Barron’s Spanish Verb Workbook
March 10, 2013
Author Frank H. Nuessel, Ph.D
Publisher Barron’s Educational Series
Publication Date 2005
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate
“If you are a true beginner,” writes author Frank H. Nuessel in the introduction to Barron’s Spanish Verb Workbook, “you will find that this book makes no assumptions. You will learn about the other [i.e., non-verb] aspects of Spanish grammar as you work your way through it.”
I would still recommend bringing some knowledge to the book. It will be a less frustrating and more educational experience if you do, since by page 4, you will already have seen examples that include imperative, future, and subjunctive forms in Spanish. It should be fine for advanced beginners with a grasp of basic grammar and vocabulary, however.
In fact, Barron’s Spanish Verb Workbook never gets all that advanced, meaning a knowledgeable intermediate student may find it insufficiently challenging. A significant percentage of the exercises involve simply filling in blanks and tables with verb forms—useful but mundane and, in that volume, dull. Translation exercises even in the middle and towards the end of the book tend to be quite simple, and there are little crossword puzzles (ugh), which I just don’t care for in any language book, because they feel childish and I learn faster anyway by writing sentences than puzzling out a puzzle.
I often complain that exercise books don’t give you enough room for your answers. Well, here one has the opposite problem! Shrinking the vast oceans of space repeatedly given the user to write a single little verb form could have made Barron’s Spanish Verb Workbook much smaller and lighter and, well, a little more sophisticated-looking. In fact, there is a lot of unnecessary white space in other places as well. The book ends up too heavy, and for no reason other than wasted paper.
A final note: the content and exercises cover vosotros, the plural informal “you” used in Spain. For me, a learner of Mexican Spanish, that is not ideal, but learners of Spanish Spanish will benefit.