[Review] Korean Grammar in Use

[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.