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ENGLISH may be studied to give knowledge of the evolution of the language, to furnish information of past ages, to develop the æsthetic sense, to stimulate the imagination; and it has also come to be recognized that it should be studied to give facility in the use of the language as a “tool.” The overteaching of literature, to the neglect of the more practical aspects of English study, has brought many criticisms against the methods of the schools, and it is to obviate these criticisms that composition instruction has so noticeably increased in recent years.

The book which Mr. Altmaier has prepared is an outgrowth of the composition idea. It furnishes unmistakable directions for numerous short exercises. These, it is believed, are definite and practical, and they do not lose in value for composition purposes by being put in the form of letters. The exercises provide the kind of composition work that students will be required to do when they go out from school.

A leading review properly raises the question of the moral responsibility of teachers who give young people composition subjects entirely beyond them, and who thus encourage students in the wholesale copying from encyclopædias and like books. Definite subject matter that will put the young writer on his own resources is not easily secured. The present book may fairly be said to supply a goodly amount of composition material of the right sort. Much of it is drawn from actual letters, and


the remainder is improvised from a study of business situations. Where the subject of a letter was likely to be foreign to the student's experience, information is furnished him, so that he may be sure of his ground. Actual situations which the book presents give considerable insight into the customs and laws of business.

The larger number of the exercises have been used in the classroom, and they have been modified to suit the needs of the learners. The book supplies material for outside study and practice with one hour of recitation per week for one year, or two hours per week for onehalf year. For the secondary school the book will likely find its proper place in the second year. It is suggested that unless exercises are very well done in the first writing, students should revise and rewrite them after criticisms from the teacher. Each student's work as approved should be filed in regular order and kept as evidence of his accomplishment. For the filing, daily report boxes, or large envelopes, or a vertical letter file may be used. The keeping of a student's work is stimulation for him to do better work.

So certain have become the demands for letter writing that schools cannot afford to ignore them, neither can they afford to leave instruction in correspondence to incidental and haphazard methods in connection with other subjects. To write a good letter becomes almost a first requisite for intellectual and social recognition, or for business success. Didactic instruction and practice in school may contribute much towards acquiring facility in letter writing.

As long ago as 1717 Thomas Watts, in his essay on The Proper Method for Forming the Man of Business, set forth that the business man should be master in the “propriety of expression." The same essay fixed the standard for business letters as “short and familiar, neat

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