Practice Makes Perfect: Complete Spanish Grammar (Second Edition)
March 10, 2013
Author Gilda Nissenberg, Ph.D.
Series Practice Makes Perfect
Publication Date 2011
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate
Like other books in the sprawling Practice Makes Perfect series from McGraw-Hill, this one, written by Gilda Nissenberg, is packed with exercises. Some are good, but some could be better. I ended up skipping many of them.
For example, in an exercise on page 95 of Practice Makes Perfect: Complete Spanish Grammar, you are asked to indicate whether various statements are verdadero (true) or falso (false). The first statement you have to evaluate is, “Si piensas mucho puedes volverte loco(a).” (If you think too much, you can go crazy.)
Mulling over the veracity of that sentence simply is not a productive use of my language-learning time! And there are no answers given for this exercise, because the content is subjective. Which means I could be completely clueless for the duration of the exercise and never know it.
A layout gripe about Complete Spanish Grammar: in many cases, you are given too little room to answer the questions. This is just a very basic exercise-design issue: if you are purporting to give me room to answer the exercises in your book, give me enough room. I cannot translate two sentences’ worth of English onto a two-inch line! Squishing whole sentences into tiny spaces makes a big mess and is cumulatively really annoying. And on exercises where you have to translate entire paragraphs, this book gives you no room at all, forcing you to go elsewhere. Just print me some lines to write on!
Complete Spanish Grammar includes material on the vosotros forms used in Spain. My Spanish is Latin American, so I don’t need that practice. I wish I could find a comprehensive Spanish grammar book I loved without them, because I usually just end up skipping all the vosotros questions. (My apologies to Spain.)