Understanding and Using English Grammar by Betty Azar – Book Review

Understanding and Using English Grammar with Essential Online Resources (5th Edition)

A comprehensive grammar book is invaluable to learning for English second language students.  It is not enough to learn vocabulary and phrases; it is crucial to be able to put words into the correct order for sentences.  The topics covered in this book will help with understanding word order and grammar.  As well as a self-study guide, this book can also be used in a classroom situation.

Understanding and using English GrammarA classic developmental skills text for intermediate to advanced students of English, Understanding and Using English Grammar is a comprehensive reference grammar as well as a stimulating and teachable classroom text. While keeping the same basic approach and material as in earlier editions, the Third Edition more fully develops communicative and interactive language-learning activities.

There are plenty of varied exercise material


  • Overview of verb tenses
  • Present and past, simple and progressive
  • Perfect and perfect progressive tenses
  • Future time
  • Adverb clauses of time and review of verb tenses
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Nouns
  • Pronouns
  • Modals, part 1
  • Modals, part 2
  • Adjective clauses
  • Noun clauses
  • Adjective clauses
  • Gerunds and infinitives, part 1
  • Gerunds and infinitives, part 2
  • Coordinating conjunctions
  • Adverb clauses
  • Reduction of adverb clauses to modifying adverbial phrases
  • Connectives that express cause and effect, contrast, and condition
  • Conditional sentences and wishes

Appendix Supplementary grammar units

  • Units
    • Basic grammar terminology
    • Questions
    • Contradictions
    • Negatives
    • Preposition combinations
    • Connectives to give examples to continue an idea
    • Verb form review exercises

Answer Key


Some of the new features are:

  • Numerous real communication opportunities
  • More options for interactive work in pairs and groups
  • Additional open-ended communicative tasks for both speaking and writing
  • Expanded error analysis exercises *Interesting and lively new exercise material
  • Shorter units for easy class use.

The program components include:

  • the Student Book
  • Workbook
  • Chartbook
  • Teacher’s Guide, and Companion Website.
  • Also available: Understanding and Using English Grammar Interactive (a multimedia CD-ROM).

Product details

Paperback, 544 pages
Published 2009 by Pearson Education (first published December 1st, 1988)
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson Longman; 4 edition (February 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132333317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132333313
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.9 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds


Understanding and Using English is a recommended study and reference guide for the serious student or teacher of English.  This book is highly recommended for advanced students who already have sufficient vocabulary and want to improve grammar.

Understanding and Using English Grammar by Betty Azar


GoodReads Rating



  • Most useful as a reference book
  • Has answers to questions at the back of the book


  • Not a book to read cover to cover
  • CDroms are a bit dated now.

Aaron Skudder


  1. I am Italian, I live and work abroad in a multinational, where English is the main language. I found the book’s review very interesting and I believe it will be my next purchase. For me it is important to relate in English with colleagues or customers in the best possible way and this book will surely give me a hand to correct the mistakes I make every day. Thank you Aaron for sharing your knowledge.

    • Hi Fabio

      I hope Understanding and Using English Grammar is useful to you



  2. Wow, I’m glad I found this post vis a vis the book. I think it’s great that a foreign student can learn from a simple book. I have a Spanish friend who just moved here. He speaks English but then mixes things up syntactically. It gets really weird sometimes and embarrassing for him. He thinks all he needs is a simple book to get him going and I think I’ve found the perfect one for him. With 20 full chapters, there’s no way he’s not going to speak better. I’ll definitely get him this one so he can learn grammar better. Thanks for having this post up.

  3. I’m a blogger and I sometimes struggle with my English. There are times I thought the articles that I’ve written are okay but people from the Western hemisphere are commenting I should improve on my grammar. That prompted me to look for a book on grammar to buy and this one in review looks like a good prospect to me. I just have this question in my mind….

    Why did the book started with a topic about Verb?

    • Verbs are the backbone of the English language.  It is where things happen.  A verb is a ‘must’ in a sentence.  No sentence is complete without a verb

  4. Hi, your review on how to understand and how to use English grammar with online resources is unique post because as a content writer am planning to improve in my grammar to meet up with the professional level, this resources will also be useful for my younger ones at school so am getting two of it, I can see the order button from amazon i will proceed with it and am going to share this for my friend on social media to help them in their business.

    • Hi.

      Thanks for considering the book.  Grammarly is a ‘must-have’ resource for bloggers.  Have a look at my review on Grammarly.

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