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Blog • Perfecting your Craft

Last updated on May 31, 2022

The 40 Best Books About Writing: A Reading List for Authors

For this post, we’ve scoured the web (so you don’t have to) and asked our community of writers for recommendations on some indispensable books about writing. We've filled this list with dozens of amazing titles, all of which are great — but this list might seem intimidating. So for starters, here are our top 10 books about writing:

  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • The Kick-Ass Writer by Chuck Wendig
  • Dreyer’s Englis h by Benjamin Dreyer
  • The Elements of Style by Strunk, White, and Kalman
  • The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne
  • A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison
  • How to Market a Book by Ricardo Fayet
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser

But if you're ready to get into the weeds, here are 40 of our favorite writing books.

Books about becoming a writer

1. on writing by stephen king.

essay on books writing

Perhaps the most-cited book on this list, On Writing is part-memoir, part-masterclass from one of America’s leading authors. Come for the vivid accounts of his childhood and youth — including his extended "lost weekend" spent on alcohol and drugs in the 1980s. Stay for the actionable advice on how to use your emotions and experiences to kickstart your writing, hone your skills, and become an author. Among the many craft-based tips are King’s expert takes on plot, story, character, and more.

From the book: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” 

2. The Kick-Ass Writer by Chuck Wendig

If you haven’t checked out Wendig’s personal blog, head over there now and bookmark it. Unfiltered, profane, and almost always right, Wendig’s become a leading voice among online writing communities in the past few years. In The Kick-Ass Writer , he offers over 1,000 pearls of wisdom for authors, ranging from express writing tips to guidance on getting published. Written to be read in short bursts, we’re sure he’d agree that this is the perfect bathroom book for writers.

From the book: “I have been writing professionally for a lucky-despite-the-number 13 years. Not once — seriously, not once ever — has anyone ever asked me where I got my writing degree… Nobody gives two ferrets fornicating in a filth-caked gym sock whether or not you have a degree… The only thing that matters is, Can you write well? ” 

3. Find Your Voice by Angie Thomas

Taking advice from famous authors is not about imitation, but about finding your own voice . Take it from someone who knows: Thomas is the New York Times #1 Bestselling author of The Hate U Give , On the Come Up , and Concrete Rose . While she’s found her calling in YA literature , she has plenty of insight into finding your own voice in your genre of choice. Written in the form of a guided journal, this volume comes with step-by-step instructions, writing prompts, and exercises especially aimed at helping younger creatives develop the strength and skills to realize their vision.

From the book: “Write fearlessly. Write what is true and real to you.” 

4. The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner

Since its publication in 2000, The Forest for the Trees has remained an essential resource for authors at various stages in their careers. As an editor, Lerner gives advice not only on producing quality content, but also on how to build your career as an author and develop a winning routine — like how writers can be more productive in their creative process, how to get published , and how to publish well . 

From the book: “The world doesn't fully make sense until the writer has secured his version of it on the page. And the act of writing is strangely more lifelike than life.”

essay on books writing

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5. How to Write Like Tolstoy by Richard Cohen

essay on books writing

From the book: “Great writers can be inhibiting, and maybe after one has read a Scott Fitzgerald or Henry James one can’t escape imitat­ing them; but more often such writers are inspiring.”

6. Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

Smith is well-known for her fiction, but she is also a prolific essay writer. In Feel Free , she has gathered several essays on recent cultural and political developments and combined them with experiences from her own life and career. In “The I Who Is Not Me”, she explores how her own lived experience comes into play in her fiction writing, and how she manages to extrapolate that to comment on contemporary social contexts, discussing race, class, and ethnicity.

From the book: “Writing exists (for me) at the intersection of three precarious, uncertain elements: language, the world, the self. The first is never wholly mine; the second I can only ever know in a partial sense; the third is a malleable and improvised response to the previous two.”

Books about language and style 

7. dreyer’s english by benjamin dreyer.

A staple book about writing well, Dreyer’s English serves as a one-stop guide to proper English, based on the knowledge that Dreyer — a senior copy editor at Random House — has accumulated throughout his career. From punctuation to tricky homophones, passive voice, and commas, the goal of these tools should be to facilitate effective communication of ideas and thoughts. Dreyer delivers this and then some, but not without its due dosage of humor and informative examples. 

From the book: “A good sentence, I find myself saying frequently, is one that the reader can follow from beginning to end, no matter how long it is, without having to double back in confusion because the writer misused or omitted a key piece of punctuation, chose a vague or misleading pronoun, or in some other way engaged in inadvertent misdirection.”

8. The Elements of Style (Illustrated) by William Strunk, Jr., E. B. White, and Maira Kalman

essay on books writing

A perfect resource for visual learners, this illustrated edition of The Elements of Style has taken the classic style manual to a new, more accessible level but kept its main tenet intact: make every word tell. The written content by Strunk and White has long been referred to as an outline of the basic principles of style. Maira Kalman’s illustrations elevate the experience and make it a feast for both the mind and the eye. 

From the book: “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”

9. Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale

If you’re looking to bring a bit of spunk into your writing, copy editor Constance Hale may hold the key . Whether you’re writing a work-related email or the next rap anthem, she has one goal: to make creative communication available to everyone by dispelling old writing myths and making every word count. Peppered with writing prompts and challenges, this book will have you itching to put pen to paper.

From the book: “Verbose is not a synonym for literary.”

10. The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker

Combining entertainment with intellectual pursuit, Pinker, a cognitive scientist and dictionary consultant, explores and rethinks language usage in the 21st century . With illustrative examples of both great and not-so-great linguistic constructions, Pinker breaks down the art of writing and gives a gentle but firm nudge in the right direction, towards coherent yet stylish prose. This is not a polemic on the decay of the English language, nor a recitation of pet peeves, but a thoughtful, challenging, and practical take on the science of communication. 

From the book: “Why is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing—and why should we care?”

11. Eats, Shoots, & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

essay on books writing

From the book: “A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air. "Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife annual and tosses it over his shoulder. "I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up." The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation. Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

Books about story structure

12. save the cat by blake snyder.

Best known as a screenwriting manual, Save the Cat! is just as often named by authors as one of their most influential books about writing. The title comes from the tried-and-true trope of the protagonist doing something heroic in the first act (such as saving a cat) in order to win over the audience. Yes, it might sound trite to some — but others swear by its bulletproof beat sheet. More recently, there has been Save the Cat! Writes a Novel , which tailors its principles specifically to the literary crowd. (For a concise breakdown of the beat sheet, check this post out!)

From the book: “Because liking the person we go on a journey with is the single most important element in drawing us into the story.” 

13. The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne

Shawn Coyne is a veteran editor with over 25 years of publishing experience, and he knows exactly what works and what doesn’t in a story — indeed, he’s pretty much got it down to a science. The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know outlines Coyne’s original “Story Grid” evaluation technique, which both writers and editors can use to appraise, revise, and ultimately improve their writing (in order to get it ready for publication). Coyne and his friend Tim Grahl also co-host the acclaimed Story Grid podcast , another great resource for aspiring writers.

From the book: “The Story Grid is a tool with many applications. It pinpoints problems but does not emotionally abuse the writer… it is a tool to re-envision and resuscitate a seemingly irredeemable pile of paper stuck in an attack drawer, and it can inspire an original creation.”

14. Story Structure Architect by Victoria Schmidt

For those who find the idea of improvising utterly terrifying and prefer the security of structures, this book breaks down just about every kind of story structure you’ve ever heard of. Victoria Schmidt offers no less than fifty-five different creative paths for your story to follow — some of which are more unconventional, or outright outlandish than others. The level of detail here is pretty staggering: Schmidt goes into the various conflicts, subplots, and resolutions these different story structures entail — with plenty of concrete examples! Suffice to say that no matter what kind of story you’re writing, you’ll find a blueprint for it in Story Structure Architect .

From the book: “When you grow up in a Westernized culture, the traditional plot structure becomes so embedded in your subconscious that you may have to work hard to create a plot structure that deviates from it… Understand this and keep your mind open when reading [this book]. Just because a piece doesn’t conform to the model you are used to, does not make it bad or wrong.”

15. The Writer's Journey  by Christopher Vogler

Moving on, we hone in on the mythic structure. Vogler’s book, originally published in 1992, is now a modern classic of writing advice; though intended as a screenwriting textbook, its contents apply to any story of mythic proportions. In The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers , Vogler takes a page (literally) from Joseph Campbell’s Hero of a Thousand Faces to ruminate upon the most essential narrative structures and character archetypes of the writing craft. So if you’re thinking of drawing up an epic fantasy series full of those tropes we all know and love, this guide should be right up your alley.

From the book: “The Hero’s Journey is not an invention, but an observation. It is a recognition of a beautiful design… It’s difficult to avoid the sensation that the Hero’s Journey exists somewhere, somehow, as an external reality, a Platonic ideal form, a divine model. From this model, infinite and highly varied copies can be produced, each resonating with the essential spirit of the form.”

16. Story Genius by Lisa Cron

essay on books writing

From the book: “We don't turn to story to escape reality. We turn to story to navigate reality.”

17. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders

More than just a New York Times bestseller and the winner of the Booker Prize, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a distillation of the MFA class on Russian short stories that Saunders has been teaching. Breaking down narrative functions and why we become immersed in a story, this is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand and nurture our continued need for fiction.

From the book: “We’re going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn’t fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art—namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?”

Books about overcoming obstacles as a writer

18. bird by bird by anne lamott .

Like Stephen King’s book about writing craft, this work from acclaimed novelist and nonfiction writer Anne Lamott also fuses elements of a memoir with invaluable advice on the writer’s journey. Particularly known for popularizing the concept of “shitty first drafts”, Bird by Bird was recently recommended by editor Jennifer Hartmann in her Reedsy Live webinar for its outlook take on book writing. She said, “This book does exactly what it says it will do: it teaches you to become a better writer. [Lamott] is funny and witty and very knowledgeable.”

From the book: “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.”

19. Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker 

essay on books writing

From the book: “When it comes to the eternal quandary of pantsing or plotting, you can keep a foot in each camp. But if your goals will require you to write with speed and confidence, an effective outline will be your best friend.”

20. Writing into the Dark by Dean Wesley Smith 

And for those who eschew structure altogether, we’ll now refer you to this title from profile science fiction author Dean Wesley Smith . Having authored a number of official Star Trek novels, he definitely knows what he’s talking about when he encourages writers to go boldly into the unknown with an approach to writing books that doesn’t necessarily involve an elaborate plan. It might not be your action plan, but it can be a fresh perspective to get out of the occasional writer’s block .

From the book: “Imagine if every novel you picked up had a detailed outline of the entire plot… Would you read the novel after reading the outline? Chances are, no. What would be the point? You already know the journey the writer is going to take you on. So, as a writer, why do an outline and then have to spend all that time creating a book you already know?”

21. No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty

If you’re procrastinating to the point where you haven’t even started your novel yet, NaNo founder Chris Baty is your guy! No Plot, No Problem is a “low-stress, high-velocity” guide to writing a novel in just 30 days (yup, it’s great prep for the NaNoWriMo challenge ). You’ll get tons of tips on how to survive this rigorous process, from taking advantage of your initial momentum to persisting through moments of doubt . Whether you’re participating in everyone’s favorite November write-a-thon or you just want to bang out a novel that’s been in your head forever, Baty will help you cross that elusive finish line.

From the book: “A rough draft is best written in the steam-cooker of an already busy life. If you have a million things to do, adding item number 1,000,001 is not such a big deal.”

22. The 90-Day Novel by Alan Watt

And for those who think 30 days is a bit too steam cooker-esque, there’s always Alan Watt’s more laid-back option. In The 90-Day Novel , Watt provides a unique three-part process to assist you with your writing. The first part provides assistance in developing your story’s premise, the second part helps you work through obstacles to execute it, and the third part is full of writing exercises to unlock the “primal forces” of your story — aka the energy that will invigorate your work and incite readers to devour it like popcorn at the movies.

From the book: “Why we write is as important as what we write. Grammar, punctuation, and syntax are fairly irrelevant in the first draft. Get the story down… fast. Get out of your head, so you can surprise yourself on the page.”

23. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

If you feel like you’re constantly in the trenches of your “inner creative battle,” The War of Art is the book for you. Pressfield emphasizes the importance of breaking down creative barriers — what he calls “Resistance” — in order to defeat your demons (i.e. procrastination, self-doubt, etc.) and fulfill your potential. Though some of his opinions are no doubt controversial (he makes repeated claims that almost anything can be procrastination, including going to the doctor), this book is the perfect remedy for prevaricating writers who need a little bit of tough love.

From the book: “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

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Books about writing as a lifestyle and career

24. steal like an artist by austin kleon.

As Kleon notes in the first section of Steal Like an Artist , this title obviously doesn’t refer to plagiarism. Rather, it acknowledges that art cannot be created in a vacuum, and encourages writers (and all other artists) to be open and receptive to all sources of inspiration. By “stealing like an artist,” writers can construct stories that already have a baseline of familiarity for readers, but with new twists that keep them fresh and exciting .

From the book: “If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.”

25. Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison

essay on books writing

From the book: “A writer's life and work are not a gift to mankind; they are its necessity.”

26. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

No matter what stage you’re at in your writing career, Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones will help you write more skillfully and creatively. With suggestions, encouragement, and valuable advice on the many aspects of the writing craft, Goldberg doesn’t shy away from making the crucial connection between writing and adding value to your life. Covering a range of topics including taking notes of your initial thoughts, listening, overcoming doubt, choosing where to write, and the selection of your verbs, this guide has plenty to say about the minute details of writing, but excels at exploring the author life.

From the book: “Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

27. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

What does it take to become a great author? According to the beloved writer Ray Bradbury , it takes zest, gusto, curiosity, as well as a spirit of adventure. Sharing his wisdom and experiences as one of the most prolific writers in America, Bradbury gives plenty of practical tips and tricks on how to develop ideas, find your voice, and create your own style in this thoughtful volume. In addition to that, this is also an insight into the life and mind of this prolific writer, and a celebration of the act of writing. 

From the book: “Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it's your turn. Jump!”

28. The Kite and the String by Alice Mattison

One of the most common dilemmas an author faces is the struggle between spontaneity and control. Literary endeavors need those unexpected light-bulb moments, but a book will never be finished if you rely solely on inspiration. In The Kite and the String , Mattison has heard your cry for help and developed a guide for balancing these elements throughout the different stages of writing a novel or a memoir. Sure, there may be language and grammar rules that govern the way you write, but letting a bit of playfulness breathe life into your writing will see it take off to a whole new level. On the other hand, your writing routine, solitude, audience, and goal-setting will act as the strings that keep you from floating too far away. 

From the book: "Don’t make yourself miserable wishing for a kind of success that you wouldn’t enjoy if you had it."

29. How to Become a Successful Indie Author by Craig Martelle

This one’s for all the indie authors out there! Even if you’ve already self-published a book , you can still learn a lot from this guide by Craig Martelle , who has dozens of indie books — “over two and a half million words,” as he puts it — under his belt. With patience and expertise, Martelle walks you through everything you need to know: from developing your premise to perfecting your writing routine, to finally getting your work to the top of the Amazon charts.

From the book: “No matter where you are on your author journey, there’s always a new level you can reach. Roll up your sleeves, because it’s time to get to work.”

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30. How to Market a Book by Ricardo Fayet 

essay on books writing

From the book: “Here’s the thing: authors don’t find readers; readers find books . [...] Marketing is not about selling your book to readers. It’s about getting readers to find it.”

31. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

The full title of Handley’s all-inclusive book on writing is actually Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content — which should tell you something about its broad appeal. Not only does Handley have some great ideas on how to plan and produce a great story, but she also provides tips on general content writing, which comes in handy when it’s time to build your author platform or a mailing list to promote your book. As such, Everybody Writes is nothing like your other books on novel writing — it’ll make you see writing in a whole new light.

From the book: “In our world, many hold a notion that the ability to write, or write well, is a gift bestowed on a chosen few. That leaves us thinking there are two kinds of people: the writing haves — and the hapless, for whom writing well is a hopeless struggle, like trying to carve marble with a butter knife. But I don’t believe that, and neither should you.” 

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Books on writing poetry 

32. madness, rack, and honey by mary ruefle.

With a long history of crafting and lecturing about poetry, Ruefle invites the reader of Madness, Rack, and Honey to immerse themselves into its beauty and magic. In a powerful combination of lectures and musings, she expertly explores the mind and craft of writers while excavating the magical potential of poetry. Often a struggle between giving and taking, poetry is, according to Ruefle, a unique art form that reveals the innermost workings of the human heart.

From the book: “In one sense, reading is a great waste of time. In another sense, it is a great extension of time, a way for one person to live a thousand and one lives in a single lifespan, to watch the great impersonal universe at work again and again”

33. Threads by Sandeep Parmar, Nisha Ramayya, and Bhanu Kapil

If you’re looking for something that explores the philosophical aspects of writing, Threads asks big questions about writing and the position of the writer in an industry that has largely excluded marginalized voices. Where does the writer exist in relation to its text and, particularly in the case of poetry, who is the “I”? Examining the common white, British, male lens, this collection of short essays will make it hard for you not to critically consider your own perceptions and how they affect your writing process.

From the book: “It is impossible to consider the lyric without fully interrogating its inherent promise of universality, its coded whiteness.”

34. The Hatred of Poetry by Ben Lerner

Despite its eye-catching title, this short essay is actually a defense of poetry . Lerner begins with his own hatred of the art form, and then moves on to explore this love-hate dichotomy that actually doesn’t seem to be contradictory. Rather, such a multitude of emotions might be one of the reasons that writers and readers alike turn to it. With its ability to evoke feelings and responses through word-play and meter, poetry has often been misconceived as inaccessible and elitist; this is a call to change that perception. 

From the book: “All I ask the haters — and I, too, am one — is that they strive to perfect their contempt, even consider bringing it to bear on poems, where it will be deepened, not dispelled, and where, by creating a place for possibility and present absences (like unheard melodies), it might come to resemble love.”

35. Poemcrazy by Susan G. Wooldridge

If you’ve ever felt that the mysterious workings of poetry are out of your reach and expressly not for you, Wooldridge is here to tell you that anyone who wants to can write poetry . An experienced workshop leader, she will help you find your inner voice and to express it through the written word. Giving you advice on how to think, use your senses, and practice your writing, Wooldrige will have you putting down rhyme schemes before you know it. 

From the book: “Writing a poem is a form of listening, helping me discover what's wrong or frightening in my world as well as what delights me.”

36. Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison

essay on books writing

From the book: “Don't be afraid to write crap — it makes the best fertilizer. The more of it you write, the better your chances are of growing something wonderful.”

Books about writing nonfiction

37. on writing well by william zinsser.

Going strong with its 30th-anniversary edition, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction is an evergreen resource for nonfiction writers which breaks down the fundamental principles of written communication. As a bonus, the insights and guidelines in this book can certainly be applied to most forms of writing, from interviewing to camp-fire storytelling. Beyond giving tips on how to stay consistent in your writing and voice, how to edit, and how to avoid common pitfalls, Zinsser can also help you grow as a professional writer, strengthening your career and taking steps in a new direction. 

From the book: “Don’t try to visualize the great mass audience. There is no such audience—every reader is a different person.”

38. Essays by Lydia Davis

Ironically enough, this rather lengthy book is a celebration of brevity. As one of the leading American voices in flash-fiction and short-form writing, Davis traces her literary roots and inspirations in essays on everything, ranging from the mastodonic work of Proust to minimalism. In both her translations and her own writing, she celebrates experimental writing that stretches the boundaries of language. Playing with the contrast between what is said and what is not, this collection of essays is another tool to the writing shed to help you feel and use the power of every word you write.

From the book: “Free yourself of your device, for at least certain hours of the day — or at the very least one hour. Learn to be alone, all alone, without people, and without a device that is turned on. Learn to experience the purity of that kind of concentration. Develop focus, learn to focus intently on one thing, uninterrupted, for a long time.”

39. Essayism by Brian Dillon

In this volume, Dillon explores the often overlooked genre of essay writing and its place in literature’s past, present, and future. He argues that essays are an “experiment in attention” but also highlights how and why certain essays have directly impacted the development of the cultural and political landscape, from the end of the Middle Ages until the present day. At its heart, despite its many forms, subject areas, and purposes, essayism has its root in self-exploration. Dip in and out of Dillon’s short texts to find inspiration for your own nonfiction writing.

From the book: “What exactly do I mean, even, by 'style'? Perhaps it is nothing but an urge, an aspiration, a clumsy access of admiration, a crush.”

40. Naked, Drunk, and Writing by Adair Lara

essay on books writing

From the book: “Write it down. Whatever it is, write it down. Chip it into marble. Type it into Microsoft Word. Spell it out in seaweeds on the shore. We are each of us an endangered species, delicate as unicorns.”

With a few of these books in your arsenal, you’ll be penning perfect plots in no time! And if you’re interested in learning more about the editing process, check these books on editing out as well!

ZUrlocker says:

11/03/2019 – 19:46

I'm familiar with several of these books. But for new authors, I urge you caution. It is very tempting to read so many books about writing that you never get around to writing. (I did this successfully for many years!) So I will suggest paring it down to just two books: Stephen King on Writing and Blake Snyder Save the Cat. Snyder's book is mostly about screenwriting, so you could also consider Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. Best of luck!

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18 of the Best Books on Writing (Updated for 2023)

18 of the Best Books on Writing (Updated for 2023)

Table of contents

essay on books writing

Ashley R. Cummings

The need for writers isn’t going away. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of writers and authors will continue to grow by 4% from 2021 to 2031 . And it’s projected that there will be an average of 15,000 job openings for writers and authors each year.

While there’s a huge need for writers, it’s also projected future writers will invest anywhere from $7000 to $40,000 to learn the craft. Gasp!

But there’s good news. You don’t necessarily need to invest $40K into a degree to learn how to write. There are countless books that will help you become the writer you’ve always dreamed of becoming and will help you earn money straight out of the gate.

Here’s a list of the top eighteen books that will prepare you for your writing career. ‍

“Read, read, read. Read everything  —  trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.” — William Faulkner

Best books on writing for business and marketing

Marketing is so important the U.S. spent more than $17 billion in 2021 on marketing data. A large part of marketing is knowing how to write marketing materials that engage audiences. Marketing is also one of the most lucrative freelance writing niches.

When marketing and selling anything, the words you choose to represent your products and brand are critical—these books will help you find the right ones.

1. Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin

Best for : Entrepreneurs and marketers in the SaaS space

essay on books writing

In his book Lost and Founder, Fishkin walks readers through the process of creating a startup. He’s very transparent and doesn’t leave anything out—the roses and the warts are on full display. Lost and Founder is a wealth of first-hand experience that any new startup can learn from.

Most of this book is about all the steps involved in creating a startup, but he also goes through how to write pitches and marketing strategies that worked for him.

Furthermore, if you want to write for startups, it’s important to understand everything that goes into creating a startup. This will help you meet the writing needs of a startup, regardless of what stage it may be in.

2. Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose

Best for : Modern marketing strategies/techniques

essay on books writing

Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose are founders and partners who love content marketing. In their book Killing Marketing, they say content isn’t just marketing; it’s an essential business strategy. 

This book focuses mostly on modern digital marketing techniques. It addresses how marketing has gone from creating ‘sale’ posters to being an essential part of adding value to a brand or company. Pulizzi and Rose use anecdotes and data from their own experiences to illustrate content writing and marketing techniques.

3. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Best for : Experienced marketers looking to fine-tune writing/strategies

essay on books writing

Predictably Irrational isn’t so much a book about writing as a book that can help writers understand what motivates us humans—which is essential for any great writer to understand.

Dan Ariely is an expert in behavioral economics, which studies how people behave when they perform any sort of action (e.g.,. shop, get married, apply for jobs, etc.).

Ariely and his team used experiments to see how suggestion, context, and even subliminal messaging can affect people’s behavior. To illustrate this point, Ariely uses an example where his team created a test that was easy to cheat on. 

Then, his team had respondents take the test again, but reminded them of any sort of moral code (like the ten commandments or even a fake ‘honor code’) right before taking the test to see if people cheated less after the reminder. You’ll have to read to find out the results, but I bet you can guess what happened.

This book is most beneficial for experienced writers and marketers looking to understand their audience on a deeper level.

Best books for copywriting

The biggest issue for copywriting (especially digital copywriting) is people don’t really read things all the way through anymore. 

According to a 20+ year study done by the Nielsen Norman Group , eye tracking research confirms that most internet users only skim and skip around a webpage for relevant info. That means copywriters must understand how to capture the attention of these skimmers and skippers. Here are books that will teach you the ins and outs of successful copywriting.

4. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Best for : Learning the fundamentals of advertising

essay on books writing

Ogilvy on Advertising is admittedly an older book that was first published in 1983. But it’s still considered one of the foremost texts for beginner copywriters and even marketers. It goes over all the fundamentals of advertising and how to write compelling copy.

If you’re new to copywriting and marketing in general, this book uses real life examples to illustrate advertising concepts. And although some of the advice about getting jobs and how to market in foreign markets may be out of date, Ogilvy’s lessons on things like research and brand image are still relevant today.

5. Hey Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan

Best for : Creating visual stories

essay on books writing

Luke Sullivan has been a successful advertiser for over 30 years. He’s worked at elite agencies, taught, consulted and trained. His book, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This , uses real life examples like Charmin’s advertising campaign of the 1960s and 1970’s (the namesake of the book) to illustrate all aspects of advertising. 

Sullivan goes through everything from how to protect your work to how to write for social media. The book is snarky and witty and gives you a glimpse of what it feels like to work in the creative department at an ad agency. 

6. Finding the Right Message by Jennifer Havice

Best for : How to research your audience

essay on books writing

Finding the Right Message is all about delving deeper into understanding what makes your customers tick. It offers step-by-step guides on things like:

  • How to craft customer-centric messages
  • The types of questions to ask when conducting interviews and surveys
  • How to research your customers and the market

Havice offers insight into how to study your audience. She then goes through how you can create messages that will pique your audience’s interest. Using her expertise as a messaging strategist and copywriter, she goes over all the things a copywriter needs to reach their audience.

Best books for longform writing

The average time spent on any webpage is 54 seconds. So, it’s important for longform articles to really engage readers in order to keep them reading for more than 54 seconds. Learning how to write engaging longform articles and books may not come naturally, but here are some books to lead you in the right direction.

7. Writing Feature Stories by Matthew Ricketson & Caroline Graham

Best fo r: Comprehensive writing fundamentals

essay on books writing

Matthew Ricketson and Caroline Graham go over the fundamentals of writing engaging and informative longform writing in their book, Writing Feature Stories . They help both journalists and blog writers go beyond the basic who, why, what, where, and when. 

