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Last Updated: Friday, 4 August 2006, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Dictionary helps student grammar
students in library
The OUP found students would value extra help with the basics
A dictionary targeted at the student market is offering help with basic grammar and punctuation.

Oxford University Press hopes to cash in on complaints from academics and employers that undergraduates and graduates have poor writing skills.

The publication includes advice on research, referencing, note-taking and essay-writing.

It also spells out the differences between commonly confused words such as affect and effect and pedal and peddle.

Catherine Soanes, editor of the new dictionary, said OUP had conducted research at various universities.

It's a sad reflection on standards in schools
Nick Seaton, Campaign for Real Education

It had found lecturers were spending too much time correcting students' spelling and grammar and that students were feeling out of their depth.

"We identified a need that many undergraduates are finding they don't have the right level of writing and study skills for an academic study level," said Ms Soanes.

"Ideally it should have been learnt at school, but often it is not and so we are helping students to redress the balance."

Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said the publication was a sign of falling standards in schools.

"It's a sad reflection on standards in schools when this has to be done for university-level students.

"They should have learnt a basic foundation of the language in schools."

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