A Pocket Style Manual

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Spiral Bound
  • Copyright: 9/24/2014
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Your students need clear, complete answers to their questions about research, writing, and grammar—and they often need them at a moment’s notice. As their teacher, you are their greatest resource, but you can’t be available 24/7. For help with work in class and at home and especially for questions at odd hours, students can turn to A Pocket Style Manual.

The thoughtfully revised seventh edition makes it even easier for students to effectively and independently address their writing and research challenges. With 325 documentation models in four styles and coverage of drafting thesis statements, writing correctly and effectively, finding and evaluating sources, and writing research papers, A Pocket Style Manual supports writers across the disciplines.

Our newest set of online materials, LaunchPad Solo, provides all the key tools and course-specific content that you need to teach your class. The LaunchPad Solo for A Pocket Style Manual includes exercises, sample student writing, and LearningCurve game-like adaptive quizzing. To package LaunchPad Solo free with A Pocket Style Manual, use ISBN 978-1-319-01282-3.

Author Biography

Diana Hacker personally class-tested her handbooks with nearly four thousand students over thirty-five years at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland, where she was a member of the English faculty. Hacker handbooks, built on innovation and on a keen understanding of the challenges facing student writers, are the most widely adopted in America. Hacker handbooks, all published by Bedford/St. Martin’s, include The Bedford Handbook, Ninth Edition (2014); A Writer’s Reference, Eighth Edition (2015); Rules for Writers, Seventh Edition (2012); and A Pocket Style Manual, Seventh Edition (2015).
Nancy Sommers, who has taught composition and directed composition programs for thirty years, now teaches writing and mentors new writing teachers at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.  She led Harvard’s Expository Writing Program for twenty years, directing the first-year writing program and establishing Harvard’s WAC program. A two-time Braddock Award winner, Sommers is well known for her research and publications on student writing. Her articles "Revision Strategies of Student and Experienced Writers" and "Responding to Student Writing" are two of the most widely read and anthologized articles in the field of composition.  Her recent work involves a longitudinal study of college writing to understand the role writing plays in undergraduate education. Sommers is the lead author on Hacker handbooks, all published by Bedford/St. Martin’s, and is coauthor of Fields of Reading, Ninth Edition (2010).


Table of Contents


1 Tighten wordy sentences.

1a Redundancies

1b Empty or inflated phrases

1c Needlessly complex structures

2 Prefer active verbs.

2a When to replace be verbs

2b When to replace passive verbs

Balance parallel ideas.

3a Items in a series

3b Paired ideas

4 Add needed words.

4a Words in compound structures

4b The word that

4c Words in comparisons

5 Eliminate confusing shifts.

5a Shifts in point of view

5b Shifts in tense

6 Untangle mixed constructions.

6a Mixed grammar

6b Illogical connections

6c is when, is where, and reason . . . is because constructions

7 Repair misplaced and dangling modifiers.

7a Misplaced words

7b Misplaced phrases and clauses

7c Dangling modifiers

7d Split infinitives

8 Provide sentence variety.

8a Combining choppy sentences

8b Varying sentence openings

9 Find an appropriate voice.

9a Jargon

9b Clichés

9c Slang

9d Sexist language

9e Offensive language



10 Make subjects and verbs agree.

10a Words between subject and verb

10b Subjects joined with and

10c Subjects joined with or or nor

10d Indefinite pronouns such as someone

10e Collective nouns such as jury

10f Subject after verb

10g who, which, and that

10h Plural form, singular meaning

10i Titles, company names, and words mentioned as words

11 Be alert to other problems with verbs.

11a Irregular verbs

11b Tense

11c Mood

12 Use pronouns with care.

12a Pronoun-antecedent agreement

12b Pronoun reference

12c Case of personal pronouns (I vs. me etc.)

