The Must-have Korean grammar reference
While Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning to Early Intermediate is far from perfect, but I really can recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with Korean grammar. The book's clear explanations and easy to understand examples make learning Korean so much easier. I honestly believe this.
Examples & dialogues
When learning a new language you will be bombarded with new grammatical expressions often so nuanced you just cannot seem to understand the different. If you are learning Korean, Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning to Early Intermediate might help.
Mind Boggling Grammar
Learning a language is always filled with surprises. Some of those surprises are totally awesome such as meeting new and interesting friends. Other surprises are not so great and most often one of those less fun surprises is the grammar. If we compare a language to a wall then the words are the bricks and grammar the cement. Just like without cement the wall will fall, so will any sentence we say without grammar become nothing more than mindless drivel.
Most language learners love to learn new words because it is exiting to be able to point to something and tell others the Korean word for it. At the same time, grammar excites them far less. Grammar is complex. Grammar is confusing. Grammar often introduces a lot of irregularities. In short, grammar is often the bane of all language learners.
To help you bring order to the grammar chaos, it is always a good idea to have a textbook solely dedicated to the subject. Those kind of books are far in between for language learners, but they are out there. For Korean I found an excellent series on Korean grammar for Korean learners: Korean Grammar in Use.
Korean Grammar in Use
As I mentioned above a great textbook series on Korean Grammar that I found is Korean Grammar in Use. This series has three books:
- Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning to Early Intermediate
- Korean Grammar in Use : Intermediate
- Korean Grammar in Use: Advanced
I currently own one of these books: Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning to Early Intermediate. I got this book as a gift from my Korean roommate’s mother and I consider it one of the best gifts I gotten. (PS: She also gave me the book Korean Made Easy for Beginners). The book has helped me countless times better understand a grammatical construction that still boggled my mind. While it is a great book, it is not a book without flaw.
Positive Points in Use
When it comes to easy use, Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning to Early Intermediate has made some great design decisions. The book is divided in several logical sections based on general grammar concepts such as particles, expression for reason, … Those sections are further divided into units where each unit deals with one grammatical construction.
The units always follow the same pattern. The units begin with three example sentences. These sentences are always quite natural so you could even use them in daily conversation. The expression will be highlighted in red in these example sentences. The second part of a unit explains the grammar. They explain you how to form and use it in a sentence. Generally there is always a table underneath showing several examples, especially some of the irregularities if it happens. This part sometimes ends with a remark explaining peculiar things about the topic. The third part are more examples, but in dialogue version. The last part gives you some exercises to practice the topic that was discussed.
A lighter positive point of the book are the drawings often seen each unit to brighten the sometimes dull content of the book. These drawings have a cartoonish look and are never overused they often help you visualize the example sentences which is always nice to see.
Beginning Negative Points
One of the most important negative aspect of this book is the lack of explanation on real life usage of the various grammatical topics. While the book sometimes does mention it, it does not mention it enough and when it does not in-depth enough. Some grammatical expression are so similar in Korean that the nuance really needs to be explained and sometimes the book just does not manage to explain that nuance. One can say that such explanations are outside the scope of the book, but I feel it is a negative mark that should be mentioned. Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning to Early Intermediate is not enough to help your Korean become more natural.
Another minor negative point is the lack of exercises. I feel some of the exercises are too short and they often follow the same style. I just feel they do not really help you understand the grammar any more than the explanations given earlier. The only thing they do help with is understanding how to form the grammar topic.
While Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning to Early Intermediate is far from perfect, but I really can recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with Korean grammar. The book’s clear explanations and easy to understand examples make learning Korean so much easier. I honestly believe this.
As a Korean textbook is covers a very wide range of grammatical topics that once you are done with this book you will be able to do well on any TOPIK exam you are planning to take. Furthermore the book comes with an audio CD that will even help you practice your listening and perhaps even your speaking skills. Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning to Early Intermediate can be bought on Amazon.com starting from $27.00. This is a very reasonable price for such a useful book.
In short Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning to Early Intermediate has my full recommendation that will help any beginner complete their Korean language journey successful.