What’s the best English Textbook for a tech professional?
You have finally decided to brush up on your English. Maybe you’ve hit a plateau and need to make a breakthrough to upper-Intermediate or even advanced level.
This poses the question: which textbook should you choose? Will any English textbook work for you, provided that you’re learning the language to work and communicate in tech?
The answer is yes, any modern textbook will do as long as you’re willing to put in the time and stick with it.
Each textbook has its pros and cons. That’s why in this article, we’re going to cover 8 popular English language textbooks and whether they are suited for a tech professional.
American English File
Overview: the textbook covers all main language skills (reading, speaking, writing, and listening). It can help you build a strong lexical and grammatical base, including prepositions and fixed phrases. The downside is that this textbook is hard-to-use for self-study students due to the overwhelming structure of tasks. It’s much better to use it with a teacher who could guide you through it and keep you motivated.
Overview: The British English version of the American English File, with almost identical tasks and lesson structure. The primary difference is that the textbook focuses on British English pronunciation and uses topics that cover England’s life and culture. If you’re working with England-based teams or customers, this might be the textbook for you.
Overview: the textbook takes an interactive but very “academic” approach to teaching vocabulary and grammar, which might intimidate an average learner. However, it’s very well-suited as a learning resource to improve your overall level before taking IELTS, TOEFL, or similar language tests. Like the previous two textbooks, this one is not particularly ideal as a self-study guide.
Overview: Very similar to American English File. Even though it’s a good textbook overall, it doesn’t offer any distinct advantages for a tech professional. Besides, many of its vocabulary topics (media, TV, etc.) are now outdated. If your choice is split between this textbook and American English File, it’s better to opt for the American English File or the English File series.
English Grammar in Use by Raymond Murphy
Overview: The holy grail of grammar textbooks. If grammar is your weakest point — consider getting this textbook. Some of its big advantages are clear and concise explanations of grammar rules, the granular practice of each grammar topic, answer keys, and the fact that it’s perfect as a self-study textbook.
The English For Everyone series
Overview: A designated self-study series that focuses on mastering a certain key language area. The books in the series include Grammar Guide, Vocabulary, Builder, Phrasal Verbs, Idioms, and Business English. The price point is another pleasant surprise as this textbook costs twice less than any American English File type textbook.
This series is for someone who wants to boost communication skills in a short period of time.
People in tech with the language level of Pre-Intermediate — Strong Intermediate will the Business English (level 2)n edition especially useful. This textbook may be of great help if you’ve just landed a new job and need to quickly upgrade your English to communicate with your team.
Oxford English for Information Technology
Overview: if you’re planning on studying Computer Science in an English-speaking university or college — this might be the textbook for you. However, this textbook isn’t much good for anything else besides computer terminology. It won’t teach you the grammar, communication and soft skills you need to communicate in the workplace (such as writing emails, creating documentation, negotiating, speaking in meetings etc.)
The English For Tech Textbook
Overview: A textbook for modern tech professionals created by Anna Gandrabura and the English For IT team. English For Tech will be useful to not only software developers but also anyone in the tech industry who is Pre-Intermediate or higher. That includes QA testers, business analysts, HR, project managers etc. The textbook combines a lexical and grammar foundation with topics and tips that you won’t find in a regular textbook such as how to write an effective resume, how to upgrade your LinkedIn profile, how to communicate with distributed teams and customers. Every lesson covers a tech related topic and contains tasks on 7 main language skills: reading, writing, grammar, pronunciation, listening comprehension, speaking and soft skills.
Let’s do a side-by-side comparison of English For Tech and English for Information Technology to help you better understand the specifics of each textbook.
Whether you’re a newbie in tech or a seasoned professional, this textbook has something useful for you.
You can learn more about the digital textbook here. If you decide that you want it, use this promocode HUNT20 to get $20 off.