[Review] Korean Grammar in Use

I started learning Korean with the help of free resources available online. I learned how to read and write from Youtube videos and eventually learned grammar from TTMIK and grammar sites created by universities such as Click Korean by Seoul National University and Sogang University’s online Korean program. I wanted to learn more so after a few months, I started buying Korean textbooks and since then I’ve always been on the look out for good yet affordable textbooks.

I had never heard of Korean Grammar in Use before and I wasn’t really planning on buying any grammar book. I was just randomly browsing at Hangulpark’s website and found Korean Grammar in Use by accident. After seeing the table of contents and some sample scans, I told myself that I have got to get my hands on these books. I searched online for reviews but there were only a few for the beginning book and none for the intermediate book but I still decided to follow my instinct and I took the risk and bought the book even though I didn’t know whether or not they were worth my money. Now that I have them and I’ve read through some of the chapters, I’m so glad I bought these books. They are really awesome! I should’ve started with these books. I would have saved myself a lot of money if I had known that these books existed.

Note: Each of us has different preferences when it comes to textbooks so if you buy these books and end up not liking them, please don’t blame me. XDDDDD LMAO! 

PROS:

– The pages are not that dull to look at. It has small and really cute illustrations which are not that distracting. The colors are easy on the eyes. I prefer the colors used in the Intermediate book.
– The books have ample amount of sample sentences which you can actually use in real life. The sample sentences provided do not only focus on campus life.
– The grammar points are discussed in a clear and concise manner.
– Each book comes with an audio cd of all the sample sentences provided in the chapters.
– The books compare the differences between similar grammar points, when to use them and when not to use them. It also discusses restrictions and things to keep in mind when using the grammar point.
– The books have tables to further demonstrate the correct usage of the grammar point being discussed in the chapter. One row shows the base form of the verb which ends with a consonant and the other row shows the conjugated form. The same goes for verbs that ends in vowels. Action verbs and descriptive verbs (adjectives) are separated to avoid confusion.
– Unlike other textbooks where the drills are supposed to be done with a partner or with the class and with no answer key provided, the exercises on these books can be done on your own and the answer key can be found in the last few pages of the books. These books are ideal for self-learners.
– As for the intermediate book, grammar points are explained in English and Korean. At the end of each unit, a short TOPIK-like quiz is provided to further test the learner’s skills.

CONS:

– Prior to buying these books, the learner must already know how to read and write Korean. Unlike other books which start with a brief introduction of Hangeul and teach the learner how to read and write Korean, Korean Grammar in Use doesn’t.
– You must always have a dictionary with you because there is no word reference or glossary section.
– No snippets or short articles about Korea or its culture which is quite a let down for me because I enjoy reading those articles in other textbooks.

STRUCTURE:

Beginning
Introductory Sentences
“Introductory sentences are presented along with illustrations to give the learner a chance to infer the meaning of the target grammar to be introduced in the chapter.”
Grammar Focus
“Grammar focus points are included to help the learner decrease grammatical mistakes by providing information on both the general aspects and grammatical restrictions of Korean.”
In Conversation
“The learner can confirm the use of the target grammar points by seeing how they are used in conversation. A recording of each dialogue is included in the accompanying CD.”
Check It Out!
“Learners can check grammar points that are often used incorrectly in real life depending on the situation or context.”
What’s the Difference?
“This section compares the differences between grammatical patterns with similar or easily confused meanings, usages, or forms.”
On Your Own
“This section confirms whether students understand the target grammar points introduced in the lesson through self-study exercises.”

Intermediate
Same structure with more sections added.
더 알아볼까요? (Let’s Learn a Bit More)
“We look at some additional aspects of the grammar points such as any morphological restrictions or things to keep in mind when using the pattern.”
대화를 만들어 볼까요? (Let’s Make a Dialogue)
“This activity allows learners to practice the target grammar by creating a dialogue which illustrates the way the grammar point is actually used in Korean conversation.
확인해 볼까요? (Let’s Double Check)
“This section is included at the end of each chapter with the aim of reviewing the easily confused grammar points learned throughout the chapter. The review questions are in a format used on the TOPIK to help learners better prepare for the test.”

SCANS:
I enhanced the scans for better viewing. Click the thumbnails to enlarge.

Beginning Book

For the table of contents and more scans: Book 1 | Book 2

OVERALL:

I’ve been searching high and low for books that fit my preference and I’m very much satisfied with Korean Grammar in Use in spite of a few minor shortcomings. Everything is well-organized and let’s not forget, these books are incredibly cheap (shipping fee is gonna cost you though). It’s my go-to book when I encounter unfamiliar grammar patterns. I hope they publish an advanced book soon. I’m looking forward to it. I definitely recommend Korean Grammar in Use to my fellow Korean learners.