This book will help you generate new ideas, teach you how to do research for your stories, how to edit your work, and how to find the best platform for your work. Using all the information Ricketson and Graham provide, it’ll also help you get over any fear of longform writing.

8. Stein on Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies by Sol Stein

Best for : Novelists

essay on books writing

Sol Stein is a well known editor and teacher that uses practical and his own real-world experiences to help writers write better. Stein on Writing gives writers practical ways to improve their writing instead of relying on theory. 

A lot of this book is focused on helping novelists with creating more interesting characters, more realistic dialogue, and structure. But it also goes over things like how to trim the fat away from your writing and more efficient ways to edit and revise your drafts.

9. How to Write a Lot by Paul Silvia

Best for : Motivation and practical strategies

essay on books writing

The title says it all. Paul Silvia uses his book, How to Write a Lot to help you become a more efficient and effective longform writer. He uses practical strategies that even go through how to make a schedule, how to get over writer’s block, and ultimately how to write like a professional.

Best books for essay writing and academic writing

Whether you’re trying to write OpEds for the New Yorker or just finishing your term paper, you can use these books to learn how to write effective essays for the world of academia.

10. A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing by Dr. Jacob Newman

Best for : Straightforward and practical writing

essay on books writing

If you feel intimidated by academic writing, A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays is a great book to help you overcome that. Dr. Jacob Newman has been a professor for a long time and uses his experiences to help writers navigate the world of academia. 

Giving useful tips and real world examples, Dr. Newman helps to dispel the idea that academic writing is any different from other kinds of writing. His book is straightforward and practical and focuses on helping students, professors, and anyone else looking to conquer writing academic papers.

11. Stylish Academic Writing by Helen Sword

Best for : Analysis of real articles and essays

essay on books writing

Helen Sword believes that data deserves to be presented in an elegant way. Her book Stylish Academic Writing , presents her analyses of over a thousand peer-reviewed articles (on all subjects) that show how important it is for academic writers to know how to write well.

She shows readers the skills they can learn through the examples in her book. Sword will make you a believer that compelling data should be presented with compelling writing. Slapping data onto a page just isn’t good enough anymore. 

12. Simple and Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers by Jacques Barzun

Best for : Exercises that help readers learn concepts

essay on books writing

Jacques Barzun was a noted teacher, historian and author. His book Simple & Direct, is just that. He uses a no-nonsense style to help writers improve their technique.

Simple & Direct may have been published in the 70s, but the writing exercises, model passages, and examples provided in the book are a treasure trove for any writer looking to better their craft.

Books that relate to writing in 2022

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Mad Men, you know that advertising must change with the times. Not only does the medium change (e.g., newspapers, radio, TV, internet, etc.) but so does your audience. 

For example, Baby Boomers were concerned with security, Gen Xers were concerned with buying things, millennials cared about buying experiences, and Gen Zers care about supporting companies that have the same beliefs as them. 

So while you can keep the same foundational concepts, there are things writers must learn as they write for the 21st century.

13. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker

Best for : Relating to all types of writing

essay on books writing

Steven Pinker is a Harvard psychology professor who has used his own research and experience to write, The Sense of Style . In this book, writers will learn writing techniques to create compelling prose and Pinker gives real-world examples to help illustrate his points.

If you’re looking to infuse more style into your writing and interested in making your writing stand out in today’s day and age, then this is the book for you.

14. You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins

Best for : Bloggers, content creators, indie authors

essay on books writing

“Dress for the job you want” and “fake it ‘till you make it.” The idea that you should start acting like the writer you want to be is exactly what Jeff Goins addresses in his book, You are a Writer .

This book is a guide that will help writers in their craft, work ethic, and in marketing their material. It’s perfect for bloggers, content creators, and anyone who has been waiting to fulfill their dream of becoming a full-time writer.

15. The End of Marketing : Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and AI by Carlos Gil

Best for : focus on engagement

essay on books writing

Carlos Gil breaks down the science of modern marketing in his book The End of Marketing . He breaks down essential topics like:

  • What modern audiences want
  • Storytelling
  • How to get attention on social media and how to use social media as feedback
  • How to be genuine
  • How to find your customers

The End of Marketing unravels the mysteries of influencers, social media algorithms, and staying on trend. It’s a must read for any writer today.

Books on writing for social media

There are over 4.7 billion active social media users worldwide. In a global survey done by Statista in 2022, 61% of marketers said they would increase their usage of Instagram and 37% said they’re increasing usage of TikTok advertising. Social media isn’t going away, and it always needs content, which means, it needs good writers.

16. Everybody Writes : Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

Best for : Bloggers and content creators

essay on books writing

Everybody Writes teaches readers not only how to write, but also how to engage audiences with truthful storytelling. She offers practical how-tos for writing technique, publishing, and even how to find content ideas. 

Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes is one of the most highly rated overall writing books, and is especially helpful for those looking to write for social media. She also recently released an updated version with new examples.

17. Brand Storytelling: Put Customers at the Heart of Your Brand Story by: Miri Rodriguez

Best for : Step-by-step guide on how to build a brand story

essay on books writing

Miri Rodriguez is an award winning storyteller and creative journalist at Microsoft. In her book Brand Storytelling she shows readers the importance of creating an emotional connection with your audience.

She uses case studies and interviews to show readers how, in this world of digital screens and AI, human connection will always win out. 

18. Faster, Smarter, Louder: Master Attention in a Noisy Digital Market by Aaron Agius and Gián Clancey

Best for : How to grow business from start to multimillion global company

essay on books writing

Aaron Agius and Gián Clancey are the founders of the successful global marketing firm Louder.online. But they weren’t always successful, they actually first went into business together in 2008, but that business didn’t work out and forced them to move back home to Australia. But their experiences made them write Faster, Smarter, [and] Louder. 

This book gives writers technical and practical tips on how to gain credibility, increase online traffic, and engage with audiences. 

Read to become a better writer!

This list is just a start. If you want to be a writer, you don’t have to spend a lot of money, all you need is a library card or a connection to the internet.

In fact, even if you don't have time to learn how to write, that’s no longer an obstacle either. There are several AI and editing tools that will write content for you and help you fine-tune your sentences to stand out from other writers. There are also blogs that will give you all the resources and info you need to become a stellar writer. 

So stop sitting around thinking “one day” you’ll be a writer. As Stephen King said in On Writing , “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

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100 Must-Read, Best Books On Writing And The Writer’s Life

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Nikki VanRy

Nikki VanRy is a proud resident of Arizona, where she gets to indulge her love of tacos, desert storms, and tank tops. She also writes for the Tucson Festival of Books, loves anything sci-fi/fantasy/historical, drinks too much chai, and will spend all day in bed reading thankyouverymuch. Follow her on Instagram @nikki.vanry .

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If you’re a working or aspiring writer, y ou already likely know about the classic best books on writing–King’s  On Writing,  Strunk and White’s Elements of Style– but for a craft as varied and personal as writing, you’ll always benefit from learning from more voices, with more techniques. 

That’s why this list is full of writers not only talking about the bare-bones craft of writing (and there’s plenty of fantastic advice there), but also how becoming a writer changed their lives and what role they believe writers play in an ever-changing world. From craft to writer’s lives, get ready to dig into 100 of the must-read, best books on writing for improving your own work. 

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“Written with her trademark lyricism, in these signature pieces the acclaimed author of The House on Mango Street shares her transformative memories and reveals her artistic and intellectual influences. Poignant, honest, and deeply moving, A House of My Own is an exuberant celebration of a life lived to the fullest, from one of our most beloved writers.”

2.  A Little Book on Form    by Robert Hass

“Brilliantly synthesizes Hass’s formidable gifts as both a poet and a critic and reflects his profound education in the art of poetry. Starting with the exploration of a single line as the basic gesture of a poem, and moving into an examination of the essential expressive gestures that exist inside forms, Hass goes beyond approaching form as a set of traditional rules that precede composition, and instead offers penetrating insight into the true openness and instinctiveness of formal creation.”

3. A Personal Anthology by Jorge Luis Borges

“After almost a half a century of scrupulous devotion to his art, Jorge Luis Borges personally compiled this anthology of his work—short stories, essays, poems, and brief mordant ‘sketches,’ which, in Borges’s hands, take on the dimensions of a genre unique in modern letters. In this anthology, the author has put together those pieces on which he would like his reputation to rest; they are not arranged chronologically, but with an eye to their ‘sympathies and differences.’”

4.  A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

“Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister—a sister equal to Shakespeare in talent, and equal in genius, but whose legacy is radically different. In this classic essay, she takes on the establishment, using her gift of language to dissect the world around her and give voice to those who are without. Her message is a simple one: women must have a fixed income and a room of their own in order to have the freedom to create.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“Taking up specifics (When do flashbacks work, and when should you avoid them? How do you make characters both vivid and sympathetic?) and generalities (How are novels structured? How do writers establish serious literary reputations today?), Delany also examines the condition of the contemporary creative writer and how it differs from that of the writer in the years of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and the high Modernists. Like a private writing tutorial, About Writing treats each topic with clarity and insight.”

6. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby

“Based on the lessons in his award-winning class, Great Screenwriting, The Anatomy of Story draws on a broad range of philosophy and mythology, offering fresh techniques and insightful anecdotes alongside Truby’s own unique approach to building an effective, multifaceted narrative.”

7.  Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland

“Explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn’t get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. The book’s co-authors, David Bayles and Ted Orland, are themselves both working artists, grappling daily with the problems of making art in the real world. Their insights and observations, drawn from personal experience, provide an incisive view into the world of art as it is experienced by artmakers themselves.”

8.  The Art of Death by Edwidge Danticat

“At once a personal account of her mother dying from cancer and a deeply considered reckoning with the ways that other writers have approached death in their own work.”

9. The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner

“Gardner’s lessons, exemplified with detailed excerpts from classic works of literature, sweep across a complete range of topics—from the nature of aesthetics to the shape of a refined sentence. Written with passion, precision, and a deep respect for the art of writing, Gardner’s book serves by turns as a critic, mentor, and friend. Anyone who has ever thought of taking the step from reader to writer should begin here.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“Karr synthesizes her expertise as professor and therapy patient, writer and spiritual seeker, recovered alcoholic and ‘black belt sinner,’ providing a unique window into the mechanics and art of the form that is as irreverent, insightful, and entertaining as her own work in the genre.”

11. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

“The seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life. Still as vital today—or perhaps even more so—than it was when it was first published twenty five years ago, it is a powerfully provocative and inspiring work.”

12. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

“With profound empathy and radiant generosity, Gilbert offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives.”

13. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

“Lamott’s miscellany of guidance and reflection should appeal to writers struggling with demons large and slight. Among the pearls she offers is to start small, as their father once advised her 10-year-old brother, who was agonizing over a book report on birds: ‘Just take it bird by bird.’ Lamott’s suggestion on the craft of fiction is down-to-earth: worry about the characters, not the plot. “

14. Black Milk: On the Conflicting Demands of Writing, Creativity, and Motherhood by Elif Shafak

“She intersperses her own experience with the lives of prominent authors such as Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Alice Walker, Ayn Rand, and Zelda Fitzgerald, Shafak looks for a solution to the inherent conflict between artistic creation and responsible parenting. With searing emotional honesty and an incisive examination of cultural mores within patriarchal societies, Shafak has rendered an important work about literature, motherhood, and spiritual well-being.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“Erdrich takes us on an illuminating tour through the terrain her ancestors have inhabited for centuries: the lakes and islands of southern Ontario. Summoning to life the Ojibwe’s sacred spirits and songs, their language and sorrows, she considers the many ways in which her tribe—whose name derives from the word ozhibii’ige, ‘to write’”—have influenced her. Her journey links ancient stone paintings with a magical island where a bookish recluse built an extraordinary library, and she reveals how both have transformed her.”

16. Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words: A Writer’s Guide to Getting It Right by Bill Bryson

“An essential guide to the wonderfully disordered thing that is the English language. With some one thousand entries that feature real-world examples of questionable usage from an international array of publications, and with a helpful glossary and guide to pronunciation, this precise, prescriptive, and–because it is written by Bill Bryson–often witty book belongs on the desk of every person who cares enough about the language not to maul or misuse or distort it.”

17. Bullies, Bastards and Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction by Jessica Morrell 

“A truly memorable antagonist is not a one-dimensional super villain bent on world domination for no particular reason. Realistic, credible bad guys create essential story complications, personalize conflict, add immediacy to a story line, and force the protagonist to evolve.”

18. Crazy Brave: A Memoir by Joy Harjo

“In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo, one of our leading Native American voices, details her journey to becoming a poet. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, Crazy Brave is a memoir about family and the breaking apart necessary in finding a voice.”

19. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

“Former editor Lynne Truss, gravely concerned about our current grammatical state, boldly defends proper punctuation. She proclaims, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“You know the authors’ names. You recognize the title. You’ve probably used this book yourself. This is The Elements of Style , the classic style manual. This book’s unique tone, wit and charm have conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers. Use the fourth edition of ‘the little book’ to make a big impact with writing.”

21. The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface by Donald Maass

“Veteran literary agent and expert fiction instructor Donald Maass shows you how to use story to provoke a visceral and emotional experience in readers. Readers can simply read a novel…or they can experience it. The Emotional Craft of Fiction shows you how to make that happen.”

22. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

“A  go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer. If you have a web site, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers.”

23. The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman

“With exercises at the end of each chapter, this invaluable reference will allow novelists, journalists, poets and screenwriters alike to improve their technique as they learn to eliminate even the most subtle mistakes that are cause for rejection. The First Five Pages will help writers at every stage take their art to a higher — and more successful — level.”

24. The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner

“From blank page to first glowing (or gutting) review, Betsy Lerner is a knowing and sympathetic coach who helps writers discover how they can be more productive in the creative process and how they can better their odds of not only getting published, but getting published well.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“ Free Within Ourselves is is meant to be a song of encouragement for African-American artists and visionaries. A step-by-step introduction to fictional technique, exploring story ideas, and charting one’s progress, as well as a resource guide for publishing fiction.”

26. Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors by Brandilyn Collins 

“Want to bring characters to life on the page as vividly as fine actors do on the stage or screen? Getting Into Character will give you a whole new way of thinking about your writing. Drawing on the Method Acting theory that theater professionals have used for decades, this in-depth guide explains seven characterization techniques and adapts them for the novelist’s use.”

27. The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou

“In The Heart of a Woman , Maya Angelou leaves California with her son, Guy, to move to New York. There she enters the society and world of black artists and writers, reads her work at the Harlem Writers Guild, and begins to take part in the struggle of black Americans for their rightful place in the world.”

28. If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland

“In this book, Ueland shares her philosophies on writing and life in general. She stresses the idea that ‘Everyone is talented, original, and has something important to say.’ Drawing heavily on the work and influence of William Blake, she suggests that writers should ‘Try to discover your true, honest, un-theoretical self.’ She sums up her book with 12 points to keep in mind while writing. Carl Sandburg called If You Want to Write the best book ever written on how to write.”

29. Immersion: A Writer’s Guide to Going Deep by Ted Conover

“Conover distills decades of knowledge into an accessible resource aimed at writers of all levels. He covers how to “get into” a community, how to conduct oneself once inside, and how to shape and structure the stories that emerge. Conover is also forthright about the ethics and consequences of immersion reporting, preparing writers for the surprises that often surface when their piece becomes public.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“On a post-college visit to Florence, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri fell in love with the Italian language. Twenty years later, seeking total immersion, she and her family relocated to Rome, where she began to read and write solely in her adopted tongue. A startling act of self-reflection, In Other Words is Lahiri’s meditation on the process of learning to express herself in another language—and the stunning journey of a writer seeking a new voice.”

31. In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose by Alice Walker 

“Alice Walker speaks out as a black woman, writer, mother, and feminist, in thirty-six pieces ranging from the personal to the political. Here are essays about Walker’s own work and that of other writers, accounts of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the antinuclear movement of the 1980s, and a vivid, courageous memoir of a scarring childhood injury.”

32. It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer’s Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences by June Casagrande

“Great writing isn’t born, it’s built—sentence by sentence. But too many writers—and writing guides—overlook this most important unit. The result? Manuscripts that will never be published and writing careers that will never begin. So roll up your sleeves and prepare to craft one bold, effective sentence after another. Your readers will thank you.”

33. The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience by Chuck Wendig

“The journey to become a successful writer is long, fraught with peril, and filled with difficult questions: How do I write dialogue? How do I build suspense? What should I know about query letters? Where do I start? The best way to answer these questions is to ditch your uncertainty and transform yourself into a KICK-ASS writer.”

34. The Language of Fiction: A Writer’s Stylebook by Brian Shawver

“Grand themes and complex plots are just the beginning of a great piece of fiction. Mastering the nuts and bolts of grammar and prose mechanics is also an essential part of becoming a literary artist. This indispensable guide, created just for writers of fiction, will show you how to take your writing to the next level by exploring the finer points of language.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“Finally, a truly creative―and hilarious―guide to creative writing, full of encouragement and sound advice. Provocative and reassuring, nurturing and wise, The Lie That Tells a Truth is essential to writers in general, fiction writers in particular, beginning writers, serious writers, and anyone facing a blank page.”

36. The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl Klein

“Editor Cheryl B. Klein guides writers on an enjoyable and practical-minded voyage of their own, from developing a saleable premise for a novel to finding a dream agent. She delves deep into the major elements of fiction―intention, character, plot, and voice―while addressing important topics like diversity, world-building, and the differences between middle-grade and YA novels.”

37. Making a Good Script Great by Linda Seger 

“Making a good script great is more than just a matter of putting a good idea on paper. It requires the working and reworking of that idea. This book takes you through the whole screenwriting process – from initial concept through final rewrite – providing specific methods that will help you craft tighter, stronger, and more saleable scripts.”

38. Memoirs   by Pablo Neruda

“In his uniquely expressive prose, Neruda not only explains his views on poetry and describes the circumstances that inspired many of his poems, but he creates a revealing record of his life as a poet, a patriot, and one of the twentieth century’s true men of conscience.”

39. The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction by Stephen Koch

“Stephen Koch, former chair of Columbia University’s graduate creative writing program, presents a unique guide to the craft of fiction. Along with his own lucid observations and commonsense techniques, he weaves together wisdom, advice, and inspiring commentary from some of our greatest writers.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“Packed with insights and advice both practical (‘writing workshops you pay for are the best–it’s too easy to quit when you’ve made no investment’) and irreverent (‘apply Part A [butt] to Part B [chair]’). Naked, Drunk, and Writing is a must-have if you are an aspiring columnist, essayist, or memoirist—or just a writer who needs a bit of help in getting your story told.”

41. Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing by Margaret Atwood

“In this wise and irresistibly quotable book, one of the most intelligent writers working in English addresses the riddle of her art: why people pursue it, how they view their calling, and what bargains they make with their audience, both real and imagined. To these fascinating issues Booker Prize-winner Margaret Atwood brings a candid appraisal of her own experience as well as a breadth of reading that encompasses everything from Dante to Elmore Leonard.”

42. On Writing by Eudora Welty 

“Eudora Welty was one of the twentieth century’s greatest literary figures. For as long as students have been studying her fiction as literature, writers have been looking to her to answer the profound questions of what makes a story good, a novel successful, a writer an artist.”

43. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

“Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have.”

44. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser

“Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, On Writing Well offers you fundamental principles as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“Based on the Zen philosophy that we learn more from our failures than from our successes, One Continuous Mistake teaches a refreshing new method for writing as spiritual practice. Here she introduces a method of discipline that applies specific Zen practices to enhance and clarify creative work. She also discusses bodily postures that support writing, how to set up the appropriate writing regimen, and how to discover one’s own ‘learning personality.’”

46. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K.M. Weiland

“Writers often look upon outlines with fear and trembling. But when properly understood and correctly wielded, the outline is one of the most powerful weapons in a writer’s arsenal.”

47. The Paris Review Interviews, Vols. 1-4 by The Paris Review

“For more than half a century, The Paris Review has conducted in-depth interviews with our leading novelists, poets, and playwrights. These revealing, revelatory self-portraits have come to be recognized as themselves classic works of literature, and an essential and definitive record of the writing life.”

48. The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux

“Presents brief essays on the elements of poetry, technique, and suggested subjects for writing, each followed by distinctive writing exercises. The ups and downs of writing life―including self-doubt and writer’s block―are here, along with tips about getting published and writing in the electronic age.”

49. The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets by Ted Kooser

“Using examples from his own rich literary oeuvre and from the work of a number of successful contemporary poets, the author schools us in the critical relationship between poet and reader, which is fundamental to what Kooser believes is poetry’s ultimate purpose: to reach other people and touch their hearts.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“Have you always wanted to get an MFA, but couldn’t because of the cost, time commitment, or admission requirements? Well now you can fulfill that dream without having to devote tons of money or time. The Portable MFA gives you all of the essential information you would learn in the MFA program in one book.”

51. Paula: A Memoir by Isabel Allende

“Irony and marvelous flights of fantasy mix with the icy reality of Paula’s deathly illness as Allende sketches childhood scenes in Chile and Lebanon; her uncle Salvatore Allende’s reign and ruin as Chilean president; her struggles to shake off or find love; and her metamorphosis into a writer.”

52. Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

“In her fifteen years of teaching, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett has found that the biggest stumbling block for aspiring writers (especially women) is not fear of the blank page but frustration with the lack of time. What woman doesn’t have too much to do and too little time? Finding an hour free of work, children, or obligations can seem impossible.”

53. Pixar Storytelling: Rules for Effective Storytelling Based on Pixar’s Greatest Films   by Dean Movshovitz

“ Pixar Storytelling is about effective storytelling rules based on Pixar’s greatest films. The book consists of ten chapters, each of which explores an aspect of storytelling that Pixar excels at. Learn what Pixar’s core story ideas all have in common, how they create compelling, moving conflict and what makes their films’ resolutions so emotionally satisfying.”

54. Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell 

“How does plot influence story structure? What’s the difference between plotting for commercial and literary fiction? How do you revise a plot or structure that’s gone off course? With Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure , you’ll discover the answers to these questions and more. Award-winning author James Scott Bell offers clear, concise information that will help you create a believable and memorable plot.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“In this essay of literary autobiography, V. S. Naipaul sifts through memories of his childhood in Trinidad, his university days in England, and his earliest attempts at writing, seeking the experiences of life and reading that shaped his imagination and his growth as a writer.”

56. Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose

“Long before there were creative-writing workshops and degrees, how did aspiring writers learn to write? By reading the work of their predecessors and contemporaries, says Francine Prose. In Reading Like a Writer , Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters.”

57. Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels (How to Write Kissing Books) by Gwen Hayes

“ Romancing the Beat is a recipe, not a rigid system. The beats don’t care if you plot or outline before you write, or if you pants your way through the drafts and do a ‘beat check’ when you’re revising. Pantsers and plotters are both welcome. So sit down, grab a cuppa, and let’s talk about kissing books.”

58. Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder

“This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who’s proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!”

59. Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living by Manjula Martin 

“In the literary world, the debate around writing and commerce often begs us to take sides: either writers should be paid for everything they do or writers should just pay their dues and count themselves lucky to be published. It’s an endless, confusing, and often controversial conversation that, despite our bare-it-all culture, still remains taboo. In Scratch , Manjula Martin has gathered interviews and essays from established and rising authors to confront the age-old question: how do creative people make money?”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“From concept to character, from opening scene to finished script, here are easily understood guidelines to help aspiring screenwriters—from novices to practiced writers—hone their craft.”

61. Singing School: Learning to Write (And Read) Poetry by Studying with the Masters by Robert Pinsky

“Quick, joyful, and playfully astringent, with surprising comparisons and examples, this collection takes an unconventional approach to the art of poetry. Instead of rules, theories, or recipes, Singing School emphasizes ways to learn from great work: studying magnificent, monumentally enduring poems and how they are made— in terms borrowed from the ‘singing school’ of William Butler Yeats’s ‘Sailing to Byzantium.’”

62. The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative by Vivian Gornick

“Taking us on a reading tour of some of the best memoirs and essays of the past hundred years, Gornick traces the changing idea of self that has dominated the century, and demonstrates the enduring truth-speaker to be found in the work of writers as diverse as Edmund Gosse, Joan Didion, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, or Marguerite Duras.”

63. Slay the Dragon: Writing Great Video Games by Robert Denton Bryant and Keith Giglio

“Writing for the multibillion-dollar video-game industry is unlike writing for any other medium. Slay the Dragon will help you understand the challenges and offer creative solutions to writing for a medium where the audience not only demands a great story, but to be a driving force within it.”

64. Something to Declare by Julia Alvarez

“From the internationally acclaimed author of the bestselling novels In the Time of the Butterflies and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents comes a rich and revealing work of nonfiction capturing the life and mind of an artist as she knits together the dual themes of coming to America and becoming a writer.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“This handbook is a short, deceptively simple guide to the craft of writing. Le Guin lays out ten chapters that address the most fundamental components of narrative, from the sound of language to sentence construction to point of view.”

66. Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies by Sol Stein 

“With examples from bestsellers as well as from students’ drafts, Stein offers detailed sections on characterization, dialogue, pacing, flashbacks, trimming away flabby wording, the so-called ‘triage’ method of revision, using the techniques of fiction to enliven nonfiction, and more.”

67. Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel by Lisa Cron

“Takes you, step-by-step, through the creation of a novel from the first glimmer of an idea, to a complete multilayered blueprint—including fully realized scenes—that evolves into a first draft with the authority, richness, and command of a riveting sixth or seventh draft.”

68. Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules by Steven James

“All too often, following the ‘rules’ of writing can constrict rather than inspire you. With Story Trumps Structure , you can shed those rules – about three-act structure, rising action, outlining, and more – to craft your most powerful, emotional, and gripping stories.”

69. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall

“Humans live in landscapes of make-believe. We spin fantasies. We devour novels, films, and plays. Even sporting events and criminal trials unfold as narratives. Yet the world of story has long remained an undiscovered and unmapped country. Now Jonathan Gottschall offers the first unified theory of storytelling. He argues that stories help us navigate life’s complex social problems–just as flight simulators prepare pilots for difficult situations. Storytelling has evolved, like other behaviors, to ensure our survival.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“When it comes to writing books, are you a ‘plotter’ or a ‘pantser’? Is one method really better than the other? In this instructional book, author Libbie Hawker explains the benefits and technique of planning a story before you begin to write.”

