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Margot Northey.

Toronto, Oxford University Press, c1983.
122pp, paper, $5.95.
ISBN 0-19-540427-0.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Robert W. Bruinsma.

Volume 11 Number 6.
1983 November.

Margot Northey has done senior high-school and undergraduate college students a real service by producing a short writing manual that, true to its title, makes sense. This guide certainly does not tell a student all there is to know (or all one may, at times, want to know) about mechanics and style in writing, but as a concise, no-nonsense and helpful volume on the subject it does its job well.

Making Sense is divided into eleven chapters beginning with an introductory discussion on writing and thinking before plunging right in on more mundane (but essential) advice on organizing and writing an essay, book report, lab report, and business report (chapters 2-5). Chapter 6 provides sensitive and sensible advice on the writing of essay examinations.

Chapter 7 of the book concerns itself with style. Fifteen pages can hardly do justice to this complex topic. However, students who do put into practice the advice of this chapter may not stir the souls of their readers, but they will, at least, enable their beleaguered teachers to complete the task with a minimum of anguish, a matter of no small import.

The next two chapters deal with common errors in grammar and usage and punctuation. Good, straightforward advice with plenty of examples, both negative and positive.

Chapters 10 and 11 deal with the issue of documentation in the humanities and sciences respectively. The advice given here is of a very general nature that should suffice since each school or college normally specifies its own particular preferences as drawn from more comprehensive publication manuals or style guides. Some of the more common sources of these are cited in full by Northey.

Making Sense concludes with a catch-list of misused words and phrases, a useful glossary of terms, and a quite serviceable index.

I have asked my college bookstore to stock copies of this volume and will certainly be referring my students to pertinent sections as paper writing time rolls around. Your students may be grateful if you do the same.

Robert W. Bruinsma, King's College, Edmonton, AB.
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