8 Best Books for Advanced English Learners 2023

Best Books Advanced English article image

Written by Gwenydd Jones

Translator, translator trainer and copywriter

What are the best books advanced English learners need? Maybe you’re looking to boost your vocabulary and grammar for work? Or preparing to go to university in an English-speaking country? 

There are many reasons why learners want to improve their English level and books can be a great addition to that journey. Read on to discover how to become a successful advanced English learner.

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What’s the most advanced level of English?

In Europe, language ability is categorised using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). It organises language ability into six levels from A1 to C2, with C2 being the highest level. 

C1 and C2 are the top tier on the Common European Framework. C1, for instance, is considered a high-level qualification that equips the learner to work and study in English. It’s a qualification that employers and universities look for.

How long does it take to learn advanced English?

This isn’t an easy question to answer as there are so many variables. Some learners progress faster than others. Some have more resources. Access to native speakers to chat with can help, or having classes with native speakers. These could be online courses or in-person classes. 

Being able to travel to English-speaking countries and immerse yourself in the language can help too. But there are also plenty of books advanced English learners can use to improve their knowledge. The more you put in, the faster you’ll progress.

How can I get to an advanced level in English?

As well as traditional routes like studying at school, university or language academies, learners can improve their language skills by studying on their own. 

Whether it’s vocabulary, grammar, fluency or comprehension, there are lots of books that can help language learners improve their level of English and master difficult concepts. Let’s have a look at some of the best books for advanced English learners.

Want to know our top pick for the best book advanced English learners should buy?

Scroll to the end of the article to find out which one book we recommend.

Books for improving your advanced English grammar

While having good English grammar isn’t the only component in speaking advanced English, you’ll certainly need to be on top of your grammar to pass advanced English exams. You may also need to brush up on your English grammar if you want to teach English. Here are our faves.

Advanced Grammar in Use

Advanced Grammar in Use by Martin Hewings focuses on the complex grammar that advanced English learners need to master at this level. It has a clear layout and the exercises and examples have been updated and revised. It’s ideal for self-study, with 100 units not to mention practice materials.

Check out Advanced Grammar in Use

About Language

If you’re a teacher of English as a foreign language (EFL) or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), this is the advanced English grammar book you need. This is the best book for native English speakers, bilingual English teachers or non-native English teachers who want to improve their advanced English grammar to help them teach English to others. It also contains exercises you can do that will help you in the classroom.

Check out About Language.

Books for improving your English vocabulary

Having excellent English vocabulary is a great way to improve your ability to communicate effectively in English. Check out these recommendations!

How to Build a Better Vocabulary

If you want to boost your vocabulary in English, How to Build a Better Vocabulary by Maxwell Nurnberg and Morris Rosenblum is a good option. It’s not specifically designed for language learners but it’s a great resource for improving your vocabulary and fluency. 

The book claims to help readers express themselves better in English and understand the meaning of words they’ve never come across before. It also explains the history of the words to help you remember them more easily.

Check out How to Build a Better Vocabulary

English Vocabulary in Use

Another option to improve your vocabulary is English Vocabulary in Use by Michael McCarthy. Designed specifically for C1 and C2 learners of English, this book can be used in the classroom or for self-study. 

It has over 100 units of exercises and explanations to help you grow in confidence when speaking English. It also includes an ebook so you can listen to the pronunciation of the words and improve your spoken English at the same time.

Check out English Vocabulary in Use

English Collocations in Use: Advanced

Felicity O’Dell and Michael McCarthy’s English Collocations in Use Advanced delves into common collocations that will be of use to advanced English learners. It features 60 units divided by themes and can be used for self-study. Improving your ability to collocate in English is a great way to show how advanced you are.

See English Collocations in Use

Word Power Made Easy

Billed as the “most effective vocabulary builder in the English language”, Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis is a treasure trove of words and phrases.

It’s organised into sections, with topics ranging from how to talk about science to how to flatter friends and insult enemies. It’s easy to use and written in a humorous style. The book includes phonetic information and tips on typical spelling errors. There are quizzes and progress checks so you can see how much you’ve learned.

Get Word Power Made Easy

Books to improve your English writing skills

One way to improve your English writing skills is to join our translation courses. However, if a book is what you’re looking for, check out this section.

Advanced Writing Skills for Students of English

For students of advanced English who want to improve their writing skills, a good option is Advanced Writing Skills for Students of English by Phil Williams. The book discusses grammar, spelling, punctuation and editing, among other matters.

It also deals with the practical side of writing, with guides to different written forms like emails, essays, articles and more.

Check out Advanced Writing Skills for Students of English

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Books to improve your English reading comprehension

Reading comprehension is an important part of improving your level of English, especially as an advanced learner. By doing reading exercises, you can gamify your reading in English and make it more fun.

Practice Makes Perfect: Advanced English Reading and Comprehension

Practice Makes Perfect: Advanced English Reading and Comprehension by Diane Engelhardt features 15 reading comprehension activities on topics as varied as the human genome project and DNA evidence.

The passages are long and complex to help you develop critical thinking skills and advanced English comprehension. The book helps you summarise information and organise what you read logically. It includes academic and technical vocabulary and discusses strategies that can be used with any difficult text.

Check out Practice Makes Perfect: Advanced English Reading and Comprehension

Our top pick for the best book advanced English learners should buy in 2023

As lots of learners of English often struggle with vocabulary and finding just the right word for the occasion, our top pick is Collocations in Use: Advanced. It’s fun to read and sure to help you with your level of English across the board. 

Want to improve your written English further?

If you’re interested in language and improving your English, check out our Punctuation Pro course where you’ll learn everything you need to know to improve how you punctuate your writing and correct the work of others.

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