Review ~ Grammar for Business

A slick, well-written resource in which the grammar has been excellently contextualized
Reviewed for Teflnet by Saul Pope
Grammar for Business

Grammar for Business

Traditionally, in-company classes are the most difficult for ESOL/EFL practitioners to find decent materials for. Business course books, even when well-written and presented, tend to spread the net a little too widely, meaning that some units tend to be useful for the students and the other half irrelevant to their particular situation. They also, for my money, have a tendency to skimp on the grammar. The alternative, to take a crash course in whatever the business may do and write a set of materials based around that, can be daunting and time-consuming. But in-company students tend to be demanding, and rightly so – they often pay premium rates for special treatment. That extra mile therefore often has to be travelled to keep them happy. One thing your DoS/Senior Teacher can do right now to help you out in such situations is to get hold of a copy of Grammar for Business.

Initially I was a little skeptical of this book, suspecting that it might simply be standard grammar with business words inserted into the practice sentences. On one level is it a typical, well-written grammar book, but one complemented by hints and tips for the business world. When learning about imperatives, for example, students are reminded that using these with hotel receptionists and restaurant staff would sound rude. Similarly, state verbs are taught in the context of discussing rumours about business.

Each unit is split into two, with the first part concentrating on an area of grammar, and the second an extension into a business-related context that focuses on either writing or speaking. The second sections can either be used for practice after the grammar (as I did with the state verbs, for example), or they can be used with stronger students simply as a focus on the lexis/situations that the sections focus on. Good examples of this include a couple of sections on using going to/will in workshops/presentations, and a section on using the past tenses to be polite. At the end of the exercises in each section there is a Make It Personal task which allows the student to close the book and activate the lexis/grammar in their own business context. This is a simple little touch, but one that my students have found very motivating, acting as it does like a repair kit to their daily business discourse.

As if this wasn’t enough, the materials are backed up by decent listening materials, tests every four units, authoritative data from the Cambridge Data Corpus, and Speaking Strategies units which focus more on lexis than on grammar. I would highly recommend this book to those teaching demanding in-company students at intermediate/upper-intermediate level who seem unable to make that extra step to becoming really proficient in the language. It works well either in its entirety or as a resource to dip into when specific issues come up.

Reviewed by Saul Pope for Teflnet December 2010

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