Grammar books

Grammar: some people love it, most run away from it. I am part of the majority, I do not like to study grammar, but unfortunately, it is impossible to escape from it if you want to speak a language well. So now and then I dedicate myself to it. Today, I will give tips on some books I like.

grammar books (1)


Grammar in Use

I believe that these are the most famous grammar books in the world. The series has become a reference for English learners, mainly for its simple approach. In one page, simple explanations and in the other, exercises. I really like this kind of book, because of its simplicity.

Essential Grammar in Use with Answers: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Elementary Students of English

English Grammar in Use with Answers and CD-ROM: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Learners of English

Advanced Grammar in Use with Answers: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Advanced Learners of English

Cassell’s Students’ Grammar English by Jake Allsop

For those who like to dig a little deeper; a good option is the book: Students’ Grammar English. The book has a simple approach, but it has very good explanations and illustrations.

Students’ English Grammar

Students’ English Grammar Exercises with Answers


Planet@ ELE. Libro de referencia gramatical: fichas y ejercicios

For beginners I recommend the Planet@ ELE. Libro de referencia gramatical: fichas y ejercicios, which is divided into four levels. As the collection Grammar in Use, the book has the explanation in one side and in the other exercises. The difference is that it is more simple and short.

Planet@ 1. Libro de referencia gramatical, fichas y ejercicios (Spanish Edition)

Planet@ 2. Libro de referencia gramatical, fichas y ejercicios (Spanish Edition)

Planet@ 3. Libro de referencia gramatical, fichas y ejercicios (Spanish Edition)

Planet@ 4. Libro de referencia gramatical, fichas y ejercicios (Spanish Edition)

Another book that I also recommend is the Diccionario Práctico de Gramática which is a work of grammar reference. The explanations are simple with lots examples. Besides the grammatical structures, they explain also words and their typical uses.

Diccionario practico de gramatica (Spanish Edition)

Diccionario practico de gramatica: libro de ejercicios: 800 fichas de uso correcto del espanol (Spanish Edition)

Diccionario practico de gramatica. Claves del Libro de ejercicios (Spanish Edition)


Grammaire Progressive

Again, a course that puts the grammatical explanation in one page and in the other exercises. It is also a simple, progressive and well-illustrated book. . The course has four levels. In my experience, it is the most recommended by French teachers.

Grammaire Progressive Du Francais: Niveau Debutant (French Edition)

Grammaire Progressive Du Francais – Nouvelle Edition: Livre Intermediaire 3e Edition + Cd-audio (French Edition)

Grammaire Progressive du Français: Niveau Avancé (French Edition)

Grammaire Progressive du Francais: Livre Perfectionnement (French Edition)


Klipp und Klar – Ubungsgrammatik

This is the book that I am currently using to learn German. And it has the same style of the previous books. At the end of the book, it has great reference lists. There are two books, one that is destined to the B1 level, and another to the most advanced level (B2/C1).

Klipp Und Klar: Klipp Und Klar – Ubungsgrammatik Grundstufe Deutsch – MIT Losungen (German Edition)

Klipp Und Klar: Klipp Und Klar – Ubungsgrammatik Mittelstufe Deutsch B2/C1 (German Edition)

Collection Practice Makes Perfect – McGraw Hill

For other languages, there is also the Practice Makes Perfect series. There are available in several different grammatical topics and by level. There are, for example, books just about verbs or just about pronouns and prepositions. As they are full of exercises, they are great for testing your grammar skills intensively and to devote yourself to subjects in which you have more difficulty. Here is a list of the books I found.


