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Proper English

OXFORD SPELLING. OXFORD GRAMMAR. OXFORD PUNCTUATION. By John Butterworth. Oxford University Press. pound;4.99 each

These pupil books will be eagerly seized on by many a teacher anxious to brush up on the mother tongue. The text is a model of clarity and Lee Nicholls' illustrations both raise a smile and make a point. What I like most is its flexibility - "ome writers put a comma before conjunctions when sentences are joined, and some don't. Decide which you like better."

Encouraging children to use language creatively? Subversive stuff! For those who think grammar is for sissies, we are told: "words in a sentence are like players in a team", thereby getting the First XI to sit up and listen.

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