Cambridge’s Grammar in Use are the world’s best-selling English grammar books.
Not least, they are considered the best grammar books in English.
This list is organized from advanced level to beginner level, so you can find in this collection the best book for you.
But first, come with me to understand why this series is so treasured among grammar books:
The World’s Most Purchased Grammar Book Series
For over 30 years, this reference and practice series has been an essential resource, found in bookshelves, libraries and classrooms.
It continues to provide a clear, comprehensive, and reliable guide to English grammar that students and teachers appreciate and respect.
Grammar in Use English books are developed under the supervision of Cambridge university Press.
They are based on literally billions of words called Cambridge English Corpus based on spoken and written English.
This corpus includes the Cambridge Learner Corpus, an evidence-based word bank made by Cambridge students.
The authors of Grammar in Use study these corpus to see how English is used in real life, and to identify common student mistakes.
This means Cambridge English study materials help students avoid mistakes, and you can be sure that the English taught is useful, natural and up to date.
Also all Grammar in Use English grammar books come in three versions:
- With Answers, eBook and Audio
- With Answers
- No answers
In this article we will only have books in the first two versions because they are better for learning English alone (self-taught).
The books on this list are primarily organized by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which is an internationally recognized standard for referring to language proficiency.
I also added the equivalent of CEFR in other proficiency scales: the Business Language Testing Service (BULATS) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) for comparison.
This comparison is important if you are preparing for some of these tests and want the best grammar book for each of them.
I relied on this table created by Cambridge English for comparison.
Advanced Grammar in Use Book With Answers and Interactive Ebook: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Advanced Learners of English (3rd edition)
For Advanced English Learners (CEFR: C1, C2 | BULATS: +75 | IELTS: +6.5)
I own the 2nd edition of Advanced Grammar in Use, and it’s amazing how deep this grammar book can be deep, enjoyable and accessible at the same time.
Author Martin Hewings has been teaching English for over 30 years in many countries, including Sweden, Italy, Malaysia and Australia.
From 1985 to 2009, Martin teaches English for academic purposes at the University of Birmingham and has since then been a freelance author and consultant.
This 3rd edition of Advanced Grammar in Use helps proficient English students by comprehending English grammar comprehensively and with a friendly design.
This edition contains over 100 grammar reference units and thousands of exercises.
Facilitates self-study of English by having a Study planner to help you identify which grammar to focus on.
It features a section designed to recap the grammar already learned, allowing you to check the language areas you have already studied a second time.
It was produced using Cambridge International Corpus which ensures that the English used is authentic and up to date.
This book is also the ideal preparatory material for the IELTS, Cambridge English: Advanced or Cambridge English: Proficiency exams.
Another highlight of this English grammar book:
Inside the book is a code for an interactive eBook …
This eBook has the same grammar explanations, and exercises as in the printed book. But with some advantages:
- Listen to examples from the book to improve listening and pronunciation
- Exercise, save the answers and make sure the answers are right
- Put a bookmark where you find it interesting
- Mark parts of text you want to remember
This virtual book is available for PCs, Macs, Androids, and iOS.
Advanced Grammar in Use Supplementary Exercises
Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
Advanced Grammar in Use Extra Activities app
You can find the [usually] cheapest version (without the eBook and without the audios, but with exactly the same grammar and the answers) on Amazon.
English Grammar in Use Book With Answers and Interactive Ebook: Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Learners of English (4th edition)
New Edition (5th edition)
For Intermediate English Students (CEFR: B1, B2 | BULATS: +40 | IELTS: +4.0)
In 1985 Raymond Murphy was an English teacher.
At the time, he could not find any English grammar reference books that met his students’ needs, so he began to create grammar spreadsheets.
These worksheets eventually became an English grammar book that was written with “students in mind”:
Organized in a time-tested, easy-to-use format with explanations of grammar points on the left pages and exercises to check comprehension on the right.
English Grammar in Use contains many additional hands-on exercises at the end to consolidate learning.
It is perfect for those who study English alone because it helps you know which aspects of English grammar you have to focus on.
This version also has an interactive eBook.
Both the eBook, application, and online version have a learning management system that:
They include all the grammatical units found in the printed book, plus other great features, including audio for example sentences.
Essential Grammar in Use With Answers: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Elementary Learners of English (4th edition)
For Beginner English Learners (CEFR: A1, A2, B1 | BULATS: +10 | IELTS: +4.0)
The second edition of Essential Grammar in Use – Basic English Grammar facilitates language learning thanks to the clarity of its examples and the variety of exercises.
This full-color, Portuguese-language edition covers all the grammatical issues that entry-level students need.
- Easy to use: Two-page units, with clear explanations of a given grammatical point on the left page and exercises appropriate to the level studied, as well as Portuguese-English translation practices that highlight the differences between the two languages on the right page.
- Learning Autonomy: Essential Grammar in Use allows students to easily find the grammar questions they use most, making grammar a great tool for individual study.
- Clear explanations: They are presented in Portuguese, with many examples and colorful illustrations that emphasize the similarities and differences between English and Portuguese.
- Teacher Tip: Can also be used as supplementary classroom material.
- Appendices: Provides useful information about active and passive voice, irregular verbs, contractions, spelling, phrasal verbs, and the use of quantifiers.
- Answers: They are right at the end of the book, make self-learning easier, so you can ask your own questions.