• Last updatedLast updated: Feb 23, 2021

8 Best French Grammar Books That Will Help You Nail It

Comment ça va, mes amis ? Prêt à apprendre une nouvelle langue ? I’m a foreigner who lives in a country where French is the second official language. Sure thing, it’s OK to live in Canada speaking English only, but languages have always been my passion. So no wonder I took an opportunity to learn French in a place where you can practice it with ease. In this post, you’ll find the best books on French grammar that helped me start and continue to be my reliable allies on this no-easy path.

Editor's Choice

All you need in one book: tenses, verb forms, clauses, etc.; well-structured and utterly informative

Read Our Review
9.8
Best Layout

An all-encompassing reference book where you’ll find everything you need; an awesome page layout makes the search and understanding easier

Read Our Review
9.8
Best No-Nonsense Book

A well-structured coursebook designated for adults who have no time for nonsense

Read Our Review
9.4
Best for Visual Learners

A fun little book that explains French grammar rules through cartoons; nice supplementary resource

Read Our Review
9.2
Best for Learning Idioms

A fantastic way to enrich your knowledge with a bunch of new idioms through illustrations and context

Read Our Review
9.0
For Learning Verb Conjugation

A reference book with each page dedicated to a separate verb and all its possible forms in all tenses and persons

Read Our Review
9.0
Verb Formation Workbook

Paired with the previous book, this one will let you master French verbs formation principle

Read Our Review
8.8
Best Quick Reference Pamphlet

A must-have to keep on your desk: with a well thought through layout, this pamphlet will help you find the needed rule with ease

Read Our Review
8.7

Top 8 French Grammar Books Review 2021

Features
  • Structured: 10
  • Useful: 9.8
  • Layout and design: 9.7
  • Publication date: 2006

I bought this one right before starting the actual language course. I wanted to equip myself with a structured reference book that contains all the basics in a comprehensive form. And The Everything French Grammar Book became the right choice in this regard.

You’ll find everything you need in the book, whether you just start learning French, or your level is already high, and you need something for a quick refresh. Starting with some curious facts about the language to the basics (articles, nouns, adjectives, etc.) to tenses, clauses, and agreement in adjectives and pronouns. The book will even teach you punctuation, accents, and some popular acronyms.

A book that contains literally everything on French grammar, with all the information comprehensively structured and organized. Includes not only the theory but practical tasks as well (with answer key). Will be of use for beginners and more advanced learners alike.

Pros
  • All the basics of French
  • Neatly structured
  • No-nonsense
  • Nice layout
  • Useful tables included
Cons
  • Doesn’t contain anything for B2+ learners
2.

French Grammar for DummiesBest Layout

Features
  • Structured: 9.9
  • Useful: 9.6
  • Layout and design: 9.9
  • Publication date: 2013

Oh, the my favorite “For Dummies” series. How could I pass by? In one of my previous posts, I mentioned a dog training guide from the same publisher, and I love the fact that whatever they do, whoever the author is, something always remains the same: it’s meticulously structured and easy to navigate.

Equipped with handy icons that help to quickly understand what the next section is going to be about, the book will become your favorite way to look a certain rule up, since it won’t require too much time to find.

In the best “For Dummies” traditions, this reference book is an all-encompassing, structured guide to Français parfait. On its 384 pages, it has everything a foreigner needs to master all the nuances (even advanced ones) of the language of love.

Pros
  • Easy to navigate
  • Useful icons all over the book
  • Contains basics and advanced grammar
  • Digestible
  • The paragraphs are small and informative
Cons
  • More of a reference book than a textbook
3.

Essential French GrammarBest No-Nonsense Book

Features
  • Structured: 9.6
  • Useful: 9.2
  • Layout and design: 9.3
  • Publication date: not specified

Gone are the days when all the textbooks were dull and formal. I remember when at school, my English student’s book was quite well-structured and, all in all, I found it very informative (it’s the basis of what I know now, after all). However, when I came to Canada, I realized how many words and phrases that people commonly use here were completely unknown to me. And, what is more, those expressions I knew and thought they were common, were completely unknown (or rather forgotten) to native speakers. It’s inevitable that a good, all-encompassing coursebook becomes archaic in many aspects. Spoken language is constantly evolving, so no wonder you need to look for more resources to keep up.

Another thing is that many coursebooks contain much unnecessary information. This may be not archaic, but still, it’s something not that essential for speaking practice. That’s why I loved this no-nonsense book.

Essential French Grammar was designated for adults who have no much spare time for endless introductions and theoretical excursuses. This book contains everything you need to start your conversation with native speakers as soon as possible.

Grammatical points are all illustrated with examples which makes it better to understand the rule and apply it. I also loved the part with common word-endings and their French equivalents – easy to enrich your vocabulary in an intuitive way (don’t forget to check your freshly created word J ). Of course, the main purpose of this part is not to invent your own words and hope they exist, but to understand the written and spoken language better: even if the word is unknown, it’s easier to think of its possible translation knowing the rules of word formation.

A no-nonsense textbook for those who value their time. Everything is presented in a short, yet informative way, with examples of phrases and sentences. All the main grammar aspects are covered here: tenses, word formation, conjugations, and so much more.

Pros
  • Only essential information
  • Many examples
  • Contains grammar applicable for enriching your vocabulary
Cons
  • Best as a supplementary reference book
Features
  • Structured: 9.3
  • Useful: 8.9
  • Layout and design: 9.5
  • Publication date: 2014

I got this little book at a sale, just for fun, to be honest. I loved the fact that it’s an unusual way of presenting the information; unlike others, it’s not filled with endless texts, lists of irregular verbs, and tables of tenses. Instead, it’s a compilation of hilarious cartoons designed to explain the basic grammar rules in a less boring than usual way.

