Why is it important to buy a French grammar book?
When we go to learn a new skill, our mind often turns to buying a book. Books can be very useful resources when it comes to language learning, from simple information books on grammar, to detailed textbooks with exercises and audio tracks for more immersive learning. If you’re considering how a grammar textbook could help you in your French learning, consider these advantages:
- Books provide structured learning, allowing students to move from chapter to chapter
- There are grammar books available at every level
- The best French grammar book with be complete with grammar rules, vocabulary and audio resources to provide a well-rounded study programme
- Books represent a one-off cost
If we’ve convinced you that investing in a grammar book is a good move, the next question is, which one? We recommend choosing and buying a textbook specifically for you, with your learning needs and style in mind. Borrowing a friend’s old exercise book or reviving your parents’ old school textbooks might seem like an economical option, but choosing a resource that suits your level is the way to go.
Best French grammar books for beginners
Let’s start things off by looking at five of the best French grammar books for beginner students in French.
Grammaire essentielle du français (Didier)
The first pick on our best French grammar book list is this grammar textbook aimed at A1 and A2-level beginners in French. This book is an FLE textbook, meaning it is written in French for non-native speakers, with the aim of immersing learners in the language from the get-go. We think you’ll like this book for:
- Hundreds of grammar exercises with corrections so you can study independently
- Audio CD and exercises included for listening comprehension
- An immersive French learning experience accessible to students from all native languages
- Lessons centered around a consistent methodology: observe, reflect, memorize
Complete French Grammar (Annie Heminway)
This is a great resource for any beginner learner in French and may be a little more comforting than our first choice, because the textbook is written partially in English and aimed at explaining grammar concepts to English speakers. The book includes:
- Detailed grammar and vocabulary lessons
- Audio recordings to help practice listening comprehension
- More than 2,200 exercises to test yourself with
- Verb tables to help learn grammar rules
Easy Learning: French Grammar & Practice (Collins)
If what you’re looking for is a grammar textbook, pure and simple, this might be the best French grammar book for you. This one offers easy-to-understand grammar breakdowns explained with numerous examples and practice exercises. For a traditional textbook with lessons in grammar rules, vocabulary, and syntax, this is the one to consider.
La grammaire des premiers temps (PUG)
This book is one in a two-part series, the first destined for A1-A2 beginner students, the second for B1-B2 intermediate students. We recommend this as one of the best French grammar books for its focus on improving your French expression through oral and written exercises. Highlights include:
- Grammar information summarized into recap sheets at the end of chapters
- Basic information combined with innovative training exercises
- A continuous series to take you from beginner to intermediate
Easy Learning: French Conversation (Collins)
For our final best French grammar book for beginners, we’re turning our attention to a more atypical textbook. This book is all about preparing students for French conversation. If you’re less interested in pure grammar lessons and rules, and more motivated by how you will use French in real life, this might be the best French grammar book for you.
This textbook is divided into 12 units covering different everyday situations, with an accompanying audio file for working on pronunciation.
Best French grammar books for intermediate learners
Now let’s look at five of the best French learning books for intermediate learners in French.
Intermediate French for Dummies (Laura K. Lawless)
This is our first pick for the best French grammar book for intermediate learners because it comes from a renowned non-native teacher of French grammar. This book targets students who have mastered the basics and are looking to widen their understanding of French grammar, so it’s on the lower end of the intermediate scale. In it, you’ll find:
- Writing exercises complete with suggested corrections
- Basic explanations on understanding differences in French and English language concepts
- Information specific to French for traveling and working
English Grammar for Students of French (O&H)
As an intermediate learner, the best French grammar guide for you will cover not only the basic language concepts, but enter into detail and nuance so you can broaden your communication possibilities. Each section in the guide seeks to answer a specific grammar question and provides step-by-step analysis and examples to clarify complex concepts.
For some intermediate students, the best French grammar book is one packed full of exercises. This textbook is designed for B1-B2 students and provides more than 350 corrected grammar exercises. The book includes basic information too, with grammar and vocabulary rules explained where necessary.
En bonne forme (Simone Renaud and Dominique van Hooff)
The best French grammar book for you may not be a traditional textbook. If you’re a confident French speaker looking to hone your grammar without getting bogged down in lesson after lesson, you may be interested in this title. Each grammar lesson begins with an extract from French literature for context, and the authors frequently include notes on expressions and slang.
Moments littéraires : An Anthology for Intermediate French (Bette Hirsch and Chantal Thompson)
As you become more confident in understanding and using French, you may be ready to consider a French exercise book that focuses more on literature than grammar exercises. This is one of the best French grammar books for students who are keen to put their French to the test with extracts from the best in literature, complete with annotations, comprehension questions and exercises.
Best French grammar books for advanced speakers
To finish off, let’s look at the five best French learning books for advanced speakers.
Le bon usage (M. Grévisse)
It’s almost compulsory to begin any discussion on the best French grammar book for advanced learners with the title. This grammar book is so well known and respected that even native French speakers refer to it with the most tricky of grammar questions. This book is not for students who are shy of serious grammar, but if you really want to iron out the kinks in your expression, this book could become your best friend.
Le petit Grevisse
If our previous pick seems a little daunting, you might be pleased to know it has a younger sibling: Le petit Grevisse. This textbook is as widely respected and revered as Le bon usage, but packaged in a more accessible format. This grammar bible includes:
- Grammar rules and detailed explanations
- Basic vocabulary to explain complex concepts
- Examples to bring grammar rules to life
Advanced French Grammar (Collins)
Let’s turn our attention to a friendly take on the advanced French grammar textbook. Collins has put together this great reference book for advanced learners that brings together lessons in grammar vocabulary, with information on usage and pronunciation. Students can use this textbook to complete bitesize lessons, or simply keep it for reference information.
The French They Never Taught You (Binamé and Socken)
Now let’s look at a slightly more alternative approach to French grammar for advanced students. This book doesn’t seek to deliver a course in French language, but rather fill in the gaps that the traditional lessons don’t cover. This book is about exceptions to the rules, colloquial French, nuanced vocabulary and niche topics. If you’re a learner who’s a little tired of run-of-the-mill grammar textbooks, this is probably the best French grammar book for you.
Short stories in French (Penguin)
Last but not least, our final pick for the best French grammar book is not a typical textbook at all, but rather a collection of short stories with comprehension exercises. As an advanced learner, you may be eager to leave textbooks behind you and go forth into the world of literature, and this book is the perfect bridge into full novels.
Learning French online with Global General
Now that you’ve got a good idea of which types of books might be best suited to you as a learner, you might want to consider broadening your study programme to include learning resources outside of the bookshop. Have you heard about Global General? That’s the name of our e-learning platform specifically designed to help learners like you level up their French. Our platform takes what’s great about grammar textbooks and combines it with fun activities and interactivity. Here are some of the perks of online study compared to traditional textbooks: engaging learning on a fun, digital platform; no more looking for the audio CD: our website is simple and easy to use; learn grammar step by step, targeting the topics you need; find detailed information on vocabulary sets; follow the course of your progress with our study tracker.
Take some time to read more articles about French grammar and to improve your French level. We have written articles on topics such as French adjectives, pronouns, adverbs, gerund and all you need to know about verbs and tenses.
Here with the list of French grammar worksheets: