If you strive to improve your English language skills, finding a good grammar book should be your top priority.
First of all, it will provide you with the essential information on how to structure sentences, use prepositional phrases, punctuation and capital letters, double negatives, and address other common English language pitfalls for those learning it as their second language.
Secondly, an excellent grammar book will allow you to learn basic English grammar and get enough practice by doing self-tests so you can get a natural feel for complicated grammar rules. However, with so many English grammar books available out there, it might be challenging to choose the right one for your current speaking and writing skills.
For this reason, we at Langster have created this concise guide to help you choose from the best books for beginners that will help you learn English both in an efficient and enjoyable way.
English Grammar Books
If English isn't your first language, it might be tempting to search for an English grammar book that will explain grammar rules and phrases in your native language. However, it won't be as effective as completely immersing yourself in an English learning environment by choosing books entirely written in English.
And if you're worried that it will be difficult to understand the educational material by learning it in English - you shouldn't be. There are plenty of handy grammar books divided by English levels that are easy to follow and won't discourage you with complicated grammar rules.
Here are the best English grammar books for beginners:
English Grammar in Use
Author: Raymond Murphy
English Grammar in Use, frequently also referred to as "blue Murphy" because of the book cover, is a series of universal textbooks (followed by Essential Grammar in Use, Basic Grammar in Use, and Advanced Grammar in Use) for students of any level of knowledge and age.
In terms of English grammar books, English Grammar in Use is one of the classics. Many generations of students use these grammar books as a self-help guide on English grammar.
Each of the books in this series includes more than a hundred lessons (units) on various grammatical topics. According to the author's recommendations, you may choose to select lessons as you see fit.
If you are no longer at an elementary level, you can choose those topics you feel insecure about and improve particular English grammar nuances. But if you are still a beginner, it is better to study all units in order: read the theory, do self-tests, and check the answer keys at the textbook's end.
The theoretical material is presented in brief, simple language, includes grammar diagrams, and it also has a block with additional reference materials that explain important aspects of grammar.
In addition, if you speak English at the Intermediate or Upper-Intermediate level, consider getting the extended version of this book, Supplementary Exercises Book with Answers.
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
Authors: Jean Straus, Lester Kaufman, Tom Stern
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation is a basic English grammar handbook and guide emphasizing punctuation and its usage. It takes a "just the facts" approach to cover the topic and provides a substantial quantity of worksheets and pre- and post-tests.
The book was also recently completely revised to match the most recent grammar and usage norms, and new quizzes were added.
Clear and simple, easy-to-follow, this book is appropriate for all ages, meaning that you can use it regardless of your English level. Having this book at hand will allow you to enhance your English skills and write confidently, eliminating simple mistakes and worries on where to put quotation marks in the sentence.
Basic English Grammar for Dummies
Author: Geraldine Woods
The For Dummies series has taught people many skills. English Grammar for Dummies is well-loved among beginning English learners. These workbooks help you deal with the grammar basics and utilize them effectively in everyday situations.
These include composing letters, communicating effectively with friends and family, completing your writing assignment, making phone calls, and putting your grammar skills into practice right away.
Inside English Grammar for Dummies, you will find plenty of quizzes and self-tests that will help you improve your speaking and writing skills, allowing you to express yourself in proper English and avoiding simple mistakes that many non-native speakers make.
You can also find other editions from this series, such as the English Grammar Workbook for Dummies and Writing Essays for Dummies.
Authors: Virginia Evans, Jenny Dooley
The Grammarway series is a number of beautifully illustrated authentic textbooks on proper English grammar. Each book contains from 12 to 20 units, with one unit consisting of several pages. Exercises for practice are provided with each new rule that is introduced. Furthermore, at the end of each unit, you will find several exercises that consolidate the topics covered.
However, the principle of working with this grammar book differs from working with the previous ones. In Grammarway it is necessary to go through all the units from the first to the last - this way, you will get the most out of it and won't miss a single important nuance in English grammar.
In the final part of the textbook, for your convenience, you will find additional reference materials, including tables of irregular verbs, a dictionary, answer keys, and additional self-tests.
Authors: Virginia Evans, Jenny Dooley
The richly illustrated Round-Up textbook series is the ideal choice for beginners - all grammar topics are presented to be interesting and easy to understand, even for the youngest of students.
Each manual contains from 15 to 25 lessons. The theory of each lesson is stated briefly, in simple language, and blocks of theoretical material alternate with practical exercises. After completing every five lessons, you can take a test at the textbook's end and check how well you understood the material.
However, there are no answer keys to the exercises in this workbook, so you may also consider getting a teacher's textbook that has all the keys so you can check your answers.
Fiction Books for Grammar Enhancing
Boosting your English skills does not mean that you should limit yourself to grammar handbooks only.
They are indeed essential; however, you can diversify your English learning experience by introducing some fiction books that will not only help you expand your vocabulary but also get illustrative examples on how to structure sentences or use punctuation in proper English.
Here are a few titles you can start with, even on an elementary or intermediate level:
Author: George Orwell
Who said you can only read books for children when you only begin to learn English? Besides, you can find plenty of tales written for adults - Animal Farm is one of them!
In this satirical novella, George Orwell uses allegory, meaning that his fictional characters and plot points allude to real-life people and events, making the story even more interesting to follow and introducing you to different types of narration in literature.
In addition, Orwell writes in short and clear sentences, which makes the text more appealing and accessible for beginning English learners.
The Old Man and the Sea
Author: Ernest Hemingway
This is another short novel on the list written in Hemingway’s famous simple language and straightforward style that utilizes short sentences, facilitating the process of vocabulary building. This way, while reading about the battles and difficulties an old fisherman encounters on his way, you also get the chance to improve your reading and writing skills.
The Harry Potter Series
Author: J. K. Rowling
One of the best ways to read more in English is to start reading with something already well-known, or at least familiar. This way, you won't have to worry about correctly understanding the plot since you already know it and will be able to focus more on the grammar and vocabulary.
With that in mind, the Harry Potter series is an excellent choice in this case - the first two books are written for children, meaning you won't have to deal with any complicated grammar rules or long sentences while reading them.
Furthermore, as your English skills get better, the Harry Potter series can continue accompanying you in your English learning journey, as the characters grow older and the book's language advances with them.
The Bottom Line
Learning a foreign language is a lifelong process. The sooner you choose the suitable educational materials to help you in this endeavor, the sooner you will be able to create a solid base for expanding your knowledge.
Like in any other language, you need to know your grammar. Mastering your grammar skills by starting with the basics and going into details about the common English language pitfalls will allow you to speak plain English and express yourself seamlessly.
Make sure to choose a grammar textbook according to your current English skills and needs - whether it be English Grammar for Dummies for successful everyday communication, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation to compose perfect letters, or an illustrated Grammarway to keep your writing and speaking skills sharp.
However, it is essential to keep in mind that if you are looking forward to communicating effectively, grammar books won't be enough - you will also need to diversify your learning materials. For example, on our Lagster app, you can find various English stories with audio from native speakers and grammar explanations to help you pick up the proper phrasing.