German Grammar Drills
March 10, 2013
Author Ed Swick
Publication Date 2007
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate
German Grammar Drills by Ed Swick does indeed provide the drills that its title promises, but the exercises could be better at developing skills and encouraging retention.
There is just too much mindless repetition. For example, in Exercise 129 you are given an infinitive phrase, such as können gut Mundharmonika spielen (to be able to play the harmonica well), and then told to conjugate that with ich (meaning “I”) in the present, past, present perfect, and future tenses. Then there are nine more questions structured just like that, each with a new phrase and a new pronoun, but still, with every question you are repeating the same vocabulary four times, with the same subject four times, and with the same four tenses.
It is dull and doesn’t do enough to promote learning. German Grammar Drills needs to mix it up more! (Effective pedagogy demands variety.)
In addition, there are too many exercises for which answers can’t be checked, because multiple answers—sometimes infinite answers—are possible. That is really annoying, and really unnecessary. This is a self-help guide; construct the exercises so I can help myself, please.
Note: I used the 2007 version of German Grammar Drills. A second edition came out in 2012, and that one I haven’t seen.