71. TED Talks Storytelling: 23 Storytelling Techniques from the Best TED Talks by Akash Karia

“Essentially, the best speakers on the TED stage were the ones who had mastered the art of storytelling. They had mastered how to craft and present their stories in a way that allowed them to share their message with the world without seeming like they were lecturing their audience.”

72. This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

“Blending literature and memoir, Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder, Run, and Bel Canto , examines her deepest commitments—to writing, family, friends, dogs, books, and her husband—creating a resonant portrait of a life in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. “

73. This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley

“No more excuses. ‘Let the lawn get shaggy and the paint peel from the walls,’ bestselling novelist Walter Mosley advises. Anyone can write a novel now, and in this essential book of tips, practical advice, and wisdom, Walter Mosley promises that the writer-in-waiting can finish it in one year.”

74. Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction by Benjamin Percy

“In fifteen essays on the craft of fiction, Percy looks to disparate sources such as Jaws , Blood Meridian, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to discover how contemporary writers engage issues of plot, suspense, momentum, and the speculative, as well as character, setting, and dialogue. An urgent and entertaining missive on craft, Thrill Me brims with Percy’s distinctive blend of anecdotes, advice, and close reading, all in the service of one dictum: Thrill the reader.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“Combining more than forty years of lessons from his storied career as a writer and professor, Lopate brings us this highly anticipated nuts-and-bolts guide to writing literary nonfiction. A phenomenal master class shaped by Lopate’s informative, accessible tone and immense gift for storytelling, To Show and To Tell reads like a long walk with a favorite professor—refreshing, insightful, and encouraging in often unexpected ways.”

76. The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The Essential Guide to Fantasy Travel by Diana Wynne Jones

“Imagine that all fantasy novels—the ones featuring dragons, knights, wizards, and magic—are set in the same place. That place is called Fantasyland. The Tough Guide to Fantasyland is your travel guide, a handbook to everything you might find: Evil, the Dark Lord, Stew, Boots (but not Socks), and what passes for Economics and Ecology. Both a hilarious send-up of the cliches of the genre and an indispensable guide for writers.”

77. Unless It Moves the Human Heart: The Craft and Art of Writing by Roger Rosenblatt

“The revered novelist, essayist, playwright, and respected writing teacher offers a guidebook for aspiring authors, a memoir, and an impassioned argument for the necessity of writing in our world.”

78. Upstream by Mary Oliver

“Throughout this collection, Oliver positions not just herself upstream but us as well as she encourages us all to keep moving, to lose ourselves in the awe of the unknown, and to give power and time to the creative and whimsical urges that live within us.”

79. Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know about Narrative Techniques by Evan Skolnick 

“Game writer and producer Evan Skolnick provides a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow guide to storytelling basics and how they can be applied at every stage of the development process—by all members of the team.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“In this classic book, Madeleine L’Engle addresses the questions, What makes art Christian? What does it mean to be a Christian artist? What is the relationship between faith and art? Through L’Engle’s beautiful and insightful essay, readers will find themselves called to what the author views as the prime tasks of an artist: to listen, to remain aware, and to respond to creation through one’s own art.”

81. The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling by Charles Johnson

“Johnson shares his lessons and exercises from the classroom, starting with word choice, sentence structure, and narrative voice, and delving into the mechanics of scene, dialogue, plot and storytelling before exploring the larger questions at stake for the serious writer. What separates literature from industrial fiction? What lies at the heart of the creative impulse? How does one navigate the literary world? And how are philosophy and fiction concomitant?”

82. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

“While simply training for New York City Marathon would be enough for most people, Haruki Murakami’s decided to write about it as well. The result is a beautiful memoir about his intertwined obsessions with running and writing, full of vivid memories and insights, including the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer.”

83. What Moves at the Margin by Toni Morrison

“Collects three decades of Toni Morrison’s writings about her work, her life, literature, and American society. The works included in this volume range from 1971, when Morrison was a new editor at Random House and a beginning novelist, to 2002 when she was a professor at Princeton University and Nobel Laureate. These works provide a unique glimpse into Morrison’s viewpoint as an observer of the world, the arts, and the changing landscape of American culture.”

84. Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir by Amy Tan 

“By delving into vivid memories of her traumatic childhood, confessions of self-doubt in her journals, and heartbreaking letters to and from her mother, she gives evidence to all that made it both unlikely and inevitable that she would become a writer. Through spontaneous storytelling, she shows how a fluid fictional state of mind unleashed near-forgotten memories that became the emotional nucleus of her novels.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“This all-new definitive guide to writing imaginative fiction takes a completely novel approach and fully exploits the visual nature of fantasy through original drawings, maps, renderings, and exercises to create a spectacularly beautiful and inspiring object.”

86. Woolgathering by Patti Smith

“A great book about becoming an artist, Woolgathering tells of a youngster finding herself as she learns the noble vocation of woolgathering, ‘a worthy calling that seemed a good job for me.’ She discovers―often at night, often in nature―the pleasures of rescuing ‘a fleeting thought.’ Deeply moving, Woolgathering calls up our own memories, as the child ‘glimpses and gleans, piecing together a crazy quilt of truths.’”

87. Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels by Brian Michael Bendis

“One of the most popular writers in modern comics, Brian Michael Bendis reveals the tools and techniques he and other top creators use to create some of the most popular comic book and graphic novel stories of all time.”

88. Write Naked: A Bestseller’s Secrets to Writing Romance & Navigating the Path to Success by Jennifer Probst

“Learn how to transform your passion for writing into a career. New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Probst reveals her pathway to success, from struggling as a new writer to signing a seven-figure deal. Write Naked intermingles personal essays on craft with down-to-earth advice on writing romance in the digital age.”

89. Write Your Novel in a Month: How to Complete a First Draft in 30 Days and What to Do Next by Jeff Gerke

“Author and instructor Jeff Gerke has created the perfect tool to show you how to prepare yourself to write your first draft in as little as 30 days. With Jeff’s help, you will learn how to organize your ideas, create dynamic stories, develop believable characters, and flesh out the idea narrative for your novel–and not just for the rapid-fire first draft.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“Explores the powerful relationship between mythology and storytelling in a clear, concise style that’s made it required reading for movie executives, screenwriters, playwrights, scholars, and fans of pop culture all over the world.”

91. Writer’s Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published by Robert Lee Brewer

“Want to get published and paid for your writing? Let Writer’s Market guide you through the process with thousands of publishing opportunities for writers, including listings for book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards, and literary agents. These listings feature contact and submission information to help writers get their work published.”

92. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

“For more than thirty years Natalie Goldberg has been challenging and cheering on writers with her books and workshops. In her groundbreaking first book, she brings together Zen meditation and writing in a new way. Writing practice, as she calls it, is no different from other forms of Zen practice—’it is backed by two thousand years of studying the mind.’”

93. Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Trauma by Melanie Brooks

“What does it take to write an honest memoir? And what happens to us when we embark on that journey? Melanie Brooks sought guidance from the memoirists who most moved her to answer these questions. Called an essential book for creative writers by Poets & Writers, Writing Hard Stories is a unique compilation of authentic stories about the death of a partner, parent, or child; about violence and shunning; and about the process of writing.”

94. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

“Slender though it is, The Writing Life richly conveys the torturous, tortuous, and in rare moments, transcendent existence of the writer. Amid moving accounts of her own writing (and life) experiences, Dillard also manages to impart wisdom to other writers, wisdom having to do with passion and commitment and taking the work seriously.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“Culled from ten years of the distinguished Washington Post column of the same name, The Writing Life highlights an eclectic group of luminaries who have wildly varied stories to tell, but who share this singularly beguiling career. Here are their pleasures as well as their peeves; revelations of their deepest fears; dramas of triumphs and failures; insights into the demands and rewards.”

96. Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly by Gail Caron Levine

“Gail Carson Levine shows how you can get terrific ideas for stories, invent great beginnings and endings, write sparkling dialogue, develop memorable characters—and much, much more. She advises you about what to do when you feel stuck—and how to use helpful criticism. Best of all, she offers writing exercises that will set your imagination on fire.”

97. Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark 

“Ten years ago, Roy Peter Clark, America’s most influential writing teacher, whittled down almost thirty years of experience in journalism, writing, and teaching into a series of fifty short essays on different aspects of writing. In the past decade, Writing Tools has become a classic guidebook for novices and experts alike and remains one of the best loved books on writing available.”

98. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

“This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes —from her nerdy, book-loving childhood to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her. The book chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.”

99. Your Creative Writing Masterclass by Jergen Wolff

“If you dream of being a writer, why not learn from the best? In Your Creative Writing Masterclass you’ll find ideas, techniques and encouragement from the most admired and respected contemporary and classic authors, including Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Anton Chekhov.”

100 Must-Read And Best Books On Writing | BookRiot.com

“Part memoir, part philosophical guide, the essays in this book teach the joy of writing. Rather than focusing on the mechanics of putting words on paper, Bradbury’s zen is found in the celebration of storytelling that drove him to write every day. Imparting lessons he has learned over the course of his exuberant career, Bradbury inspires with his infectious enthusiasm.”

Writing is a big messy topic, so obviously I’ll have missed some of your favorite and best books on writing. Make sure to hit the comments to talk about your favorite books about the writing life and craft. Find more of our posts on the writing life here .

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The Bestselling Books of the Week, According to All the Lists

  • 1 Unit Introduction
  • Introduction
  • 1.1 "Reading" to Understand and Respond
  • 1.2 Social Media Trailblazer: Selena Gomez
  • 1.3 Glance at Critical Response: Rhetoric and Critical Thinking
  • 1.4 Annotated Student Sample: Social Media Post and Responses on Voter Suppression
  • 1.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About a “Text”
  • 1.6 Evaluation: Intention vs. Execution
  • 1.7 Spotlight on … Academia
  • 1.8 Portfolio: Tracing Writing Development
  • Further Reading
  • Works Cited
  • 2.1 Seeds of Self
  • 2.2 Identity Trailblazer: Cathy Park Hong
  • 2.3 Glance at the Issues: Oppression and Reclamation
  • 2.4 Annotated Sample Reading from The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois
  • 2.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about How Identity Is Constructed Through Writing
  • 2.6 Evaluation: Antiracism and Inclusivity
  • 2.7 Spotlight on … Variations of English
  • 2.8 Portfolio: Decolonizing Self
  • 3.1 Identity and Expression
  • 3.2 Literacy Narrative Trailblazer: Tara Westover
  • 3.3 Glance at Genre: The Literacy Narrative
  • 3.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
  • 3.5 Writing Process: Tracing the Beginnings of Literacy
  • 3.6 Editing Focus: Sentence Structure
  • 3.7 Evaluation: Self-Evaluating
  • 3.8 Spotlight on … The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN)
  • 3.9 Portfolio: A Literacy Artifact
  • Works Consulted
  • 2 Unit Introduction
  • 4.1 Exploring the Past to Understand the Present
  • 4.2 Memoir Trailblazer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • 4.3 Glance at Genre: Conflict, Detail, and Revelation
  • 4.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
  • 4.5 Writing Process: Making the Personal Public
  • 4.6 Editing Focus: More on Characterization and Point of View
  • 4.7 Evaluation: Structure and Organization
  • 4.8 Spotlight on … Multilingual Writers
  • 4.9 Portfolio: Filtered Memories
  • 5.1 Profiles as Inspiration
  • 5.2 Profile Trailblazer: Veronica Chambers
  • 5.3 Glance at Genre: Subject, Angle, Background, and Description
  • 5.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Remembering John Lewis” by Carla D. Hayden
  • 5.5 Writing Process: Focusing on the Angle of Your Subject
  • 5.6 Editing Focus: Verb Tense Consistency
  • 5.7 Evaluation: Text as Personal Introduction
  • 5.8 Spotlight on … Profiling a Cultural Artifact
  • 5.9 Portfolio: Subject as a Reflection of Self
  • 6.1 Proposing Change: Thinking Critically About Problems and Solutions
  • 6.2 Proposal Trailblazer: Atul Gawande
  • 6.3 Glance at Genre: Features of Proposals
  • 6.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Slowing Climate Change” by Shawn Krukowski
  • 6.5 Writing Process: Creating a Proposal
  • 6.6 Editing Focus: Subject-Verb Agreement
  • 6.7 Evaluation: Conventions, Clarity, and Coherence
  • 6.8 Spotlight on … Technical Writing as a Career
  • 6.9 Portfolio: Reflecting on Problems and Solutions
  • 7.1 Thumbs Up or Down?
  • 7.2 Review Trailblazer: Michiko Kakutani
  • 7.3 Glance at Genre: Criteria, Evidence, Evaluation
  • 7.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Black Representation in Film" by Caelia Marshall
  • 7.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Entertainment
  • 7.6 Editing Focus: Quotations
  • 7.7 Evaluation: Effect on Audience
  • 7.8 Spotlight on … Language and Culture
  • 7.9 Portfolio: What the Arts Say About You
  • 8.1 Information and Critical Thinking
  • 8.2 Analytical Report Trailblazer: Barbara Ehrenreich
  • 8.3 Glance at Genre: Informal and Formal Analytical Reports
  • 8.4 Annotated Student Sample: "U.S. Response to COVID-19" by Trevor Garcia
  • 8.5 Writing Process: Creating an Analytical Report
  • 8.6 Editing Focus: Commas with Nonessential and Essential Information
  • 8.7 Evaluation: Reviewing the Final Draft
  • 8.8 Spotlight on … Discipline-Specific and Technical Language
  • 8.9 Portfolio: Evidence and Objectivity
  • 9.1 Breaking the Whole into Its Parts
  • 9.2 Rhetorical Analysis Trailblazer: Jamil Smith
  • 9.3 Glance at Genre: Rhetorical Strategies
  • 9.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Rhetorical Analysis: Evicted by Matthew Desmond” by Eliana Evans
  • 9.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about Rhetoric
  • 9.6 Editing Focus: Mixed Sentence Constructions
  • 9.7 Evaluation: Rhetorical Analysis
  • 9.8 Spotlight on … Business and Law
  • 9.9 Portfolio: How Thinking Critically about Rhetoric Affects Intellectual Growth
  • 10.1 Making a Case: Defining a Position Argument
  • 10.2 Position Argument Trailblazer: Charles Blow
  • 10.3 Glance at Genre: Thesis, Reasoning, and Evidence
  • 10.4 Annotated Sample Reading: "Remarks at the University of Michigan" by Lyndon B. Johnson
  • 10.5 Writing Process: Creating a Position Argument
  • 10.6 Editing Focus: Paragraphs and Transitions
  • 10.7 Evaluation: Varied Appeals
  • 10.8 Spotlight on … Citation
  • 10.9 Portfolio: Growth in the Development of Argument
  • 11.1 Developing Your Sense of Logic
  • 11.2 Reasoning Trailblazer: Paul D. N. Hebert
  • 11.3 Glance at Genre: Reasoning Strategies and Signal Words
  • 11.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Book VII of The Republic by Plato
  • 11.5 Writing Process: Reasoning Supported by Evidence
  • 12.1 Introducing Research and Research Evidence
  • 12.2 Argumentative Research Trailblazer: Samin Nosrat
  • 12.3 Glance at Genre: Introducing Research as Evidence
  • 12.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth" by Lily Tran
  • 12.5 Writing Process: Integrating Research
  • 12.6 Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations
  • 12.7 Evaluation: Effectiveness of Research Paper
  • 12.8 Spotlight on … Bias in Language and Research
  • 12.9 Portfolio: Why Facts Matter in Research Argumentation
  • 13.1 The Research Process: Where to Look for Existing Sources
  • 13.2 The Research Process: How to Create Sources
  • 13.3 Glance at the Research Process: Key Skills
  • 13.4 Annotated Student Sample: Research Log
  • 13.5 Research Process: Making Notes, Synthesizing Information, and Keeping a Research Log
  • 13.6 Spotlight on … Ethical Research
  • 14.1 Compiling Sources for an Annotated Bibliography
  • 14.2 Glance at Form: Citation Style, Purpose, and Formatting
  • 14.3 Annotated Student Sample: “Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth” by Lily Tran
  • 14.4 Writing Process: Informing and Analyzing
  • 15.1 Tracing a Broad Issue in the Individual
  • 15.2 Case Study Trailblazer: Vilayanur S. Ramachandran
  • 15.3 Glance at Genre: Observation, Description, and Analysis
  • 15.4 Annotated Sample Reading: Case Study on Louis Victor "Tan" Leborgne
  • 15.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About How People and Language Interact
  • 15.6 Editing Focus: Words Often Confused
  • 15.7 Evaluation: Presentation and Analysis of Case Study
  • 15.8 Spotlight on … Applied Linguistics
  • 15.9 Portfolio: Your Own Uses of Language
  • 3 Unit Introduction
  • 16.1 An Author’s Choices: What Text Says and How It Says It
  • 16.2 Textual Analysis Trailblazer: bell hooks
  • 16.3 Glance at Genre: Print or Textual Analysis
  • 16.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Artists at Work" by Gwyn Garrison
  • 16.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Text
  • 16.6 Editing Focus: Literary Works Live in the Present
  • 16.7 Evaluation: Self-Directed Assessment
  • 16.8 Spotlight on … Humanities
  • 16.9 Portfolio: The Academic and the Personal
  • 17.1 “Reading” Images
  • 17.2 Image Trailblazer: Sara Ludy
  • 17.3 Glance at Genre: Relationship Between Image and Rhetoric
  • 17.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Hints of the Homoerotic” by Leo Davis
  • 17.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically and Writing Persuasively About Images
  • 17.6 Editing Focus: Descriptive Diction
  • 17.7 Evaluation: Relationship Between Analysis and Image
  • 17.8 Spotlight on … Video and Film
  • 17.9 Portfolio: Interplay Between Text and Image
  • 18.1 Mixing Genres and Modes
  • 18.2 Multimodal Trailblazer: Torika Bolatagici
  • 18.3 Glance at Genre: Genre, Audience, Purpose, Organization
  • 18.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Celebrating a Win-Win” by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
  • 18.5 Writing Process: Create a Multimodal Advocacy Project
  • 18.6 Evaluation: Transitions
  • 18.7 Spotlight on . . . Technology
  • 18.8 Portfolio: Multimodalism
  • 19.1 Writing, Speaking, and Activism
  • 19.2 Podcast Trailblazer: Alice Wong
  • 19.3 Glance at Genre: Language Performance and Visuals
  • 19.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Are New DOT Regulations Discriminatory?” by Zain A. Kumar
  • 19.5 Writing Process: Writing to Speak
  • 19.6 Evaluation: Bridging Writing and Speaking
  • 19.7 Spotlight on … Delivery/Public Speaking
  • 19.8 Portfolio: Everyday Rhetoric, Rhetoric Every Day
  • 20.1 Thinking Critically about Your Semester
  • 20.2 Reflection Trailblazer: Sandra Cisneros
  • 20.3 Glance at Genre: Purpose and Structure
  • 20.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Don’t Expect Congrats” by Dale Trumbore
  • 20.5 Writing Process: Looking Back, Looking Forward
  • 20.6 Editing Focus: Pronouns
  • 20.7 Evaluation: Evaluating Self-Reflection
  • 20.8 Spotlight on … Pronouns in Context

H 1 . Introduction

This handbook is a brief yet comprehensive reference for you to consult as you write papers and other assignments for a college course. You can refer to it as you draft paragraphs and polish sentences for clarity, conciseness, and point of view. You can read it to learn how to identify and revise common sentence errors and confused words. You can use it to help you edit your writing and fine-tune your use of verbs, pronouns, punctuation, and mechanics. And you can have it open as you integrate and cite quotations as well as other source material in your papers in MLA or APA style.

Designed as a reference tool, the handbook is organized to help you get answers to your questions. You do not need to read the entire handbook to get helpful information from it. For example, if your instructor has noted that you need to work on comma splices, you can refer to Sentence Errors , before you turn in a final draft of your writing. If you know you frequently misuse commas, refer to Punctuation , and check your sentences against the advice there. And if you, like many writers, can’t remember which punctuation marks go inside and outside quotation marks, refer to Quotations . Becoming familiar with the handbook and the various topics will allow you to use it efficiently.

H 2 . Paragraphs and Transitions

Paragraphs help readers make their way through prose writing by presenting it in manageable chunks. Transitions link sentences and paragraphs so that readers can clearly understand how the points you are making relate to one another. (See Editing Focus: Paragraph and Transitions for a related discussion of paragraphs and transitions. See Evaluation: Transitions for a related discussion of transitions in multimodal compositions.)

Effective Paragraphs

Paragraphs are guides for readers. Each new paragraph signals either a new idea, further development of an existing idea, or a new direction. An effective paragraph has a main point supported by evidence, is organized in a sensible way, and is neither too short nor too long. When a paragraph is too short, it often lacks enough evidence and examples to back up your claims. When a paragraph is too long, readers can lose the point you are making.

Developing a Main Point

A paragraph is easier to write and easier to read when it centers on a main point. The main point of the paragraph is usually expressed in a topic sentence . The topic sentence frequently comes at the start of the paragraph, but not always. No matter the position, however, the other sentences in the paragraph support the main point.

Supporting Evidence and Analysis

All the sentences that develop the paragraph should support or expand on the main point given in the topic sentence. Depending on the type of writing you are doing, support may include evidence from sources—such as facts, statistics, and expert opinions—as well as examples from your own experience. Paragraphs also may include an analysis of your evidence written in your own words. The analysis explains the significance of the evidence to the reader and reinforces the main point of the paragraph.

In the following example, the topic sentence is underlined. The supporting evidence discussed through cause-and-effect reasoning comes in the next three sentences. The paragraph concludes with two sentences of analysis in the writer’s own words.

underline Millions of retired Americans rely on Social Security benefits to make ends meet after they turn 65. end underline According to the Social Security Administration, about 46 million retired workers receive benefits, a number that reflects about 90 percent of retired people. Although experts disagree on the exact numbers, somewhere between 12 percent and 40 percent of retirees count on social security for all of their income, making these benefits especially important (Konish). These benefits become more important as people age. According to Eisenberg, people who reach the age of 85 become more financially vulnerable because their health care and long-term care costs increase at the same time their savings have been drawn down. It should therefore come as no surprise that people worry about changes to the program. Social Security keeps millions of retired Americans out of poverty.

Opening Paragraphs

Readers pay attention to the opening of a piece of writing, so make it work for you. After starting with a descriptive title, write an opening paragraph that grabs readers’ attention and alerts them to what’s coming. A strong opening paragraph provides the first clues about your subject and your stance. In academic writing, whether argumentative, interpretative, or informative, the introduction often ends with a clear thesis statement , a declarative sentence that states the topic, the angle you are taking, and the aspects of the topic the rest of the paper will support.

Depending on the type of writing you’re doing, you can open in a variety of ways.

  • Open with a conflict or an action. If you’re writing about conflict, a good opening may be to spell out what the conflict is. This way of opening captures attention by creating a kind of suspense: Will the conflict be resolved? How will it be resolved?
  • Open with a specific detail, statistic, or quotation. Specific information shows that you know a lot about your subject and piques readers’ curiosity. The more dramatic your information, the more it will draw in readers, as long as what you provide is credible.
  • Open with an anecdote. Readers enjoy stories. Particularly for reflective or personal narrative writing, beginning with a story sets the scene and draws in readers. You may also begin the anecdote with dialogue or reflection.

The following introduction opens with an anecdote and ends with the thesis statement, which is underlined.

Betty stood outside the salon, wondering how to get in. It was June of 2020, and the door was locked. A sign posted on the door provided a phone number for her to call to be let in, but at 81, Betty had lived her life without a cell phone. Betty’s day-to-day life had been hard during the pandemic, but she had planned for this haircut and was looking forward to it: she had a mask on and hand sanitizer in her car. Now she couldn’t get in the door, and she was discouraged. In that moment, Betty realized how much Americans’ dependence on cell phones had grown in the months she and millions of others had been forced to stay at home. underline Betty and thousands of other senior citizens who could not afford cell phones or did not have the technological skills and support they needed were being left behind in a society that was increasingly reliant on technology end underline .

Closing Paragraphs

The conclusion is your final chance to make the point of your writing stick in readers’ minds by reinforcing what they have read. Depending on the purpose for your writing and your audience, you can summarize your main points and restate your thesis, draw a logical conclusion, speculate about the issues you have raised, or recommend a course of action, as shown in the following conclusion:

Although many senior citizens purchased and learned new technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number of older people like Betty were unable to buy and/or learn the technology they needed to keep them connected to the people and services they needed. As society becomes increasingly dependent on technology, social service agencies, religious institutions, medical providers, senior centers, and other organizations that serve the elderly need to be equipped to help them access and become proficient in the technologies essential to their daily lives.

Transitions

Transitional words and phrases show the connections or relationships between sentences and paragraphs and help your writing flow smoothly from one idea to the next.

A paragraph flows when ideas are organized logically and sentences move smoothly from one to the next. Transitional words and phrases help your writing flow by signaling to readers what’s coming in the next sentence. In the paragraph below, the topic sentence and transitional words and phrases are underlined.

underline Some companies court the public by mentioning environmental problems and pointing out that they do not contribute to these problems. end underline underline For example end underline , the natural gas industry often presents natural gas as a good alternative to coal. underline However end underline , according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the drilling and extraction of natural gas from wells and transporting it through pipelines leaks methane, a major cause of global warming (“Environmental Impacts”). underline Yet end underline leaks are rarely mentioned by the industry. By taking credit for problems they don’t cause and being silent on the ones they do, companies present a favorable environmental image that often obscures the truth.

Transitional Words and Phrases

Following are some transitional words and phrases and their functions in paragraphs. Use this list when drafting or revising to help guide readers through your writing. (See Editing Focus: Paragraphs and Transitions for another discussion on transitions.)

H 3 . Clear and Effective Sentences

This section will help you write strong sentences that convey your meaning clearly and concisely. See Editing Focus: Sentence Structure for a related discussion and practice on effective sentences.

The most emphatic place in a sentence is the end. To achieve the strongest emphasis, end with the idea you want readers to remember. Place introductory, less important, or contextual information earlier in the sentence. Consider the differences in these two sentences.

Less Emphatic Angel underline needs to start now end underline if he wants to have an impact on his sister’s life. More Emphatic If Angel wants to have an impact on his sister’s life, he underline needs to start now end underline .

Concrete Nouns

General nouns name broad classes or categories of things ( man, dog, city ); concrete nouns refer to particular things ( Michael, collie, Chicago ). Concrete nouns provide a more vivid and lively reading experience because they create stronger images that activate readers’ senses. The examples below show how concrete nouns, combined with specific details, can make writing more engaging.

All General Nouns Approaching the library, I see underline people end underline and underline dogs end underline milling about underline outside end underline , but no subjects to write about. I’m tired from my underline walk end underline and go inside. Revised with Concrete Nouns Approaching underline Brandon Library end underline , I see underline skateboarders end underline and underline bikers end underline weaving through underline students end underline who talk in underline clusters end underline on the underline library steps end underline . A friendly underline collie end underline waits for its owner to return. Subjects to write about? Nothing strikes me as especially interesting. Besides, my heart is still pounding from the walk up the hill. I wipe my sweaty underline forehead end underline and go inside.

Active Voice

Active voice refers to the way a writer uses verbs in a sentence. Verbs have two “voices”: active and passive. In the active voice , the subject of the sentence acts—the subject performs the action of the verb. In the passive voice , the subject receives the action, and the object actually becomes the subject. Although some passive sentences are necessary and clear, a paper full of passive-voice constructions lacks vitality and becomes wordy.

Active-voice verbs make something happen. By using active verbs wherever possible, you will create stronger, clearer, and more concise sentences.

Passive Voice On the post-training survey, the anti-harassment tutorial underline was rated end underline highly informative underline by end underline employees. Revised in Active Voice On the post-training survey, underline employees end underline underline rated end underline the anti-harassment tutorial highly informative.

Conciseness

Concise writing considers the importance of every word. Editing sentences for emphasis, concrete nouns, and active voice will help you write clearly and precisely, as will the following strategies. To be concise, eliminate wasted words and filler— not ideas, information, description, or details that will interest readers or help them follow your thoughts. (For more on conciseness, see Editing Focus: Sentence Structure .)

Use Action Verbs

Using action verbs is one of the most direct ways to cut unneeded words. Whenever you find a phrase like the ones below, consider substituting an action verb.

Cut Unnecessary Words and Phrases

Eliminate words and phrases that do not add meaning. Consider the following sentences, which say essentially the same thing.

Wordy In almost every situation that I can think of, with few exceptions, it will make good sense for you to look for as many places as possible to cut out needless, redundant, and repetitive words and phrases from the papers, reports, paragraphs, and sentences you write for college assignments. (49 words) Concise Whenever possible, cut needless words and phrases from your college writing. (11 words)

The wordy sentence is full of early-draft language in three chunks. The first chunk comes at the beginning of the sentence. Notice how In almost every situation that I can think of, with few exceptions, it will make good sense for you to look for as many places as possible is reduced to Whenever possible in the concise sentence.

The second chunk of the wordy sentence is needless, redundant, and repetitive. The concise version reduces those four words to needless because the words have the same meaning. The third chunk of the wordy sentence comes at the end. Notice how papers, reports, paragraphs, and sentences you write for college assignments is reduced to your college writing. The meaning, although expanded to all writing, remains the same.

The following phrases are common fillers that add nothing to meaning. They should be avoided.

  • a person by the name of
  • for all intents and purposes
  • in a manner of speaking
  • more or less

Some common filler phrases have single-word alternatives, which are preferable.

Avoid there is/there are and it is

Starting a sentence with there is, there are, or it is can be useful to draw attention to a change in direction. However, starting a sentence with one of these phrases often forces you into a wordy construction. Wordiness means the presence of verbal filler; it does not mean the number of words, the amount of description, or the length of a composition. (For more on these constructions, see Editing Focus: Sentence Structure .)

Wordy underline There is often uncertainty about whether or not employees end underline are required to turn on their cameras during online meetings, and underline there are end underline some employees underline who end underline don’t. However, underline it is the expectation of employers end underline that cameras underline be end underline turned on. Concise underline Employees are often uncertain whether they end underline must turn on their cameras during online meetings, and underline some don’t end underline . However, underline employers expect end underline cameras to be turned on.

Parallelism

Within a sentence, parallelism —the repetition of a word or grammatical construction— creates symmetry and balance, makes an idea easier to remember, and sounds pleasing to the ear. In the first example below, the parallelism is established by the repetition of the phrase beginning with who . In the second example, the parallelism is created by the underlined nouns.

Unparallel After 25 years, the battle over the reintroduction of wolves continues between environmental activists, underline who support it end underline , and underline hunters and people who own cattle ranches and are opposed end underline . Parallel After 25 years, the battle over the reintroduction of wolves continues between environmental activists, underline who support it end underline , and cattle ranchers and hunters, underline who oppose it end underline . Unparallel Exercises that improve core strength include underline crunches end underline , underline leg lifts end underline , and underline when you do push-ups and planks end underline . Parallel Exercises that improve core strength include underline crunches end underline , underline leg lifts end underline , underline push-ups end underline , and underline planks end underline .

Varying the length and structure of sentences makes your writing more interesting to read.

Simple Sentences

A simple sentence has one idea expressed in a single main clause (also known as an independent clause). A main clause contains a subject and a predicate and can stand alone as a sentence. A simple sentence can be short or long, as shown in the examples below. The phrases in the long sentence add information, but the sentence remains a simple sentence nonetheless because it has only one clause.

The underline coronavirus end underline double underline spread end double underline around in the world in 2020. School-age underline children end underline and college underline students end underline double underline were pushed end double underline into virtual learning environments in March 2020, with schools closing for unspecified lengths of time.

Compound Sentences

A compound sentence contains two or more main clauses that are equally important to the meaning of the sentence. (A main clause contains a subject and a predicate and can stand alone as a sentence.) You can create compound sentences in the following ways:

Compound Sentence Using a Coordinating Conjunction

Create a compound sentence by using a coordinating conjunction — for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so (fanboys)— to join main clauses . To remember the coordinating conjunctions, use the mnemonic device fanboys.

underline Restaurants end underline and small underline retailers end underline double underline experienced end double underline steep drops in revenue during the pandemic, and underline many end underline double underline were forced end double underline to close. underline Restaurants end underline and small underline retailers end underline double underline experienced end double underline steep drops in revenue during the pandemic, yet underline many end underline double underline survived end double underline the downturn.

Compound Sentence Using a Semicolon

A semicolon can join two main clauses that are closely related in meaning. When using a semicolon, you must have a complete sentence before and after it.

underline Restaurants end underline and small underline retailers end underline double underline experienced end double underline steep drops in revenue during the pandemic ; underline many end underline double underline were forced end double underline to close.

Compound Sentence Using a Semicolon and Transitional Word or Phrase

A transitional words or phrases such as however, in fact, meanwhile, therefore, consequently, as a result, instead, or furthermore indicates the relation of two or more equally important ideas in the main clauses.

underline Restaurants end underline and small underline retailers end underline double underline experienced end double underline steep drops in revenue during the pandemic ; however , underline many end underline double underline survived end double underline the downturn.

Complex Sentences

A complex sentence contains one main clause (a clause that contains a subject and a predicate and can stand alone as a sentence) and one or more subordinate clauses (also known as dependent clauses). Subordinate clauses begin with a subordinating word or phrase such as although, because, even if, when, whenever, since, as though, whether, as long as, until, or while. The main clause expresses the main idea of the sentence, and the subordinate clause expresses the less important idea. Like a main clause, a subordinate clause has a subject and verb; however, unlike a main clause, it cannot stand alone as a sentence. A subordinate clause punctuated as a sentence is a type of sentence fragment. The subordinate clauses in the following sentences are underlined.

underline Although the federal government provided financial assistance end underline , the money came too late for many businesses. underline When schools and universities shut down in March of 2020 end underline , students had to learn at home, underline a situation that proved challenging for many households end underline .

Compound-Complex Sentences

A compound-complex sentence contains two or more main clauses (clauses that contain subjects and predicates and can stand alone as sentences) and one or more subordinate clauses (clauses that begin with a subordinating word such as although, because, even if, when, whenever, since, as though, whether, as long as, until, and while ). A compound-complex sentence is an effective structure to use when you want to express three or more ideas in a single sentence. The example sentence has two main clauses (double underline) and three subordinate clauses (single underline).

underline When school districts reopened end underline , double underline parents had to decide end double underline underline whether they wanted their children to attend classes in person end underline , double underline and they had to be ready for classes to move online end double underline underline if there were outbreaks of the coronavirus in their community. end underline

H 4 . Sentence Errors

These four common sentence errors can make your writing hard to read: fragments, comma splices, run-on sentences, and mixed constructions.

Sentence Fragments

A sentence fragment is a group of words that lacks a subject, a verb, or both, or it is a subordinate clause (a clause that begins with a subordinating word such as although, because, since, and so on) punctuated as though it were a sentence by itself. Although most are grammatical errors, sentence fragments can be used judiciously in conventional writing so long as the purpose is clear to readers and the fragment is clearly intended.

Unintentional Sentence Fragments

Often a sentence fragment follows a complete sentence and expands on it, as illustrated in the examples below (fragments are underlined). You can correct most fragment errors by attaching the fragment to the sentence to which it belongs or by rewriting the fragment as a complete sentence.

Sentence Fragment People think that they will be happy if they are well off. underline That money will make everything better. end underline Revised by Attaching the Fragment to a Complete Sentence People think that they will be happy if they are well off underline and end underline that money will make everything better. Sentence Fragment Psychologist David Myers explains how students have increasingly chosen to attend college to make more money. Thus underline further explaining his point of people’s desire to use money to gain happiness. end underline Revised by Attaching the Fragment to a Complete Sentence Psychologist David Myers explains how students have increasingly chosen to attend college to make more money, underline thus further explaining his point of people’s desire to use money to gain happiness. end underline Sentence Fragment Although income grew, people’s happiness did not. underline With rich people reporting that even though they had plenty of money, their happiness had not changed much. end underline Revised by Adding a Verb Although income grew, people’s happiness did not. underline Rich people reported end underline that even though they had plenty of money, their happiness had not changed much. Sentence Fragment For many people, increased income is being spent on the things that people are unable to pay less for. underline Things like taxes, childcare, transportation, and housing. end underline Revised by Adding a Subject and a Verb For many people, increased income is being spent on things that people are unable to pay less for. underline These include end underline taxes, childcare, transportation, and housing.

Intentional Sentence Fragments

Intentional sentence fragments force quick reading, inviting readers to stitch meaning to together. Intentional fragments are most common in creative writing and advertising.

The rabbit darted out of the shadows. underline A flash of movement. end underline The dog lunged and strained at the leash.

Comma Splices

A comma splice is a common error that occurs when two complete sentences are joined by a comma. You can correct a comma splice by adding a coordinating conjunction ( for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so), adding a period and creating two sentences, adding a coordinating conjunction and creating a compound sentence, or subordinating one clause and creating a complex sentence.

Comma Splice The author sheds light on the financial sacrifice many mothers make , they take care of their children without compensation and often lose professional status. Revised with a Coordinating Conjunction The author sheds light on the financial sacrifice many mothers make, underline for end underline they take care of their children without compensation and often lose professional status.
Comma Splice Many college students see their education as the way to become wealthy , some are sacrificing happiness to pursue high-paying careers. Revised with a Period Many college students see their education as the way to become wealthy . S ome are sacrificing happiness to pursue high-paying careers.
Comma Splice Psychologist David Myers conducted multiple surveys asking people about their attitudes about money , the results revealed that people felt they needed more regardless of how much they had. Revised with a Semicolon Psychologist David Myers conducted multiple surveys asking people about their attitudes about money ; the results revealed that people felt they needed more regardless of how much they had.
Comma Splice Love cannot be paid for , it is a gift that parents give because they love their children. Revised with a Semicolon and Transitional Word or Phrase Love cannot be paid for ; underline indeed end underline , it is a gift that parents give because they love their children.
Comma Splice Students are choosing majors to enable them to earn more money , they are under the misconception that earning money guarantees happiness. Revised with a Subordinate Clause Students are choosing majors to enable them to earn more money underline because end underline they are under the misconception that earning money guarantees happiness.

Run-on Sentences

In a run-on sentence , two or more complete sentences are not separated by any punctuation. Like comma splices, most run-on sentences can be revised in one or more of the following ways: adding a coordinating conjunction ( for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so ), adding a period and creating two sentences, separating the sentences with a semicolon, separating the sentences with a semicolon and transitional word or phrase (such as on the other hand, however, consequently, and so on), or turning the less important sentence into a subordinate clause starting with a subordinating word such as although, because, if, when, since , and so on.

Run-on Sentence The DNR eventually designated the area as crucial habitat the protection came too late to save the nesting birds. Revised with a Comma and a Coordinating Conjunction The DNR eventually designated the area as crucial habitat , underline but end underline the protection came too late to save the nesting birds. Run-on Sentence Most people realize that being wealthy won’t just happen many college students choose a major that will ensure they make money. Revised with a Period Most people realize that being wealthy won’t just happen . Many college students choose a major that will ensure they make money. Run-on Sentence Parents do not expect any financial reward they care for their children out of love and responsibility. Revised with a Semicolon Parents do not expect any financial reward ; they care for their children out of love and responsibility. Run-on Sentence The average American family’s expenses have risen faster than incomes they have saved less than prior generations. Revised with a Semicolon and Transitional Word or Phrase The average American family’s expenses have risen faster than incomes ; underline as a result end underline , they have saved less than prior generations. Run-on Sentence College students have the opportunity to choose any major they tend to choose those that offer immediate opportunities to earn money when they graduate. Revised with a Subordinate Clause underline Although end underline college students have the opportunity to choose any major underline , end underline they tend to choose those that offer immediate opportunities to earn money when they graduate.

Mixed Sentence Constructions

A mixed sentence contains parts that do not fit together because of grammar or meaning. In the following example, the writer needs to revise either the second part to fit with the first part or the first part to fit with the second. (See Editing Focus: Mixed Sentence Constructions for more on mixed sentence constructions.)

Mixed Sentence underline By starting my general studies classes last semester end underline underline gave me the opportunity to take classes in my major this fall end underline . Second Part Revised By starting my general studies classes last spring, underline I had end underline the opportunity to take classes in my major this fall. First Part Revised underline Starting end underline my general studies classes last spring gave me the opportunity to take classes in my major this fall.

Just because . . . doesn’t mean Constructions. Just because . . . doesn’t mean constructions are common in speech but should be avoided in writing.

Just because underline Just because end underline I want to be a doctor underline doesn’t mean end underline I will get into medical school. Revised Simply wanting to be a doctor doesn’t guarantee admission to medical school. Revised Although I want to be a doctor, I will need to work hard to get into medical school.

H 5 . Words and Language

The English language is rich and always evolving, offering you many ways and words to express yourself in writing and speech.

Language Varieties

English is not one language but many, made up of regional and social dialects. In addition, groups speak using specialized language among themselves that can be difficult for outsiders to understand. As a writer, be aware of the audience for your writing. Use language that your readers will understand directly or from context.

English dialects are distinctive versions of the language used in geographical regions and/or by particular social or ethnic groups. Standard American English, the English spoken by newscasters, is one such dialect, as are African American Vernacular English, Creole, Appalachian English, and others. English dialects have many features in common, but each has particulars of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. (For an in-depth discussion of dialects and academic writing, see Spotlight on … Variations of English .)

Groups of people with similar skills and interests often develop slang that allows them to express ideas quickly and vividly. Slang also signals knowledge about a particular topic, such as meme culture, music, sports, and more. Slang is generally considered too casual for most academic writing, but it may be appropriate for personal essays. In your papers, be aware of your purpose and audience when choosing to use slang. Avoid using slang that your readers are unlikely to understand.

Technical Expressions

Experts in many professional fields use specialized and technical expressions that allow them to communicate efficiently and clearly with each other. Such language is often incomprehensible for nonexperts and should be avoided in writing for general readers. (For tips on writing about a technical topic for an audience of nonspecialists, see Spotlight on … Discipline-Specific and Technical Language .)

Biased Language

Biased words and expressions exclude or demean people on the basis of gender, sex, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, social class, or physical or mental traits.

Biased Language Based on Sex and Gender

English includes words and expressions that are considered biased based on sex and gender, such as mankind, businessman, chairman, fireman, and so on. These are commonly replaced by gender-neutral words such as humanity, businessperson, chair or chairperson, and firefighter. (See Spotlight on … Bias in Language and Research for more on language bias.)

In addition, the English pronoun he has traditionally been used as the gender-neutral pronoun. For example, the construction A underline doctor end underline should have a caring attitude toward underline his end underline patients was once common but is now widely viewed as gender biased because many doctors are not men. For a discussion of the pronoun he used as the gender-neutral pronoun, see Pronouns .

Labels and Stereotypes

Be sensitive to labels and stereotypes that may insult a group of people you are writing about. Avoid labels that don’t put people first, such as cancer victim and wheelchair-bound. Don’t make assumptions about entire groups of people that promote stereotypes, such as teenagers are rebellious, elderly people don’t hear well, conservatives are rich, or women are more emotional than men . (See Spotlight on … Bias in Language and Research for more on language bias.)

Exact Words

As a general rule, use plain, direct words in your writing. Avoid reaching for a word that sounds fancy or impressive, especially if you are unsure about the meaning. If you use a word that is only vaguely familiar to you, look it up in a dictionary to ensure you are using it correctly. (You can type the word and “def” to get a definition.) Doing so has the added benefit of building your vocabulary.

Words Commonly Confused

The words in the following list are commonly confused or misused by writers. As you write, consult this list or use a reliable online tool, such as Merriam-Webster , to check the meanings and usage of words you’re unsure of. Keep a list of words that cause you trouble as you become aware of them. Then, after you draft a document, do a search for the words on your list. (For a discussion of homonyms, homographs, and homophones, see Editing Focus: Words Often Confused .)

H 6 . Point of View

Point of view refers to the vantage point from which a story, event, report, or other written work is told. The point of view in which you write depends on the genre in which you are writing. For example, you will likely use first person in personal narrative writing. For most academic writing, you’ll use third person. (See Editing Focus: Characterization and Point of View for a related discussion of point of view in narrative writing.)

First Person

In the first-person point of view, the writer or narrator ( I, we ) is present in the writing. First person is commonly used in personal writing genres, such as literacy narratives, memoirs, and profiles, as well as in fiction.

After midnight—my paper started, my exam studied for—I leave the library and head back to my apartment. In the dark, I listen closely when I hear footsteps behind me, and I step to the edge of the sidewalk to let a man pass. At my door, I fumble for my key, open the door, turn on the light, and step inside. I am safe, ready to eat, read a bit, and return to my paper.

Second Person

Second-person point of view is used occasionally when an outsider ( you ) becomes part of a story. It should not be confused with a writer or speaker using “you” when directly addressing an audience ( you ). Nor should it be confused with giving instructions ( drive forward, add one cup of brown sugar, close the door ) or with its similar use in textbooks such as this one. However, second person is not considered appropriate in most academic writing.

Writers often slip into second person when they intend to write in third person. In the example below, the writer starts in third person and shifts by accident to second person. To check your sentences for second person, search your documents for you , and revise as needed.

Shift from Third Person to Second Person The federal government should raise the minimum wage because it has the responsibility to ensure underline people end underline earn a wage underline you end underline can live on. The current minimum wage, $7.25 per hour, is not enough to pay underline rent end underline , let alone support a family. Many people cannot lift themselves out of poverty. A higher minimum wage can help you. Revised The federal government should raise the minimum wage because it has the responsibility to ensure underline workers end underline earn a wage underline they end underline can live on. The current minimum wage, $7.25 per hour, is not enough to pay underline a single person’s end underline rent, let alone support a family. Many people cannot lift themselves out of poverty. A higher minimum wage can help them.

Third Person

The third-person point of view ( he, she, it, they ) is customary for fiction and for academic writing, such as research papers, reports, visual and textual analysis papers, argumentative essays, and the like. Third-person point of view emphasizes the information instead of the writer.

The hikers and other passive trail users argue that mountain bikes should not be allowed on narrow trails traditionally traveled by foot and horse. underline They end underline point out that the bikes’ wide, treaded tires cause erosion, that the bikers’ high speeds startle hikers and horses, and that underline their end underline presence on trails disrupts the tranquility that hikers and bird watchers seek.

H 7 . Verbs

In a sentence, a verb expresses an action, an occurrence, or a state of being.

Subject-Verb Agreement

In many sentences, making the verb agree with the subject is straightforward: underline I end underline underline run end underline every day. My underline sister end underline underline runs end underline every other day. Sometimes our underline brother end underline underline joins end underline us, and underline all end underline of us underline run end underline together. However, subject-verb agreement gets tricky in the following circumstances. (See Editing Focus: Subject-Verb Agreement for more on subject-verb agreement.)

Agreement with Compound Subjects

Two or more subjects joined by and take a plural verb in most sentences:

underline Yoga and meditation end underline double underline are end double underline effective activities for relieving stress.

However, when the parts of the subject form a single idea or unit, the verb is singular:

underline Macaroni and cheese end underline double underline is end double underline my favorite meal.

When compound subjects are joined by or or nor, the verb agrees with the word closest to it:

Either your aunts or your underline mother end underline double underline remembers end double underline where your great-grandmother’s grave is located. Neither the image nor the underline words end underline double underline convey end double underline the message of the advertisement clearly.

Agreement When Words Come between Subject and Verb

The verb must agree with the subject even when words and phrases come between them:

The underline cost end underline of the flights double underline is end double underline prohibitive. A underline box end underline of invitations with stamps and return addresses double underline was end double underline on the desk.

Agreement When the Verb Comes Before the Subject

The verb must agree with the subject, even when it comes before the subject:

double underline Are end double underline underline James and Tamara end underline at the front of the line? There double underline were end double underline three underline people end underline ahead of us in line. Under the table double underline are end double underline a underline newspaper end underline and a underline magazine end underline .

Agreement with Everyone and Other Indefinite Pronouns

An indefinite pronoun is general; it does not refer to a specific person, place, or thing. Most indefinite pronouns take a singular verb, but not all. Those that take a singular verb include anybody, anyone, anything, each, everybody, everyone, everything, nobody, no one, nothing, one, somebody, someone, and something .

underline Everyone end underline in the class double underline has prepared end double underline a research proposal. underline Nobody end underline among the accused suspects double underline admits end double underline to the crime.

The following indefinite pronouns take a plural verb: both, few many, others, and several.

underline Several end underline of the students in the class double underline have proposed end double underline researching hurricanes. underline Both end underline of the suspects double underline deny end double underline committing the crime.

Several indefinite pronouns take a singular or plural verb depending on whether the word they refer to is singular or plural. These include all, any, enough, more, most, neither, none, and some.

underline Most end underline of the class double underline has proposed end double underline researching a topic related to climate change. ( Most refers to class. ) underline Most end underline of the students in the class double underline have proposed end double underline researching a topic related to climate change. ( Most refers to students. ) underline Neither end underline the students underline nor end underline the teachers double underline have proposed end double underline a field trip. ( Neither/nor refers to students and teachers .)

Agreement with Collective Nouns

Collective nouns such as audience, band, class, crowd, family, group, or team can take a singular or a plural verb depending on the context. When the group acts as a single unit, which is the most common construction, use a singular verb:

The underline band end underline double underline rehearses end double underline every day.

When the group acts individually, use a plural verb, or to avoid confusion, add the word members and use a plural verb.

The underline jury end underline double underline do not agree end double underline on a verdict. The underline jury end underline members double underline do not agree end double underline on a verdict.

Agreement with Words Such as News and Statistics

Some nouns that end in -s , such as athletics, economics, measles, news, physics, politics, and statistics seem plural but are usually regarded as singular in meaning. In most situations, these words take a singular verb:

Day after day, the underline news end underline double underline was end double underline bad. underline Statistics end underline double underline fulfills end double underline a math requirement for many college majors.

When a word like economics, politics, or statistics refers to a specific situation, use a plural verb:

The underline economics end underline of the situation double underline are end double underline hard to comprehend.

Agreement with Titles and Words Used as Words

Whether singular or plural in form, titles and words used as words take singular verbs:

Directed by Spike Lee, underline Da 5 Bloods end underline double underline centers end double underline around four veterans returning to Vietnam to find the remains of their squad leader and the fortune they hid together. underline Children end underline double underline is end double underline the plural form of child .

Tense expresses the time of a verb’s action—the past, present, or future. Tense comes naturally in speech, but it can be tricky to control in writing. The following guidelines will help you choose the appropriate tense for your writing and use it consistently. (See Editing Focus: Verb Tense Consistency for a related discussion of consistent verb tense.)

Verb Tense in Narrative Writing

Personal experience stories, such as literacy narratives, memoirs, personal essays, or profiles, can be written in either the past or the present tense. Although the most natural way to tell a story about a past experience is to write in the past tense, the present tense can draw readers into the story and give the illusion that the experience is happening as they are reading it. In the following examples, the writer describes driving with her Native American grandfather to a tribal conference. Notice the difference between the past and present tense.

Narrative Writing Using Past Tense I double underline sat end double underline silently next to Grandfather and double underline watched end double underline him slowly tear the thin white paper from the tip of the cigarette. He double underline gathered end double underline the tobacco in one hand and double underline drove end double underline the van with the other. I double underline memorized end double underline his every move as he double underline went end double underline through the motions of the prayer, which double underline ended end double underline when he double underline blew end double underline the tobacco out the window and into the wind. Narrative Writing Using Present Tense I double underline sit end double underline silently next to Grandfather and double underline watch end double underline him slowly tear the thin white paper from the tip of the cigarette. He double underline gathers end double underline the tobacco in one hand and double underline drives end double underline the van with the other. I double underline memorize end double underline his every move as he double underline goes end double underline through the motions of the prayer, which double underline ends end double underline when he double underline blows end double underline the tobacco out the window and into the wind.

Verb Tense in Academic Writing

Academic disciplines differ in their tense preferences for signal phrases used in formal essays and reports to introduce and discuss evidence. A signal phrase is a verb that tells readers the words or ideas that follow come from another source. Signal phrases include words such as argues, asserts, claims, comments, denies, discusses, implies, proposes, says, shows, states, and suggests. (For more discussion and a more extensive list of signal phrases, see Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations .)

If you are writing for a course in English, a foreign language, or a related discipline and using MLA documentation style, you generally will use the present tense or the present perfect tense in signal phrases.

Present Tense The film critic Manohla Dargis double underline claims end double underline that . . . Present Perfect Tense The film critic Manohla Dargis double underline has claimed end double underline that . . .

When you are analyzing a work of literature, common practice is to use the literary present tense in discussing both the work of the author and the action that occurs in the work:

Being cool double underline is end double underline key to the lives of the speakers in “We Real Cool,” a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks. Brooks double underline uses end double underline short lines and stanzas in which speakers double underline list end double underline what it means to be cool: dropping out of school, staying out late, playing pool, drinking, carousing, and so on. Being cool double underline unites end double underline the speakers, and they double underline celebrate end double underline their lifestyle, even as they double underline acknowledge end double underline in the final line of the poem that their coolness double underline may cause end double underline them to die young.
(For more on literary present tense, see Editing Focus: Literary Works Live in the Present .)

