Schaum's Outlines of Italian Grammar

Authors Joseph E. Germano and Conrad J. Schmitt. Edition Third. Publisher McGraw-Hill. Pages 330. Price £9.90. ISBN 9780071484695.

May 22, 2008

This book was first recommended to me by a student, and I have since used it extensively in teaching because of the effective and essential way in which it provides and tests all the necessary grammar rules. The big problem is that it cannot be trusted on an idiomatic level. This was particularly obvious in the prepositions section. Some of the worst errors have now been corrected, but a more thorough revision is needed to avoid encouraging certain typical student mistakes, or even creating new ones: see, for instance, the use of "godere" for "to enjoy", or "Questa signora e dell'Irlanda", or the baffling "Ne ho bisogno (di) tre".

Who is it for? Students and teachers engaged in revision activity.

Changes since last edition - Introduction of IPA symbols in the pronunciation section; additional chapter on comparatives and superlatives; glossary; change to euros (but I would query the assertion in the preface that cent, pronounced like "sent", is commonly used in Italy alongside centesimi); 90 more exercises (although they forgot to update the number given on the cover).

Presentation - Well-set-out A4-size book, which gives lots of space on the page, making it all look less daunting. Includes answers to the exercises.

Would you recommend it? Not as a main textbook. Can be useful for introductory or additional practice, but examples and exercises need to be checked before they are put in front of students.

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