5 Best German Grammar Books [The Ultimate 2021 Guide]

German grammar can be challenging and confusing, and it is full of exceptions. Whether you are studying German for fun, university, a job, or life in Germany, getting down and dirty with a German grammar book may just bring you to that next level in your quest to learn German. To not waste valuable time digging through the hundreds of books available, we have selected the best German grammar books for you, based on their reviews, structure, and up-to-dateness.

Why is it important to invest in a Grammar book?

I am a big fan of apps to learn German, to make language learning fun and possible on the move. However, they cannot replace or make up for a good old physical grammar book, whether it is the fact that you can highlight words or scribble a memory hook next to it with your pencil. Additionally, complex grammar is explained in simple language so that you actually encompass the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ and not just ‘that’s how it is’.

When you are serious about learning German, you should dedicate those 30 minutes or that hour at your desk or on your couch, studying German’s beautiful yet complex grammar. You will hear yourself mumble ‘that doesn’t make sense’ and ‘ahh, now it does’ and other wonderful exclamations.

What are the best German Grammar Books?

We have picked the top five rated German grammar books to compare them for you. Take a look through our pros and cons for each one to find the book that better suits your need and learning style to acquire more German skills.

All of the German grammar books below have the following benefits:

✓ Highly rated
✓ Explanations in English
✓ Focus on grammar

Here are our top picks for the best German grammar book this year.

1. English Grammar for Students of German

Good for: Learners looking for easy step-by-step explanations of complex grammar topics.

Pros: This book has the highest rating (at the time of writing) on this list and that is for a reason. Each chapter focuses on one grammar point only, making it possible to choose your language learning level and speed. With its 170 pages, it appeals to all levels of German, as each chapter has two sections.

One in English, to explain the grammar concept and relate it to the English language for better comprehension (perfect for beginners). And the second in German, to relate to the German language and give examples (perfect for intermediate and advanced). A review booklet with the answer key is available online.

⛔️ Cons: None found.

English Grammar for Students of German
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2. Complete German Grammar

Good for: Learners eager to immerse themselves in exercises for basic German grammar.

Pros: This book is perfect for beginners and those looking to actively practice German with the many exercises throughout the book’s 288 pages. Its learning process seamlessly combines theory with applying the German language. It also comes with an answer key at the back of the book. You can extend the book via its online app to access even more exercises. 

⛔️ Cons: The book has a few small mistakes and does not cover all the areas of German grammar. 

Practice Makes Perfect: Complete German Grammar
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3. Hammer’s German Grammar and Usage

Good for: Learners looking for a comprehensive, in-depth long-standing book.

Pros: This book has first been published in 1971 and has since been trusted as the most comprehensive German grammar resource. It is now in its sixth edition, updated with all the modern changes to the German language.

It is at the pricier end of this list and encompasses the written and verbal, as well as the formal and informal German language on 550 pages. Similar to ‘English Grammar for Students of German’, each chapter focuses on one concept of German grammar and explains it down to the tee. 

⛔️ Cons: Unfortunately, also this great book does not avoid small errors.

Hammer's German Grammar and Usage
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4. Schaum’s Outline of German Grammar

Good for: Learners looking for a good balance of comprehensive grammar explanations and practice exercises. 

Pros: Like Hammer’s book, Schaum’s German grammar book has been around for some while and provides you with step-by-step solutions to practice problems on 336 pages.

Additionally to the outlines of grammar concepts, it provides hundreds of examples and exercises to practice your German. Of course, it also comes with an answer key in the back and a verb chart. As a bonus, you will get access to the Schaum website with over 700 audio recordings.

⛔️ Cons: Learners have reported that the book’s paper is quite thin and gets damaged fast.

Schaum's Outline German Grammar
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5. German Grammar Drills

Good for: Learners who wish to brush up or intensify their knowledge of German grammar.

Pros: This book really digs deep, just like the title describes. It offers 312 pages, packed with clear explanations and over 200 practice exercises; it covers the entire German grammar system. It brings an answer key, perfect for your self-study, as well as quick online quizzes for on-the-go learning. 

⛔️ Cons: Users have described it as being a bit dry sometimes and not ideal for absolute beginners.

German Grammar Drills
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Bonus: Grammatik aktiv

This German grammar book is not in English but exclusively in German, so it breaks from the other books in this comparison. However, we don’t want you to miss out on it, as it is excellent and we thought you might be up for a challenge.

Good for: Learners up for a challenge to learn with German instructions and explanations.

Pros: This book is by far the best rated German grammar book in German for German as a foreign language. This edition is not for absolute beginners but for levels A1-B1, and there is also an advanced version for B2-C1 available. 256 pages packed with easy explanations on the left page and exercises on the right page. For visualized learning, it brings lots of tables and drawings. To practice your speaking, it also brings online audios.

⛔️ Cons: If you are outside of Germany, it might be hard to get at times. 

Grammatik aktiv: Übungsgrammatik A1-B1
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That was a lot of talk about grammar; if you need to clear your head a little with some laughs while learning German, take a look at our article: 111 German Idioms In English With Illustrations [+ Translation]

Conclusion

Each German grammar book in this guide is a great choice, and we hope you have been able to select one or two, which fit your journey with learning the essential German grammar. Don’t forget to put the book down every once in a while and actually use what you have learned to speak the language.

If you are lucky and you live in Germany, use every chance you get. If German does not surround you, try an app that focuses on speaking, such as Tandem or Preply.

Happy studying! 📚