If you are writing for a course in history, art history, philosophy, religion, or a related discipline in the humanities, you generally will use the present tense or the present perfect tense in signal phrases.

Present Tense The historian Eduardo Galeano double underline argues end double underline that . . . Present Perfect Tense The historian Eduardo Galeano double underline has argued end double underline that . . .

On the other hand, if you are writing for a course in the social sciences, such as psychology, political science, or economics; a course in the natural sciences, such as biology, chemistry, or physics; or a technical field such as engineering, you will generally use past tense or present perfect tense for most signal phrases.

Past Tense The study double underline found end double underline that individuals who identify as transgender . . . (past tense) Present Perfect Tense: Several recent studies double underline have found end double underline that individuals who identify as transgender . . .

Verb Tense Consistency

Whichever tense you choose, be consistent throughout a piece of writing. You may need to shift tenses to indicate actual changes in time, but the governing tense should remain constant. (See Editing Focus: Verb Tense Consistency for a related discussion of consistent verb tense.)

Inconsistent Blinking back tears, I double underline clutched end double underline my two-year-old son to my chest, double underline kiss end double underline his forehead, and double underline will gather end double underline my things. It double underline is end double underline 2003, and I double underline was end double underline headed to active duty in Iraq with the National Guard. I double underline hug end double underline my spouse, my mom, my dad, my brothers, and my grandma. Then I double underline turn end double underline and double underline climbed end double underline on the bus that double underline takes end double underline me to a future that, in all honesty, double underline was end double underline terrifying to me. Consistent Blinking back tears, I double underline clutched end double underline my two-year-old son to my chest, double underline kissed end double underline his forehead, and double underline gathered end double underline my things. It double underline was end double underline 2003, and I double underline was end double underline headed to active duty in Iraq with the National Guard. I double underline hugged end double underline my spouse, my mom, my dad, my brothers, and my grandma. Then I double underline turned end double underline and double underline climbed end double underline on the bus that double underline would take end double underline me to a future that, in all honesty, double underline was end double underline terrifying to me.

Irregular Verbs

Most verbs are regular and form the past tense and past participle forms by adding -d or -ed.

  • I bake/I baked/I have baked
  • She discovers/she discovered/she has discovered
  • They shovel/they shoveled/they have shoveled

Some verbs, however, are irregular and form the past tense and participle in another way. Below are a few of the approximately 200 irregular verbs in English. For a comprehensive list of irregular verbs, see this list .

  • begin/began/begun
  • bring/brought/brought
  • buy/bought/bought
  • do/did/done
  • drive/drove/driven
  • fall/fell/fallen
  • go/went/gone
  • have/had/had
  • is/was/been
  • lead/led/led
  • hide/hid/hidden
  • ring/rang/rung
  • run/ran/run
  • see/saw/seen
  • sing/sang/sung
  • sit/sat/sat
  • shake/shook/shaken
  • speak/spoke/spoken
  • take/took/taken
  • wear/wore/worn
  • write/wrote/written

Verbs have three moods: indicative, imperative, and subjunctive. Mood can be said to indicate a speaker’s attitude or intention.

Indicative Mood

Use the indicative mood to state a fact or an opinion or to ask a question:

Thousands of women currently double underline serve end double underline in the military. I double underline think end double underline college tuition double underline is end double underline expensive. The weather double underline was end double underline awful for much of the winter but double underline will improve end double underline soon. double underline Have end double underline you double underline submitted end double underline your request for time off?

Imperative Mood

Use the imperative mood to give instructions and commands. The subject, you , is often implied but not stated:

double underline (You) Use end double underline the online form to request time off. double underline (You) Submit end double underline your request for time off by Friday. double underline You must submit end double underline your request on time.

Subjunctive Mood

Use the subjunctive mood to express wishes, suggestions, or requirements or to state hypothetical or unlikely conditions:

The rules state that every member double underline be end double underline present for the vote. I wish you double underline were end double underline here to see the exhibition. The governing board could be more effective if all members double underline were end double underline active. Students who failed the class would have passed double underline had end double underline they double underline completed end double underline all assignments.

H 8 . Pronouns

A Pronouns is a word used in place of a noun. Some pronouns are I, you, he, she, we, they, who, and everyone . The noun a pronoun replaces or refers to is its antecedent . (See Editing Focus: Pronouns for a related discussion of pronouns.)

Pronoun Reference

A pronoun should refer to a clear and specific antecedent.

Clear Antecedent All nine underline members end underline of the school board voted in favor of changing the district’s mascot. underline They end underline explained their reasoning during the meeting. ( They refers clearly to members. ) Unclear Antecedent In Smith’s essay, underline she end underline explains why many American families have less money saved and more debt than families in the 1970s. Revised In underline her end underline essay, underline Smith end underline explains why many American families have less money saved and more debt than families in the 1970s.

Problems with pronoun reference occur in the following situations:

Vague this, that, which, or it . The pronouns this, that, which, and it should not refer to words expressing an idea, an event, or a situation.

Vague Reference The school board voted to change the district’s mascot without holding special meetings with the public. underline This end underline made some community members angry. ( Are community members angry about the vote or about the lack of special meetings? ) Revised The school board voted to change the district’s mascot without holding special meetings with the public. underline Their decision to avoid public discussion before the vote end underline made some community members angry.

Indefinite it, they, or you . The pronouns it, they, and you should have a definite antecedent in a sentence.

Indefinite it Crittenden explains that mothers are taken for granted and disrespected, even though our society calls underline it end underline the most important job in the world. Revised Crittenden explains that mothers are taken for granted and disrespected, even though our society calls underline motherhood end underline the most important job in the world. Indefinite they Japan has considerable wealth compared to Ireland, but underline they end underline have a low subjective well-being index. Revised Japan has considerable wealth compared to Ireland, but underline Japanese citizens end underline have a low subjective well-being index. Indefinite you The federal government should raise the minimum wage to ensure underline you end underline earn a wage underline you end underline can live on. Revised The federal government should raise the minimum wage to ensure underline workers end underline earn a wage underline they end underline can live on.

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

In many sentences, making a pronoun agree with its antecedent is straightforward: My underline neighbors end underline gave me the keys to underline their end underline apartment. However, pronoun-antecedent agreement gets tricky in the following circumstances.

Agreement with Generic Nouns and Indefinite Pronouns

Generic nouns refer to a type of person or job someone performs, such as athlete, child, scientist, doctor, or hairdresser. Indefinite pronouns include words such as anyone, each, everyone, everything, many, most, and none.

All generic nouns and most indefinite pronouns are singular in meaning. Traditionally, these words took the singular pronouns he/him/his because English does not have a gender-neutral third-person pronoun that refers to people: Everyone has his own opinion or A doctor needs to show that he cares about his patients.

More recently, writers have been replacing he/him/his or his/her with they/them/their when the person’s gender is unknown or unimportant or when the person has indicated a preference for non-gendered pronouns:

Everyone has underline their end underline own opinion. A doctor needs to show that underline they end underline care about underline their end underline patients.

These plural pronouns are increasingly accepted and intentionally used by writers, teachers, and editors. Many prominent publications and style guides indicate that the plural pronoun should replace binary or singular ones in most cases. If using a plural pronoun does not fit the situation (such as in a paragraph where the pronoun they is also used several times to indicate a group), try rewriting the sentence in either of these ways:

Remove the pronoun. Everyone has underline an end underline opinion. Make the antecedent plural. underline People end underline have their own opinions. underline Doctors end underline need to show that they care about their patients.

Collective nouns such as audience, band, class, crowd, family, group, or team can take a singular or plural pronoun depending on the context. When the group acts as a single unit, which is the most common construction, use a singular pronoun. When the group members act individually, use a plural pronoun. If using the plural sounds awkward, add the word members so that the plural is clear.

The band went through underline its end underline complete playlist. The band loaded underline their end underline instruments on the bus. The band underline members end underline loaded underline their end underline instruments on the bus.

Pronoun Case

Pronouns have three cases: subjective, objective, and possessive. Pronouns change case according to their function in a sentence.

Subjective case pronouns function as subjects: I, we, you, he/she/it, they, who/whoever :

Antonio and underline I end underline share an apartment downtown in a neighborhood underline we end underline like.

Objective case pronouns function as objects: me, us, you, him/her/it, them, whom/whomever :

The manager gave underline us end underline a tour of the building.

Possessive case pronouns show ownership: my/mine, our/ours, your/yours, his/her/hers/its, their/theirs, whose :

underline Our end underline friends live in the building too.

Pronoun case gets tricky in the circumstances explained below.

Case in Compound Structures

Compound subjects use subjective case pronouns. Compound objects use objective case pronouns.

Subjective Case underline Antonio end underline and underline I end underline have occasional disagreements about the dishes. Objective Case Occasional disagreements about the dishes come up between underline Antonio end underline and underline me end underline .

Case After than or as

In a comparison, the case of the pronoun indicates which words have been left out:

Antonio cares more about having a clean kitchen than underline I end underline [do]. Sometimes I think Antonio cares more about a clean kitchen than [he cares about] underline me end underline .

Who or Whom

Use the subjective case who in place of a subject—whether it is the subject of the sentence or the subject of a clause:

underline Who end underline is going to the concert? (subject of sentence) Give the tickets to underline whoever end underline can use them. (subject of clause) She is the person underline who end underline is best qualified for the job. (subject of clause) She is the person underline who end underline I think is best qualified for the job. (subject of clause; the intervening words “I think” don’t change the subject or verb of the clause)

Use the objective case whom in place of an object, whether it is the object of a verb, preposition, or clause:

I don’t know underline whom end underline to ask. (object of verb) To underline whom end underline should I give the extra concert tickets? (object of preposition) Give the tickets to underline whomever end underline you choose. (object of clause)

We or us with a Noun

Use we with a subject. Use us with an object.

underline We end underline citizens must vote in order to make our voices heard. (subject) Legislators need to hear from underline us end underline citizens. (object)

Case Before or After an Infinitive

Use the objective case before and after an infinitive (the to form of a verb: to run, to walk, to eat ):

The agent asked Antonio and underline me end underline to write a review. We agreed to give underline him end underline a positive review.

Case Before a Gerund

Generally, use the possessive case of a pronoun before a gerund (the -ing form of a verb used as a noun: gentle underline snoring end underline , elegant underline dining end underline ):

He grew tired of underline their end underline partying late into the night. The rental agreement depends on underline your end underline approving the lease terms.

H 9 . Punctuation

This section covers the major marks of punctuation: commas, apostrophes, semicolons, colons, periods, question marks, exclamation points, dashes, and parentheses. (For using brackets and ellipses, see Quotations .)

Commas alert readers to brief pauses within sentences.

Commas with Main Clauses

Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction ( for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so) joining main clauses:

Businesses in the metropolitan area are growing underline , and end underline unemployment is down. Many job seekers use online sites like Indeed.com underline , but end underline a few still send traditional cover letters and résumés through the mail. A solution must be determined soon underline , or end underline the problem will continue.

Commas with Introductory Information

Use a comma after an introductory element at the start of a sentence:

underline After class is over , end underline we should get lunch and review our notes. underline Shuffling his feet nervously , end underline he waited for the train. underline However end underline , the circumstances have not changed.

Commas with Nonessential and Essential Information

(See Editing Focus: Commas with Nonessential and Essential Information for a related discussion of commas.)

Nonessential information refers to information that is usually not necessary to the basic meaning of a sentence. Nonessential information is set off by commas. In the following sentence, the word original tells readers which labs no longer meet the needs of the teachers and students. The underlined information adds information but does not change the meaning of the sentence and thus is nonessential to the basic meaning:

The original technical education labs underline , which were installed 50 years ago , end underline no longer meet the needs of the teachers and students.

Essential information , on the other hand, is necessary to the meaning of the sentence. In following example, the word original is no longer part of the sentence; the underlined words convey necessary information about the labs:

The technical education labs underline that were installed 50 years end underline ago no longer meet the needs of the teachers and students.

You can test whether information is nonessential by removing the information. If the meaning of the sentence is unchanged, the information is nonessential. If the meaning becomes too general or changes, the information is essential. In the sentence above, only the labs installed 50 years ago, as opposed to other labs, no longer meet the needs of teachers and students. Note, also, the use of which with nonessential information and that with essential information.

Commas Around Nonessential Information

Place commas around information that is not essential to the meaning of a sentence:

The entire technology department underline , which consists of nine teachers and five staff members , end underline has contributed to a report on the needed updates to the technical education labs. The technology department chair underline , who teaches welding , end underline wrote the final report. Updates to the labs will begin in June underline , when school is not in session end underline .

No Commas Around Essential Information

Do not place commas around essential information:

According to the technical education teachers, the labs need equipment underline that students are likely to encounter in the workplace end underline . Faculty underline who teach auto mechanics end underline have requested updates to their lab. The teachers are concerned about the labs underline because students are not learning the skills they need end underline . The amount of lab space underline that needs to be updated end underline is substantial. The department has consulted the industry expert underline Stacy James end underline .

Serial (Oxford or Harvard) Commas

For clarity, use a comma between items in a series:

He studied all the notes , emails , memos , and reports related to the data breach.

Be aware, however, that certain style manuals, such as the AP Stylebook, do not use the serial comma, also called the Oxford or Harvard comma.

Commas with Numbers, Dates, Titles with Names, and Addresses

The sign gave the city’s population as 122 , 887. Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison died on August 5 , 2019. Diana Wong , M.D. , is a practicing obstetrician. The mailing address for the Smithsonian Institution is 600 Maryland Avenue SW , Washington , D.C. , 20002.

Common Comma Errors

Misplaced commas can make sentences choppy and obscure the intended meaning.

No Comma after a Subject or a Verb

Anyone who was still at the party underline , end underline left when the band stopped playing. The party ended underline , end underline after the band stopped playing.

No Comma after a Conjunction Connecting Parts of a Compound Subject, Verb, or Object

Some musicians in the band underline , end underline and many of the guests danced until midnight. (compound subject) The band stopped after two hours underline , end underline and took a well-deserved break. (compound verb) Guests enjoyed the music underline , end underline and the dancing. (compound object)

No Comma after a Series

The band played 80s rock underline , end underline punk , and new wave , all night long.

No Comma before an Indirect Quotation

Online reviews say underline , end underline that the band is the best in the area.

Apostrophes

An apostrophe has two functions. It indicates possession, and it forms contractions.

Apostrophes to Show Possession

Use an apostrophe and -s to indicate possession with a singular noun or an indefinite pronoun:

underline Jack ’ s end underline brother is my underline sister ’ s end underline coworker. In their family, underline everyone ’ s end underline favorite dessert is ice cream.

If the ’s in a singular noun is pronounced, add apostrophe -s :

The underline business ’ s end underline inconsistent hours caused customers to go elsewhere. Los underline Angeles ’ s end underline airport, LAX, is one of the busiest in the United States.

If the ’s is not pronounced in a singular noun, some writers choose to add an apostrophe alone; however, MLA, APA, and Chicago use the apostrophe and s in these cases:

David underline Myers ’ end underline book, The Pursuit of Happiness , was published in 1992. David underline Myers ’s end underline book, The Pursuit of Happiness , was published in 1992.

When the noun is plural and ends in -s , place the apostrophe after the final -s :

American underline households ’ end underline incomes have grown since the 1970s because more women have entered the workforce. These underline families ’ end underline expenses have risen too.

When the noun is plural and does not end in -s, add an apostrophe and -s:

Social underline media ’ s end underline effect on contemporary life cannot be underestimated. During the pandemic, parents’ stress grew as they helped with their underline children ’ s end underline schooling.

Apostrophes to Form Contractions

Contractions are common in speech and in informal writing. Use an apostrophe in contractions:

When I say I underline can ’ t end underline , I mean I underline won ’ t end underline . underline It ’ s end underline the best option under the circumstances. “ underline You ’ re end underline the best friend anyone can have,” Mikayla said. underline They ’ re end underline driving to their favorite hangout spot.

Common Apostrophe Errors

Apostrophes are not used to form plural nouns, singular verbs, or personal or relative pronouns.

Not in Plural Nouns

How many hotel underline rooms end underline [not room’s ] should be reserved for the wedding? The Lewises and the Riveras [not Lewis’s and Rivera’s or Lewis’ and Riveras’ ] have confirmed their reservations.

Not with Verbs Ending in -s

Nikki underline runs end underline [not run’s ] every day. Jamal underline walks end underline [not walk’s ] to work.

Not with Possessive Personal Pronouns or Relative Pronouns

The book is underline yours end underline [not your’s ]. The dog was barking and wagging underline its end underline [not it’s ] tail. underline Whose end underline [not who’s ] apartment is this?

Other Punctuation

The semicolon joins main clauses (a clause that contains a subject and a predicate and can stand alone as a sentence). A semicolon is also used to separate items in a series that contain commas.

Use a semicolon to join main clauses that are closely related in meaning and that are not joined by a coordinating conjunction ( for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so ).

Originally built in 1928, the school had been remodeled multiple times underline ; end underline the result was an architectural mashup.

Use a semicolon to join main clauses that are connected by a transitional word or phrase such as for example, however, therefore, indeed, or after all :

The governor has proposed increased funding to K-12 public schools underline ; however, end underline the legislature must approve the budget.

Use a semicolon between items in a series that contain internal commas:

The candidates for the award are Michael, who won the essay competition ; Sasha, the top debater; and Giselle, who directed several student productions.

A colon introduces lists, summaries, and quotations. A colon also separates titles from subtitles.

A colon can introduce a list:

Successful athletes have the following qualities underline : physical ability, mental toughness, commitment, and optimism end underline .

A colon can also introduce a summary or an explanation, which may or may not be a main clause (a clause that contains a subject and a predicate and can stand alone as a sentence):

The team had one goal left before the end of the season underline : to win the state championship end underline .

Book titles often include a subtitle. A colon separates the subtitle from the title:

Forcing the Spring : Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality

End Punctuation

A sentence ends with a period, a question mark, or an exclamation point.

A period ends declarative (statement) and imperative (command) sentences:

The administration canceled classes . Do not attempt to drive to school this morning .

A question mark ends a direct question and indicates uncertainty in dates:

Where is Times Square ? She asked, “What time is it ? ”

An exclamation point ends an emphatic or emotional sentence:

“What a mess ! ” she blurted out. “Stop ! That hurts ! ” he shouted.

Dashes and Parentheses

Dashes and parentheses enclose nonessential information in a sentence.

Use a dash or dashes to set off nonessential information, to indicate a contrast or a pause, or to mark a change of direction.

We did not notice the rain at first — it began so softly — but soon we were soaked. Nothing is as exciting as seeing a snowy owl in a winter farm field — except maybe seeing two snowy owls.

Use parentheses to enclose nonessential information such as explanations, asides, examples, and dates.

He graduated with high honors ( magna cum laude ) and found a job immediately. The city of Madison ( home of the University of Wisconsin ) is the state capital of Wisconsin.

H 10 . Mechanics

Capital letters.

Use capital letters in the following situations.

  • Capitalize the first word of a sentence: The weather is rainy today.
  • Capitalize proper nouns and proper adjectives: Monday, New Orleans, Mexico, Florida, Halloween, United States Constitution, Department of Education, University of Texas, Native American, Islam, Italian, Freudian.
  • Capitalize titles that precede a person’s name: Dr. Atul Gawande, Senator Tammy Baldwin. [But: Atul Gawande, a doctor; Tammy Baldwin, a senator]

Many online resources, such as this one , list words that should be capitalized. You can also consult a dictionary, such as Merriam-Webster , to determine whether to capitalize a word.

Titles of Works

Titles of books, articles, stories, plays, poems, films, and other works are handled differently depending on the documentation style you are using. The guidelines here follow MLA style.

Capitalization in Titles and Subtitles

Capitalize the first and last words in a title and subtitle and other important words. Do not capitalize articles ( a, an, the ), coordinating conjunctions ( for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so ), or prepositions ( above, with, of, in, through, beyond, under ) unless they are the first or last words in the title or subtitle.

  • Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality (book)
  • Judas and the Black Messiah (film)
  • “American Military Performance in Vietnam: Background and Analysis” (article)

Italics for Titles of Long Works

Use italics for long works that are published, produced, or released separately from other works. These include books, long poems, plays, movies, videos, published speeches, periodicals (newspapers, magazines, and academic and professional journals), websites, long musical works, works of visual art, computer software, TV or radio programs and series, and pamphlets.

  • Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food (book)
  • The New Yorker (periodical)
  • The Los Angeles Times (newspaper)
  • American Idiot (album)
  • Parasite (film)
  • Saturday Night Live (TV program)

Quotation Marks for Titles of Shorter Works

Put quotation marks around the titles and subtitles of individual shorter works or those that are published or released within larger works. These include articles in periodicals (newspapers, magazines, and academic and professional journals), pages or works on a website, short stories, short poems, essays, songs, episodes of TV or radio programs and series, book chapters, and unpublished speeches.

  • “Living with a Visionary” (article in a magazine)
  • “A World of Fields and Fences” (work on a website)
  • “New York Day Women” (short story)
  • “Corson’s Inlet” (short poem)
  • “Return from ISIS” (TV episode)

H 11 . Quotations

A quotation reproduces the exact written or spoken words of a person or an author, which may include a group. (See Editing Focus: Quotations for a related discussion of direct quotations and Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations for help with integrating quotations from sources.)

Quotations from Written or Spoken Sources

Put quotation marks around quotations from a written or spoken source.

Quoting a Source

When quoting the words of a source, introduce quoted material with a signal phrase so that readers know the source and purpose of the quotation. Place the quotation inside double quotation marks. When using parenthetical citations, note that the sentence period comes after the parentheses. If you include the author’s name in your signal phrase, give only the page number in parentheses (first example). If you do not give the author’s name in your signal phrase, give the name in parentheses (second example):

In Walden , Thoreau sets forth one individual’s antidote against the “ lives of quiet desperation ” led by the working class in mid-nineteenth-century America (5).
Walden sets forth one individual’s antidote against the “ lives of quiet desperation ” led by the working class in mid-nineteenth-century America (Thoreau 5).
Abraham Lincoln wrote “ that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth ” in his Gettysburg Address.

Quoting or Writing Dialogue

When quoting or writing dialogue between speakers, including characters in a fictional work, place their words in double quotation marks, and start a new paragraph for each speaker:

“ It’s good to see you—I guess, ” Brayden said, as Christopher walked up to the door. “ I thought you were gone for good. ” “ I missed you too much, ” Christopher said, looking down at his feet.

Single and Double Quotation Marks

Put single quotation marks around a quotation within a quotation, using double quotation marks around the full quotation:

Kennedy writes that after a year of teambuilding work, including improvements in communication, evaluation, and small-group quarterly meetings, morale among staff members “ improved from ‘ average ’ to ‘ excellent ’ ” (17).

Long Quotations

Introduce a long quotation (four typed lines in MLA style; 40 or more words in APA style) with a signal phrase that names the author and ends with a colon. Indent this entire block quotation one-half inch. If you quote more than one paragraph, indent the first line of each subsequent paragraph one-half inch. Do not use quotation marks. Note that the sentence period comes before the parenthetical citation:

In her memoir, Twenty Years at Hull-House , reformer Jane Addams recounts vivid stories of child labor:

public domain text The visits we made in the neighborhood constantly discovered women sewing upon sweatshop work, and often they were assisted by incredibly small children. I remember a little girl of four who pulled out basting threads hour after hour, sitting on a stool at the feet of her Bohemian mother, a little bunch of human misery. For even for that there was no legal redress, for the only child labor law in Illinois, with any provision for enforcement, had been secured by the coal miners’ unions, and was confined to the children employed in the mines. (199) end public domain text

Poetry Quotations

When you quote one, two, or three lines from a poem, use the following format, putting quotation marks around the line or group of lines and separating the lines with a slash:

The 17th-century writer Aphra Behn (1640–1689) wrote humorous poems about love and heartbreak, including “Love’s Power,” which opens with “ Love when he Shoots abroad his Darts / Regards not where they light ” (1-2).

When you quote more than three lines from a poem, set them off from your text. Indent the quotation one-half inch, and do not use quotation marks. Note that the sentence period comes before the parenthetical citation.

In the poem “The Character,” Aphra Behn (1640–1689) uses the familiar alternate rhyme scheme, also known as ABAB: Such Charms of Youth, such Ravishment Through all her Form appear’d, As if in her Creation Nature meant, She shou’d a-lone be ador’d and fear’d. (1-4)

Altering Quotations

When you alter a quotation to fit into your sentence, you must indicate the change you made.

An ellipsis [. . .] indicates that you have omitted words from a quotation. In the example below, the writer omitted words from the middle of the sentence.

In her memoir, Twenty Years at Hull-House , reformer Jane Addams explains that there were no enforceable laws against small children helping their mothers with sweatshop sewing work, and that “the only child labor law in Illinois . . . had been secured by the coal miners’ unions, and was confined to the children employed in the mines” (199).

If you omit the end of a sentence or a complete sentence, include the sentence period:

The author explains as follows: “Damage to the Broca’s area of the brain can affect a person’s ability to comprehend spoken language . . . . A person may understand speech relatively well when the sentence grammar is simple and the content familiar but may struggle when the grammar and content are more complex” (Hollar-Zwick 45).

Use brackets [ ] to indicate a change you have made to a quotation:

Abruzzi cited the study, noting that “ [ t ] he results provide hope to patients [ with muscular dystrophy ] .”

Punctuating Quotations

Place the period inside quotation marks if no source is cited:

The meteorologist said, “ Today’s weather will be sunny and mild .”

If you are citing a source in parentheses, place the quotation marks at the end of the quotation, followed by the citation and the sentence period:

In Twenty Years at Hull-House , Jane Addams recalls vivid images of child labor: “ I remember a little girl of four who pulled out basting threads hour after hour, sitting on a stool at the feet of her Bohemian mother, a little bunch of human misery ” (199) .

(See Long Quotations and Poetry Quotations above for exceptions to this rule.)

Commas go inside quotation marks:

“ Tomorrow’s weather will be cool and rainy ,” the meteorologist said.

Colons and Semicolons

Colons and semicolons go outside quotation marks:

The sign read “ Closed ”: No more films would be shown at the theater. (Note: Use a capital letter if a complete sentence follows the colon.)

Question Marks and Exclamation Points

Question marks and exclamation points go inside quotation marks if they are part of the quotation:

“ Would you like a sandwich ?” asked Adelaide.

Question marks and exclamation points go outside quotation marks if they are not part of the quotation:

“I can’t believe you haven’t read “ The Lottery ”!

