You know how coaches work. First the warm-ups, the easy stretching, to get the blood moving. Only then comes the stuff that makes you sweat a little.

That's the way it is here. After her tidy little booklets on Punctuation Tips, on Confused and Misused Words, on Capitalization and Number Tips, editor-coach, Deborah Wright, moves us in this booklet into the heavy duty stuff: grammar. Here she sorts out the meaning and the usage of words like noun, pronoun, adjective and adverb. Here she swiftly takes away the mystery from scary words like "antecedent," "gerund" and "conjunction." Stuff you've long forgotten, if you ever knew it, right?

But I don't need to know what those words mean, you say? Not every day you don't. But if you are interested in handling our language correctly, even beautifully, you do need a tidy little source when you can find out in a hurry, not only what those words mean but also the brief rules governing their use. This booklet is it.

Sample: "The faculty uses the same style sheet." Or "the faculty use the same style sheet." Which and why? The rule: when the collective noun ("faculty") is acting as a unit, use a singular verb ("uses").

Deborah understands that you don't need a lecture, just a sentence or two and, above all, examples, because seeing is understanding.

So this booklet is like the spare tire in your car's trunk. You may not need it often but when you do, you need it badly, and right away. Otherwise you're stuck.

Don Vipond, Former Editorial Page Editor, Times-Colonist, Victoria, BC, Canada