Welcome to ESL Teacher, the blog for teaching and learning ESL on the internet. This post is introducing a wonderful ESL textbook: Basic English Grammar, Third Edition (Full Student Book with Audio CD and Answer Key) by Betty Azar and Stacy Hagen. Many teachers refer to this book as just "Azar". It is an excellent grammar book for beginning and intermediate ESL students. It has very good explanations and examples and also lots of activities to practice the grammar principles.
Lots of Practice, Manageable Lessons
This is more of a classroom use book than a reference book. It is designed to give students grammar lessons in manageable chunks, so that they can remember what they've learned and use it properly, before moving onto the next topic.
For example, when they teach Past Tense for instance, they don't list all of the past tense forms and tell ESL students to memorize them (which is pretty boring and futile for most). Instead, they introduce students to a group of irregular past tense form verbs (Group 2 on p. 238 has brought, bought, caught, drank, drove, read, rode, ran, taught and thought), and then give them lots of practice using them . After that, they give another manageable group, and so on. So, they teach the verbs in sections to fit well in a class format. It optimizes the introduction of key grammar topics, as well as provides a way for students to practice them and actually learn them.
Variety of Practice in Speaking, Writing and Listening
Practice activities involve speaking, writing and listening. The book has a CD for listening practice. Or, if you don't have a CD player, you can read the script in the back of the book.
For those who need a list to reference, they do have a list of all the verbs in the Appendix.
Cost - On the Expensive Side
The book unfortunately costs about $50 US, which is pretty expensive in our school. However, for serious students it is well worth the money.
The book has the grammar and the practice, and is very classroom friendly. This is a great book to make handouts from. If your class can afford it, then it is worth purchasing.
Here is the Table of Contents so that you can see the topics that are covered:
Chapter 1: Using Be
Chapter 2: Using Be and Have
Chapter 3: Using The Simple Present
Chapter 4: Using The Present
Chapter 5: Talking About The Present
Chapter 6: Nouns and Pronouns
Chapter 7: Count and Noncount Nouns
Chapter 8: Expressing Past Time, Part 1
Chapter 9: Expressing Past Time, Part 2
Chapter 10: Expressing Future Time, Part 1
Chapter 11: Expressing Future Time, Part 2
Chapter 12: Modals, Part 1: Expressing Ability
Chapter 13: Modals, Part 2: Advice, Necessity, Requests, Suggestions
Chapter 14: Nouns and Modifiers
Chapter 15: Possessives
Chapter 16: Making Comparisons
Appendix: Irregular Verbs
CD Tracking Script