This post will be my first book review and it will be about “Essential German Grammar” by Guy Stern and Everett F Bleiler. You can find it on Amazon.com here. It is relatively cheap at $5.95. I’m not an Amazon affiliate so I do not make any money off of any purchases, I’m just trying to give out good information.
To start out, I will explain what this book is NOT:
1. It is not for the absolute beginner. It does assume some knowledge of basic German vocab and phrases. There are many example sentences but I would not recommend this as your first German book, but I would recommend it as your first German GRAMMAR book..
2. This is not a complete reference on German Grammar in all situations. This is a small (120 pages) “bird’s eye view” type of resource.
3. This is not a text book or a workbook. You will not find drills and exercises in it. This will not help you pass any tests in German class at school.
Now, What this book IS:
1. This is a reference for the most important basic German Grammar points you will encounter while teaching yourself the language.
2. It is written clearly and concisely. It gets right to the point and does not waste time with theory and historical explanations.
3. It is designed primarily for the native English speaker who is learning German through self-study. The book focuses on drawing parallels between English and German rather than the differences.
So. Now that we have establishes what this book is and is not, my opinion:
I think this book is great. I bought this book about 2 Months into my learning and it really helped bring everything together for me. When I got this book, my biggest issues were word order and noun/adjective declinations. Both of these topics are covered in this book and I have been through it several times over. It is clearly written and offers several example sentences for every concept presented.
Another great thing about this book is that it never tries to be anything but an overview reference to get you up and speaking. I sort of think of this as an anti-textbook. Textbooks focus on trying to make you an expert at a concept by preparing you for exam-type questions and answers. This book will not prepare you for any exams, but it will help you to formulate sentences in German and not sound like an idiot.
So that is my review. In short, I recommend this as anyone’s first grammar book once they have a little vocab and pronunciation under their belt and they are looking for some clear explanations about some of the most basic topics.
Let me know in the comments if you think I am spot on with this review or if I need to have my head checked…