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5 Best French Grammar Books For Self Study

5 Best French Grammar Books For Self Study

Bonjour! My name is David Issokson. I’ve been teaching French since 2014 and have helped hundreds of students to build a solid foundation in the language. One question that frequently comes up in my lessons is: “Which French grammar book should I buy?” In this post I review my collection of grammar books and for each title I’ll answer whether or not I’d recommend it to my students.

Books on this page have links to Amazon. If you click through and make a purchase using a link on this page I’ll make a small commission. Merci!

Collection of French grammar books

Review Of The Top French Grammar Books

Summary of my review:

  • Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French Grammar is my overall favorite.
  • Barron’s French Grammar is an excellent reference to have on your shelf.
  • Both the French Grammar for Beginners and The Complete French Grammar Course are perfectly viable self-study options.
  • Books in the Grammaire En Dialogues series offer great dialogues and are a great accompaniment to the the Complete French Grammar book.

Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French Grammar

My no. 1 recommendation for a French grammar book is Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French Grammar by Annie Hemingway. I feel strongly that language books by the publisher McGraw Hill are highly comprehensive and the most helpful for students. In fact, my recommendation would be to make this book your French course and have an online teacher walk you through it private lessons.

This book does a great job teaching the areas of French grammar you’ll need to get a solid grasp of the language including verb tenses and conjugations, pronouns, nouns and adjectives. Each chapter does a great job presenting the information and then following up with example sentences and exercises. The book also includes a link to a website where you’ll find audio for the entire book.

I have been using the book Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French All-in-One for years and use it as the main text of my online lessons. The reason I’m bringing up this title is that in addition to including all of the content from the Complete Grammar book, you’ll also find chapters covering vocabulary and conversation dialogues.

Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French Grammar

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Barron’s French Grammar

The second book on my list is Barrons’s French Grammar by Christopher and Theodore Kendris. The reason this book is on my list is because although it small in size (fits in the palm of my hand), it packs a very powerful punch!

In addition to covering all the basic area of speech including verbs, nouns, adjectives, pronouns and adverbs etc., it also provides reference sections for areas such as numbers and telling time. Each chapter does a great job thoroughly presenting the subject and then following up with some practical example sentences.

I would not suggest this book as a course like the above title as it does not provide exercises or an online audio resource. That said, it feel strongly that it would serve as an excellent accompaniment reference to the McGraw Hill publications mentioned above.

Barron's French Grammar

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French Grammar for Beginners

The third title on my list is French Grammar for Beginners by Frederic Bibard. I’ve known of Bibard’s website, talkinfrench.com for many years and saw that his book has lots of really positive reviews on Amazon.

Bibard’s book is presented as a 30-day course, with each day covering one of the essential and required areas of speaking for beginners such as essential verbs, articles, asking questions and how to make negative sentences, etc.

Each lesson or day starts with a quick and concise explanation of the material. In the book you’ll find a link to a website providing audio for the example sentences. Each chapter contains several super useful exercises covering the explained material. Answer keys to the exercises follow the exercises themselves.

Overall, I find that Bibard’s book would be an excellent buy for a pure beginner who’s just starting out learning French. You could use his book for purely self-study or you could have a teacher walk you through the book and provide explanations. At it’s current price on Amazon, the book offers the beginner some serious value.

French Grammar For Beginners

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The Complete French Grammar Course

The next book on my list is the The Complete French Grammar Course by Dylane Moreau. I bough this book as it also had lots of outstanding reviews on Amazon. Similar to the aforementioned title, the Complete French Grammar Course is meant to be a comprehensive self-study course.

The book covers a very complete list of topics including all the elements of French sentence structure, prepositions, adjectives, pronouns, adverbs and conjunctions. That said, one lacking area is verb conjugations and tense. Moreau covers verbs in her book, The Complete French Conjugation Course.

The structure to the chapters is similar to Bibard’s books. Each chapter presents an explanation of the material, example sentences and exercises. When you purchase the book you’ll find a link in the preface to a website offering outstanding, high quality audio for all of the book’s content.

Overall, I found Dylane Moreau’s book to me more complete and depth than Biard’s self-study book. Moreau’s book takes all the areas of French grammar a bit further with more vocabulary explanations covering more advanced areas. For a slower learner who’s just looking to get an initial feel of French, I’d say go with Biard’s book. For a learner who moves a bit faster and can handle more information, I’d definitely recommend Moreau’s book. Both are great resources for self-study.

The Complete French Grammar Course

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Grammaire En Dialogues

The next book which I’d like to recommend is actually three books! I’ve had these books on my shelf for many years and have used them with countless students.

Grammaire en dialogues – Niveau grand débutant by Odile Grand-Clement is an excellent and highly recommended place to start for beginners. The book presents French grammar in the form of simple dialogues. Each dialogue is followed by explanations and exercises.

The only major drawback to this book is that the all of the explanations are in French and they are brief. My strong suggestion would be to use this book in conjunction with Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French Grammar mentioned at the top of this page.

While this book does come with a CD, I feel strongly that it would be best to go through it with a teacher and not try to use it for self-study. That said, the dialogues are excellent and combine the elements of basic French grammar with everyday spoken French that you’d hear on the street.

As mentioned the other books in this series that I have in my possession are Grammaire en dialogues B1 (intermediate) and Grammaire en dialogues B2-C1 (advanced), both by Claire Miquel. I’ve loved Miquel’s material since the very beginning of my teaching. Similar to the beginner book (grand débutant) I feel strongly that both the B1 and B2-C1 titles would make an excellent accompaniment to the Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French Grammar book.

Grammaire En Dialogues

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French Grammar Books – Conclusion

That about wraps it up! I hope that you’ve been able to identify a title which will help you to learn French grammar. Next check out the 16 Best & Most Effective Books For Learning French. Here you’ll find many more helpful titles for your French studies.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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