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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
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Amazon USA Price: $10.17
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Text: English, French
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
- 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.
165 of 166 people found the following review helpful:
What I Needed, March 27, 2001
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:
Combo of Grammar and Practical Everyday French, July 15, 2002
"ed-word" (El Paso, Texas
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.
Avg. Customer Review:
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
grammar review for intermediate students, October 10, 2004
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:
5-star system doesn't do this justice, September 13, 2004
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:
review for grammer, light on vocabulary, August 16, 2004
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:
THE BEST, May 27, 2004
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
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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