Rules of Thumb text with Catalyst access card

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2004-07-21
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
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Brevity and practicality are the hallmarks of Rules of Thumb. Reflecting the most current MLA, APA, and CMS documentation styles, the sixth edition remains the ideal handbook for improving grammar without overwhelming student writers with specialized terminology.

Table of Contents


The Meaning of "Rule of Thumb"

How to use Rules of Thumb

Part 1: Correctness

A Word about Correctness

Commonly Confused Words

One Word or Two?



Abbreviations and Numbers


Consistent Pronouns

Correct Pronouns

Vague Pronouns

Recognizing Complete Sentences

Period or Comma? Run-On Sentences and Sentence Fragments

Feature: Using but, however, although




Dashes and Parentheses

Quotation Marks

Titles: Underlines, Italics, or Quotation Marks

Shifting Verb Tenses

Verb Agreement

Word Endings: s and ed

Tangled Sentences

Part 2: Putting a Paper Together

What to Do When You're Stuck

Addressing Your Audience

Writing a Thesis

Finding an Organization for Your Essay


Paragraphs--Long and Short


Incorporating Quotations


How to Make a Paper Longer (and When to Make It Shorter)

How to Work on a Second Draft

Shortcuts for "Word"

Proofreading Tips

Format of College Papers

Special Case: Writing an Essay in Class

Special Case: Writing about Literature

Part 3: The Research Paper

How to Start a Research Project

Three Essential Research Skills

Feature: When You Find Too Few or Too Many Sources

Getting Information at the Library

Getting Information Online

Feature: Sizing Up a Website

Writing the Research Paper

Plagiarism (Cheating)

What is Documentation?

Documentation: The MLA Style

Documentation: The APA Style

Documentation: The Chicago Style (Footnotes)

Part 4: Growing as a Writer

Keeping a Journal

Adding Details

Recognizing Cliches

Eliminating Offensive Language

Trimming Wordiness

Using Strong Verbs

Varying Your Sentences

Finding Your Voice


A List of Valuable Sources

About the Authors


Troubleshooting Guide

Rewards Program

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