The Writer's FAQs A Pocket Handbook, MLA Update

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017-01-30
  • Publisher: Pearson

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


For courses in First-Year Composition.
This version of   The Writer's FAQs: A Pocket Handbook has been updated to reflect the 8th Edition of the MLA Handbook (April 2016)*


Writing techniques, organized by student questions

This pocket-sized handbook is an easy-to-use, go-to guide that answers questions students have about grammar, punctuation, and research. Clear explanations are supplemented with engaging visual aids. Its lucid instruction, visual design, and authentic examples make  The Writer's FAQs a favorite among those instructors who want their students to have a useful handbook that fits (in) their pocket. The Sixth Edition engages students with new illustrations, explanations, and research aids that strengthen practical writing skills useful in any future career.

* The 8th Edition introduces sweeping changes to the philosophy and details of MLA works cited entries. Responding to the “increasing mobility of texts,” MLA now encourages writers to focus on the process of crafting the citation, beginning with the same questions for any source. These changes, then, align with current best practices in the teaching of writing which privilege inquiry and critical thinking over rote recall and rule-following.

Author Biography

Muriel Harris, Emerita Professor of English, Purdue University, started the Purdue University Writing Lab in 1975, with the help of several graduate students. Later, with graduate student assistance, she developed the extensive OWL website of instructional pages on writing skills and grammar. Drawing on this experience, she authored The Prentice Hall Reference Guide and The Writer’s FAQs, both later co-authored with Jennifer Kunka. These books originated after explaining to a Prentice Hall editor that composition handbooks are unhelpful because too many students found them difficult to use. When the editor challenged her to write textbooks that would be student friendly and easy to use, these reference handbooks were her answer and have since gone through multiple editions. Harris also initiated and continues to edit the Writing Lab Newsletter, now renamed as WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship. She continually champions writing center collaboration as a highly effective instructional context for working with writers. Because of her fervent interest in helping writers develop into effective communicators, she is firmly committed to one-to-one collaboration between tutors and writers as a particularly successful partnership with classroom teachers of writing. Her CV list of books, book chapters, articles, and conference presentations, all of which focus on the theory, pedagogy, and administrative work of writing center professionals, is available on the Purdue University Department of English’s website section for retired faculty.  She is most proud–and awed by–her husband, their children, children’s spouses, and grandchildren.

Jennifer Liethen Kunka is an Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center at Francis Marion University. She earned her Ph.D. in English from Purdue University, along with a secondary specialization in feminist theory and women's studies. She teaches Business Writing and British Literature. Her research involves writing center theory and practice, tech-enhanced writing, and research writing. She also is a specialist in 19th and 20th-century British literature, focusing on issues of gender and class in the novel.  Dr. Kunka served on the original Gender Studies Steering Committee, and on the Gender Studies Advisory Committee.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Composing, Conversing, Collaborating

1. Writing Processes and Strategies

2. Arguments

3. Writing about Literature

4. Document Designs

5. Multimedia Projects


Part 2: Sentence Choices with Style

6. Clarity

7. Variety

8. Conciseness

9. Active/Passive Verbs

10. Voice, Formality, and Word Choice

11. General and Specific Language

12. Inclusive Language

13. Transitions


Part 3: Sentence Grammar

14. Fragments

15. Comma Splices and Fused Sentences

16. Subjects and Verbs

17. Pronouns

18. Adjectives and Adverbs

19. Modifiers

20. Shifts    

21. Parallelism


Part 4: Punctuation

22. Sentence Punctuation Patterns (for Commas and Semicolons)

23. Commas

24. Apostrophes

25. Semicolons

26. Quotation Marks

27. Other Punctuation

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