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The Ultimate French Review and Practice: Mastering French Grammar for Confident Communication

Title: The Ultimate French Review and Practice: Mastering French Grammar for Confident Communication

Author: David M. Stillman, Ronni L. Gordon
Format: Paperback
List Price: $14.95
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Amazon USA Price: $10.17

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The Ultimate French Review and Practice: Mastering French Grammar for Confident Communication

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Editorial Reviews
Language Notes
Text: English, French

Product Description:

A good grasp of grammar enables the foreign-language learner to build skill and confidence in communication. Here's the "ultimate," painless way for intermediate and advanced learners to brush up on the rules. Each grammatical concept is explained and then illustrated with lively sentence examples; extensive exercises offer practice at applying this knowledge in everyday conversation. Also included are "culture notes," authentic documents, vocabulary boxes, and verb charts, as well as a full answer key and index.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (September 1, 1999)
  • ISBN: 0658000748
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.0 x 1.1 inches
  • Average Customer Review: based on 22 reviews.

Spotlight Reviews

165 of 166 people found the following review helpful:

Exactly What I Needed, March 27, 2001

Reviewer: David W. Bernard (Rolla, MO United States)

I bought this book to relearn all the grammar I used to know. Having had six years of French (last class was ten years ago), I needed something that would take me through grammar lessons fairly quickly. This book does that.

This is a handbook on grammar and conjugations. It follows a simple pattern for presenting material--it provides short lessons with examples, and then gives 8-12 practice exercises (with answers in the back of book), and so on.

This book emphasizes grammar over vocabulary, but translations are provided for the words that are used in examples and exercises. Translations also appear for idiomatic phrases.

I learned of this book by researching the materials used in upper level French composition classes at various universities. This one came up several times as a companion to the literature that students were required to obtain.

Here are the contents of Ultimate French Review and Practice:

Part I, Verbs--Basic Forms and Uses: 1. Present tense, 2. Present tense of irregular verbs, 3. Negative sentences, 4. Interrogative sentences, 5. Imperative, 6. Passe compose, 7. Imperfect; imperfect versus passe compose, 8. Reflexive verbs, 9. Future and conditional; conditional sentences, 10. Pluperperfect, future perfect, and past conditional; conditional sentences, 11. Passe simple, 12. Present participles; uses of the infinitive.

Part II, Nouns and Their Modifiers Pronouns: 13. Nouns: gender, number, and articles; uses of articles, 14. Stress pronouns; subject-verb agreement, 15. Possessive and demonstrative adjectives and pronouns, 16. Interrogative adjectives and pronouns, 17. Adjectives; comparative and superlative, 18. Object pronouns.

Part III, Other Elements of the Sentence: 19. Numbers; time; dates, 20. Adverbs, 21. Negative and indefinites, 22. Prepositions; prepositions with geographical names.

Part IV, Verbs in Two-Clause Sentences: 23. Relative clauses, 24. The present subjunctive, 25. The past subjunctive; literary subjunctives, 26. The subjunctive (continued).

Part V, Idiomatic Usage: 27. The passive voice and substitutes for the passive, 28. Important idioms and proverbs.

Don't be fooled by the price. This is a great resource.

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful:

Matchless Combo of Grammar and Practical Everyday French, July 15, 2002

Reviewer: "ed-word" (El Paso, Texas United States)

This book is the best self-contained source for French grammar to come around in a long time. It is particularly good if you learned French through self-study from a variety of sources and want a single volume that encompasses all the essential grammar you need to know. There are lots of exercises (all with answers provided), culture notes, examples from newspaper advertisements, and a section on idiomatic usage. The only caveat is that you should already know French at least to the two-year level. The book is also a bit weak on composition, i.e. letters, essays, and the like. In a formal correspondence, for example, you may want to write using the conditional instead of the present indicative (e.g. je pourrais rather than je peux) and more of this sort of information would have been helpful in a review such as this one.

This is not introductory material so if you are just starting out and want a similar volume try Cassell's Contemporary French by Valerie Worth-Stylianou. Its out of print but frequently available through Amazon's Marketplace sellers. The Cassell's book is geared for beginner and intermediate French learners and is every bit as comprehensive as the Ultimate French Review. The Cassell's book is better at building a vocabulary, idioms, and writing in French, but if you've been there before and just want an in-depth review without the burden of too much "French 101" stuff the Ultimate French Review and Practice is definitely the way to go.

