14 In Korean learning journey (:/ korean textbook reviews

[Korean Textbook Review] 외국인을 위한 한국어 문법

I can’t believe the last textbook review was in February!!! Time and tide waits for no man, indeed.

TwoChois sent me these two books in March, and I feel really guilty for not sharing these awesome books until 2 months later!!


The book on the right is a.w.e.s.o.m.e.

In case you wonder why I seem to be writing only positive reviews these days, it’s because I usually have a good eye for language textbooks and won’t even bother picking the awful ones.

So it’s really reviewing awesome and awesome-er books.

And this one is awesome-er. ^^

Literally translated as “Korean Grammar for the foreigner – Meaning and Function version”, the title and its plain cover may not have caught your attention.

But the content is is real meaty.

This grammar textbook is slightly different from the usual ones in that it groups grammar points of similar functions together in 10 major categories and instead of simply explaining each grammar structure as a standalone point, it focuses on comparing these grammar points and explaining the similarities/differences in meanings/nuances and also the different situations you can use them in. 

And this is why the book is great.

The 10 major functions are as follows:

1. Reason

2. Experience

3. Plan

4. Purpose

5. Supposition

6. Wish

7. Regret

8. Worry

8. Condition

10. Permission

It’s a really good book to consolidate your grammar knowledge. Heck, I never knew these were soooo many grammar points for reason even though I know every single one of them as I go through the list. o.O

My only regret? 

I should have known of the existence of this book like 3 years earlier!! Would have been really helpful in the intermediate / early advanced stage.

Okay, today’s “intro” is slightly longer than usual, but if you wanna skip the detailed review, scroll down to the bottom! 😀


Unlike its dull cover, the content is highly colourful, peppered with cute drawings, but at the same time very well structured and clean.

Each chapter starts off with a list of grammar points with that function and the book even groups it for you according to standard: beginner / intermediate / advanced, as well as telling you whether these grammar structures can be used in general circumstances or in very specific ones.


Moving on, each grammar point is introduced by letting you know how it is conjugated with V / A / N and then kicks off with a lengthy explanation. I love how concise and clear the explanations are. For example, they will tell you that this grammar point can only be used in the present tense and not used in commands.


A number of examples then follow. Not very difficult sentences but I guess it helps since the simple sentences really make the meaning clear.


Awesome, simple exercises that are useful. Those that you will actually do. (answers at the back!)


So far, the book is being awesome. But that’s not where the gem lies. The best part of the book is definitely this section, where they will explain how this particular grammar point differs from another very similar one!

Some grammar books omit this portion, while others tend to skimp through it, with the comparison and explanation done in a sentence or so. Not this book. This book spends an entire page (or more) on it, with very very clear diagrams to explain the differences.

As if that wasn’t helpful enough, the authors go one step further to include consolidation exercises. You will get a number of sentences and have to choose which grammar point is the correct one to use in each case.


That’s my stamp of approval. ㅋㅋㅋ

That’s generally the main content of the book but I love how they will include short TOPIK exercises every now and then. Good practice.

hehe and there’s also this 쉼터 (breaktime?) section that I loveeeeee!!

There is one particularly awesome cartoon depicting the level of resolve one has for quitting smoking and how to use different expressions for different levels of resolve.

Very very clear summary of several grammar points just in one cartoon. For visual learners, it’ll be much simpler that poring through long and lengthy explanations.

This book gets 10 stamps of approval from me.

Looks like it’s part of a set of textbooks too, I wonder what other books they have!

Note: I would recommend this book to be used as a consolidation of grammar points, instead of using it as a main grammar textbook. If you use it as your MAIN/ONLY source of grammar knowledge, try not to read it from cover to cover, or it’ll be the same as reading a dictionary. Instead, refer to it when you come across a grammar point elsewhere. For those using it as a consolidation resource, feel free to read it in order.

The reason why I hesitate to recommend this as a main/first source of grammar knowledge is that it can be intimidating (and discouraging) to see how there are SOOOOO MANY different ways to express for example, reason. May be too overwhelming for the new learner and even though the book has awesome explanations, it’s not very healthy (to the mind) if you learn like 10 reason grammars at one go. lol.

All in all, a book that all Korean learners should have on their bookshelf!

What I like:

  • Everything except the cover?? (hey this is important ok)
  • This is a book is written with a very clear objective in mind and this differentiates it from other “general” grammar books
  • Awesome explanations
  • Even more awesome comparisons
  • Relevant exercises
  • Good use of visuals (Excellent, in fact)
  • Clear structure

What can be improved?:

  • The cover

Just buy it. >>>>>>>> Twochois.com

While you are at it, get BOOK 2 too. 😀

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  • Reply
    20 May, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    Your review is making me wna get this book so bad~ XD

    • Reply
      3 June, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      hehe go get!

  • Reply
    20 May, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    Hey Shanna, just a random question. May I know what app/programme you use to type korean? Do you use romanisation or……? Thanks!

    • Reply
      3 June, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      mmm I just tweak the language settings on my comp! It’s preset!

  • Reply
    21 May, 2014 at 2:17 AM

    Yes! I have the book 2! I’m gonna order this book 1 soon! Ur review totally reflects how I feel about this grammar book! Love reading ur reviews! =)

    • Reply
      3 June, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      oooh I’m contemplating to get book 2!

  • Reply
    21 May, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    I assume explanation is in Korean as well. I still find Korean Grammar in Use the best amongst grammar book.

    • Reply
      3 June, 2014 at 11:24 PM

      Yup! But actually the explanations are quite easy to understand for intermediate learners (:

  • Reply
    21 May, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    Thanks for the review as always. 🙂 감사합니다. Happy to hear that you liked the book 외국인을 위한 한국어 문법. 다음 번에도 잘 부탁드려요.

    • Reply
      3 June, 2014 at 11:24 PM


  • Reply
    23 May, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    Looks like it’s a book that I need to get when I get to intermediate. I’m sadly still in the Upper Beginner level ._.

    • Reply
      3 June, 2014 at 11:24 PM

      yeah it’s a great one!

  • Reply
    23 May, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    My only concern is explaination is in korean & my korean is not so good so I am quite apprehensive in getting this book but looking at some of the pages in twochois (da website dat u recommended) on ‘Korean Grammer In Use – Beginner & so forth” will be better the explainations in English. Once my korean understanding is more strong then maybe I can get this book. But really thanks for introducing this book cos if you didn’t, wouldn’t have known this book existed

    • Reply
      3 June, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      The explanations are not really difficult! Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy actually! (:

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