Practice Makes Perfect Arabic Pronouns and Prepositions (Practice Makes Perfect Series)


Practice Makes Perfect Basic Chinese


Practice Makes Perfect French Verb Tenses (Practice Makes Perfect Series)

Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French All-in-One

Practice Makes Perfect French Problem Solver: With 90 Exercises (Practice Makes Perfect (McGraw-Hill))

Practice Makes Perfect: Intermediate French Grammar: With 145 Exercises (Practice Makes Perfect Series)


Practice Makes Perfect Basic English, Second Edition: (Beginner) 250 Exercises + Flashcard App + 90-minute Audio (Practice Makes Perfect Series)

Practice Makes Perfect Intermediate English Grammar for ESL Learners (Practice Makes Perfect Series)

Practice Makes Perfect English Articles and Determiners Up Close

Practice Makes Perfect English Grammar for ESL Learners, 2nd Edition: With 100 Exercises

Practice Makes Perfect English Problem Solver: With 110 Exercises


Practice Makes Perfect Intermediate German Grammar

Practice Makes Perfect German Verb Tenses, 2nd Edition: With 200 Exercises + Free Flashcard App

Practice Makes Perfect German Problem Solver: With 130 Exercises


Practice Makes Perfect Basic Hindi


Practice Makes Perfect Italian Problem Solver: With 80 Exercises

Practice Makes Perfect Italian Verb Tenses, 2nd Edition: With 300 Exercises + Free Flashcard App


Practice Makes Perfect Basic Japanese

Practice Makes Perfect Complete Japanese Grammar


Practice Makes Perfect Basic Latin


Basic Portuguese


Practice Makes Perfect Complete Spanish Grammar

Practice Makes Perfect Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions, Premium 3rd Edition

Practice Makes Perfect Complete Spanish All-in-One

Practice Makes Perfect: Intermediate Spanish Grammar: With 160 Exercises

Differences between Mandarin and Cantonese

Although these two languages ​​are originally from the same country and they share the same alphabet. Mandarin and Cantonese are not mutually intelligible.

What are the differences?


Mandarin is the official language of China and is used for all business and official policies. The language is spoken in major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Also, Mandarin is the official language in Taiwan and Singapore. On the other hand, Cantonese is spoken in Hong Kong, Macau and in the Guangdong province. Continue reading

Movies in Mandarin (with some Cantonese spoken)

Shaolin – Xin shao lin si

A mix of action and comedy film, Shaolin tells the story of Hao Jie (Andy Lau), a young and powerful warrior who is betrayed and forced to seek shelter in the temple of Shaolin masters. Military leaders plan to invade the temple and Hao Jie and Shaolin monks are forced to fight to protect it.

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Italian Movies

Shun Li and the Poet – Io Sono Li

The film tells the story of friendship between a Chinese immigrant (Zhao Tao) and an old fisherman from the former Yugoslavia (Rade Sherbedgia). When the friendship between them begins to grow, rumors start to cross the small Italian town, affecting the friendship between the two. Note: A half of the movie is in Mandarin.

The Great Beauty – La Grande Bellezza

Oscar winner for best foreign language film, “The Great Beauty” shows the decadent writer Jap Gambardella (Toni Servillo) reflecting on his life when he reaches age 65. Jep wrote only one book, called “The Human Machine” and he lives from its success to the present day, attending high society parties.


Malena (Monica Bellucci) is a coveted woman in her city, whose husband died in the war. All her steps are followed by the boy Renato Amoroso (Giuseppe Sulfaro) who secretly nurtures a passion for Malena.

We Can Do That – Si Può Fare

Nello (Claudio Bisio) is an idealistic union leader who is put away from his work and nominated for the position of manager in a cooperative of mental patients who were released from Italy’s psychiatric hospitals by the Law Basaglia. There he discovers that the members of the cooperative are more capable than they seem. Soon, they abandon the assistencialist work and begin to work with carpentry, where the limitations and talents of each are shown.

Trailer in Italian

Me and You – Io e Te

Lorenzo (Jacopo Olmo Antinori) is a lonely 14-year-old boy who instead of going on a school trip to ski, use the money to sustain himself while spending his vacation in the basement of his building. However, his half-sister Olivia (Tea Falco) discovers him when trying to fetch old belongings and blackmails him to stay there, while trying to solve her problems with drugs.