Customer Reviews
Avg. Customer Review:

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

good grammar review for intermediate students, October 10, 2004

Reviewer: Rita Cundera (Boston, MA USA)

I had been looking for a French grammar book for some time that offers clear, concise reviews of verb tenses, etc... to brush up on the common mistakes I made. This book offers all that and on top of that, it is the book used in my current French course taught by a native French speaker. The price is hard to beat!

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:

The 5-star system doesn't do this justice, September 13, 2004

Reviewer: Jameson Scott Lloyd "scronyjameson" (Salt Lake City, UT USA)

This book is wonderful. It provides a good step-by-step explanation of grammar, though not nouns. The book goes into great depth to explain how the French language works - it is complete though not so filled with clutter that it is hard to navigtate. I don't use the drills - but the information inside is a great resource. This book helped me get a 6 on the HL IB French test - a miracle considering the teacher I had. It provides information that might have to be pooled from several other sources without it.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

good review for grammer, light on vocabulary, August 16, 2004

Reviewer: Sheri (Ontario Canada)

I studied in French a few years ago, but haven't used it in quite a while. I picked up this book for a refresher, and have found it to be an excellent review of grammer. The exercises are practical, and the subject matter is relevant (IOW things you might actually hear and say).

The book does touch on some vocabulary, but it is assumed that you already have a basic understanding of French.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who has already studied French, and wants to brush up their grammer skills. Not for the beginner or someone who wants to focus on vocabulary.

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful:

Absolutely THE BEST, May 27, 2004

Reviewer: Dillon S (Tucson, AZ)

I don't know if I can begin to describe how great this book really is. I bought this on one of my many days spent at the language section of Borders. I had considered buying it after seeing it on Amazon for quite some time but I didn't really feel I would be ready for it as it stated that it's recommended for intermediate and advanced learners. Well that was about a year before that day at Borders. I skimmed through it, and WOW! It covered just about everything in French grammar and answered all of my questions. It even helped me find new questions that I hadn't realized and answered those ones too! But then there came the little problem of money - I wasn't about to shell out forty dollars for a grammar book on the French language, no matter how many of my questions it answered. So I looked at the price tag... TWELVE DOLLARS! The publishers did not skimp on quality at all, because the book is very durable. It's not made up of cheap pages that disintegrate at the slightest sign of moisture, like the pages in my beloved-but-very-fragile Larousse pocket dictionary.

The book starts out by explaining the conjugations for the verbs, something I thought was rather elementary but it really does help. French is full of irregular verbs that are used in everday speech and the conjugation of these verbs can be a real task if you don't know the right rules. Most of the irregular verbs in French actually have rules on how to conjugate them and their relatives, making it seem as if French is the most gramatically regular language in the world. This book teaches you those rules and provides the necessary exercises for remembering them.

And while I am on the subject of exercises, this book has a plethora of them. My hand actually gets doing all the exercises, which perhaps is the book's only flaw. Don't feel obligated to do all the exercises though if you feel you're a faster learner. Some of them are actually rather lengthy so if I feel I've mastered the material I may only do half of an exercise. Also, sometimes it can help to create your own exercises or notes for material that you just CANNOT grasp. For example the distinction between the pass?compos?and the imparfait is virtually non-existent for me, and while the book really does do a thorough and concise job of explaining the two tenses, the concept is just too foreign for me. So I make my own notes and exercises and still keep my faith in the book.

At the end of each chapter there are two challenging activities. In the first you translate English sentances into French, something that is actually more challenging than one may think. The second is an oral exercise where the writer tells you to talk with a friend about a certain subject while using a certain tense/verb/etc. I'm a solitary learner so I didn't find this of very much help to me, but I imagine that if you were using this book with a friend or another student it would prove to be very beneficial.

I really do swear on this book and it has taken place as my Bible. EVERY and I mean EVERY SINGLE French student should have this book. There are no excuses for not having it on your shelf. Even if you are beginning you'll soon find that this book comes in handy, espeacially for the first two chapters on verb conjugation. It's cheap, it's durable, it's concise. It is perfect.

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