Another cool part about it is that every rule is accompanied by grammar exercises, and you don’t need a dictionary or other grammar books to complete them, unless you’re a total beginner, of course. Otherwise, everything you need, is included – all the definitions and common verbs are listed in the back.

A fun way to practice grammar rules. The book is not what you should start learning, though, it’s more of supplementary material. Also, be ready that the quality of the pages is not the best, and it’s better to have your teacher check the answers since there’s no answer key included.

Pros
  • Fun pictures to explain grammar
  • Nice supplementary workbook
  • All the needed definitions and common verbs listed
Cons
  • Poor page quality
  • Not for beginners
  • No answer key
5.

101 French IdiomsBest for Learning Idioms

Features
  • Structured: 9.3
  • Useful: 8.8
  • Layout and design: 9.0
  • Publication date: 1995

I’m still struggling with English idioms – not surprising since they’re endless and hard to remember. In idioms, the words always, aaalways mean not what they are supposed to. So, for me, one of the most effective methods to understand and learn them – remember a certain situation and the context each can be used in.

Also, I’m a visual learner. So, for me, seeing a scheme or a picture is a much more effective way to remember a rule than reading a long, even well-structured paragraph.

No wonder, this book is a must-have in my arsenal. I know, it’s not a grammar book, but still decided to add it to the list, as it’s an awesome additional source of lively vocabulary which is an essential part of the learning process for anyone who wants to be fluent in the language.

Pros
  • Awesome visual explanation
  • Hilarious pictures
  • Easy and fun to learn
Cons
  • Not for beginners
  • Too short examples
6.

501 French Verbs For Learning Verb Conjugation

Features
  • Structured: 9.5
  • Useful: 8.8
  • Layout and design: 8.9
  • Publication date: 2003

A book that any beginner or intermediate French learner will find useful. One of the most difficult grammatical aspects of French is the amount of persons and tenses, and you must remember (understand) how each verb conjugates in each case. Surely, this understanding comes with practice; gradually, you’re starting to use the verbs correctly and it takes little time to think of the correct form. Before that, however, much work needs to be done.

The book will become your reliable ally on this path. Each page is dedicated to one of the most common French verbs. You’ll find it conjugated in all persons and forms, also, there’re examples of constructions in which the verb is usually used. This reference book also contains a list of 1,250 more verbs with their English translations, helpful expressions, and even exercises to learn how to use the verbs correctly, all with answers and explanations.

A great little helper for mastering French verb formation. The verbs are listed in alphabetical order so it takes no effort to find the right one. Of course, you can’t learn them all, but having this reference book will ease the process of self-checking and facilitate your understanding of the general verb formation principles.

Pros
  • Well structured
  • Each page is dedicated to a separate verb
  • Each verb is conjugated in all tenses and persons
Cons
  • Useful for reference, but not for learning
7.

French Verb DrillsVerb Formation Workbook

Features
  • Structured: 8.9
  • Useful: 8.8
  • Layout and design: 8.7
  • Publication date: 2017

Awesome addition to the previous book. This one will also teach you how to conjugate French verbs, but offers more practical approach. Filled with examples and exercises, it’ll let you drill and review the verb forms for each tense.

It consists of about 125 pages only, but it’s more than enough to master the basic principle. There’s a nice glossary at the end and it contains many common irregular verbs with all their possible forms as well.

Together with 501 French Verbs this workbook will help you to be more confident when using French verbs in practice. The only issue is that, unlike traditional textbooks structure, this one gives you examples of verbs in all the tenses and moods at once, which requires you to be acquainted with them before you start. Or, you’ll have to search only for those tenses you already know which makes the structure not that handy for beginners. However, it’s still a wonderful additional resource for mastering this grammar rule.

Pros
  • Many drills and exercises
  • Answers included
  • Ideal to learn how to use verbs correctly
Cons
  • Just an addition to your French grammar books library
  • Good to know all the tenses to make the most of it
8.

Quickstudy French Grammar PamphletBest Quick Reference Pamphlet

Features
  • Structured: 9.9
  • Useful: 6.5 (reference only)
  • Layout and design: 9.8
  • Publication date: 2001

Sometimes you simply don’t have time or mood for looking a certain grammar rule up. You need to do a grammar exercise, and there’s something you need to check quickly, to make sure you’re on the right way. A well-structured grammar pamphlet is what you need at your desk.

This laminated reference pamphlet has all you need for refreshing your memory on one of the basic grammar rules. Covered in descriptive graphs and diagrams, this thing is ideal for visual learners like me. It’s also pre-punched in case you need to store it in a binder. I store mine on my desk, so I could have a quick access to any of the grammar rules I’m struggling to recall.

A must-have for those in process of their language learning. Quick reference for the most basic rules, in a well-structured form.

Pros
  • Well thought-throught layout
  • Laminated and punched
  • Great for visual learners
Cons
  • Just a reference for refreshing your memory, not something to start with

Conclusion

Hopefully, this list was of use for you. Personally, I benefited from my collection a lot: some books were my main source of grammar knowledge (like The Everything French Grammar Book), others were supplementary (such as the 501 French Verbs or the Quickstudy French Grammar Pamphlet), while some were more for fun and diversity (La Grammaire En Clair: French Grammar Through Cartoons). Whether you study French on your own or attend a language course, make sure you have a collection of books that are both educational and easy to digest. My compilation consists of such only, for sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *