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The Blair Handbook 2009 MLA Update Editon,9780205735594
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The Blair Handbook 2009 MLA Update Editon

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This widely acclaimed handbook provides students with the most focus on critical thinking, writing process, particularly revision, and writing across the curriculum. The fifth edition ofThe Blair Handbookis the clearest and most accessible edition yet. It continues to explain and illustrate the qualities of good writing and the logic behind conventions of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage. And it continues to insist that good writing results from imaginative composing, careful revising, and editing. At the same time, the new edition adds coverage of visual rhetoric, public forms of discourse, Writing Across the Curriculum, and writing for the world of work.

Author Biography

A balanced author perspective:


A composition teacher with more than 35 years experience teaching writing, Toby Fulwiler highlights the need for writers to gain confidence in their voices and ideas as well as to practice in a variety of formats and conventions. A practicing journalist with more than 25 years of experience writing and editing for newpapers, Alan Hayakawa understands the importance of conventional correctness and appreciates the way different writing situations and new technologies demand different approaches. For this reason, The Blair Handbook devotes time to both the whys and the hows of good writing. Students who know how to analyze and address individual rhetorical situations are more likely to succeed both across the curriculum and in the world beyond college.

Table of Contents


Reading and Writing in College   


1 Why Writing Matters  

a    What is difficult about writing? 

b    What do you enjoy about writing?  

c    What surprises are in store?  

d    Why is writing important?  

e    What can you learn from the experience of others?  

f     What else do you want to know about writing?  


