Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Reference Advice: Grammar and Punctuation -- the Bane and Benefit

Every writer's frustration is getting the grammar and punctuation correct.  Without it, our readers can't follow the road we have prepared for them.  Even a grammarian/English teacher needs to check her work regularly and review rules.  One of the best books for assisting both the conscientious beginner and the experienced writer is a text that was on the recommended list for a college class I took:  Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference.  I have returned to college several times picking up different certifications and degrees, but this is the best writing reference text I came across over the years.

  • Looking to track down the list of the words most confused by writers? Check A Writer's Reference.  
  • Want to understand the ins and outs of the semicolon vs the colon?  Check A Writer's Reference.  
  • Document design harassing you? Check A Writer's Reference.  
  • Have to give proper documentation for research you have done?  A Writer's Reference supplies formats for MLA, APA, and CMS.  
  • Are you an ESL individual still dooking it out with prepositions and articles?  A Writer's Reference has a section on that.  
  • Need more practice than is in the text? It also has an online presence with plenty of practice sets and explanations.

This is a compact text, about 6 1/2 x 8 inches, held together by a comb binding, so it travels well and lays flat.  Cost is a bit steep, ($50.00+ on average), but grammar evolves quite slowly, so you have time to wear it out.  So dictionary (or word book: see my previous post on spell friendly dictionaries, July 11, 2012), thesaurus, A Writer's Reference, if you write anything and care about writing well, have them in easy reach.

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