English Banana.com ESL Blog

The latest free material and news from English Banana.com

Big Grammar Book

Big Grammar Book has been downloaded from EnglishBanana.com over 1 million times in 2015 (so far!)

Big Grammar Book

I recently came across this statistic from our server log files and felt it was so encouraging that I wanted to share it with you.

I had no idea that Big Grammar Book was still so popular (it was published in 2004), and the total number of downloads for this year to date will be much higher, since the book can also be downloaded from numerous other websites – the most famous being Guardian.co.uk – where it is the second most recommended resource of all time, and rising! – and TES.co.uk. The million downloads from englishbanana.com does not include any of these other sites!

When you consider that Big Grammar Book was published 11 years ago, you can add to this 1 million all the other millions of downloads over the years – not to mention those of my other 19 books – plus downloads of all the thousands of worksheets – and you can see that EnglishBanana.com material is really pretty popular! The total number of downloads – which I have not been able to calculate, being an English-y sort of person, rather than a maths-y one – must be mind-bogglingly huge!

Is the high number of downloads because it is free? I hope it is because it is high quality, but I guess being free doesn’t hurt! According to figures from bookshops, the average book sells fewer than 250 copies per year and fewer than 2,000 copies during its lifetime. It is only the celebrity books and books by really famous authors that hit the million mark. When people ask me why my material is all free and in the Public Domain, I point them in the direction of this page, which helps to explain my motivation. But as a writer, there is a part of me which gets a great deal of satisfaction from being read. I’m personally thrilled that over a million people – this year alone – have had the chance to use my Big Grammar Book – that I put together on my computer on my own all those years ago – to learn or teach English.

Also, since a normal ELT course book has the “normal” price of £28 in the UK, it’s no wonder that people are glad to download free resources, like Big Grammar Book. I’m glad to be able to offer them. :)

So, go ahead! Download Big Grammar Book – and all the other popular free downloadable pdf files and resources from EnglishBanana.com. It is all online waiting for you to discover!

Free Language Club on EnglishBanana.com

Please join us for FREE live English classes on EnglishBanana.com!

Great news! At the end of August 2015 we will be launching our Free Language Club where you can join us for free online English classes. Find out more by checking out the video below – or click on the link:

EnglishBanana.com’s Free Language Club

Why do Polish students insist on writing I as if it’s a capital J?

This is part of some board work that we did today:


I know it is the convention for Polish students to write it like this, and that they are even taught to do this in primary school when they first learn how to write, but it puts me in an awkward position as an English teacher. It is not correct in English.

I asked this student to show me this unusual letter (as an I) in a book, either English or Polish, and of course he couldn’t. He said it was only like this for handwriting. But is this OK for English work or not? Look at the example at the bottom of this picture and you can see that the I is more like a number 3 or a question mark:


Maybe I have to go with the flow and accept this convention because I work in Poland. But I highlight other errors, so why not this one? What do you think?


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