H 12 . Index and Guide to Documentation

Although formal differences exist among the conventions for documenting sources, the underlying principle of all documentation systems is the same: When borrowing words, facts, or ideas from someone else, writers must indicate that the material is borrowed. They do this by providing a citation in the text of their paper that points readers to detailed publication information about the source of the material, usually at the end of the paper but sometimes in footnotes. The following examples are in MLA style:

Citation in the Text Describing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to India, underline Isabel Wilkerson end underline notes that King was taken aback by the suggestion that Black Americans were the equivalent of the Dalits in the Indian caste system underline (22) end underline . Works-Cited Entry Wilkerson, Isabel. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Penguin, 2020.

Documentation Styles by Discipline

Each discipline has its own authority or authorities that provide rules about issues such as spelling of technical terms, preferred punctuation, and editing mechanics, as well as documentation style. In addition, if you write for publication in a magazine, professional journal, book, or website, the publisher will have a “house” style, which may vary in some details from the conventions listed in the authoritative guidelines for the discipline in which you are writing. Below are the sources of style manuals for various disciplines. Always check with your instructor about which style to use in a class.

Index to MLA Documentation Models

The models, listed numerically, provide examples of in-text citations and works-cited entries (MLA). The models themselves are located in Handbook Section 13 (H13).

In-Text Citation Models

  • Two or more works by the same author
  • Two authors
  • Three or more authors
  • Authors with the same last name
  • Organization, government, corporation, or association as author
  • Unknown author
  • Work in more than one volume
  • Work with no page or other reference numbers
  • One-page or entire work
  • Source quoted in another source (indirect quotation)

Poetry and verse plays

Fiction and prose plays

  • Two or more works in the same citation
  • Sacred text

Endnotes and Footnotes (MLA)

Format of the list of works cited (mla), authors and contributors (mla).

  • Book: one author
  • Book: two authors
  • Book: three or more authors
  • Book: two or more works by the same author
  • Author and editor
  • Author and translator
  • Author and illustrator
  • Work by an organization, a government, a corporation, or an association

Articles in Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers (MLA)

  • Basic format for a journal article in a database
  • Editorial or letter to the editor

Books and Parts of Books (MLA)

  • Basic entry for a book
  • Book, anthology, or collection with an editor
  • Work in an anthology or chapter in an edited collection
  • Two or more works in an anthology or edited collection
  • Revised or later edition
  • Multivolume work
  • One volume of a multivolume work
  • Book in a series
  • Republished work
  • Introduction, preface, foreword, or afterword
  • Published letter
  • Conference paper

Websites and Parts of Websites (MLA)

  • Basic format for a short work or page on a website
  • Short work or page on a website
  • Entire website

Social Media (MLA)

  • Basic format for a social media post
  • Social media post
  • Online forum post
  • Online comment

Personal Communication (MLA)

  • Text message
  • Personal letter

Video, Audio, and Other Media Sources (MLA)

  • Online video

Original work

Reproduction

Personal interview

  • Video game, software, or app

Other Sources (MLA)

  • Live lecture, speech, address, or reading
  • Live performance
  • Letter in an archive
  • Dissertation

Index to APA Documentation Models

The models, listed numerically, provide examples of in-text citations and reference entries (APA). The models themselves are located in Handbook Section 14 (H14).

In-Text Citation Models (APA)

  • Work with no page numbers
  • Entire work
  • Personal communication

Format of the References List (APA)

Authors (apa).

  • Three to twenty authors

Articles in Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers (APA)

  • Basic format for an article in an academic journal

Without DOI or URL

Database or print

  • Published interview

Books and Parts of Books (APA)

  • Print book or e-book
  • Article in an edited book, anthology, or collection
  • Translated or reprinted book
  • Revised edition
  • Report or publication by a government agency or other organization

Web Sources (APA)

  • Basic format for a page or work on a website
  • Page or work on a website

Social Media (APA)

Video, audio, and other media sources (apa).

  • Music recording
  • Painting or other visual artwork
  • Map, photograph, or other visual

H 13 . MLA Documentation and Format

MLA style is the preferred form for documenting research sources in English and other humanities disciplines. The following are general features of MLA style:

  • All material borrowed from sources is cited in the text of a paper by the author’s name and page number (if available).
  • A works-cited list at the end of a paper provides full publication data for each source cited in the text of the paper.
  • Additional explanatory information provided by the writer (but not from external sources) goes in either footnotes or endnotes. These notes are optional.

The instruction in this section follows the MLA Handbook , 8th edition (2016). For more information on MLA style, see this site . For examples of student papers in the textbook using MLA documentation style, see Section 4 in Chapters 5, 7, 9, 12, and 16.

MLA In-Text Citations

In-text citations feature author names, page numbers, and sometimes titles, depending on what information is available. The Index located in H12 provides a listing of the models that are included below.

1. One author

When you quote, paraphrase, or summarize a source, include the last name of the source’s author, if known, in a signal phrase or in parentheses at the end of your sentence. Provide the page or pages on which the original material appeared. Do not include the word page or the abbreviations p. or pp. Use a hyphen [-] to indicate a number range (See Spotlight on … Citation for more on quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing sources):

Becker points out that Joe Biden’s views on same-sex marriage changed during a personal visit to a family while he was vice president (285-86). While he was vice president, Joe Biden’s views on same-sex marriage changed during a personal visit with a family (Becker 285-86).

2. Two or more works by the same author

If you cite two or more works by the same author in your paper, give the title of the specific work in your sentence or a short version of the title in parentheses:

According to Lewis Thomas in Lives of a Cell , many bacteria become dangerous only if they manufacture exotoxins (76). According to Lewis Thomas, many bacteria become dangerous only if they manufacture exotoxins ( Lives 76). Many bacteria become dangerous only if they manufacture exotoxins (Thomas, Lives 76).

See Model 18 for how to cite two works by the same author in the works-cited list.

3. Two authors

If you cite a work with two authors, include both authors’ names in a signal phrase or in parentheses:

In the preface to Half the Sky , Kristof and WuDunn explain their focus on the issues of sex trafficking and sex work, violence against women, and maternal mortality (xxi). In the preface to Half the Sky , the authors explain their focus on the issues of sex trafficking and sex work, violence against women, and maternal mortality (Kristof and WuDunn xxi).

4. Three or more authors

For works with more than two authors, give the last name of the first author followed by “et al.”:

Of the survey respondents, twenty-two percent described themselves as concerned about future job prospects (Pronkowski et al. 9).

5. Authors with the same last name

When authors of different sources have the same last name, include their initials:

Since the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, frequent use among adults has risen (J. T. Greene 21; M. Greene 30).

6. Organization, government, corporation, or association as author

When no author is given for a work published by a corporation, a government, an organization, or an association, indicate the group’s name in a signal phrase or in parentheses:

The United States Forest Service describes its mission as “sustain[ing] the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations” (8).

7. Unknown author

When the author of a work is unknown, use the work’s title in a signal phrase or a shortened version of the title in parentheses and a page number if available. Put quotation marks around article titles, and put book or journal titles in italics:

In a pointed 2020 editorial, “Don’t Let the Games Begin,” The New York Times argued that college athletic departments should support public health by canceling sports seasons until athletes and the public were vaccinated. In a pointed 2020 editorial, The New York Times argued that college athletic departments should support public health by canceling sports seasons until athletes and the public were vaccinated (“Don’t Let”).

8. Work in more than one volume

If you cite only one volume of a multivolume work, give the page number in parentheses. If you cite more than one volume of a multivolume work, give the volume number for each citation before the page number, and follow it with a colon and one space:

Hill notes that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Dancing Men was first published in the Strand Magazine and later in Collier’s Weekly (1: 332).

9. Work with no page or other reference numbers

When the work has no page numbers, give the author’s name in a signal phrase or in parentheses. If the source has paragraph, chapter, or section numbers, use them with the abbreviations par., ch., or sec. :

Chen reports that the number of Americans seeking help with mental health rose during the pandemic that began in 2020. (ch. 2) The number of Americans seeking help with mental health rose during the pandemic that began in 2020 (Chen, ch. 2).

For an audio or a video recording, give the start and stop times for the segment you are citing shown on the player in hours (if available), minutes, and seconds:

It is well known that maternity leave is available in countries around the world, including Norway, which popularized its policy in a comic YouTube video showing a pregnant woman on skis announcing the start of her one-year paid leave (01:48-02:07).

10. One-page work or entire work

When you cite a work that is one page long or an entire work, such as a book, website, single-page article, tweet, video, or film, you do not need to cite a page or give a reference number:

In Da 5 Bloods, director Spike Lee connects the Civil Rights movement to the war in Vietnam through the music, montages of the era, and characters’ stories.

11. Source quoted in another source (indirect quotation)

When a quotation or any information in your source is originally from another source, try to track down the original source. If you cannot find it, use the abbreviation “qtd. in”:

The group, which has researched global health including access to food, sounded the alarm about a potential “worldwide food crisis” in the early 2000s (qtd. in Sing 32).

12. Literary works

For poems, provide line numbers for reference, and include line or lines in the first reference:

In “The Character,” Aphra Behn describes a lovely young woman, starting with her eyes: “Her Eyes all sweet, and languishingly move” (line 4).

Cite verse plays using act, scene, and line numbers, separated by periods: ( Hamlet 4.4.31-39)

When citing a prose literary work available in various editions, provide additional information after the page number, such as the chapter, act, or scene number, for readers who may be consulting a different edition. Use a semicolon to separate the page number from this additional information: (331; ch. 5) or (78; act 2).

13. Two or more works in the same citation

When you cite more than one work in parentheses, use a semicolon between them:

Americans who resisted or ignored civil defense are often portrayed as heroic people who chose not to build fallout shelters or as marginalized people who could not afford them (Garrison 57; Mechling and Mechling 109).

14. Sacred text

When you cite passages from the Bible or another sacred text such as the Qur’an, give the title of the edition you are consulting the first time you refer to it. Then give the book (abbreviate the title if it is longer than four letters), chapter, and verse, separated by periods:

Several times in the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus comments on wealth, telling his disciples, “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” ( King James Version, Matt. 19.24).

Endnotes and Footnotes

Writers use notes to offer comments, explanations, or additional information that cannot easily be integrated into the rest of a paper. Use notes to cite several sources within a single context if a series of in-text citations will detract from the readability of the text.

Text with Superscript

The standard ingredients for guacamole include avocados, lemon juice, onion, tomatoes, coriander, salt, and pepper. 1 Hurtado’s poem, however, gives this traditional dish a whole new twist.

1. For variations see Beard 314, Egerton 197, Eckhardt 92, and Kafka 26. Beard’s version, which includes olives and green peppers, is the most unusual.

A note may be placed as a footnote at the bottom of the page on which the in-text citation appears or on a separate page of endnotes at the end of the paper. This should be titled “Notes” or “Endnotes” and appear between the last page of the paper and the works-cited list. Include all sources given in notes in the works-cited list.

MLA Works Cited

Each source cited in the text of your paper refers readers to the list of works cited, a complete list of all the sources you quoted, paraphrased, or summarized. Every source cited in the text of your paper must be included in the works-cited list, and every source in the works-cited list must be cited in the text of your paper.

After the last page of the paper, start a new page with the centered title “Works Cited” at the top. Create an entry for each source using the following guidelines and examples:

  • Begin each entry at the left margin, and indent subsequent lines one-half inch. (In Microsoft Word, you can also highlight the entire page when you are finished and select “Hanging” from the Special options on the Indentation section of the Paragraph menu.)
  • Alphabetize the entries according to authors’ last names. If two or more authors have the same last name, alphabetize by first name or initial. Alphabetize sources with unknown authors by the first word of the title, excluding a, an, or the.
  • Double-space the entire page.

Core Elements (MLA)

Each entry in the list of works cited consists of core elements:

  • Author. Who is responsible for the work?
  • Title. What is the work called?

Publication information. Where can the work be found so that others can consult it? Publication information includes the date of publication and any larger work, which MLA calls a “container,” in which a shorter work is published, such as a journal, magazine, newspaper, database, streaming service, and so on.

A note on access dates. Although access dates for online sources are not required, MLA acknowledges that an access date can indicate the version of a source you consulted. If you add an access date, place it at the end of the works-cited entry in this format: “Accessed 4 Apr. 2020.” Ask your instructors whether they require access dates.

Authors and Contributors for Books and Articles (MLA)

  • Authors. Give the author’s last name, a comma, the author’s first name and any middle name or middle initial, and then a period. For works with more than one author, an organization as an author, or an unknown author, see the models below.
  • Contributors. People who contributed to the work in addition to the author are called contributors. Refer to them by their role in a phrase such as “adapted by,” “directed by,” “edited by,” “illustrated by,” “introduction by,” “narrated by,” “performance by,” and “translated by.” (See Models 19, 20, 21, 30, and 58 for examples.)

15. Book: one author

Sotomayor, Sonia. My Beloved World. Vintage Books, 2013.

16. Book: two authors

Kristoff, Nicholas D., and Sheryl WuDunn. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.

17. Book: three or more authors

Barlow, David H., et al. Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach. 8th ed., Cengage Learning, 2017.

18. Book: two or more works by the same author

When you cite two works by the same author, use three hyphens in place of the author’s name, and alphabetize the works by title:

Trethewey, Natasha. Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir. Ecco, 2020.

---. Native Guard: Poems. Mariner Books, 2007.

19. Book author and editor

Add the editor’s name after the title:

Hemingway, Ernest. Conversations with Ernest Hemingway , edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli, UP of Mississippi, 1986.

20. Book author and translator

Add the translator’s name after the title:

Ferrante, Elena. My Brilliant Friend. Translated by Ann Goldstein, Europa Editions, 2012.

If you are citing the work of the translator, place the translator’s name in the author position:

Goldstein, Ann, translator. My Brilliant Friend. By Elena Ferrante, Europa Editions, 2012.

21. Book author and illustrator

Add the illustrator’s name after the title. If you are citing the work of the illustrator, place the illustrator’s name in the author position, as shown in the preceding example:

Fasler, Joe. Light in the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process. Illustrated by Doug McLean, Penguin Books, 2017.

22. Work by an organization, a government, a corporation, or an association

If the author and publisher are not the same, start with the author:

United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration. Healthy Living Resource Guide. Government Printing Office, 2020.

If the author and the publisher are the same, give the title of the work in place of the author, and list the organization as the publisher:

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

“This Is Who We Are.” U.S. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Mar. 2019, www.fs.usda.gov/sites/default/files/This-is-Who-We-Are.pdf.

23. Unknown author

If no author is given, start with the title.

“The Most Beautiful Battalion in the Army.” Grunt Magazine , 1968, pp. 12-15.

Articles, reviews, editorials, and other short works are published in journals, newspapers, and magazines. They appear in print, on databases, and on websites (though often through a paywall). As a student, you are likely to access many articles and other short research sources primarily through databases available through your library.

24. Basic format for a journal article in a database

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal , volume number, issue number, Date of Publication, page numbers. Title of Database , DOI or URL.

  • Author. Give the last name, a comma, the first name, and any middle name or initial. Do not list an author’s professional title, such as Dr . or PhD . End with a period.
  • Title of the article. Give the full title and any subtitle, separating them with a colon. Capitalize all significant words in the title. Put the title of the article in quotation marks. End with a period inside the closing quotation mark.
  • Title of the journal. Put the title of the journal in italics. Capitalize all significant words in the title. End the title with a comma.
  • Volume and issue numbers. Use the abbreviations vol. and no. followed by the number and a comma.
  • Publication date. Give the month or season and the year of publication, if available. Use the following abbreviations for months: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Do not abbreviate May, June, or July.
  • Page numbers. Give p . (singular) or pp. (plural) and the page number or numbers of the article, followed by a period.
  • Title of the database. Put the database title in italics, followed by a comma.
  • Location. Give a DOI if available, and end with a period. If there is no DOI, give a URL, preferably a permalink, without http://.

25. Article in an academic journal

Daddis, Gregory A. “Out of Balance: Evaluating American Strategy in Vietnam, 1968–72.” War & Society, vol. 32, no. 3, Oct. 2013, pp. 252-70. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1179/0729247313Z.00000000026.

Daddis, Gregory A. “Out of Balance: Evaluating American Strategy in Vietnam, 1968–72.” War & Society, vol. 32, no. 3, Oct. 2013, pp. 252-70.

Squires, Scot. “Do Generations Differ When It Comes to Green Values and Products?” Electronic Green Journal, no. 42, 2019, escholarship.org/uc/item/6f91213q.

The journal in the example numbers issues only, so no volume number is given.

26. Article in a weekly or biweekly magazine

To cite an article in a weekly or biweekly magazine, give the author, title of the article, title of the magazine, publication date (day, month, year), and page numbers. If you found the article through a database, add the title of the database and a DOI or URL. If you found the article online, add the URL.

Sanneh, Kelefa. “The Color of Money.” The New Yorker, 8 Feb. 2021, pp. 26-31. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=aph&AN=148411685&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Sanneh, Kelefa. “The Color of Money.” The New Yorker, 8 Feb. 2021, pp. 26-31.

Ferrer, Ada. “My Brother’s Keeper.” The New Yorker, 22 Feb. 2021, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/03/01/my-brothers-keeper.

27. Article in a monthly or bimonthly magazine

To cite an article in a monthly or bimonthly magazine, give the author, title of the article, title of the magazine, publication month and year, and page numbers. If you found the article through a database, add the title of the database and a DOI or URL. If you found the article online, add the URL.

Sneed, Annie. “Giant Shape-Shifters.” Scientific American, Sept. 2017, pp. 20-22. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1017-20.

Sneed, Annie. “Giant Shape-Shifters.” Scientific American, Sept. 2017, pp. 20-22.

Stewart, Jamila. “A Look Inside the Black Designers of Canada Initiative.” Essence, July 2020, www.essence.com/fashion/black-designers-of-canada-digital-index/.

To cite a comment on an article, see Model 54.

28. Article in a newspaper

To cite an article in a newspaper, give the author, title of the article, title of the newspaper, publication date (day, month, year), and the page numbers. If you found the article through a database, add the title of the database and a DOI or a URL. If you found the article online, add the URL.

Krueger, Alyson. “When Mom Knows Best, on Instagram.” The New York Times, 27 Nov. 2019, pp. B1-B4. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType =aph&AN=139891108&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Krueger, Alyson. “When Mom Knows Best, on Instagram.” The New York Times, 27 Nov. 2019, pp. B1-B4.

Smith, Doug. “They’re Building Affordable Housing for the Homeless—Without Government Help.” Los Angeles Times, 10 Feb. 2021, www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-02-10/theyre-building-affordable-housing-for-the-homeless-without-government-help.

29. Editorial or letter to the editor

An editorial may or may not have an author’s name attached to it. If it does, give the author’s name first. If it does not, start with the title. In both situations, add the designation Editorial or Letter to the Editor after the title.

“For Better Elections, Copy the Neighbors.” Editorial. The Wall Street Journal, 16 Feb. 2021, www.wsj.com/articles/for-better-elections-copy-the-neighbors-11613518448.

To cite a review of a book, film, television show, or other work, give the name of the reviewer and title of the review, add Review of before the title of work being reviewed, and give the name of the work’s author, director, or creator after the title.

Girish, Devika. “Refocusing the Lens on Race and Gender.” Review of Test Pattern, directed by Shatara Michelle Ford. The New York Times, 18 Feb. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/02/18/movies/test-pattern-review.html.

Use the following guidelines for books and parts of books, such as a selection from an anthology, an article in a collection, a published letter, and so on.

31. Basic entry for a book

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Year of Publication.

  • Author. Give the last name, a comma, the first name, and any middle name or initial. Do not list an author’s professional title, such as Dr. or PhD. End with a period.
  • Title of the book. Put the book’s title in italics. Give the full title and any subtitle, separating them with a colon. Capitalize all significant words in the title, even if the book’s cover does not use conventional capitalization. End the title with a period.
  • Publisher. List the publisher’s name without words such as “Inc.” or “Company.” Shorten “University Press” to “UP.” End with a comma.
  • Year of publication. Provide the publication date, and end with a period.

32. Print book

Wilkerson, Isabel. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Vintage Books, 2010.

33. E-book formatted for a specific reader device or service

Wilkerson, Isabel. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Kindle ed., Vintage Books, 2010.

34. Book, anthology, or collection with an editor

Add the abbreviation ed. or eds. (if more than one) after the editor’s first name:

Lunsford, Andrea, ed. Reclaiming Rhetorica: Women in the Rhetorical Tradition. U of Pittsburgh P, 1995.

35. Work in an anthology or chapter in an edited collection

After the author and title of the work, give the title of the anthology or edited collection, name of the editor, publication information, and page numbers of the work:

Royster, Jacqueline Jones. “To Call a Thing by Its True Name: The Rhetoric of Ida B. Wells.” Reclaiming Rhetorica: Women in the Rhetorical Tradition, edited by Andrea Lunsford, U of Pittsburgh P, 1995, pp. 167-84.

36. Two or more works in an anthology or edited collection

When you cite two or more selections from the same anthology or edited collection, list the anthology separately under the editor’s name. In the entries for the selections you cite, include the editor’s name and the page numbers on which the selections appear:

Lipscomb, Drema R. “Sojourner Truth: A Practical Public Discourse.” Lunsford, pp. 227-46.

Royster, Jacqueline Jones. “To Call a Thing by Its True Name: The Rhetoric of Ida B. Wells.” Lunsford, pp. 167-84.

37. Revised or later edition

For a book published in an edition other than the first, give the edition number after the title:

Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style, 4th ed., Pearson, 2019.

38. Multivolume work

For a book published in more than one volume, give the total number of volumes after the title:

Klinger, Leslie S. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. 2 vols., W. W. Norton, 2005.

39. One volume of a multivolume work

Klinger, Leslie S. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Vol. 2, W. W. Norton, 2005.

When each volume of a multivolume set has an individual title, list the volume’s full publication information first, followed by series information (number of volumes, dates). When separate volumes were published in different years, give inclusive dates:

Churchill, Winston S. Triumph and Tragedy. Houghton Mifflin, 1953. Vol. 6 of The Second World War. 6 vols. 1948-53.

However, if the volume you are using has its own title, you may cite the book without referring to the other volumes as if it were an independent publication.

40. Book in a series

Add the title of the series at the end of the entry:

Thaiss, Christopher. Language across the Curriculum in the Elementary Grades. WAC Clearinghouse, 2011, wac.colostate.edu/books/landmarks/thaiss/. Landmark Publications in Writing Studies.

41. Republished book

Give the original publication date after the title and the date the book was republished after the publisher:

Evans, Elizabeth E. G. The Abuse of Maternity. 1875. Arno, 1974.

42. Sacred text

Give the complete title of the version you consulted followed by the name of the editor and/or translator, the edition, the publisher, and the publication date:

The Bible. Authorized King James Version . Edited by Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett, Oxford UP, 2008.

The Koran. Translated by N. J. Dawood, rev. ed., Penguin Books, 2015.

43. Introduction, preface, foreword, or afterword

Start with the author of the introduction, preface, foreword, or afterword, followed by a description of the work you are citing, such as “Foreword.” Give the author of the work after the title:

Offill, Jenny. Foreword. Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf, Penguin Classics, 2021, pp. vii-xiv.

44. Published letter

Roosevelt, Theodore. Letter to Upton Sinclair. 15 Mar. 1906. Theodore Roosevelt: Letters and Speeches, edited by Louis Auchincloss, 2004, pp. 310-11.

45. Conference paper

Killi, Stainer, and Andrew Morrison. “Could the Food Market Pull 3D Printing Appetites Further?” Industry 4.0—Shaping the Future of the Digital World: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Sustainable & Smart Manufacturing, edited by Paulo Bartolo et al., CRC Press, 2021, pp. 197-203.

Use the following guidelines for works that are published only online and do not have an overarching publication, such as a journal, newspaper, magazine, or database.

46. Basic format for a short work or page on a website

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Short Work.” Title of Website, Publisher, Publication Date, URL.

  • Author. Give the last name, a comma, the first name, and any middle name or initial. Do not list an author’s professional title, such as Dr . or PhD. End with a period.
  • Title of the short work. Put the title in quotation marks. Give the full title and any subtitle, separating them with a colon. Capitalize all significant words in the title. End with a period inside the closing quotation mark.
  • Title of the website. Put the title of the website in italics. Capitalize all significant words in the title. End the title with a comma.
  • Publisher. If the publisher of the website is different from the title of the website (as shown in Model 48), give it next, followed by a comma. If they are the same (as shown in Model 47), give only the title of the website.
  • Publication date. Give the day, month, and year the work was posted, if available. Use the following abbreviations for months: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Do not abbreviate May, June, and July.
  • URL. Give the URL, without “http://.”

47. Short work or page on a website

Shetterly, Margot Lee. “Katherine Johnson Biography.” NASA , 24 Feb. 2020, www.nasa.gov/content/katherine-johnson-biography.

If the source you are citing has no author listed, start with the title. If the page has no title, give the name of the site and a descriptive label, such as “Home page” or “Blog post.”

48. Blog post

Blazich, Frank A. “The Cold Morning of the Day After.” Smithsonian Voices , Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Feb. 2021, www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/national-museum-american-history/2021/02/05/cold-morning-day-after/.

49. Entire website

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Yale U, 2021, beinecke.library.yale.edu/.

If the website lists an editor, give the person’s name as you would an author, followed by a comma and ed.

“Coronavirus.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Feb. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronavirus.

Social media include posts made to various platforms and forums, comments made by individuals to posts, and online articles.

51. Basic format for a social media post

Author. “Text of untitled post” or “Title of post” or Descriptive label. Title of Site , Date of Post, Time of Post, URL.

  • Author. Give the author’s handle and name. End with a period.
  • Text, title, or description of post. Match the capitalization exactly, add quotation marks, and end with a period inside the closing quotation mark.
  • Title of the social media site. Put the title of the site in italics, ending with a comma.
  • Publication date and time. Give the day, month, year, and time of the post. Use the following abbreviations for months: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Do not abbreviate May, June, and July.

52. Social media post

@Holleratcha (James Holler). “People go out and vote tomorrow!” Twitter, 2 Nov. 2020, 2:08 p.m., twitter.com/holleratcha/status/1270432672544784384.

Death Valley National Park. “What does it mean to protect something you love?” Facebook, 23 Feb. 2021, 5:01 p.m., www.facebook.com/DeathValleyNPS/posts/4108808255810092.

See Model 54 for how to cite a comment.

53. Online forum post

@Duckpond318. “Turkeys in the arboretum.” Reddit, 15 Mar. 2021, 11:22 a.m., www.reddit.com/r/Wildlife/comments/lqlbo3/turkeys_in_the_arboretum/. Accessed 4 Feb. 2021.

