The Library has several of the finest, most up-to-date, and most entertaining (really!) writing guides available for you to check out or use on-site, including:
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th edition. Everything you could possibly need to know about how to write a paper in MLA format. Handy! (OK, we won't claim that this one is entertaining.)
Clean, Well-Lighted Sentences: A Guide to Avoiding the Most Common Errors in Grammar and Punctuation, by Janis Bell. Tired of arguing with your best friend about when to use who and whom? Let's and lets? Imply or infer? This simple, clear guide is for you.
Sin and Syntax: How to Create Wickedly Effective Prose, by Constance Hale. The devil's in the details...and this snappy, whip-cracking guide tells it like it is. On "Couch Potato Writing:"
Drab linking verbs---sure saboteurs of whatever drama lurks in a sentence---do in unsuspecting writers. The worst offenders are seems and appears, the favorites of reporters unwilling to commit to a strong idea. In a profile of David Geffen, this sentence should have been reverbed: "Though he preferred to remain above the fray, he didn't seem to have lost his gut for pop culture." Doesn't "he never lost his gut for pop culture" read better?
The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed, by Karen Elizabeth Gordon. Sample wisdom: In the sentence, "At dawn the sun began to rise," you don't need a comma after "At dawn." Why? Because the comma is often omitted after short introductory adverbial phrases (like 'at dawn,' 'at breakfast,' 'before lunch,' 'after dinner,' and so forth).
The Elephants of Style: A Trunkload of Tips on the Big Issues and Gray Areas of Contemporary American English, by Bill Walsh. Do you major in art or Art? Is school in session in spring and fall or Spring and Fall? Bill knows. (Answer: art and spring and fall.) This book deals with a lot of modern writing quandaries, like what to do if you have to reference a brand name/logo like Macy*s or IKEA. And is Bill one of those people who writes silly reference books, or one of those people who write silly reference books? Again, he knows. He's the latter.
100 Ways to Improve Your Writing, by Gary Provost. #1 under "Nine Ways to Improve to Save Time and Energy": Use the pyramid style (like a newspaper reporter.) "Don't put anything in paragraph 12 that the reader must know in order to understand paragraph 7." This book is to the point and well organized, and it just might save your life.
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