Writer's Brief Handbook, The, MLA Update Edition

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-05-29
  • Publisher: Longman
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A compact, easy-to-use guide, The Writer's Brief Handbookoffers clear definitions, helpful explanations, and up-to-the-minute reference tools to answer any question you may have about grammar, the writing process or research. Using clear, non-technical language, The Writer's Brief Handbookhas gained a reputation for being student-friendly, and the easy-to-use. It provides four different ways for students to diagnose a problem and find an answer, making the text ideal as a stand-alone reference.

Table of Contents

The Writing Process
Writing with a Computer
Analyzing the writing task
Choosing a subject
Focusing on a topic
Generating ideas and collecting information
Determining your purpose for writing
Establishing a thesis statement
Analyzing your audience
Making an outline
Writing a Draft
Choosing a good title
Writing the body of your composition
Writing the beginning and ending
Revising the largest elements first
Revising your sentences and diction
Conducting peer conferences
Editing for grammar, punctuation, and mechanics
Preparing the final copy
Proofreading the final copy
Student Sample: Annotated Student Essay
Designing a document
Understanding the principals of design
Understanding the elements of design
Using visuals
Formatting academic manuscript
Writing in College and Beyond
Academic writing
Study skills
Time management
Note-taking in class
Reading effectively
Essay examinations
Critical thinking and active reading
Writing arguments
Understanding the elements of argument
Making appropriate appeals
Considering your audience
Refuting the opposition's argument
Online writing
Composing online
Oral presentations
Preparing and practicing
Using visuals
Public writing
Business letters
Letters to the editor
Paragraphs Unity
Writing a topic sentence
Relating all sentences to the controlling idea
Developing paragraphs fully
Using the strategy implied in your topic sentence to develop your paragraph
Arranging sentences in the most effective order
Using transitional words and phrases
Repeating key words and phrases
Using parallel structure
Using transitions to link paragraphs
Beginnings and endings
Clarity and Sentence Style
Use parallel constructions with coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so)
Use parallel constructions with correlative conjunctions (either/or, neither/nor, not only/but also, both/and, whether/or)
Use parallel constructions in comparisons with than or as
Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers
Place modifiers where they will be most effective
Connect a dangling modifier to the main part of the sentence
Use pronouns that are consistent in person and number
Maintain the same verb tense
Maintain the same mood
Keep subject and voice consistent
Avoid unnecessary shifts from direct to indirect quotation
Keep tone and style consistent
Maintain the same point of view
Unified and Logical Sentences
Use only relevant details
Avoid mixed or illogical constructions
Subordination and Coordination
Use subordination to group short, choppy sentences into larger units of thought
Do not subordinate excessively
Use coordination to put ideas of equal importance in grammatical structures of equal weight
Achieve emphasis by placing the most important words and phrases at the beginning or end of a sentence
Place ideas that occur in a series in a logical and climactic order
Use the active rather than the passive voice
Repeat important words for emphasis
Occasionally use a short, dramatic sentence
Achieve emphasis by using periodic sentences
Achieve emphasis by using balanced constructions
Sentence Variety
Avoid the overuse of short simple sentences
Vary your sentence openings
Do not overuse compound sentences
Word Choice
Eliminating Clutter
Focus on subjects and verbs
Eliminate redundancies
Delete empty words and phrases
Reduce inflated expressions to their core meanings
Convert clauses to phrases
Choose words that accurately denote what you want to say
Choose words whose connotations suit your purpose
Use specific and concrete words
Use idioms correctly
Use figurative language
Replace clichés with fresh language
Choose an appropriate degree of formality
Use standard English
Avoid pretentious language
Use technical language only where appropriate
Avoid vogue words
Bias in Writing
The Dictionary
The Thesaurus
Sentence Parts and Patterns
Grammar Essentials
Parts of Speech
Parts of Sentences
Types of Sentences
Subject-Verb Agreement
To choose the correct verb form, identify the subject of the sentence
Use a plural verb with most compound subjects joined by and