54. Online comment

AKJersey. Comment on “Can We Stop Fighting about Charter Schools?” The New York Times, 22 Feb. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/02/22/opinion/charter-schools-democrats.html#commentsContainer.

Use the following guidelines to cite email, text messages, and letters that you sent or received.

Roberts, Jeffrey. “Study results.” Received by Kenneth Berg, 21 Oct. 2020.

56. Text message

Igoe, Beverlee. Text message. Received by Alison McGrath, 2 Apr. 2020.

57. Personal letter

Atwood, Margaret. Letter to the author. 11 Mar. 2007.

Use the following guidelines to cite various media sources.

Begin with the title, followed by the director, the studio, and the year released.

Casablanca. Directed by Michael Curtiz, Warner Brothers, 1942.

You may also cite other contributors and their roles after the title (as illustrated below). If your paper is concerned with a particular person’s work on a film, such as the director, an actor, or someone else, begin with that person’s name and arrange all other information accordingly. For a film you stream, add the title of the streaming service and the URL:

Moonlight. Directed by Barry Jenkins, performances by Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, and Trevante Rhodes. A24, 2016. Netflix, www.netflix.com/watch/80121348?trackId=13752289&tctx=8%2C.

59. Online video

NASA. “Apollo 11 Moonwalk – Original NASA EVA Mission Video.” 20 July 1969. YouTube, 17 July 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9HdPi9Ikhk.

60. Television series or episode

The Good Place. Michael Schur, creator. NBC, 2016-20.

Streamed TV episode

“Jason Mendoza.” The Good Place, season 1, episode 4, NBC, 2016. Netflix, www.netflix.com/watch/80191852?trackId=13752289&tctx=%2C%2C.

61. Advertisement

XOFLUZA. Flu medication advertisement. The New Yorker, 8. Feb. 2021, pp. 5-6.

General Motors. “Will Ferrell Super Bowl Ad.” YouTube, 3 Feb. 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdsPvbSpB2Y&t=24s.

62. Cartoon or comic

Davis, Jim. “Garfield.” Cartoon. Courier [Findlay, OH], 17 May 1996, p. 18.

If the source you cite appears in a local newspaper, as it does here, give the city and state in brackets after the name of the newspaper if the city is not part of the newspaper’s name.

Gauld, Tom. “Waiting for Godot to Join the Zoom Meeting.” You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, 31 Jan. 2021, myjetpack.tumblr.com/.

63. Painting or other visual artwork

Rivera, Diego. Detroit Industry Murals. 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Art.

If the city is not part of the name of the museum, add it after museum. For example, if the work you viewed was at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, you would end the entry as follows: Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Neel, Alice. Elenka. 1936. Alice Neel: People Come First, by Kelly Baum and Randall Griffey, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2021, p. 142.

Basquiat, Jean-Michel. Untitled. 1983. Museum of Modern Art, www.moma.org/collection/works/63997?artist_id=370&page=1&sov_referrer=artist. Accessed 24 Sept. 2020.

64. Map, chart, or diagram

Everglades National Park. National Geographic Society Maps, 2019.

“Map: Expedition of Lewis and Clark.” National Park Service, 2 Jan. 2018, nps.gov/subjects/travellewisandclark/map.htm.

65. Sound recording

Sound recordings include songs, albums, and spoken word. If you stream a sound recording or watch a performance online, add the name of the streaming service, such as Spotify, Apple Music, or Amazon Music, after the date. If you access the recording online, add the name of the website and the URL after the date.

Prince. Purple Rain. Warner Brothers, 1984.

The Supremes. “Baby Love.” Where Did Our Love Go, Motown, 1964. Spotify.

Gorman, Amanda. “The Hill We Climb.” 20 Jan. 2021, YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ055ilIiN4.

The Road to Higher Ground. Hosted by Jonathan Overby. WPR, 9 Jan. 2021.

If you listened to the radio program online, add the URL after the date.

67. Podcast

McEvers, Kelly, host. “This Is Not a Joke.” Embedded, season 9, episode 2, NPR, 7 Nov. 2019, Apple Podcasts.

If you listened to the podcast on the web, add the URL instead of the podcast service.

68. Interview

Wilkerson, Isabel. Interview. Fresh Air, NPR, 4 Aug. 2020.

Sowell, Thomas. Interview. Hoover Institution , 3 Jan. 2015, www.wsj.com/video/uncommon-knowledge-thomas-sowell-basic-economics/51837CB6-9FF2-305AE55D179A.html.

Wong, Diana. Personal interview. 12 Sept. 2020.

69. Video game, software, or app

Houser, Dan, et al., writers. Grand Theft Auto V. Rockstar Games, 2013. Xbox 360.

70. Live lecture, speech, address, or reading

Diaz, Shanna. “Your Dazzling Brain: The Symphony of Sleep.” Community Lecture Series, University of New Mexico Health Science and the City of Albuquerque, 13 Mar. 2018, Albuquerque Academy.

71. Live performance

Hamilton. By Lin-Manuel Miranda, directed by Thomas Kail, 11 Mar. 2018, CIBC Theater, Chicago.

If you watch a video of a performance online, cite it as you would cite an online video.

72. Letter in an archive

Mucklestone, Ada. Letter to Maj. Gen. Ralph J. Olson. 6 Nov. 1958. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Alphabetical Subject File, 1950-66, 1715, Box 13.

73. Dissertation

Park, Eun Jung. Korean American Artists and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. 2013. U of California, San Diego, PhD dissertation. ProQuest, www.proquest.com/doc-view/1425303659.

Boothby, Daniel W. The Determinants of Earnings and Occupation for Young Women. 1978. U of California, Berkeley, PhD dissertation.

74. Pamphlet

“Facts about Fallout.” Civil Defense Administration, 1961.

MLA Paper Format

Follow your instructor’s formatting guidelines or those indicated here. For sample papers with MLA format and works-cited pages, visit this site .

  • Margins. Use one-inch margins on all sides.
  • Spacing. Double-space throughout the paper, including the works-cited page.
  • Paragraph format. Indent paragraphs one-half inch.
  • Page numbers. Start numbering on the first page of your paper and continue to the end of the works-cited page. Place page numbers in the upper-right corner, and add your last name before the page number: “Coleman 3.”
  • Identifying information. Put your name, your instructor’s name, the course title, and the date in the left corner of the first page of the body of the paper, not in the header. Double-space this information.
  • Title. Center the title on the first page. Do not use italics, boldface, all capitals, or quotation marks. Do not add extra space below the title.
  • Long quotations and quotations from poetry. See Quotations for how to cite long quotations and poetry quotations.

H 14 . APA Documentation and Format

Disciplines in the social sciences—psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, social work, and often education—use the APA name-and-date system of documentation. APA style highlights authors and dates of publication because timeliness of published material is of primary importance in these disciplines. The following are general features of APA style:

  • All material borrowed from sources is cited in the text of a paper by the author’s name, date of publication, and page numbers (if available).
  • A list of references at the end of a paper provides full publication data for each source cited in the text of the paper.

The instruction in this section follows the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition (2020). For more information on APA style, visit this site . For examples of student papers in the textbook using APA documentation style, see Section 4 in Chapters 6, 8, and 15.

In-text citations feature author names, dates of publication, and page numbers, depending on what information is available. The Index located in H12 provides a listing of the models that are included below.

75. One author

When you quote, paraphrase, or summarize a source, include the last name of the source’s author, if known, in a signal phrase or in parentheses at the end of your sentence. Give the publication date after the author’s name. Provide the page or pages on which the original material appeared preceded by p. or pp. See Spotlight on … Citation .

According to Thomas (1974), many bacteria become dangerous only if they manufacture exotoxins (p. 76). Many bacteria become dangerous only if they manufacture exotoxins (Thomas, 1974, p. 76).

If you cite two or more works by the same author, published in the same year, use letters after the year to distinguish them: (Gallivan, 2019a, 2019b, 2019c).

76. Two authors

Smith and Hawkins (1990) confirmed that bacteria producing exotoxins are harmful to humans (p. 17). The study confirmed that bacteria producing exotoxins are harmful to humans (Smith & Hawkins, 1990, p. 17).

77. Three or more authors

The results indicate that alcohol use rose during the period of the study (Dominic et al., 2021, p. 16).

78. Authors with the same last name

When authors of different sources have the same last name, include their initials: Since the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, frequent use among adults has risen (J. T. Greene, 2019, p. 21; M. Greene, 2020, p. 30).

When authors of the same source have the same name, do not include their initials: (Kim & Kim, 2018, p. 47).

79. Organization, government, corporation, or association as author

When citing a well-known organization, government agency, corporation, or association, introduce an abbreviation of the name in the first reference and use it in subsequent references:

On multiple occasions, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA, 2018) reported that formal efforts to reintegrate combat veterans into civilian life were beneficial.

80. Unknown author

When the author of a work is unknown, use the work’s title in a signal phrase, or put the title in parentheses. Put quotation marks around article titles, and put book or journal titles in italics:

In a pointed editorial, The New York Times argued that college athletic departments should support public health by canceling sports seasons until athletes and the public were vaccinated (”Don’t Let the Games Begin,” 2020). In its pointed editorial, “Don’t Let the Games Begin” (2020), The New York Times argued that college athletic departments should support public health by canceling sports seasons until athletes and the public were vaccinated.

81. Two or more works in the same citation

When you cite more than one work in parentheses, put the works in the same order that they appear in your list of references, and use a semicolon between them:

Americans who resisted or ignored civil defense were later cast as heroic people who chose not to build fallout shelters or as marginalized people who could not afford them (Garrison, 2006; Mechling & Mechling, 1991).

82. Work with no page numbers

If the work you are citing has no page numbers, help readers find the quotation by providing a heading, a section name, and/or a paragraph number (using the abbreviation para. or paras. ):

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2019), research on PTSD includes gene research and brain imaging technologies (Next Steps for PTSD Research section, para. 6).

For audio or visual works, give the time stamp of the beginning of the source: (Wong, 2020, 34:16).

83. Source quoted in another source (indirect quotation)

When a quotation or any information in your source is originally from another source, try to track down the original source. If you cannot find the original, use the words “as cited in”:

The research collective, which has studied global health including access to food, sounded the alarm about a potential “worldwide food crisis” in the early 2000s (as cited in Sing, 2018, p. 32).

84. Entire work

When you cite an entire work, you do not need to give a page number. See Models 79 and 80. When you mention an entire website, link to the website directly or give the URL. You do not need to include the website in the references list:

The Department of Veterans Affairs maintains a website for PTSD, which contains resources and help for families and healthcare providers as well as veterans (https://www.ptsd.va.gov/).

85. Personal communication

Because personal communications such as emails, letters, personal interviews, and the like cannot be found by other researchers, cite them in the text only:

During our interview, Morales explained that she had quit her job to help her children with their schooling (personal communication, January 4, 2021).

APA References

Each source cited in the text of your paper refers readers to the list of references, a complete list of all the sources you quoted, paraphrased, or summarized. Every source cited in the text of your paper must be included in the references list, and every source in the references list must be cited in the text of your paper.

After the last page of your paper, start a new page with the centered, boldfaced title References at the top. Create an entry for each source using the following guidelines and examples.

  • Alphabetize the entries according to authors’ last names. If two or more authors have the same last name, alphabetize by the initials of their first and middle names. Alphabetize sources with unknown authors by the first word of the title, excluding a, an, or the.

Core Elements (APA)

Each entry in the list of references consists of core elements:

  • Date of publication. When was the work published?
  • Publication information. Where can the work be found so that others can consult it?

Sometimes core elements are unknown or missing. In such cases, the entry in the reference list entry must be adapted:

  • No author? If the source has no known author, cite it by the title. See Models 90 and 98.
  • No date of publication? If the source has no publication date, write n.d . instead of the publication date. See Model 110.
  • No title? If the work has no title, put a brief description in square brackets.
  • No publication information? If the source is a personal communication that only you have a record of, cite the source in your text, not in the references, because it cannot be retrieved by other readers. See “Personal communication” above.

A note on retrieval dates: APA recommends adding a retrieval date for sources that are not archived or are likely to change over time, such as a developing news story. If you add a retrieval date, place it at the end of the references entry in this format: “Retrieved April 4, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com.” Ask your instructors if they require retrieval dates.

Give the author’s last name, comma, and first and middle initials if available. For works with more than one author, put a comma and an ampersand (&) before the final author’s name, even when there are two authors.

86. One author

Milanovic, B. (2016). Global inequality: A new approach for the age of globalization. Harvard UP.

87. Two authors

Kristoff, N. D., & WuDunn, S. (2009). Half the sky: Turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide. Alfred A. Knopf.

88. Three to twenty authors

Provide last names and initials for up to and including 20 authors.

Barlow, D. H., Durand, V. M., & Hofmann, S. G. (2017). Abnormal psychology: An integrative approach. Cengage Learning.

For more than 20 authors, include the first 19 authors’ names, insert an ellipsis, and then add the final author’s name.

89. Work by an organization, a government, a corporation, or an association

Works published by organizations often have the same author and publisher, which is frequently the title of a website. When the author and publisher are not the same, give the author and the title of the website:

National Institute of Mental Health. (2020). Post-traumatic stress disorder. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml.

When the author and the publisher or title of the website are the same, omit the latter:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, February 17). Variants of the virus. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/index.html.

90. Unknown author

If no author is given, start with the title:

The most beautiful battalion in the army. (1968). Grunt magazine, 12-15.

91. Two or more works by the same author

List two or more works by the same author (or the same author team listed in the same order) chronologically by year in the reference list, with the earliest first. Arrange works published in the same year alphabetically by title, placing lowercase letters after the publication dates:

Bandura, A. (1969). Principles of behavior modification. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Bandura, A. (1977a). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.

Bandura, A. (1977b). Social learning theory. Prentice Hall.

Articles, reviews, editorials, and other short works are published in journals, newspapers, and magazines, and they appear in print, on databases, and on websites (though often through a paywall). As a student, you are likely to access many articles and other short research sources primarily through databases available through your library.

92. Basic format for an article in an academic journal

Author’s Last Name, Initials. (Date of Publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, Volume (number), Pages. DOI or URL.

  • Author. Give the last name, a comma, and the initials of the first name and middle name (if available). Do not list an author’s professional title, such as Dr. or PhD. End with a period.
  • Date of Publication. In parentheses, give the year of publication, a comma, and the month or season of publication. End with a period outside the closing parentheses.
  • Title of the article. Give the full title and any subtitle, separating them with a colon. For articles and book chapters, do not use quotation marks or italicize the title. Capitalize only the first word of the title and the first word of a subtitle and any proper nouns.
  • Title of the journal. Put the journal title in italics. Capitalize all significant words in the title. End the title with a comma.
  • Volume and issue numbers. Italicize the volume number, and follow it with the issue number in parentheses (not italicized). End with a comma.
  • Page numbers. Give inclusive page numbers without p. or pp . End with a period.
  • DOI or URL. Provide a DOI (if available) or a URL. Include “http://,” and do not add a period at the end. The preferred format for a DOI is “https://doi.org/” followed by the number. You may encounter older formats for DOI; if so, change them to this format. If the article is online and does not have a DOI, give the URL instead.

93. Article in an academic journal

Gawande, A. A. (2017, April). It’s time to adopt electronic prescriptions for opioids. Annals of Surgery, 265 (4), 693-94. https://doi.org/10.1097/SLA.0000000000002133

Squires, S. (2019). Do generations differ when it comes to green values and products? Electronic Green Journal, 42 . http://escholarship.org/uc/item/6f91213q

The online journal in the example numbers issues only, so no volume number or page numbers are given.

Lowther, M. A. (1977, Winter). Career change in mid-life: Its impact on education. Innovator, 8 (7), 9-11.

An older journal article you consult in print may not have a DOI. In that case, end with the page numbers.

94. Article in a magazine

For a magazine article you read on a database or online, give the DOI if the article has one; otherwise give the URL. For a magazine article you consulted in print, end the entry after the page number unless a DOI is provided.

Sneed, A. (2017, September 19). Giant shape-shifters. Scientific American, 317 (4), 20. https://doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican1017-20

Sneed, A. (2017, September 19). Giant shape-shifters. Scientific American, 317 (4), 20.

Myszkowski, S. (2018, October 10). On the trail of missing American Indian women. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/10/trail-missing-american-indian-women/571657/

95. Article in a newspaper

For a newspaper article that you read on a database or in print, end the entry after the page numbers. For a newspaper article that you read online, give the URL instead of page numbers.

Krueger, A. (2019, November 27). When mom knows best, on Instagram. The New York Times, B1-B4.

Healy, J. (2021, January 12). Tribal elders are dying from the pandemic, causing a cultural crisis for American Indians. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/12/us/tribal-elders-native-americans-coronavirus.html

96. Blog post

Blazich, F. A. (2021, February 5). The cold morning of the day after. Smithsonian Voices. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/national-museum-american-history/2021/02/05/cold-morning-day-after/

97. Published interview

Beard, A. (2013, May). Life’s work: An interview with Maya Angelou. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2013/05/maya-angelou

98. Editorial or letter to the editor

An editorial may or may not have an author’s name attached to it. If it does, give the author’s name first. If it does not, start with the title. In both situations, add Editorial or Letter to the Editor in square brackets after the title.

For better elections, copy the neighbors [Editorial]. (2021, February 16). The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/for-better-elections-copy-the-neighbors-11613518448

To cite a review of a book, film, television show, or other work, begin with the reviewer’s last name, followed by the first and middle (if any) initials. In parentheses, add the year, followed by the title, month, and day of the review. Then in square brackets, add Review of the and the type of work being reviewed, followed by the title and the name of the author, director, or creator and their role. Then give the publication in which the review appeared, ending with a period, and the URL:

Girish, D. (2021, February 18). Refocusing the lens on race and gender [Review of the film Test Pattern, by S. M. Ford, Dir.]. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/18/movies/test-pattern-review.html

Use the following guidelines for books and parts of books, such as a selection from an anthology, a chapter in a collection, a published conference paper, and so on.

100. Basic entry for a book

Author’s Last Name, Initials. (Year of Publication). Title of book. Publisher.

  • Author. Give the last name, a comma, and the initials of the first name and middle name (if available). Do not list an author’s professional title, such as Dr . or PhD . End with a period.
  • Year of publication. In parentheses, give the year of publication, ending with a period outside the closing parentheses.
  • Title of the book. Put the book’s title in italics. Give the full title and any subtitle, separating them with a colon. Capitalize only the first word of the title and the first word of a subtitle and any proper nouns.
  • Publisher. Give the publisher’s name as shown on the work, omitting words such as Inc. or Company.

101. Print book or e-book

Aronson, L. (2019). Elderhood: Redefining aging, transforming medicine, reimagining life. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Use the same format for an e-book when the content is the same. If you consult a book that has a DOI, provide it after the publisher, using the format “https://doi.org/” followed by the number. (If you encounter older formats for DOI, change them to this format.) If you read a book online, give the URL.

102. Book, anthology, or collection with an editor

Schaefer, C. E., & Reid, S. E. (Eds.). (2001). Game play: Therapeutic use of childhood games (2nd ed.) . Wiley.

103. Article or chapter in an edited book, an anthology, or a collection

Burks, H. F. (2001). Using the imagine game as a projective technique. In C. E. Schaefer & S. E. Reid (Eds.), Game play: Therapeutic use of childhood games (2nd ed., pp. 39-66). Wiley.

104. Translated or reprinted book

Freud, S. (1950). The interpretation of dreams (A. A. Brill, Trans.). Modern Library. (Original work published 1900)

105. Revised edition

Strunk, W., Jr., & White, E. B. (2019). The elements of style (4th ed.). Pearson.

106. One volume of a multivolume work

Waldrep, T. (Ed.). (1988). Writers on writing (Vol. 2). Random House.

107. Report or publication by a government agency or other organization

National Institute of Mental Health. (2020). Post-traumatic stress disorder. U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, National Institutes of Health.

If you consulted the publication online, include the URL after the publisher. See Model 89.

108. Conference paper

Killi, S., & Morrison, A. (2021). Could the food market pull 3D printing appetites further? In J.D. da Silva Bartolo, F. M. da Silva, S. Jaradat, & H. Bartolo (Eds.), Industry 4.0—shaping the future of the digital world: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Sustainable & Smart Manufacturing (pp. 197-203). CRC Press.

Use the following guidelines for works published only online that do not have an overarching publication, such as a journal, newspaper, or magazine.

109. Basic format for a page or work on a website

Author’s Last Name, Initials. (Publication Date). Title of work. Title of website. URL.

  • Author. Give the last name, a comma, and the initials of the first name and middle name (if available). Do not list an author’s professional title, such as Dr. or PhD . End with a period.
  • Date of publication. In parentheses, give the year of publication and a comma, followed by the month and the day. End with a period outside the closing parentheses.
  • Title of the work. Put the title of the work in italics. Give the full title and any subtitle, separating them with a colon. Capitalize only the first word of the title and the first word of a subtitle and any proper nouns.
  • Title of the website. Give the title of the website and end with a period. If the author and the website title are the same, you can omit the title of the site.
  • URL. Copy and paste the URL from your browser window.

110. Page or work on a website

Shetterly, M. L. (2020, February 24). Katherine Johnson biography. NASA. https://www.nasa.gov/content/katherine-johnson-biography

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). What is PTSD? National Center for PTSD. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/what/index.asp

If the source you are citing has no author listed, start with the title. See Model 90.

Coronavirus. (2021, February 22). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronavirus

When you cite a social media post as a source, use labels in square brackets to indicate the type of post and whether images were attached to it.

112. Social media post

Holler, J. [@holleratcha]. (2020, November 2). Everyone get out and vote tomorrow! [Tweet]. Twitter. http://twitter.com/holleratcha/status/1270432672544784384

Death Valley National Park. (2021, February 23). What does it mean to protect something you love? [Images attached] [Status update]. Facebook. www.facebook.com/DeathValleyNPS/posts/4108808255810092.

113. Online forum post

National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA]. (2020, November 14). We’re engineers, astronaut trainers, and other specialists working to launch humans on commercial spacecraft from U.S. soil! Ask us anything about the NASA SpaceX Crew-1 mission! [Online forum post]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/jsx91g/were_engineers_astronaut_trainers_and_other/

When you cite nonprint sources, such as visual and multimedia sources, use labels in square brackets to indicate the type of source, such as a film, a TV episode, a song, a painting, a photograph, and so on.

When you cite a film that you saw in a theater or streamed, you do not need to specify how you watched it.

Jenkins, B. (Director). (2016). Moonlight [Film]. A24.

115. Online video

For an online video, give the name of the person or organization that uploaded it as the author:

TED. (2017, February 27). Sue Klebold: My son was a Columbine shooter. This is my story [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXlnrFpCu0c

116. Television program

Schur, M., Miner, D., Sackett, M., & Goddard, D. (Executive Producers). (2016-20). The good place [TV series]. Fremulon; 3 Arts Entertainment; Universal Television; NBC.

Mande, J. (Writer), & Benz, P. (Director). (2016, September 29). Jason Mendoza (Season 1, Episode 4) [TV series episode]. In M Schur, D. Miner, M. Sackett, & D. Goddard (Executive Producers), The good place. Fremulon; 3 Arts Entertainment; Universal Television; NBC.

117. Music recording

For an artist whose music is available only through a website, include the URL. If the artist’s music is available on multiple platforms, you do not need to specify how you accessed it.

Prince. (1984). Purple rain [Album]. Warner Brothers.

The Supremes. (1964). Baby love [Song]. On Where did our love go. Motown.

Overby, J. (Host). (2021, January 9). The road to higher ground: World music with African roots and more. WPR.

119. Podcast

McEvers, K. (Host). (2019, November 7). This is not a joke (Season 9, Episode 9) [Audio podcast episode]. In Embedded. NPR.

120. Painting or other visual artwork

For a work of visual art, give the location of the museum or gallery. If you saw the work online, add the URL after the location:

Rivera, D. (1932-33). Detroit industry murals [Painting]. Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI, United States.

Basquiat, J-M. (1983). Untitled [Painting]. Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, United States. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/63997?artist_id=370&page=1&sov_referrer=artist

121. Map, photograph, infographic, or other visual

If the work you consulted names an author, start with the author. If there is no author, start with the title and a description of the work in square brackets, such as [Map], [Photograph], [Infographic], [Diagram], or another appropriate descriptor:

Expedition of Lewis and Clark [Map]. (2018). National Park Service. http://nps.gov/subjects/travellewisandclark/map.htm

122. Video game, software, or app

Benzies, L., & Sarwar, I. (2017). Grand theft auto V [Video game]. Rockstar Games. https://www.rockstargames.com/games/V

APA Paper Format

Follow your instructor’s formatting guidelines or those indicated here. For sample papers showing APA paper format, see this site .

  • Title page. Give the title of the paper in bold, centered. Then, on separate lines and not boldfaced, give your name, academic department, name of your college or university, course number and name, instructor’s name, and the due date, all centered. Repeat only the title on the first page of the text of your paper.
  • Spacing. Double-space throughout the paper, including the references page.
  • Headings. Give headings for the major sections of your paper, such as Method, Results or Findings, and Discussion . Put the headings in bold and center them on the page. Put the next level of headings in bold and place them flush left.
  • Page numbers. Start numbering on the title page of your paper and continue to the end of the references page. Place page numbers in the upper-right corner.
  • Long quotations. See Quotations for how to cite long quotations.

H 15 . Further Reading

MLA Handbook , 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

MLA Handbook, 9 th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2020.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th ed., American Psychological Association, 2020.

H 16 . Works Cited

Addams, Jane. Twenty Years at Hull-House. Digital Public Library of America , 1910, dp.la/primary-source-sets/theodore-dreiser-s-sister-carrie-and-the-urbanization-of-chicago/.

Becker, Jo. Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality. Penguin Press, 2014.

Behn, Aphra. “The Character.” The Works of Aphra Behn. Edited by Montague Summers, vol. 6, Project Gutenberg , 2014, www.gutenberg.org/files/45777/45777-h/45777-h.htm#Page_113.

Behn, Aphra. “Love’s Power.” The Works of Aphra Behn. Edited by Montague Summers, vol. 6, Project Gutenberg, 2014, www.gutenberg.org/files/45777/45777-h/45777-h.htm#Page_113.

Brooks, Gwendolyn. “We Real Cool.” Blacks , Third World Press, 1994.

Da 5 Bloods. Directed by Spike Lee. Netflix, 2020.

