Essential French Grammar

5 French, Books

September 21, 2013

Author  Seymour Resnick
Series  Dover Essential Grammar
Publisher  Dover Publications
Publication Date  1965
Price  $5.95
Skill Level  Beginner, Intermediate

This small old-fashioned French book has a high grammar density. It is not a workbook; it is a concise summary of the basic principles of French grammar, populated with numerous helpful examples.

The cover promises that it is “All the Grammar Really Needed for Speech and Comprehension.” I disregard such dramatic claims and simply appreciate it for what it is: a low-cost, scrupulously written, minimalist summary of the basic principles of French grammar. 

Published in 1965 by Dover Publications and part of its Essential Grammar series, this book is obviously not going to offer you the latest technology terms: laptop, web, cell phone, and so on. Don’t let that dissuade you, though; technology terms tend to be similar across multiple languages, and where they differ, the English terms are frequently understood anyway.

The author, Seymour Resnick, was a professor of Romance languages at Queens College here in New York. (He also wrote an Essential Grammar about Spanish for Dover.) At the end of this French book is a substantial list of English-French cognates as well as a helpful glossary of grammatical terms for those who need to brush up.

I recommend this diminutive, portable volume as a great review for people who have already studied French. It will probably be less helpful to total newcomers, who will need practice in each of the grammatical principles in order to absorb them. 

I like the paper, font, and layout—lots of white space. Sometimes less is more. This is more. And it is only $5.95! That is a grammar bargain.

Besides French and Spanish, Dover offers books in this series for languages including Japanese, English, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Greek. I am familiar with six so far, and so far there is not one I haven’t liked.

A Petite French Grammar with a Very High Grammar-to-Dollar Ratio
A Petite French Grammar with a Very High Grammar-to-Dollar Ratio

Comments (2)

Alex • Posted on Thu, February 02, 2017 - 3:59 pm EST

Oh non, ce livre est bourré de fautes de français.

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Mon, December 04, 2017 - 3:01 pm EST

Merci beaucoup, Alex, est-ce que vous pourriez me donner un exemple?

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