With subjects joined by or or nor, make the verb agree with the subject that is closest to it
Treat most collective nouns as singular
The relative pronouns who, which, and that take verbs that agree with their antecedents
Treat most indefinite pronouns as singular
Make the verb agree with the subject even when the subject comes after the verb
Make a verb agree with its subject, not with a subject complement
Use a singular verb with most singular nouns ending in -s
When the title of a work is the subject of a sentence, use a singular verb
When a word used as a word is the subject, use a singular verb
When the subject of a sentence is a noun clause, use a singular verb
Verbs: Form, Tense, Mood, and Voice
Use the principal parts of irregular verbs correctly
Use lay and lie and set and lsit correctly
Use the correct verb tense to convey your meaning
Use sequences of tense forms that are logically related
Use verbs in the correct mood
Use the active voice
Pronoun Problems
A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in gender, number, and person
Be sure a pronoun's antecedent is clear
Use pronouns in the correct case
Use who or whom according to how the word functions in its own clause
Adjectives and Adverbs
Use adverbs, not adjectives, to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs
Use an adjective, not an adverb, as a subject complement
Use bad/badly and good/well correctly
Use the demonstrative adjective that agrees with the noun it modifies
Use the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives and adverbs correctly
Join a phrase fragment to an existing sentence, or rewrite it as a sentence
Join a subordinate clause fragment to an existing sentence, or rewrite it as a sentence
Make an appositive fragment part of a sentence
Keep a compound predicate within a single sentence
Use sentence fragments intentionally to add emphasis and to write realistic dialog
Comma Splices and Run-On Sentences
Separate clauses into two sentences with a period
Connect clauses with a semicolon
Connect clauses with a comma and a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet)
Restructure the sentence by subordinating one of the clauses
The Comma
Use commas with independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction
Use commas with introductory words or word groups
Use commas with nonrestrictive elements
Use commas to separate items in a series
Use commas to separate coordinate adjectives
Use commas with parenthetical and transitional expressions
Use commas with contrasted elements
Use commas to set off speech tags such as she said
Use commas with mild interjections, words of direct address, the words yes and no, and interrogative tags
Use commas according to accepted practice
Use commas to prevent confusion or misreading
Use commas to indicate an omitted word or words
Avoid unnecessary commas
The Semicolon
Use a semicolon to join closely related main clauses not joined by a coordinating conjunction
Use a semicolon to join main clauses when a transitional expression or conjunctive adverb introduces the second main clause
Use semicolons to join items in a series containing other punctuation
Do not use the semicolon to join structures of unequal grammatical rank
The Colon
Use a colon to link independent clauses when the second clause serves to explain the first
Use a colon to introduce a series
Use a colon to draw attention to an appositive
Use a colon to introduce a direct quotations
Use a colon to mark conventional separations
Do not misuse colons
The Apostrophe
Use an apostrophe to mark the possessive case
Use an apostrophe to indicate contractions
Use an apostrophe to pluralize letters, numbers, abbreviations, and words cited as words
Do not misuse apostrophes
Quotation Marks
Use quotation marks with direct quotations
Use quotation marks to indicate the titles of short works
Use quotation marks to indicate words used as words
Follow convention when using other marks of punctuation in combination with quotation marks
Do not misuse quotation marks
Other Punctuation Marks
The period
The question mark
The exclamation point
The dash
The ellipsis mark
The slash
Capitalize proper nouns
Capitalize proper adjectives
Capitalize abbreviations
Capitalize titles with names
Capitalize the first word of a sentence or a deliberate sentence fragment
Capitalize the first word of an independent clause after a colon
Capitalize the first word of a quoted sentence
Capitalize poetry exactly as the poet has
Capitalize the first and last words and all other important words in the titles of works
Capitalize only the first word in the complimentary close of a letter
Abbreviate titles before and after proper nouns
Use the conventional abbreviations
Use conventional abbreviations for organizations, corporations, and countries
