Today I will continue with Lesson 4 of Essential French (EF), rather than jumping back to Alpha Teach Yourself French in 24 Hours (ATYF) as I have been doing. The very different approaches in these two books means that EF has not yet covered all the articles. In the next few chapters a number of verbs and more numbers are presented, as well. Doing it this way should help keep returns to EF from seeming completely worthless. It is not that EF handles the information in a less effective or efficient manner. EF has done much more with verbs, subject pronouns, and patterns for questions and statements than ATYF so far, though the next chapter of ATYF should bring them up to speed with one another in that regard.
The difference is as follows. EF handles topics as it comes to them, and does not try to quickly systematize. ATYF, instead, is more an instructive grammar, systematizing and providing exceptions for entire categories or ideas, but providing far fewer integrating examples and opportunities for repetition and review. ATYF is dense, with much more text and descriptive material, while EF is not very descriptive in its notes, relying on the numerous examples to clarify any misunderstandings.
All that to say that I’m going to stick in EF until after Lesson 6 (4 and 5 are “new” material, while 6 is the first of four review lessons).