10th March 2000 at 00:00
RADICAL! By Ian Maun. Arnold pound;12.99. FRENCH GRAMMAR MADE EASY. By Rosi McNab. Hodder amp; Stoughton, pound;6.99

The metaphors used to sweeten the pill of learning grammar are many and varied.

Radical! likens itself to a recipe book - "you may know most of the ingredients or the cooking time, but one little piece of information eludes your memory", while French Grammar Made Easy claims to be for those people "who want to drive a car without mastering the principles of the internal combustion engine".

Radical!'s claim to be student-friendly seems a little over-optimistic, certainly with regard to sixth-form students of my acquaintance, but if you want to delve into the myteries of di-transitive verbs or find the plural of soutien-gorge, this is the place to look.

The layout is clear, the index comprehensive and there are varied and imaginative tasks - with answers - to enable the student to consolidate new knowledge.

At half the size of Radical!, French Grammar Made Easy will probably better meet the needs of sixth-forms, even though it is aimed at "adult non-linguists".

The explanations are crystal clear, the examples relevant and contemporary, while the exercises - again with answers - are pithy and pointed.

But what a shame there is no index - you have to rely on the contents page if you want to look something up.

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