Most English students have already heard of Grammar In Use. It is, to my knowledge, the best self-study English grammar book out there. The first edition of Grammar in Use was printed in the 1980’s. Modified and improved over subsequent editions, Grammar in Use is simply an essential tool for any English student wishing to improve their grammar.
Grammar in Use is available at Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced levels. The book is a fantastic tool for English students who want to learn by themselves. Each unit of the book covers a topic of grammar which is then followed by practice exercises (with answers at the back of the book).
In the latest edition, an additional section at the end of the book provides supplementary exercises for additional practice. This is a great feature of Grammar in Use as it refers students back to units which may still be problematic for them.
Many keen students work through Grammar in Use, unit by unit. While this method will give you satisfaction, it is not necessarily the ideal way to improve your English grammar. Students should use the book to answer their grammatical needs and questions. Choose the units that you have problems in and complete these. I would also suggest doing the grammar a little bit at a time. So for example, if you have problems using the gerund, then go ahead and complete a unit or two on the gerund. But don’t complete all the units on the gerund in one go. It’s information overload. You simply will not be able to retain all the information. If you are keen to make progress, then work simultaneously on another area of grammar in which you are having problems (say, word order for example). In this way, you’ll improve your overall level of grammar and give yourself enough time to assimilate the grammar you have learned into practical usage.
A similar series of books is the Grammar & Vocabulary Language Practice series. These books have a very similar design to the Grammar in Use series. This is to say, a self-study page to learn the grammar followed by exercises with an answer key for self-correction. The key difference is that the Language Practice series also uses a clear vocabulary theme for each unit in this book. Another difference is that, as the level of books gets higher, the number of exercises per unit changes according to the topic. So, the Intermediate Book has more exercises per unit than the Elementary Book. While I find there is very little difference in the quality between the Elementary and Intermediate books in both series, I think that the quality and the clarity of the explanations in Advanced Language Practice is superior to that in the Advanced Grammar in Use.