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Practical English Usage

Michael Swan's guide to English language problems

Third Edition

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Michael Swan: ELTons 2014 British Council lifetime achievement award winner

Teachers describe Michael Swan's book on English language problems as 'indispensable'. 600+ A-Z entries explain common problems with clear, concise information.

Practical English Usage answers your questions about the English language - and the questions your students ask.

It is organized as an A-Z dictionary of over 600 problem points in the English language, all explained with practical, clear information.

Now in its third edition, Practical English Usage has sold over two million copies and is a world best-seller.

Practical English Usage is available in some countries as a Pack with Grammar Scan (diagnostic tests to accompany Practical English Usage).

  • Paperback
  • Hardback
  • International Student's Edition
  • Pack (Practical English Usage and Grammar Scan)

Key features

  • 600+ entries, listed A-Z makes it easy to find what you're looking for
  • Covers all the grammar and vocabulary areas you want to know about
  • Gives clear explanations that really answer your questions
  • Includes real examples so you know how language is used
  • Gives you information on American English
  • 'Don't say it!' - a special section on 150 common mistakes and how to avoid them.


Practical English Usage Third Edition makes sure you are completely up-to-date with changes in the English language and new problems. The Third Edition includes:

New entries to cover the language of emails and text messages; standard English and dialects; correctness and politeness; the differences between spoken and written English

New notes on changes in today's English

Updated explanations and examples, taken from the latest corpus information

An improved index so that even with the extra content, you can easily find what you are looking for.


Practical English Usage is available as an app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. It gives you fast and easy access to the 600+ entries in the book. With the app you can:
  • Access entries through the very complete Index, either by scrolling through the list or by keying in the language point you want to look up – e.g. future, conditionals, 'have'.
  • Browse through the thematically-organised Contents Overview and the A-Z list of entries. Both of these can also be searched.
  • Navigate immediately between related entries through the many cross-references.
  • Create your own list of favourite entries.
  • Go to 'History' to view your recent searches.
You can use the Practical English Usage app together with the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary app (version 3.10 or later) to look up words. Just tap on a word in Practical English Usage to bring up the dictionary entry. If you have an earlier version of the dictionary you can update it free of charge.

Download from the App Store

Apple, the Apple logo, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

For Practical English Usage (6)



Teachers describe Michael Swan's book on English language problems as 'indispens...



Teachers describe Michael Swan's book on English language problems as 'indispens...

Practical English Usage Diagnostic Tests


Identify the language areas your high-level students find difficult with these t...

ISBN Title
978-0-19-442166-9 Practical English Usage Windows 8 app
978-0-19-433424-2 Practical English Usage app for Android
978-0-19-442101-0 Practical English Usage iOS app
978-0-19-431143-4 Practical English Usage Diagnostic Tests
978-0-19-442099-0 Practical English Usage, Third Edition Hardback
978-0-19-442098-3 Practical English Usage, Third Edition Paperback