Use scholarly Latin abbreviations sparingly
Spell out numbers of one or two words use figures for all other numbers and amounts
Follow convention in using figures
Underline or italicize the titles of long works
Underline or italicize the names of ships, planes, trains, and spacecraft
Underline or italicize numbers, letters, and words referred to as such or used as illustrations
Underline or italicize foreign words and phrases
Underline or italicize a word or words for emphasis sparingly
The Hyphen
Use a hyphen with compound words
Use a hyphen to join two or more words serving as a single adjective before a noun
Use a hyphen with compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine and with written fractions
Use a hyphen with the prefixes all-, ex-, great-, and self-, and with the suffix -elect
Use a hyphen to signal that a word is divided and continued on the next line
Learn the basic spelling rules
Distinguish between words that sound alike but have different meanings and spellings
Research Writing
Developing a research strategy
Planning a work schedule
Choosing a topic and research question
Determining what you already know about your topic
Finding sources
Determining a search strategy
Learning to use keyword searches
Locating books
Locating articles
Locating Internet sources
Using reference books
Using interviews and questionnaires
Selecting and Evaluating Sources
Previewing your print and online sources
Evaluating your print and online sources
Keeping Track of Information
Keeping a working bibliography
Reading and analyzing your sources
Taking complete and accurate notes without plagiarizing
Documenting Sources
MLA in-text citations
APA in-text citations
CMS footnotes or endnotes
CSE in-text citations
Writing the research paper
Determining a thesis and organizing the evidence
Avoiding plagiarism
Integrating quotations, paraphrases, summaries, and visuals into your text
Revising and formatting a research paper
Writing in the Disciplines
Overview of writing in the disciplines
Understanding writing assignments
Methodology and evidence
Discipline-specific resources
Language and stylistic conventions
Documentation and format guidelines
Reading and writing about literature
Writing assignments for literature
Reading and analyzing a literary text
Library and Web resources for literary study
Observing the conventions of writing about literature
Documentation and format
Annotated student essay about literature
Writing in the humanities
Writing assignments
Methodology and evidence
Literary and Web resources for the humanities
Documentation and format
Writing in the social sciences
Writing assignments
Methodology and evidence
Library and Web resources for the social sciences
Documentation and format
Writing in the natural and applied sciences
Writing assignments
Methodology and evidence
Library and Web resources for the sciences
Documentation and format
MLA Style Documentation and Format
MLA-Style documentation
MLA in-text citations
Directory to MLA in-text citation models
MLA information footnotes or endnotes
MLA list of works cited
Directory to MLA list of works cited models
MLA manuscript format
Student Sample: Annotated student MLA research paper
APA Style Documentation and Format
APA-style documentation
APA in-text citations
Directory to APA in-text citations
APA references
APA manuscript format
Student Sample: Annotated student APA research paper
CMS Documentation Format / CSE Documentation Format
CMS documentation
CMS endnotes or footnotes
CMS bibliography
CMS note and bibliography models
Directory to CMS note and bibliography models
CMS manuscript format
Student Sample: Annotated student CMS research paper
CSE documentation
CSE in-text references
CSE list of references
Directory to CSE list of references
ESL Basics
Perfect tenses
Progressive tenses
Passive voice
Two-word verbs
Verbs followed by an infinitive or a gerund
Nouns, Qualifiers, and Articles
Noncount nouns
Quantifiers for noncount and count nouns
Indefinite article (a or an)
Definite article (the)
Adjectives and Adverbs
Cumulative adjectives
Present and past participles
Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases
Correct prepositions
Necessary prepositions
Unnecessary words in prepositional phrases
Remember that infinitives cannot be used as the objects of prepositions
Learn some common compound prepositions
Learn some common adjective + preposition combinations
Parts of Sentences
Omitted verbs
Omitted subjects
Expletives (there, here, it)
Special Problems
Word order for questions
Questions with who, whom, and what
Indirect questions
Reported speech
Conditional sentences
Confusing Words and Phrases
Glossary of Usage / Index
Correction Symbols
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