Spanish Verb Drills, by Vivienne Bey - Book Review

Spanish Book Review

Spanish Verb Drills is another great Spanish learner's book that fits well into the language-learning arsenal of any Spanish learner.

It is aimed at the beginner to intermediate student, is 204 pages long and is one that has hundreds of verb drills and exercises. Grab you pencil and eraser and start filling in the blanks in the book, (...and those in your head).

Spanish Verb Drills is a McGraw-Hill publication by Vivienne Bey, in association with Beatrice Concheff.

Each section has a practice section, application drills, then a mastery test. Sections include the ar verbs, er and ir verbs.

It does include the vosotros conjugations which are important for learners of the Spanish spoken in Spain, as opposed to that spoken in Latin America.

Contents of Spanish Verbs Drills by Vivienne Bey

The 2004 version of this book which was used for this Spanish book review, starts off logically with the Regular verbs in the Present Tense.Imperfect Tense are then covered.Preterite. To clarify the use of the preterit tense, they use the wording for say I spoke, as I did speak to differentiate it from the imperfect. Good system I think.Future.Conditional, what you would, should, could do.Progressive Tenses.Present Subjunctive.Imperfect Subjunctive.Reflexive Verbs.Stem Changing Verbs, from Class one to class three.Orthographic Changes.Orthographic Stem Changes.Irregular Verbs.Irregular Past Participles.Final Review.Answers to the Verb Drills.Index of Infinitives, English to SpanishIndex of Spanish Infinitives.

Use it in association with your classroom studies

This book is a useful text to have and use alongside your classroom studies. Like many texts a major weakness is that you cannot HEAR the word in action that you can do with a computer program. Perhaps later versions of the book Spanish Verb Drills do have an accompanying CD or there is a website onto which you can log and listen to the correct sounds and pronunciation.

Criticisms of Spanish Verb Drills Book

Like most language texts, the teachers uses, from the outset, English language that most casual learners of Spanish choke on. On page one she dives in speaking 'language-teacher-speak'. for example:

The pronoun-subject of the Spanish verb is expressed by the ending of the verb. [ed - WHAT??]

Interrogative: All Spanish verbs in the interrogative are identical to the affirmative.

Then two lines down:

Spanish verbs in the negative-interrogative are identical to the negative.

At this point it is not the Spanish dictionary that you need, but the English one, and a handbook on language grammar. That is, if you have not already closed the book with a sore head.

Why do language teachers do this? Yes, this is fine for someone who has studied a language for a while and has his/her head around the terminology, but on page 1 of a text book?

Vivienne, Beatrice, darlings, we know that you are clever and that you teach many clever people, but remember, MOST people trying to learn Spanish are not university students. Use complex language like that above and you have lost them. Try, in the next edition to simplify the language. Explain each step along the way.

Spanish book Review: Overall Rating of Spanish Verb Drills as a text = *****

Overall I give the book 5 stars ***** out of 5, for what it is. A tool to use alongside your lessons to consolidate, improve and expand your Spanish. The criticisms above do not detract from the PURPOSE and USEFULNESS of the book. the price on the cover is $USD9.95, £UK6.95 so it is pretty reasonably priced. Do your writing in pencil so that you can either do it again and again, or pass it on to others in the family.

Personally I think the software programs that are out there are a better learning tool overall, but books such as this have a powerful place in your language learning inventory. And as far as books go this one is very good.

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