Connect, Grow, Thrive

Visual Grammar Elementary A2

Book Review: ETAS Journal Volume 32 Number 1 Winter 2014

Jim Scrivener

Richmond (2013)

ISBN 978-84-668-1529-1

136 pages, paperback

Another refreshing can-do, communicative approach to learning is Scrivener’s Visual Grammar (Richmond, 2013), which uses colourful graphics, pictures, and photographs to visualise how grammar works. The book can be used for self-study, in combination with the online learning platform, or in class.

I like the emphasis on accessible presentation to the A2 learner: ‘I can say how often things happen’, although the jargon (Present Simple + adverbs of frequency) is also there in smaller print to reassure those who like to think they are learning ‘grammar’ rules. The About you sections personalise effectively while the Internet quiz sections encourage learners to apply their English by using search engines. The way the latter works by suggesting how input words can be completed to make a sentence or clause reinforces learning and empowers the student, giving the A2 learner a sense of achievement.

The author, Jim Scrivener, succeeds in his aim to help the learner “understand grammar better and make…study a little bit easier” by presenting grammar through words, collocations and chunks, etc. in an engaging, non-stuffy way.

These short overviews cannot do the books justice but aim to provide a ‘taster’. If you would like to review the books in more depth, please get in touch with me at

Do also look at the list of books to review on the ETAS website, which is constantly updated. In 2015 the updated exam formats for the Cambridge First and Advanced exams come out and the major publishers are all bringing out new materials. If you are interested in reviewing any of these, don’t hesitate to contact me. ETAS Journal readers would love to hear your opinions. I also welcome relevant suggestions from readers regarding what they would like to see in this section.

I’d like to thank all my colleagues in the publishing houses for making the materials available.

Helena Lustenberger