For any questions, feel free to drop a comment.

P.S. Excuse any grammatical errors. Too tired to edit. Too lazy to rephrase/rewrite.

37 thoughts on “[Review] Korean Grammar in Use

  1. Fantastic review! Many thanks for taking the time writing it! This book is exactly what I was looking for.
    I haven´t started studying korean properly yet, just learned hangul and bits and pieces from TTMIK and I think this is going to be one of the first books I purchase, together with the Yonsei level 1 series.

  2. I bought this book in Kyobo bookstore when I went to Korea recently. I find this book really useful and I really like it! I also bought the intermediate one ^^

    • Hello there! First of all, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Are you a complete beginner? If so, I suggest you start learning Hangeul (the Korean alphabet) first and then start learning from http://talktomeinkorean.com I really don’t recommend complete beginners to buy books at this stage because first, books are expensive and second, there are lots of other free resources available online. But if you really want to buy one, I recommend Integrated Korean, Yonsei Korean and SNU (Seoul National University) Korean. If you know how to read Hangeul already, I suggest that you get a copy of Korean Grammar in Use. Why don’t you check my “Resources” page and check out the links I’ve posted there? ^^

  3. This has helped me! Thanks I’m thinking of learning Korean on my own while I can’t get into the highly demanded class at school so I didn’t know where else to start til now!

  4. thank you for sharing this. I’m in the midst of making decision whether to buy these books or not….because i would like to see the contents first…since now I know how it looks like inside, I guess I won’t mind some money on them…

    • I’m glad you find this review helpful. ^^ Thanks for visiting and dropping a comment. Good luck with learning Korean. ^^

  5. Would you say that the intermediate set is appropriate for up to level 4 of TOPIK, or does it cover some more advanced stuff as well? I’m trying to study for level 5 TOPIK and it looks like there’s no advanced version of this series, but it looks so good!! ㅠㅠ

    • Hmmm. I’m not pretty sure if it’s appropriate for Level 5 but I think it’ll help you reach Level 4. Unfortunately, Darakwon (the publisher) hasn’t released an advanced book yet. :<

    • I didn’t buy the book from Hangul Park. I only visit that site for scans. 🙂 You can buy the book from Gmarket. Definitely cheaper than Hangul Park. ^^

    • Hello! Well, the books focus on teaching grammar. There are no short passages written in Korean but you’ll be able to pick up new words from the sample sentences provided and there are quite a lot of sample sentences per chapter.

  6. Hey there. Thanks for the review. ^^
    So I was kinda wondering – I’m quite good at reading and writing Hangeul. I’ve picked up a few “everyday” words from Korean Dramas, and I’ve almost completed TTMIK Level 1. Would this book be something for me? I started learning Korean early November 2012, so I’m quite familiar with the language now, but I really wanna clear up the grammar first, cause what’s the use of knowing Korean words, if you don’t know how to make a correct sentence out of them? I’ll be waiting for your answer. ^^

    • Yes, I think this will be a good book for you. Before I bought this book, I didn’t know much Korean and I have a very limited vocabulary then. I used this together with TTMIK lessons and I can now understand the iyagi series in TTMIK. I suggest that you find a language partner too so you can use what you have learned and practice your Korean with them. 화이팅! ^^

  7. Hi Angeli! I have been learning Korean for more than 3 years but I am stuck in beginner’s level itself because I wasn’t being consistent enough and a good student. I already have Yonsei 1-1, 1-2 (a kind Korean friend sent us these books 3 yrs ago as gift to us, me and my other Indian friend, we didn’t knew it then how invaluable these books actually are), Darakwon’s Complete Guide to the TOPIK beginner’s, “Korean Made Easy for starters”, “Korean Made Easy for beginners” also.

    I am going to Hong Kong this Friday and was thinking to buy some Korean language books if I could find any. I was discussing about some of the books with my filipino friend Karla of http://noshortcutstokorean.wordpress.com/ and she gave me your review of this book. It’s really a good review, I like it. I am convinced that this book would be useful to me. I would get it in HK if I can find it there. Thanks for sharing your review with us. I would be following your blog from now on. You can find me at

    http://prashlearnskorean.wordpress.com

    Good luck with your Korean! Sorry about such a long comment. Thanks.

    – prash!

    • Hi! Thanks for the comment. I really appreciate it. I have the Yonsei book too. I finished it but I feel like the book was too expensive and I didn’t even learn much from it. I hope you can find Korean Grammar in Use when you go to HK. It’s a really good book. Also, you might want to check out Ewha Korean textbooks as well. I don’t have it yet (it’s on its way here though) but judging from the scans I saw on hangulpark.com, I was convinced that Ewha textbooks are better than the Yonsei. I’m not saying that Yonsei is not good but I feel like I’m spending way too much money on it only to learn a few grammar points. I’m not sure about Yonsei 3-6. I have yet to check them out.

