Monday, April 24, 2017

The 5th Edition of the Blue Book

GenevaGeneva Tesh is an ESL teacher, materials writer, Azar-Hagen Grammar Series contributor, and grammar enthusiast. She teaches in the Intensive English Program at Houston Community College.

You’ve probably heard by now that Understanding and Using English Grammar has been revised this year. Several teachers have asked if they’ll need to make any major changes to their lesson plans. For the most part, no. You’ll be able to use your old syllabus and exams with just a few small exceptions. Here’s a brief look at some of the changes you’ll find in the fifth edition of UUEG.

One of the first things you’ll notice is that Chapter 1 from the fourth edition has been removed. (The charts can now be found in the Appendix.) This chapter was a general preview of all the verb tenses, with the next few chapters explaining the verbs in greater detail. UUEG CoverIn the new edition, Chapter 1 starts with simple and progressive verbs in the present and past. Chapter 2 now covers the perfect and perfect progressive tenses, Chapter 3 goes over future time verbs, and Chapter 4 is a verb tense review chapter. Because all of the information that was in Chapter 1 of the fourth edition is also presented in Chapters 1 through 4, this change shouldn’t have a big impact on what you teach in your grammar class. However, if you have the chapter numbers on your syllabus, you’ll need to make some adjustments.

There is one brand new chapter in the fifth edition. Articles, those little words that give our students big problems, are now the topic of Chapter 7.  In this new chapter, you’ll find a couple of old charts, such as “Basic Article Usage” and “General Guidelines for Article Usage”, that have been moved from the nouns chapter to the new chapter on articles. There are also some new charts covering topics like the use of articles with descriptive information, generic nouns, titles, and geographic names. Teachers will likely welcome this new chapter as articles are one of the most difficult teaching points in any ESL class.

I usually teach Chapters 9 and 10, both of which cover modals, as one long unit. If you teach them separately, then you’ve got some work ahead you. All of the old charts are still there, but everything has been moved around. You’ll need to change your assignments and exams to reflect the changes. The past tense form of should has been moved from chapter 9 to 10. The present form of can to show ability went from Chapter 10 to 9. In a nutshell, you can think of Chapter 9 as an introduction to basic modals in present and future time, while Chapter 10 covers modals that indicate degrees of certainty and all past time modals.

Chapter 14, Gerunds and Infinitives, Part 1, has been reorganized so that the basic forms of gerunds and infinitives are taught first. The previous edition taught gerunds first and infinitives later.

Back by popular demand! Some of the third edition charts that had been cut from the fourth edition are back.  If you insist that the subjunctive be taught, you’ll be happy to see chart 12-9:Chart 12-9

Other notable come-backs include Chart 15-5 “Past Forms of Infinitives and Gerunds: Active and Passive” and Chart 15-10 “Using a Possessive to Modify a Gerund.”

Now for the fun stuff. There are a lot of new exercises and activities. Most of the old illustrations have been replaced with color photos.  Several new photos have been included as conversation starters. Take a look:

Exercise 16

Another new feature is the BlueBookBlog, featuring author Stacy Hagen’s thoughts about helping students be more successful learners. Here is the opening paragraph to one:BlueBookBlog

The BlueBookBlog is always followed by some discussion questions or activities.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the revised ancillary materials. The test bank, workbook, chart book, and online component, MyEnglishLab, have all been updated to accompany the 5th edition student book.

Teachers who have been using this book for years or even decades see it as an old friend. Small improvements are always great, but we don’t want to see any major personality changes. Don’t worry! The new edition definitely has more modern pictures, examples, and activities, but the grammar explanations are as solid and reliable as ever. Your old friend is still here. If you‘ve had the chance to look at the new edition, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

***Buy books directly from the Pearson ELT US Online Store and get a 25% discount plus free shipping.

Pearson Online Store UUEG 5e


Comment from Jessica Allen
April 25, 2017 at 2:09 pm

My program is still using the 4th edition this summer and fall. Do you know how long the 4th edition will be available? Will the 4th edition still be supported online with the EnglishLab materials? Is the price the same for the 4th and 5th editions?

Comment from admin
April 26, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Hi Jessica,

The publisher tells us the 4th edition will be in stock until the end of 2017. The price in the 2017 catalog is $42.99 for a student book, and student book with answer key is $44.99. All 4th digital components remain supported. You can also contact your local sales rep if you have questions.

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