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It is with great sadness we report the sudden death of Michael Packard on Wednesday June 1st 2022.

The family are working through his affairs, and as such, no trading is possible that would usually have occurred through Michael himself, however some books are still available from his distributors.

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Grammar Without Groans – A Return to Standards in English


paperback only

Grammar Without Groans – A Return to Standards in English
  • Date of publication: 24/09/2004; reprinted with amendments 2006
  • ISBN-10: 1 85341 134 5
  • Paperback ISBN-13: 978 185341 113 4 paperback only
  • Pages: 103
  • Dimensions: A5 (210 x 148 mm)
  • Weight: 170 grammes (unwrapped)
A Return to Standards in English
Author(s): Ray Sparkes and Chris Sparkes


The contents of this book are based on standards that reflect Ray Sparkes's experience of teaching secondary-school students for many years. He and other reviewers noted the common errors in written and spoken English, and Ray incorporated them into this informal book.

More than twenty years on, Ray's book is as appropriate as ever, and it has become even more relevant to the post-school needs of people who wish to brush up their English at college, for use in schools, in business or in every-day life. That is what Ray's son, Chris, has also found in teaching in further and higher education, and why he believes in the importance of the sub-title of this book: a return to standards in English.

This book is best used as a back-up to the many excellent, carefully graded course textbooks available in schools. It has always thrown an understandable, often amusing, spotlight on the misuse or spelling of English words - e.g. practice or practise, affect or effect, diinterested or uninterested - or punctuation when apostrophes appear in the wrong places, often unnecessarily, or where incorrectly placed commas can change the whole meaning of a sentence.


Between You and Me; the Unrelated Participle; Relative Pronouns - 'Who' and 'Whom'; 'She' and 'I' - 'Her' and 'Me'; Taking Possession - 'Them' and 'Those'; How to be Loyal to Your Subjects; 'More' and 'Most'; 'Lie' and 'Lay'; Other Common Errors Explained'; A Spotlight on Words Which Often Cause Difficulty; Punctuation; Revision, Test-Yourself Exercises; Answers; An Afterword - On Standard English; Bibliography; Index.


Students in secondary schools and colleges; adults in further education; school teachers.

Author / Compiler

Ray Sparkes

Ray Sparkes taught English and Drama for 29 years in Warwickshire and Hampshire secondary schools. He reviewed poetry for The Teacher and wrote regularly for the East Hampshire Post. He ran a bookshop in Petersfield for several years after retiring from teaching, but later devoted his time to writing. Ray died in 1993.

Chris Sparkes

Chris Sparkes, Ray's son, was educated at University College Chichester and graduated in English with Related Arts, and then was awarded a master's degree in Creative Writing. After some years of lecturing in Higher and Further Education, he is now a self-employed private tutor and runs writing groups in Petersfield and Alton. He founded and manages the Alton Writing Club, and finds time to run a small trout fishery. He is a widely published poet and recently published a translation of the New Testament from the original Greek.


Direct from the Publisher; all good booksellers; stockists: Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London; Gardners, Eastbourne (wholesaler).


Packard Publishing Ltd
14 Guilden Road
PO19 7LA

Tel & Fax +44 (0)1243 537977