Useful to avoid grammatical mistakes in French sentences. And most of all conjugation's one. There is all French verbs listed in their 3 different groups with examples inside with tables, charts... and directions for use.
This is not a must-have book. Advanced students may find it useful as a compact reference for a quick lookup, but they probably already have more substantial works, including dictionaries, that cover what is in this overpriced Bescherelle offering.
The attentive student will acquire gradually an intuitive feel for the most common regular and irregular conjugations. When he looks up in a French/English dictionary an irregular French verb unknown to him, he will see usually -- and, often, in bold type -- a reference number that points elsewhere in the dictionary to a conjugation-pattern chart (a collection of which constitutes 1/3 of this Bescherelle book. Another 1/3 is just a simple index of verbs pointing to the conjugation-pattern pages. The remaining 1/3, beginning with «Qu'est-ce qu'un verbe?» / "What Is a Verb?", is covered in most grammar books.). The well-made, decades-old Collins-Robert dictionaries that I own provide such charts and so much more; without clear, carefully selected, illustrative examples of usage, a book of foreign verbs falls flat. Except where a verb happens to be one of the 88 model patterns, looking up a verb in the Bescherelle index leads to the matching conjugation pattern of a different verb, and that is it: There is no definition of the verb or modicum of usage examples. For peculiar verbs, this is particularly unhelpful.
Another sin is that Bescherelle's small-format, hardcover book (half an inch thick and half the size of a sheet of paper) is printed on low-quality, low-opacity paper whose show-through, small-font print makes every page more difficult to read. Compromise the paperback version, not the hardcover. If the Bescherelle book bothered to define each verb briefly (my Barron's "501 French Verbs" does so and also provides a handful of usage examples), the book would be nearly as compact.
To this day, I find my full-size, chintzy-newsprint, decades-old paperback copy of the incomplete, lazily authored Barron's "501 French Verbs" more comforting than Bescherelle's smaller-print, definition-deficient tome: If you are a beginning student, get the "501" now, and save yourself a lot of conjugation grief. A beginner should not have to guess at verb conjugations; faster to use than a big dictionary, the "501," limited as it is, spells out its conjugations, one verb per page, so, the reader sees the conjugation of the verb sought, not a different verb with a matching pattern.
My advice for the advanced student who enjoys a variety of grammar books is to buy a cheaper, used copy of the Bescherelle book, even if it is an older edition. Verb conjugations in French have been static in recent decades, despite the few related spelling reforms, none of which has been adopted widely.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Per Amazon's politically correct, "green" campaign of "Frustration-Free Packaging," my new Bescherelle hardcover was packaged and Ground-shipped in two pieces of Amazon-logo-stamped 13"x13" grocery-bag paper glued together, with the book centered inside of them. As a result, my NEW book is DENTED in several spots. I wonder if Jeff Bezos likes to receive his new purchases with dents in them. I suspect that this lightweight, INFERIOR PACKAGING is more about saving Amazon a few cents than pandering to "green" idiots. No matter: I shall not be ordering any books from Amazon as gifts, knowing that Amazon will nickel-and-dime me by shipping them UNPROTECTED in cheap, craptastic sheets of recycled grocery-bag paper.
The Bescherelle is the must-have French verb conjugation book. It is used by French schoolkids so I was surprised when I saw that my French school in Paris used it for its (foreign) students. However, it is really the best verb conjugation book out there. It does not have the flip-to convenience of 501 French verbs, but once you get the hang of it (find your verb in the back, then flip to page with conjugation of "model" verb belonging to same family), it will become 2nd nature. At first I thought that this was a disadvantage; since you are looking at the conjugation of a model verb and not of the verb itself (unless it's the model verb whose conjugation you're looking for), you miss the visual component of memorization that you get with 501 FV, which has the full conjugation of each of its verbs. Since, I have found that this is an ADVANTAGE. Memorizing the conjugation of each French verb (the 501 approach) is daunting. Memorizing conjugation by "family," i.e., associating the conjugation of related verbs, is MUCH EASIER. And unlike 501FV, Bescherelle allows you to find the conjugation of every French verb out there! 501 gives you decent coverage, but once you reach an intermediate level of French, you will find more and more verbs that are NOT in 501FV. I bought a variety of French books for study while I was in France, but left most of these behind when I came back to the States, including 501FV... but not the Bescherelle! I take it with me wherever I move, and since it's hardcover, it won't die on me anytime soon neither.
This book is EXCELLENT! It was a life-saver when I lived in France and, later on, when my job required me to do a heavy amount of French translation. The book is extremely well organized and, once you get the hang of it, will help you not only to conjugate any French verb in existence, but also will help you understand, at a profound level, how the verbs work and which verbs are like other verbs (which helps you recall their conjugations later). My book got damaged in a flood and I'm buying a new one. Can't say the same about all the other French resources I lost! Word of warning: this book is a French book and is written in French!
THIS BOOK HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND THE VERBS IN MY FRENCH CLASSES.
THIS WILL HELP ME VERY MUCH.
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