Welcome to the forums!
Student grammar practice books such as Murphy's Grammar in Use
series are a painless way of familiarizing yourself with the essentials and seeing how they can be contextualized (i.e. are used in basic situations). I also like Swan & Walter's How English Works
, and some of its exercises or indeed Murphy's can be used or adapted for class activities, pairwork etc (but see next post below for activity books proper).
For more detailed coverage (i.e. teacher reference and research, preparation etc) the Collins COBUILD English Grammar
is one of the clearest and most functionally-focussed references around (its explanations are often along the lines of "When you want to convey such and such a meaning, you can use such and such a form"*). It's actually a lexicogrammar
, i.e. it supplies plenty of examples and lists in which the words have similar meanings due to them having similar structural patterns. The detail, authenticity and value is thus high compared to previous (and still even now certain) grammars produced without the benefit of masses of computerized data, that tend to rely on invented or all too simple sentences. There is also a Student's edition with exercises (by Dave Willis) that is similar in layout (explanations facing exercises) to the Murphys mentioned above. You can read more about (the COBUILD) lexicogrammars here http://acl.ldc.upenn.edu/J/J01/J01-2013.pdf
, and COBUILD's Grammar Patterns 1: Verbs
is available freely here http://arts-ccr-002.bham.ac.uk/ccr/patgram/
(but this last is a fair bit more daunting if not complex than the earlier COBUILD English Grammar
). Swan's Practical English Usage
(i.e. PEU) seems to be a usual recommendation (for CELTA trainees, say), but its A-Z "quick access, individual points of usage" format lessens its utility as a read-through course of sorts for teachers (unlike the COBUILD, which carefully builds from word to text level, latter involves some marked variations in word order, e.g. passives, clefts, existential 'there', and so on, see http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewt ... =variation
to get some idea of what I'm on about here LOL), and Swan himself in his Introduction states that those looking for a more 'systematically organised account of the whole of English grammar' that shows 'how the separate points fit together' should look to other titles instead (or at least in addition). A short comparison of the COBUILD versus Swan here: http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewt ... 1819#11819
An excellent grammar glossary:
I always recommend buying Chalker & Weiner's Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar
though, because it covers everything from phonetics to discourse level. Unfortunately in the new edition the phonetics entries have been removed (by Bas Aarts, a somewhat theory-heavy linguist-grammarian drafted in to edit and "update" the book).
Bear in mind that advanced learner dictionaries
can be very quick and useful for checking grammar (esp. word classes/the "parts of speech"), but unfortunately the free online versions of the Oxford and COBUILD appear to lack the explicit grammar codings given in the print versions. Take a look also at the online ALDs from Cambridge, Longman, Macmillan, and Merriam-Webster.
Lastly, a very useful collocations
More on ALDs and corpora here:
http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewt ... 5667#45667
I've posted a fair number of lists of multiple grammar-related books over the years, just ask if you want me to dig out the threads. Off the top of my head the book you might be describing is The Grammar Book
by Celce-Murcia and Larson-Freeman (but that's more MA level, even though the insights it contains, esp. from Discourse Analysis, would be useful for all teachers).
If you are after grammar-focussed pedagogical discussion, there are a number of books, but one of the best I've ever read (though now out of print and perhaps dated in parts) was Bygate et al's Grammar and the Language Teacher
. It contains papers by some big names: Leech, Swan, etc. I'll also mention Lewis' The English Verb
, but you can get a taste of similar ideas here:
http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewt ... 4082#44082
*COBUILD is justly famous for its introduction of carefully-written, stylistically-consistent full-sentence definitions (in its pioneering 1987 dictionary, that forced other ELT publishers to up their game), which are reminiscent of how a teacher might explain things.