April 5, 2012 | Review Period

The Complete Grammar of Everything!

McGraw-Hill's marketing kind of works on me.

Yesterday I ordered four books: Complete Italian Grammar, Complete French Grammar, Complete German Grammar, and Complete Spanish Grammar. These are all from McGraw-Hill’s Practice Makes Perfect series. 

Today they arrived. I love the Internet.

Here's Hoping for Perfection. Or at Least Practice, Anyway.

Here’s Hoping for Perfection. Or at Least Practice, Anyway.

I have a gazillion Practice Makes Perfect books at this point. My language bookshelves are stuffed with them. As a group, they are not the most carefully edited books in the world, but most of them do indeed give a lot of practice.

Some of them specialize in different things, like verbs, or pronouns and prepositions, or vocabulary. They have tons of exercises. I love exercises.

Some of the exercises are lame, but on average Practice Makes Perfect books offer more translation exercises than some other series. I find translation into the target foreign language to be about the best way to learn of any method.

That whole language-learning caveat “Don’t translate from English!” doesn’t really hold meaning for me.

The thing is, once I know how to say something in a foreign language, I don’t keep translating from English to that language every time I say it. That would really slow down a conversation, wouldn’t it?

But you have to start somewhere, and study and learn the basic structures and rhythms of a language, and translation is so much more effective and efficient for me than fill-in-the-blank stuff. Though fill-in-the-blank stuff can be great for, say, verb or preposition drills.

But translation—into the foreign language, not from the foreign language into English, which I don’t enjoy—is always my favorite.

I am looking forward to rushing (I hope) through these books, some of which I used the first go-around on these four languages.

Comments (2)

mimi • Posted on Sun, May 20, 2012 - 12:03 pm EST

let me know what you think of these books. I might buy the Italian one.

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Sun, May 20, 2012 - 11:17 pm EST

After buying it, I kind of wandered off and started using other Italian books instead. I am going to go back to it again shortly and see what I think. But it didn’t draw me in the way other books have.

Post a Comment