12d who or whom

13 Use adjectives and adverbs appropriately.

13a Adjectives

13b Adverbs

13c Comparatives and superlatives

14 Repair sentence fragments.

14a Fragmented clauses

14b Fragmented phrases

14c Acceptable fragments

15 Revise run-on sentences.

15a Revision with a comma and a coordinating conjunction

15b Revision with a semicolon (or a colon or a dash)

15c Revision by separating sentences

15d Revision by restructuring the sentence

16 Review grammar concerns for multilingual writers.

16a Verbs

16b Articles (a, an, the)

16c Sentence structure

16d Prepositions showing time and place


17 The comma

17a Before a coordinating conjunction joining independent clauses

17b After an introductory word group

17c Between items in a series

17d Between coordinate adjectives

17e To set off a nonrestrictive element, but not a restrictive element

17f To set off transitional and parenthetical expressions, absolute phrases, and contrasted elements

17g To set off nouns of direct address, the words yes and no, interrogative tags, and mild interjections

17h To set off direct quotations introduced with expressions such as he said

17i With dates, addresses, and titles

17j Misuses of the comma

18 The semicolon and the colon

18a The semicolon

18b The colon

19 The apostrophe

19a To indicate possession

19b To mark contractions

19c Conventional uses

19d Misuses of the apostrophe

20 Quotation marks

20a To enclose direct quotations

20b Around titles of short works

20c To set off words used as words

20d Other punctuation with quotation marks

20e Misuses of quotation marks

21 Other marks

21a The period

21b The question mark

21c The exclamation point

21d The dash

21e Parentheses

21f Brackets

21g The ellipsis mark

21h The slash



22 Capitalization

22a Proper vs. common nouns

22b Titles with proper names

22c Titles of works

22d First word of a sentence or quoted sentence

22e First word following a colon

22f Abbreviations

23 Abbreviations, numbers, and italics

23a Abbreviations

23b Numbers

23c Italics

24 Spelling and the hyphen

24a Spelling

24b The hyphen


25 Posing a research question

25a Choosing a focused question

25b Choosing a challenging question

25c Choosing a grounded question

26 Finding appropriate sources

26a Using the library

26b Using the Web

26c Using bibliographies and citations

27 Evaluating sources

27a Selecting sources

27b Reading with an open mind and a critical eye

27c Assessing Web sources with special care

27d Annotating bibliography entries

28 Managing information; avoiding plagiarism

28a Maintaining a working bibliography

28b Keeping track of source materials

28c Taking notes responsibly: avoiding unintentional plagiarism

MLA Papers

29 Supporting a thesis

29a Forming a working thesis

29b Testing your thesis

29c Organizing your ideas

29d Using sources to inform and support your argument

30 Avoiding plagiarism

30a Citing quotations and borrowed ideas

30b Enclosing borrowed language in quotation marks

30c Putting summaries and paraphrases in your own words

31 Integrating sources

31a Using quotations appropriately

31b Using signal phrases to integrate sources

31c Synthesizing sources

32 Integrating literary quotations

32a Introducing quotations from literary works

32b Avoiding shifts in tense

32c Formatting and citing literary passages

33 MLA documentation style

33a MLA in-text citations

33b MLA works cited

33c MLA information notes (optional)

34 MLA manuscript format; sample pages

34a MLA manuscript format

34b Pages from two MLA papers

APA Papers

35 Supporting a thesis

35a Forming a working thesis

35b Organizing your ideas

35c Using sources to inform and support your argument

36 Avoiding plagiarism

36a Citing quotations and borrowed ideas

36b Enclosing borrowed language in quotation marks

36c Putting summaries and paraphrases in your own words

37 Integrating sources

37a Using quotations appropriately

37b Using signal phrases to integrate sources

38 APA documentation style

38a APA in-text citations

38b APA references

39 APA manuscript format; sample pages

39a APA manuscript format

39b Sample APA pages


Chicago Papers

40 Supporting a thesis

40a Forming a working thesis

40b Organizing your ideas

40c Using sources to inform and support your argument

41 Avoiding plagiarism

41a Citing quotations and borrowed ideas

41b Enclosing borrowed language in quotation marks

41c Putting summaries and paraphrases in your own words

42 Integrating sources

42a Using quotations appropriately

42b Using signal phrases to integrate sources

43 Chicago documentation style (notes and bibliography)

43a First and later notes for a source

43b Chicago-style bibliography

43c Model notes and bibliography entries

44 Chicago manuscript format; sample pages

44a Chicago manuscript format

44b Sample pages from a Chicago paper


CSE Papers

45 CSE documentation style

45a CSE documentation systems

45b CSE in-text citations

45c CSE references

46 CSE manuscript format

46a Formatting the paper

46b Formatting the reference list


Glossary of usage

Glossary of grammatical terms

Checklist for global revision

Checklist for visiting the writing center




Charts and lists for quick reference

List of excerpts from student papers

Revision symb

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