Practical English Usage, 4th edition Paperback

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Practical English Usage, 4th edition Paperback

Michael Swan's guide to problems in English

Fourth Edition

Format: Paperback
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Michael Swan: ELTons 2014 British Council lifetime achievement award winner

Fully revised and updated, and now available online and in print.

  • ISBN: 978-0-19-420243-5
  • Pages: 768
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Dimensions: 234x156 mm

Practical English Usage has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Now revised and updated for the fourth edition, it answers the questions that teachers and learners ask about English grammar and vocabulary with clear, corpus-informed explanations and examples.

Educational discount pricing

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Key features

  • Completely revised and updated to reflect changes in language use.
  • NEW Organisation into two easy-to-use parts, making it quicker to find the information you want. Part 1 is a complete topic-by-topic student's grammar, with section introductions highlighting common mistakes. Part 2 is a guide to key vocabulary topics, including an A-Z list of common word problems.
  • NEW Also available online, including 87 diagnostic tests.


Practical English Usage is recommended for any teacher, trainee teacher, or advanced-level student looking for answers to questions about the English language. The material is now organised in two parts (grammar and vocabulary), making it easier than ever to find the answers, either online or in print.
Part 1 is a complete practical learner's grammar with 28 sections, covering all the structural points that cause problems for learners.
Part 2 is a guide to vocabulary problems covering:
  • rules for word formation and spelling
  • a survey of high-priority vocabulary areas
  • an A-Z guide to over 250 common word problems
The 600+ entries provide answers to the questions that learners typically ask, for example:
  • use of tenses
  • the truth about conditionals
  • article problems
  • singular they
  • get as a passive auxiliary
  • bring or take?
  • can, could, may or might?
  • classic or classical?
  • the language of emails
  • rules for word formation and spelling
  • the grammar of speech and formal writing
  • British-American differences
  • questions of style and idiom
  • changes in English
  • politeness
  • avoiding offensive language
  • a survey of high-priority vocabulary areas
  • a guide to over 250 common vocabulary problems
  • lists of learners' most common mistakes


  • The entries in Practical English Usage are not only informed by Swan's authoritative knowledge of English grammar, but by a sure sense of which aspects of the grammar are likely to be problematic, and how these can be most effectively explained.
    - Henry Widdowson, Emeritus Professor of Education, University of London


Please note this title is not available in India. Please see the International Edition as an alternative.

Part of... Practical English Usage

Your indispensable guide to problems in English

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