Natural Grammar

0582277272From word to phrase to sentence, this new lexical approach to grammar builds natural idiomatic English. Natural Grammar shows you how one hundred important English keywords work, the phrases they generate, and the links they make. The emphasis is on natural-sounding language. Plenty of practice is provided in language building.

Level: Intermediate to Advanced.

Key features

100 double-page spreads with explanations and exercises.
Reference area with four clear sections: definitions, grammar patterns, collocations, and set phrases.
Examples of real language from corpus research.
Varied exercises which practise and expand language.
Idioms and natural phrases.
Language notes on usage.
Natural Grammar.

Imagine a book focusing on 100 high frequency words such as: and, but, for, have and if, sequenced alphabetically. Imagine calling that book, somewhat audaciously, “Natural grammar”! This is what well-known EFL writer and author of “Uncovering grammar”, Scott Thornbury has done. He invites users to look at the grammatical patterns of the key words of English. So under “have / has”, the present perfect is listed along with past modals like must have.

Each of the 100 words is given a two-page spread containing information on the grammatical patterns, on collocations, phrasal verbs and set phrases. The second part of each unit provides exercises, often based on concordance lines and some of which are witty – connecting words in two lists to create film titles (e.g. Lord of the Rings) is my favourite, under “of”.

This approach is fascinating, aiming to enable students to generate natural-sounding language. The juxtaposition of language forces us to break from the traditional grammar syllabus and, like the Collins COBUILD course and the Lexical Approach which form the historical backdrop, makes us reassess our traditional approach to grammar. The exercises are appropriate for good level students (intermediate to advanced). Based on corpus research, this is an essential browse, useful for learners and one which should influence syllabus writers. I’ve been looking for the “present perfect continuous” – and actually found it under….“been”. Recommended