2  Reading Texts Critically  

a    Reading to understand   

b    Reading critically  


3  Reading Images Critically  

a    The elements of composition  

b    Words  

c    Color  

d    Images of persuasion


4  The Writing Process  

a   Describing writing as a process  

b   Planning   

c   Composing

d   Revising  

e   Researching  

f    Editing  

g   English as a second language  




Planning a Writing Project   


5  Analyzing the Rhetorical Situation  

a   Knowing the purpose  

b   Addressing audiences  

c   Understanding the situation  

d   Adopting a voice  


6  Keeping Journals  

a   Understanding journals  

b   Keeping journals in college  

c   Suggestions for using journals  


7  Strategies for Invention and Discovery  

a   Brainstorming  

b   Freewriting  

c   Looping  

d   Asking reporters’ questions  

e   Outlining  

f    Clustering  

g   Talking  






8 Writing from Experience  

a   Character  

b   Subject  

c   Perspective  

d   Setting  

e   Sequence of events  

f    Theme  

g   Sample student essay  


9 Writing to Explain  

a   Topic  

b   Thesis  

c   Strategies  

d   Organization  

e   Neutral perspective  

f    Sample student essay  


10 Arguing and Persuading  

a   Elements of argument  

b   Issue  

c   Analysis  

d   Position  

e   Argument  

f    Organization  

g   Sample student essay  


11 Writing About Literature  

a   Interpretive essays  

b   Exploring texts  

c   Interpretive communities  

d   Interpretations  

e   Different literary genres  

f    Sample student essay  


12 Writing Creative Nonfiction 

a   Lists  

b   Snapshots  

c   Playful sentences  

d   Repetition/refrain  

e   Double voice  


13 Writing Essay Examinations  

a   Understanding questions  

b   Writing good answers  






14 The Revising Process  

a    Understanding revising  

b    Planning  

c    Revising strategies  


15 Focused Revising  

a    Limiting  

b    Adding  

c    Switching  

d    Transforming  

e    Experimenting  


16  Responding to Writing and Peer Review  

a    Asking for help  

b   Giving responses  

c    Writing responses  

d    Responding through conferences  

e    Responding in writing groups  




Presenting and Publishing  


17 Designing Documents  

a   Objectives of design  

b   Layout  

c   Typography  

d   Graphics  

e   Illustrations  


18 Writing for the Internet 

a   Writing for the Web  

b   E-mail, newsgroups, and instant messages  

c   Weblogs  


19 Writing for the World  

a    Reports

b    Pamphlets and brochures

c    Newsletters  

d    Press releases  

e    Advocacy   


20 Portfolios and Publishing Class Books 

a   Writing portfolios  

b   Course portfolios  

c   Story portfolios  

d   Publishing class books  


21 Making Oral Presentations 

a   The assignment  

b   Speaking texts  

c   Speaking in public  

d   Creative options  




Writing with Research  


22 Writing Research Papers  

a    Understanding research  

b    Working with a thesis  

c    Keeping a research log  

d    Finding your way  


23 Conducting Library Research  

a    Planning library research  

b    Finding sources of information  

c    Taking notes  


24 Conducting Internet Research 

a    Search engines  

b    Limiting your search  

c    Search strategies  

d    E-mail, lists, and newsgroups  


25 Conducting Field Research 

a   Planning  

b   Interviewing  

c   Surveying  

d   Observing  


26 Evaluating Research Sources  

a    Evaluating library sources  

b    Evaluating Internet sources  

c    Evaluating field sources  


27 Using Research Sources  

a    Controlling sources   

b    Organizing sources  

c    Integrating information  

d    Paraphrasing and summarizing  

e    Incorporating visual images  


28 Avoiding Plagiarism  

a    What plagiarism  is 

b    What plagiarism is not

c    Recognizing and avoiding plagiarism  




Writing in the Disciplines  


29 Understanding the College Curriculum  

a   Differences among disciplines  

b   Similarities among disciplines  


30 MLA: Writing in Languages and Literature  

a   Aims  

b   Style  

c   Writing about texts  

d   MLA style: Documenting sources  

e   Conventions for list of Works Cited  

f   Sample MLA research paper  


31 APA: Writing in the Social Sciences  

a   Aims  

b   Style  

c   Writing about texts  

d   APA style: Documenting sources  

e   Sample APA research paper  


32 CMS: Writing in the Humanities 

a   Aims  

b   Style  

c   Writing about texts  

d   CMS style: Documenting sources  

e   Sample page with endnotes   

f    Sample page with footnotes  


33 Writing in the Physical Sciences  

a   Aims  

b   Style  

c   Writing about texts  

d   Number systems: Documenting sources  


34 Writing in Business  

a   Aims  

b   Style  

c   Common forms of writing in business  

d   Documentation and format conventions  








35 The Editing Process  

a   Editing techniques  

b   The meaning of “error”  

