faire” is designed to move its students toward a final project, in which everything they’ve learned can be showcased. The final project draws together material from each chapter and comprises listening, writing, speaking and reading in advanced French. The project is incredibly in-depth and undoubtedly useful for advanced students.
10. “Un Style Certain: Les Mots Pour L’Ecrire”
Chock full of interesting literary extracts, unusual vocabulary points and exercise analyses, this is the book to reference if you want to become a master in the world of written French.
Presented entirely in French. Written entirely in French, “Un Style Certain” doesn’t allow its students any chance to rest on their laurels. Presenting literary texts, language exercises and supplementary commentary in French, “Un Style Certain” is the ultimate textbook immersion course and treats each of its students as if they were native speakers already.
Broad mix of literary texts. While you might think you know French literature, “Un Style Certain” contains dozens of fascinating references, mainly unknown to non-French speakers. The book is an excellent way into French written analysis and might teach you a thing or two about how the French read. The mix of literary texts is also a great way to battle boredom, moving from genre to genre until everything has been covered!
Focused on advanced writing skills. While it does look at vocabulary and grammar, “Un Style Certain” is explicitly focused on writing in French and, therefore, is an incredibly comprehensive guide. It’s assumed that students already have a good understanding of written French, but this book takes them to the next level, enabling them to truly perfect their abilities and write like a native.
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Why Use Advanced French Grammar Books?
They’re incredibly varied
Believe it or not, the world of advanced grammar books is huge, and there are many different approaches to the subject.
If you’re particularly interested in storytelling as a way into grammar, there is a book for you.
Similarly, if you like to consider grammar from a technical point of view, there is something out there.
French grammar is a huge world, so it pays to consider it from multiple points of view.
They pick apart complex rules
Advanced French grammar is notoriously difficult, and often, French lessons don’t have enough time to give grammar the scope it deserves.
By using texts that contain grammar as their key focus, you can really take the time to learn the complex rules and begin to understand how they function in the real world.
I also recommend supplementing your traditional textbook studying with immersion by consuming authentic French content, like movies and books.
They give practical examples
There is nothing worse than learning grammar cold—without seeing the rules in use. Advanced grammar texts accompany each lesson with practical examples, showing you how to use tricky rules. Plus, the practice examples allow you to learn by doing, which can really pay off.
They help to boost your language comprehension
As well as containing all sorts of interesting grammar points, many advanced texts come armed with an entire set of French vocabulary. By incorporating new words right into your grammar studies, you will enhance your understanding in no time.
As an advanced student, it’s essential that you pay close and careful attention to the world of French grammar.
By switching up your grammar routine with some new resources, it’s much easier to stay on top of your studies. So grab one (or several) of these handy books today, and take the leap into advanced French grammar!
And one more thing...
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