Practice Makes Perfect: Advanced Italian Grammar
March 10, 2013
Author Marcel Danesi, Ph.D.
Series Practice Makes Perfect
Publication Date 2011
Skill Level Intermediate, Advanced
Practice Makes Perfect: Advanced Italian Grammar by Marcel Danesi is part of a series of compact, more focused books within the larger Practice Makes Perfect series from McGraw-Hill. Overall I like this one.
Advanced Italian Grammar has numerous translation exercises (English to Italian, my favorite), and that’s about all I need to keep me happy.
Below are are some minor gripes.
First, “advanced” is not totally accurate. Maybe some of the book is advanced, but this is really more of an intermediate book.
Second, there are too many lengthy blocks of explanation between lengthy blocks of exercises. For example, eight pages of explanation on adjectives and adverbs are followed by eight pages of exercises. I would like the exercising to be distributed in smaller chunks and at more regular intervals between pieces of explanation.
Third, in exercises where all you have to do is fill in the blanks in a sentence (or sentences), the entire block of text is repeated in the answer key along with the filled-in material. This may not sound like a big deal, but if the answer is only a couple of words and you have to search for it amid a whole bunch of other words without underscoring or anything to mark the part of the text that is the actual answer, you spend a lot of time hunting. Cumulatively this gets annoying and eye-wearying.
My fourth and final complaint about Advanced Italian Grammar concerns a writing tic: there are numerous references in the book to the “difficulties” of learning Italian. Here’s an example from page 50, about turning a noun phrase into a pronoun: “Although the process might seem straightforward, it presents a series of difficulties that require further study. This chapter is all about that series of difficulties, as it relates to demonstratives and possessives.”
Makes it sound like boot camp or something! I was finding the work pleasurable, not difficult, so the comments were oddly negative to me.
Dr. Marcel Danesi could not scare me, off, however; as a general grammar (not terribly advanced), this little book was still fun.