Just the other day I was talking to a student of mine and she asked if there were a book which I considered essential for students to have. The answer came to me in seconds – Swan Practical English Usage by Michael Swan.
I was surprised that the name of this book crossed my mind so quickly but it’s understandable. Way back then when I started working with translation it was quite common for me to find myself trying to choose the most appropriate word or construction for a specific situation. You’ve probably felt it too, you know.
It goes like this, you’re writing something and then you get stuck trying to decide if you should use, for instance, among or between, or, let’s say, like or as. Have you been there?
Well, the purpose of this book is to help you understand these confusing words and constructions by means of examples and short explanations.
Let’s see how it works?
Considering the examples I mentioned above, imagine you don’t remember the difference in usage for among and between. Checking the book, you’re going to find this entry:
between or among more than two
We usually say that somebody or something is between several clearly separate people or things. We prefer among when somebody or something is in a group, a crowd or a mass of people or things which we do not see separately.
– Our house is between the woods, the river and the village.
His house is hidden among the trees.
– I saw something between the wheels of the car.
You letter is somewhere among all these papers.
Among is normal before a singular (uncountable) noun.
They found an envelope full of money among all the rubbish.
As you can see, the book focus on simple examples, it doesn’t bring exercises or activities, it works as a quick reference instead. Entries are organised in alphabetical order to make it easier for you to look up a term.
I truly believe that students should have this book by their side, and choose it as their best friend forever!
Now the downside, it’s not exactly cheap, but it’s worth the investment.
Would you like to take a look at the book in more detail? So, follow these links.