Multilingual Movies – Part 2

“Plurality of languages: […] It is crucial 1. that there are many languages and that they differ not only in vocabulary, but also in grammar, and so in mode of thought and 2. that all languages are learnable.”

Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt

Languages: English, German, Hebrew, French and Latin

The film tells a part of the biography of the famous Jewish philosopher of German origin Hannah Arendt (Barbara Sukowa). Established in the United States, she is already a respected intellectual when she offers to the New Yorker magazine to cover the trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann. She follows the trial in Israel and then publish five articles in the New Yorker. However, by putting the articles that there was collaboration of Jews in Nazi logistics, Arendt is heavily criticized, especially by the Jewish community.

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Multilingual Movies

Following with the tips of movies, after recommending movies in Spanish (Part 1 and Part 2), and movies in French (Part 1 and Part 2), I will recommend films in multiples languages; each film has dialogues in at least three different languages.

The first three movies I will recommend are practically an extension of the first post about French films, as one of the protagonists is Audrey Tatou.

L’Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment)

Languages: French, English and Spanish + few phrases in Catalan.

One of my favorite movies, L’Auberge Espagnole tells the story of Xavier (Romain Duris) who goes to Barcelona to finish his studies in economics, with the goal of getting a job in the French government. In the city, he stays at an apartment for young students who are not from Barcelona. There, Xavier finally discovers the taste of freedom and the experience will change his destiny forever.

Russian Dolls – Les Poupées russes

Languages: French, English, Russian + few words in Spanish

Russian Dolls is a continuation of the movie L’Auberge Espagnole. Five years pass between a movie and another, and in the second Xavier (Romain Duris) is already 30 years and work as a freelance writer and gets a job as a soap opera’s writer. To help him finish the job he will need an English partner and he ends up choosing Wendy (Kelly Reilly). Meanwhile, William (Kevin Bishop), Wendy’s brother is getting married in Russia.

Chinese Puzzle – Casse-tête chinois

Languages: French, English, Chinese + half a dozen speeches in Spanish and Yiddish

This is the last film about Xavier (Romain Duris); he is already 40 years old and ended up divorcing. With the change of Wendy (Kelly Reilly) to New York, he also goes to the city to stay close to his children. Struggling to stay in the country, Xavier will need to find an apartment, a job and a wife to stay in New York.

Merry Christmas – Joyeux Noël

Languages: French, German and Scottish English

The film is based on reports from soldiers on Christmas’ 1914, when soldiers of different nationalities fraternized during war. Nominated for an Oscar, the movie shows how even in times of stress, enemies can fraternize and comfort each other.


Languages: English, Spanish, Berber, Japanese and sign language (Japan)

Babel is one of those films with various nuclei of independent characters who are somehow related. The first nucleus portrays tourists traveling by bus in a mountainous region of Morocco; a shot is fired towards the bus where they are and hits Susan (Cate Blanchett) who is traveling with her husband Richard (Brad Pitt). In the middle of the mountains are the brothers Ahmed (Said Tarchani) and Youssef (Boubker At El Caid) manipulating a rifle. At the same time, in the United States the nanny Amelia (Adriana Barraza) takes the kids she is taking care to a wedding in Mexico. Meanwhile, in Japan a widower tries to take care of his teenage daughter (Rinko Kinkuchi) who is deaf and has yet to surpass her mother’s death.

Diaz Don’t Clean Up This Blood

Languages: Italian, English, German, French + very few lines in Spanish

The film Diaz narrates the events in Genoa in 2001, during a summit of the G8. While the meeting is happening, world activists are in the local to the World Social Forum. Many of them are camped in the school Diaz-Pascoli, where is installed a group of lawyers and an Independent Media Center. On the night of July 21st, the police burst the place and attacks people on site unscrupulously.

Which language to choose? A Practical Point of View

European Day of Languages


Great! You have decided to learn a new language, but you still don’t know which one. What aspects you should reflect on?

Study Material / Schools

There are means to learn this language? If you use internet you can learn almost any language. But and others materials? Continue reading