      I feel like we’ve met before. Were you in Charley Jang’s Skype class?

      • It’s a pleasant surprise Angeli, yes I was in Charley Jang’s Skype class. He is the one who sent us Yonsei book. I checked my skype if I have you and seems I still have you but just that my bday wish did not reach you which was in Januyar 2012!

        Thanks for suggesting Ehwa textbooks, I’ll note them down.

        – prash!

        • Oh! I knew it. Haha! I forgot my password and I don’t really use Skype that much anymore coz it keeps crashing on my stupid laptop. ㅡ_ㅡ;; Did Charley give you the pdf version of Yonsei or the real book? That would be generous of him if he gave you the real book. Haha! Wonder if he’s still doing classes. Too bad I had to quit his classes because I just had so many things to attend to plus the crashing of Skype on my laptop made it even more impossible to join. Are you still in touch with him? Thanks for the birthday wish even though it was sent last year. ^^;;

          • Charley sent us the real book by post, yes, so generous of him. We then scanned like 60 pages so that it could be used for our Skype class. He isn’t doing those classes now cuz we were bad students lol! Yes we are still in touch, especially on kakaotalk. He calls me sometimes on phone too! In fact we had a small skype conference just a week ago with charley and other former skype students, this was like after more than a year of gap. You use kakaotalk? I hope you enjoyed your birthday last year and this year too.

          • WOW!!! Charley must be rich. Those books are really expensive! Haha! Yes, I use Kakao. Will you please say hi to Charley for me?

          • hey again angeli~ sorry for the late reply! Yea Charley must be rich! lol! Add me on kakaotalk at “prashanthaku” I wouldn’t be able to reply next few weeks though, cuz my phone isn’t working.

            Yea I’ll say hi to him, actually u can meet him in kakaotalk too! (I’ll let him know when I can).

            by the way I during my recent Hong Kong trip I bought “Korean Grammar in Use” Beginning and Intermediate books because of your review and I love them! Almost everything what I need related to Korean language grammar seems to be in these books.

            I wanted to buy more books like Ehwa, but Ehwa was not available and also I didn’t had enough money to buy other books there.

            But, still I guess I have enough books to last at least one more year or more!

            Thanks a lot! 🙂
            – prash!

          • Hey! I hope Charley still remembers me. I doubt he will since I only had a few sessions with him and the group. I hope you enjoy studying Korean using the books you bought. They’re absolutely good. For me at least. Haha! I have so many books and most of them are unread. XD

          • hahaha! Of course charley would remember you! My phone wasn’t working more than a month until last week! Can you please add me again on kakaotalk? thanks!

            Yes, I’m already enjoy “Korean Grammar in Use – Beginning” I don’t think I would be needing to open the intermediate one anytime this year lol! (for now, I gave it to a fellow Korean learner in my city)

            Have a great day!

  8. Hi, im from Indonesia~ Thanks for the review!^^
    I plan to use this book as a supplement with the ehwa series. But i dont know if doing the previous TOPIK exams would be enough or not.

    Your opinion will be appreciated 🙂

    • Sorry for the late reply. I haven’t been online in a long time. Anyway, to answer your question, yes. Korean Grammar in Use books can be used as a supplement with the Ewha Series. I have the Level 2 books of Ewha Korean books. I use both of them to study. Doing the previous TOPIK exams alone isn’t enough. You need a good book that explains grammars well enough for you to understand how to use it.

  9. Thanks for such great review 🙂
    Can you give me book recommendation ? I alredy know how to read and write hangul. But I’m still lack at writing and sometimes confused how to make setences. Korean Grammar in Use Beginning and Integrated Korea, which one I should buy ?

    • I’m not sure if I have replied to this comment before but I’d choose Korean Grammar in Use over Intergated Korean. To each his own.

  10. Hello! Thanks for such a detailed review you’ve written ^^
    I can read hangul already but I’m a complete beginner when it comes to grammar and vocabs! Planning on getting the Korean Grammar in Use Beginning or Yonsei 1 (both textbook and workbook), but I’m so torn between the two T_T maybe you can help?
    Thank you very much ^^

    • Sorry for the late reply. I have both but I use Korean Grammar in Use way more often than Yonsei Korean 1 simply because it tackled more grammar points than the Yonsei Korean 1. When I bought the Yonsei Korean 1, I already knew some basic Korean so I was kinda disappointed that I didn’t learn anything new from it because I have already learned those grammar points online.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s