c   Working with others  

d   Editing on a computer   

e   Proofreading  

f    Editing when English is your second language 

g   Using Part Eight  


36 Shaping Paragraphs 

a   Unity  

b   Organization  

c   Coherence  


37 Improving Openings and Conclusions  

a   Engaging openings  

b   Strong openings  

c   Satisfying conclusions  

d   Strong conclusions  


38 Strengthening Sentences  

a   Coordinating ideas  

b   Using subordination  

c   Using parallelism  


39 Creating Emphasis and Variety  

a   First and final positions  

b   Sentence length  

c   Sentence types  

d   Sentence openings  

e   Deliberate repetition  

f    Elliptical constructions  


40 Building Vital Sentences  

a   Concrete, specific nouns  

b   Strong verbs  

c   Active or passive voice  

d   Vital modifiers  


41 Being Concise 

a   Vague generalities  

b   Idle words  

c   Simplifying grammatical constructions  

d   Redundancy  

e   Pretentious language  

f    Euphemism  


42 Adjusting tone  

a   Appropriate tone  

b   Point of view  

c   Level of formality  

d   Consistent tone  


43 Choosing the Right Word  

a   The history of English 

b   Using the dictionary and thesaurus  

c   Expanding your vocabulary  

d   Connotations  

e   Confusing words  

f   Prepositions and particles  

g   Slang, regionalisms, and jargon  

h   Figurative language  

i    Cliches  


44 Eliminating Biased Language  

a   Stereotypes  

b   Labels  

c   Nonsexist language  




45  Eliminating Sentence Fragments  

a  Fragments lacking subjects or verbs  

b  Dependent clause fragments  

c  Fragments for special effects  


46  Fixing Fused Sentences and Comma Splices  

a  Comma and a coordinating conjunction  

b  Adding a semicolon  

c  Colon  

d  Separate sentences  

e  Subordinating one clause  

f   Creating independent clauses  


47  Using Verbs Correctly  

a  Understanding forms  

b  Standard verb forms  

c  Auxiliary verbs  

d  Understanding tense  

e  Appropriate sequence  

f   Understanding mood  

g  Subjunctive mood  

h  Agreement  

i   Intervening words  

j   Subject following verb  

k  Linking verbs  

l   Making verbs agree with subjects joined by and  

Or, nor   

n  Collective nouns  

o  Indefinite pronouns  

p Who, which, that  

q  Amounts  

r   Noun phrases and clauses

s  Titles, words used as words  

t   Subjects ending in -s  

u  Troublesome plurals  


48 Using Modifiers Correctly 

a   Adjectives or adverbs  

b   After linking verbs  

c   Confusing modifiers  

d   Double negatives  

e   Comparatives and superlatives  

f    Placing modifiers  

g   Dangling modifiers  

h   Disruptive modifiers  


49 Using Pronouns Correctly  

a   Clear antecedents  

b   Explicit antecedents  

c    It, they, you  

d   Who, which, that  

e   Unneeded pronouns  

f    Agreement  

g   Joined by and   

h   Joined by or, nor  

i    Collective nouns  

j    Indefinite antecedents  

k   Choosing case  

l    And, or, nor  

m  Appositive pronouns  

n   Us, we   

o  Verbals  

Than, as  

Who, whom  

r   Reflexive pronouns  


50 Consistent and Complete Sentences 

a   Unnecessary shifts  

b   Mixed constructions  

c   Missing words  




51 End Punctuation

a   Periods  

b   Question marks  

c   Exclamation points  


52 Commas 

a   Coordinating conjunctions  

b   Introductory elements  

c   Nonrestrictive elements  

d   Parenthetical expressions and elements of contrast  

e   Tag sentences, direct address, and interjections  

f    Items in a series  

g   Coordinate adjectives  

h   Quotations  

i    Numbers, dates, names, and places  

j    To prevent misreading  

k   Misuse  


53 Semicolons  

a   Between independent clauses  

b   In a series  


54 Colons

a   Marks of introduction  

b   Marks of separation  


55 Apostrophes 

a   Possessive nouns and indefinite pronouns  

b   Plurals of words used as words, letters, numbers, and symbols  

c   Omission of letters  


56 Quotation Marks  

a   Direct quotations  

b   Dialogue  

c   Titles  

d   Translations, special terms, irony, and nicknames  

e   With other punctuation  


57 Other Punctuation 

a   Parentheses  

b   Dashes  

c   Ellipsis points  

d   Brackets  

e   Slashes  




58 Spelling  

a   Confusing words  

b   Spelling rules  


59 Capitalization

a   First word of a sentence  

b   Quotations and lines of poetry  

c   Proper nouns  

d   Titles   


60 Hyphenation 

a   Ends of lines  

b   Prefixes  

c   Compound words  

d   Numbers, fractions, and units of measure  


61 Italics 

a   Titles  

b   Individual trains, ships, airplanes, and spacecraft  

c   For emphasis   

d   Words, numerals, and letters used as words  

e    Foreign words  


62 Numbers and Abbreviations 

a   Figures and words  

b   Conventional uses  

c   In nontechnical terms  

d   Titles and degrees  

e   Time, dates, amounts, and symbols  

f    Geographic names    

g   Latin terms  

h   Initials and acronyms  






63 Glossary of Terms   


64 Glossary of Usage  





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