Eisenberg, Richard. “How to Fix Social Security for Vulnerable Americans.” Forbes , 5 July 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2018/07/05/how-to-fix-social-security-for-vulnerable-americans/.

“Environmental Impacts of Natural Gas.” Union of Concerned Scientists, 19 June 2014, www.ucsusa.org/resources/environmental-impacts-natural-gas.

Garrison, Dee. Bracing for Armageddon: Why Civil Defense Never Worked. Oxford UP, 2006.

Hollar-Zwick, Carol. Me, Hemorrhage: Recovery from a Ruptured Arteriovenous Malformation. Amazon, 2020.

The King James Bible. Project Gutenberg, 1989, www.gutenberg.org/files/10/10-h/10-h.htm#The_Gospel_According_to_Saint_Matthew.

Konish, Lorie. “Some Retirees Get by on Just Social Security. Experts Disagree on How Many.” CNBC, 10 Feb. 2020, www.cnbc.com/2020/02/10/some-retirees-live-on-social-security-experts-disagree-on-how-many.html.

Mechling, Elizabeth Walker, and Jay Mechling. “The Campaign for Civil Defense and the Struggle to Naturalize the Bomb.” Western Journal of Speech Communication, vol. 55, no. 2, Spring 1991, pp. 105-33.

Myers, David. “The Funds, Friends, and Faith of Happy People.” American Psychologist , vol. 55, no. 1, Jan. 2000, pp. 56-67.

“This Is Who We Are.” U.S. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Mar. 2019, http://www.fs.usda.gov/sites/default/files/This-is-Who-We-Are.pdf.

Thomas, Lewis. Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher. Penguin Books, 1978.

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden. Project Gutenberg, 1995, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/205/205-h/205-h.htm.

University of Agder. “Sorry (not sorry).” YouTube , 6 Feb. 2021, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi3JQa1ynDw.

Wilkerson, Isabel. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Random House, 2020.

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essay on books writing

The Best Reviewed Essay Collections of 2021

Featuring joan didion, rachel kushner, hanif abdurraqib, ann patchett, jenny diski, and more.

Book Marks logo

Well, friends, another grim and grueling plague year is drawing to a close, and that can mean only one thing: it’s time to put on our Book Marks stats hats and tabulate the best reviewed books of the past twelve months.

Yes, using reviews drawn from more than 150 publications, over the next two weeks we’ll be revealing the most critically-acclaimed books of 2021, in the categories of (deep breath): Memoir and Biography ; Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror ; Short Story Collections ; Essay Collections; Poetry; Mystery and Crime; Graphic Literature; Literature in Translation; General Fiction; and General Nonfiction.

Today’s installment: Essay Collections .

Brought to you by Book Marks , Lit Hub’s “Rotten Tomatoes for books.”

These Precious Days

1. These Precious Days by Ann Patchett (Harper)

21 Rave • 3 Positive • 1 Mixed Read Ann Patchett on creating the work space you need, here

“… excellent … Patchett has a talent for friendship and celebrates many of those friends here. She writes with pure love for her mother, and with humor and some good-natured exasperation at Karl, who is such a great character he warrants a book of his own. Patchett’s account of his feigned offer to buy a woman’s newly adopted baby when she expresses unwarranted doubts is priceless … The days that Patchett refers to are precious indeed, but her writing is anything but. She describes deftly, with a line or a look, and I considered the absence of paragraphs freighted with adjectives to be a mercy. I don’t care about the hue of the sky or the shade of the couch. That’s not writing; it’s decorating. Or hiding. Patchett’s heart, smarts and 40 years of craft create an economy that delivers her perfectly understated stories emotionally whole. Her writing style is most gloriously her own.”

–Alex Witchel ( The New York Times Book Review )

2. Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion (Knopf)

14 Rave • 12 Positive • 6 Mixed Read an excerpt from Let Me Tell You What I Mean here

“In five decades’ worth of essays, reportage and criticism, Didion has documented the charade implicit in how things are, in a first-person, observational style that is not sacrosanct but common-sensical. Seeing as a way of extrapolating hypocrisy, disingenuousness and doubt, she’ll notice the hydrangeas are plastic and mention it once, in passing, sorting the scene. Her gaze, like a sentry on the page, permanently trained on what is being disguised … The essays in Let Me Tell You What I Mean are at once funny and touching, roving and no-nonsense. They are about humiliation and about notions of rightness … Didion’s pen is like a periscope onto the creative mind—and, as this collection demonstrates, it always has been. These essays offer a direct line to what’s in the offing.”

–Durga Chew-Bose ( The New York Times Book Review )

3. Orwell’s Roses by Rebecca Solnit (Viking)

12 Rave • 13 Positive • 1 Mixed Read an excerpt from Orwell’s Roses here

“… on its simplest level, a tribute by one fine essayist of the political left to another of an earlier generation. But as with any of Solnit’s books, such a description would be reductive: the great pleasure of reading her is spending time with her mind, its digressions and juxtapositions, its unexpected connections. Only a few contemporary writers have the ability to start almost anywhere and lead the reader on paths that, while apparently meandering, compel unfailingly and feel, by the end, cosmically connected … Somehow, Solnit’s references to Ross Gay, Michael Pollan, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Peter Coyote (to name but a few) feel perfectly at home in the narrative; just as later chapters about an eighteenth-century portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds and a visit to the heart of the Colombian rose-growing industry seem inevitable and indispensable … The book provides a captivating account of Orwell as gardener, lover, parent, and endlessly curious thinker … And, movingly, she takes the time to find the traces of Orwell the gardener and lover of beauty in his political novels, and in his insistence on the value and pleasure of things .”

–Claire Messud ( Harper’s )

4. Girlhood by Melissa Febos (Bloomsbury)

16 Rave • 5 Positive • 1 Mixed Read an excerpt from Girlhood here

“Every once in a while, a book comes along that feels so definitive, so necessary, that not only do you want to tell everyone to read it now, but you also find yourself wanting to go back in time and tell your younger self that you will one day get to read something that will make your life make sense. Melissa Febos’s fierce nonfiction collection, Girlhood , might just be that book. Febos is one of our most passionate and profound essayists … Girlhood …offers us exquisite, ferocious language for embracing self-pleasure and self-love. It’s a book that women will wish they had when they were younger, and that they’ll rejoice in having now … Febos is a balletic memoirist whose capacious gaze can take in so many seemingly disparate things and unfurl them in a graceful, cohesive way … Intellectual and erotic, engaging and empowering[.]”

–Michelle Hart ( Oprah Daily )

Why Didn't You Just Do What You Were Told?

5. Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told by Jenny Diski (Bloomsbury)

14 Rave • 7 Positive

“[Diski’s] reputation as an original, witty and cant-free thinker on the way we live now should be given a significant boost. Her prose is elegant and amused, as if to counter her native melancholia and includes frequent dips into memorable images … Like the ideal artist Henry James conjured up, on whom nothing is lost, Diski notices everything that comes her way … She is discerning about serious topics (madness and death) as well as less fraught material, such as fashion … in truth Diski’s first-person voice is like no other, selectively intimate but not overbearingly egotistic, like, say, Norman Mailer’s. It bears some resemblance to Joan Didion’s, if Didion were less skittish and insistently stylish and generated more warmth. What they have in common is their innate skepticism and the way they ask questions that wouldn’t occur to anyone else … Suffice it to say that our culture, enmeshed as it is in carefully arranged snapshots of real life, needs Jenny Diski, who, by her own admission, ‘never owned a camera, never taken one on holiday.’” It is all but impossible not to warm up to a writer who observes herself so keenly … I, in turn, wish there were more people around who thought like Diski. The world would be a more generous, less shallow and infinitely more intriguing place.”

–Daphne Merkin ( The New York Times Book Review )

6. The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000-2020 by Rachel Kushner (Scribner)

12 Rave • 7 Positive Listen to an interview with Rachel Kushner here

“Whether she’s writing about Jeff Koons, prison abolition or a Palestinian refugee camp in Jerusalem, [Kushner’s] interested in appearances, and in the deeper currents a surface detail might betray … Her writing is magnetised by outlaw sensibility, hard lives lived at a slant, art made in conditions of ferment and unrest, though she rarely serves a platter that isn’t style-mag ready … She makes a pretty convincing case for a political dimension to Jeff Koons’s vacuities and mirrored surfaces, engages repeatedly with the Italian avant garde and writes best of all about an artist friend whose death undoes a spell of nihilism … It’s not just that Kushner is looking back on the distant city of youth; more that she’s the sole survivor of a wild crowd done down by prison, drugs, untimely death … What she remembers is a whole world, but does the act of immortalising it in language also drain it of its power,’neon, in pink, red, and warm white, bleeding into the fog’? She’s mining a rich seam of specificity, her writing charged by the dangers she ran up against. And then there’s the frank pleasure of her sentences, often shorn of definite articles or odd words, so they rev and bucket along … That New Journalism style, live hard and keep your eyes open, has long since given way to the millennial cult of the personal essay, with its performance of pain, its earnest display of wounds received and lessons learned. But Kushner brings it all flooding back. Even if I’m skeptical of its dazzle, I’m glad to taste something this sharp, this smart.”

–Olivia Laing ( The Guardian )

7. The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century by Amia Srinivasan (FSG)

12 Rave • 7 Positive • 5 Mixed • 1 Pan

“[A] quietly dazzling new essay collection … This is, needless to say, fraught terrain, and Srinivasan treads it with determination and skill … These essays are works of both criticism and imagination. Srinivasan refuses to resort to straw men; she will lay out even the most specious argument clearly and carefully, demonstrating its emotional power, even if her ultimate intention is to dismantle it … This, then, is a book that explicitly addresses intersectionality, even if Srinivasan is dissatisfied with the common—and reductive—understanding of the term … Srinivasan has written a compassionate book. She has also written a challenging one … Srinivasan proposes the kind of education enacted in this brilliant, rigorous book. She coaxes our imaginations out of the well-worn grooves of the existing order.”

–Jennifer Szalai ( The New York Times )

8. A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib (Random House)

13 Rave • 4 Positive Listen to an interview with Hanif Abdurraqib here

“[A] wide, deep, and discerning inquest into the Beauty of Blackness as enacted on stages and screens, in unanimity and discord, on public airwaves and in intimate spaces … has brought to pop criticism and cultural history not just a poet’s lyricism and imagery but also a scholar’s rigor, a novelist’s sense of character and place, and a punk-rocker’s impulse to dislodge conventional wisdom from its moorings until something shakes loose and is exposed to audiences too lethargic to think or even react differently … Abdurraqib cherishes this power to enlarge oneself within or beyond real or imagined restrictions … Abdurraqib reminds readers of the massive viewing audience’s shock and awe over seeing one of the world’s biggest pop icons appearing midfield at this least radical of American rituals … Something about the seemingly insatiable hunger Abdurraqib shows for cultural transaction, paradoxical mischief, and Beauty in Blackness tells me he’ll get to such matters soon enough.”

–Gene Seymour ( Bookforum )

9. On Animals by Susan Orlean (Avid Reader Press)

11 Rave • 6 Positive • 1 Mixed Listen to an interview with Susan Orlean here

“I very much enjoyed Orlean’s perspective in these original, perceptive, and clever essays showcasing the sometimes strange, sometimes sick, sometimes tender relationships between people and animals … whether Orlean is writing about one couple’s quest to find their lost dog, the lives of working donkeys of the Fez medina in Morocco, or a man who rescues lions (and happily allows even full grown males to gently chew his head), her pages are crammed with quirky characters, telling details, and flabbergasting facts … Readers will find these pages full of astonishments … Orlean excels as a reporter…Such thorough reporting made me long for updates on some of these stories … But even this criticism only testifies to the delight of each of the urbane and vivid stories in this collection. Even though Orlean claims the animals she writes about remain enigmas, she makes us care about their fates. Readers will continue to think about these dogs and donkeys, tigers and lions, chickens and pigeons long after we close the book’s covers. I hope most of them are still well.”

–Sy Montgomery ( The Boston Globe )

10. Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South  by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed Editions)

9 Rave • 5 Positive Read Margaret Renkl on finding ideas everywhere, here

“Renkl’s sense of joyful belonging to the South, a region too often dismissed on both coasts in crude stereotypes and bad jokes, co-exists with her intense desire for Southerners who face prejudice or poverty finally to be embraced and supported … Renkl at her most tender and most fierce … Renkl’s gift, just as it was in her first book Late Migrations , is to make fascinating for others what is closest to her heart … Any initial sense of emotional whiplash faded as as I proceeded across the six sections and realized that the book is largely organized around one concept, that of fair and loving treatment for all—regardless of race, class, sex, gender or species … What rises in me after reading her essays is Lewis’ famous urging to get in good trouble to make the world fairer and better. Many people in the South are doing just that—and through her beautiful writing, Renkl is among them.”

–Barbara J. King ( NPR )

Our System:

RAVE = 5 points • POSITIVE = 3 points • MIXED = 1 point • PAN = -5 points

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Guide to Essay Writing: 5 Steps to Write an Outstanding Essay

Matt Ellis

Feel passionately about something and want to share it? Write an essay! Disagree with a popular opinion and wish to convince others to join you? Write an essay! Need to write something because the college you dream of attending is making you? Write an essay! 

“Essay” is a loose term for writing that asserts the author’s opinion on a topic, whether academic, editorial, or even humorous. There are a thousand different approaches to essay writing and a million different topics to choose from, but what we’ve found is that good essay writing tends to follow the same framework. 

Give your essays extra polish Grammarly helps you write with confidence Write with Grammarly

Below we discuss that framework and how you can apply it to your essays, whatever types they may be. But first, let’s start with a basic overview of how to write an essay.

Table of contents

How to write an essay.

Your essay needs a thesis statement

The essay-writing process

Essay structure, know your essay’s audience, 6 types of essays, essay writing tips.

The basic steps for how to write an essay are: 

  • Generate ideas and pick a type of essay to write. 
  • Outline your essay paragraph by paragraph. 
  • Write a rough first draft without worrying about details like word choice or grammar.
  • Edit your rough draft, and revise and fix the details.
  • Review your essay for typos, mistakes, and any other problems. 

Want to know more? We cover the specifics below, but for now let’s talk about the nucleus of any good essay: the topic.

Your essay needs a thesis statement 

Three things to consider before writing your essay:

Of these, the most important by far is your thesis, or the crux of what your essay is about.

Your thesis, encapsulated in your thesis statement , is the central point you’re trying to make. The thesis of Bertrand Russell’s essay “ In Praise of Idleness ,” for example, is that people focus too much on work and don’t value time spent idly. Essays can occasionally stray and go into related tangents, but they always come back to that one core idea in the thesis. 

You should always pinpoint your thesis before writing. If you’re having trouble nailing it down, ask yourself, “What’s the one thing I want my reader to remember when they’re done reading my essay?”

The best practice is to include your thesis as soon as possible, even in your topic sentence if it’s appropriate. You’ll want to reiterate it throughout the essay as well, especially when wrapping up everything in the conclusion. 

The rest of your essay, then, supports your thesis. You can include empirical evidence, testimonials, logical deductions, or even persuasive rhetoric —whatever gets the job done. The point is that you’re building upon your initial thesis, not switching to completely different topics. 

If you’re writing an essay, research paper , term paper, novel, short story, poem , screenplay, blog article about essay writing—when writing just about anything , really—it’s crucial to follow an efficient writing process. Even if you prefer the stream-of-consciousness style for writing your rough draft, you still need to have an orderly system that allows you to revise and hone. 

For essay writing, we recommend this  five-step writing process :

1 Brainstorming

It always helps to collect your thoughts before you begin writing by brainstorming . Based on your prompt or thesis, try to generate as many ideas as possible to include in your essay. Think of as many as time allows, knowing that you’ll be able to set aside the ideas that don’t work later. 

2 Preparing

The preparation phase consists of both outlining your essay and collecting resources for evidence. Take a look at the results of your brainstorming session. First, isolate the ideas that are essential to support your thesis and then organize them in a logical and progressive order. In this stage you’ll incorporate your essay structure, which we explain below.

If you want empirical evidence or complementary citations, track them down now.  The way you write citations depends on the style guide you’re using. The three most common style guides for academics are MLA , APA , and Chicago , and each has its own particular rules and requirements for citing just about  any  kind of source, including newspaper articles ,  websites ,  speeches , and  YouTube videos .

This is the main stage of essay writing where you roll up your sleeves and actually write your first draft . Remember that everything doesn’t have to be perfect; this is your first draft, not your final draft, so give yourself the freedom to make errors. If you’re focusing on getting every single word right, you’ll miss the big picture. 

The revisions stage involves your second draft, your third draft, or even your twelfth draft if necessary. Address all the nuances and subtleties you glossed over in the first draft. 

Pay attention to both word choice and clarity , as well as sophisticated writing techniques like avoiding the passive voice . If you’re not confident in your writing skills yet, the Grammarly Editor ensures your writing is readable, clear, and concise by offering sentence structure and word choice suggestions, plus clarity revisions as you write. Grammarly helps catch common mistakes with sentence structure—like run-on sentences, sentence fragments, passive voice, and more.  

5 Proofreading

When all the heavy-duty revisions are finished, it’s time for the final polish. Go through your essay and correct misspellings , formatting issues, or grammatical errors. This is also where you can turn to Grammarly’s AI-powered writing assistant, which helps catch these common mistakes for you. Or  copy and paste your writing to check your grammar and get instant feedback on grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other mistakes you might have missed.

Essay structure almost always follows a simple beginning-middle-end format, or in this case, an introduction-body-conclusion format. However, it’s what’s contained within those sections that makes all the difference. 

Introduction

Essays follow the same guidelines for introductions as any other piece of writing, with an extra emphasis on presenting the thesis prominently, ideally in the topic sentence. By the end of your introduction paragraph, your reader should know without a doubt what your essay is about. From there, follow the conventional best practices on how to write an introduction . 

Body paragraphs

The majority of your essay is body paragraphs , all of which support your thesis and present evidence. 

Pay close attention to how you organize your body paragraphs. Some arguments benefit from a logical progression, where one point leads to a second, and that second point leads to a third. Remember that the reader doesn’t understand the topic like you do (that’s why you’re writing the essay), so structure your paragraphs in the way that’s best for their comprehension. 

What if you’re writing an argumentative essay where you compare and contrast two or more points of view? Do you present your argument first and then share opposing points of view, or do you open with your opposition’s argument and then refute it? 

Serious writers can get pretty technical about how to organize an argumentative essay. There are three approaches in particular used often: Aristotlian (classical), Rogerian , and Toulmin . However, these can get exceedingly complicated, so for a simple essay, a basic structure will do just fine:

  • Counterpoint
  • Evidence supporting your point and/or disproving counterpoint 

Essay conclusions wrap up or summarize your thesis in a way that’s easy for the reader to digest. If you get the chance, you can add a new perspective or context for understanding your thesis, but in general the conclusion should not present any new evidence or supporting data. Rather, it’s more of a recap. For more specific tips, read about how to write a conclusion for an essay here . 

Five-paragraph essay

For quick and simple essays, you don’t need to get too technical with your essay structure. The five-paragraph essay structure works well in a pinch. This contains:

  • One introduction paragraph
  • Three body paragraphs
  • One conclusion paragraph

While this essay structure might not be flexible enough for more advanced topics, it comes in handy when speed is a factor, like during timed tests. 

Your final consideration is who will read your essay—a teacher, an admissions counselor, your peers, the internet at large, etc. 

No matter what you’re writing, your audience should influence your language. For one thing, your readers determine whether the essay is formal or casual , which has an enormous impact on language, word choice, and style . Take emojis for example: In a casual essay they might be welcome, but for formal writing they’re not the most appropriate choice. 😓

Your audience also affects the essay’s tone, or how you sound on an emotional level (enthusiastic, cautious, confident, etc.). If you’d like to know more, you can read about the 10 common types of tone here . 

Like any form of writing, essays come in many different types . Sometimes the assignment dictates the type, as with admissions essays, and other times the thesis will determine it. Regardless, it helps to know what your options are, so here are some of the most common essay types: 

1 Argumentative essay

Argumentative essays assert or defend a position. This is the most common type of school paper, so keep that in mind when writing your first college essay . 

2 Admissions essay

Most colleges request an admissions essay in applications, which typically revolve around why you’re interested in their school. 

3 Persuasive essay

A persuasive essay is just as it sounds: an essay to persuade or convince the reader of a certain point. It’s similar to an argumentative essay— they both strongly favor a particular point of view, but the difference is the end goal: Argumentative essays just have to present their case, while persuasive essays have to present their case and win over the reader. 

4 Compare-and-contrast essay

When you want to devote equal attention to two opposing things, a compare-and-contrast essay works better than argumentative or persuasive essays, which lean to one side over the other.

5 Personal essay

Personal essays are often anecdotal or real-life stories of the authors, like the works of David Sedaris . Because they tend to follow narrative structures, the thesis can be flexible or interpretive. 

6 Expository essay

An expository essay thoroughly explains a certain topic to expand the reader’s knowledge. It is similar to an argumentative and persuasive essay in format, but with one key difference: expository essays don’t have a bias. 

Master the five fundamentals

Especially for school essays, your reader will scrutinize how well you handle the fundamentals. Knowing about essay structure and the writing process is one thing, but can you demonstrate an understanding of language style? Can you develop your thesis logically and coherently? Are your references and citations trustworthy?

When you’re ready for the next step of essay writing, take a look at the five concepts you must master to write better essays . The tips there pick up where this guide leaves off. 

Seek out another pair of eyes

This tip is not just for essays; it’s always advisable to have someone else read over your writing before finalizing it. All too often we miss the forest for the trees, and thinking long and hard on the same topic can give you tunnel vision. The solution is to get a fresh take from someone who’s seeing it for the first time. 

Typically you can swap with a friend and edit each others’ works. If that’s not an option, however, you can also use a writing center or join a writing group online. At the very least, you should sleep on it and take another look when you’re refreshed. 

Remember: Grammar and form are essential 

It’s not always about what you say, but how you say it. You could have the most obvious, objectively agreeable thesis in the world, but if your writing is incoherent, confusing, and full of mistakes, it’s tough to engage with your reader. 

For when your writing needs to make the right impact, Grammarly Premium offers full-sentence rewrites for confusing sentences—from splitting long sentences, cutting extra words, or rearranging key phrases—in addition to catching common grammar mistakes. It also gives you readability-focused formatting suggestions, so you know your writing is clear. It also helps those who are looking to improve their writing skill level in English, with suggestions for commonly misused words and phrases. 

Honing your writing with these elements in mind is key to relaying your point to your reader—and asserting your thesis as effectively as possible.

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10 Best Books on Essay Writing (You Should Read Today)

Author: Rafal Reyzer

You can improve your essay writing skills with practice, repetition, and perusing books on essay writing, which are full of useful examples.  

While simply living life, observing your surroundings, and diving into classic essays can naturally hone your writing skills, sometimes a trusty guidebook can give you that extra edge. Interested in mastering the craft of essay writing? Dive into some of the best essay-writing manuals out there. If you dream of becoming a professional essay writer , it’s essential to grasp the nuances of structure, tone, and format. Not all gifted writers can craft an exemplary essay, after all. Recognizing the significance of essays, especially in college admissions, can elevate your approach. If you’re gearing up to write a compelling college admission essay , I’d recommend perusing my guide on crafting an outstanding essay .

“I hate writing, I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker

Here are 10 Books That Will Help You With Essay Writing:

1. a professor’s guide to writing essays: the no-nonsense plan for better writing by dr. jacob neumann.

This is the highest-rated book on the subject available on the market right now. It’s written for students at any level of education. The author uses an unorthodox approach, claiming that breaking essays down into different formats is unnecessary. It doesn’t matter if it’s a persuasive or a narrative essay – the difference is not in how you write, but rather in how you build your case . Length: 118 pages Published: 2016

2. College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay – by Ethan Sawyer

Every year, millions of high-schoolers scramble to achieve above-average GPAs and score well on the SAT , or in some cases, the ACT , or both. They also have to write a 650-word essay and find their way to their dream college. If you’re one of them, then make sure you read this concise book . Ethan Sawyer (The College Essay Guy), breaks the whole essay-writing process down into simple steps and shows you the way around the most common mistakes college applicants usually make. Length: 256 pages Published: 2016

3. The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment by Susan Thurman

The institution of a grammar school is defunct, but it doesn’t mean you can ignore the basic rules that govern your language. If you’re writing an essay or a college paper , you better keep your grammar tight. Otherwise, your grades will drop dramatically because professors abhor simple grammar mistakes. By reading this little book , you’ll make sure your writing is pristine. Length: 192 pages Published: 2003

4. Escape Essay Hell!: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Narrative College Application Essays by Janine W. Robinson

A well-written essay has immense power. Not only that, it is the prerequisite to getting admitted to colleges and universities, but you also have to tackle a few essay questions in most, if not all exams you will ever take for career or academic advancement. For instance, when taking the LSAT to qualify for law school , the MCAT to get into med school , the DAT to pursue a degree in dentistry, or even the GRE or GMAT as the first step in earning a master’s degree. That is why this book is highly recommended to anyone navigating through the sea of higher learning. In this amusing book, Janine Robinson focuses mostly on writing narrative essays . She’s been helping college-bound students to tell unique stories for over a decade and you’ll benefit from her expert advice. The book contains 10 easy steps that you can follow as a blueprint for writing the best “slice of life” story ever told. Length: 76 pages Published: 2013

5. The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate

This large volume is a necessary diversion from the subject of formal, highly constrained types of writing. It focuses only on the genre of the personal essay which is much more free-spirited, creative, and tongue-and-cheek-like. Phillip Lopate, himself an acclaimed essayist, gathers seventy of the best essays of this type and lets you draw timeless lessons from them. Length: 777 pages Published: 1995

6. The Best American Essays of the Century by Joyce Carol Oates

The art of the modern essay starts with Voltaire at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Since then, many a writer attempted to share their personal stories and philosophical musings in this free-flowing form. Americans are no different. In this anthology, Joyce Carol Oates shares some fantastic reads that you need to absorb if you want to become a highly skilled polemicist. Length: 624 pages Published: 2001

7. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser

On Writing Well is a classic writing guide that will open your eyes to the art of producing clear-cut copy. Zinsser approached the subject of writing with a warm, cheerful attitude that seeps through the pages of his masterpiece. Whether you want to describe places, communicate with editors, self-edit your copy, or avoid verbosity, this book will have the right answer for you. Length: 336 pages Published: 2016 (reprint edition)

8. How To Write Any High School Essay: The Essential Guide by Jesse Liebman

The previous titles I mentioned were mostly for “grown-up” writers, but the list wouldn’t be complete without a book for ambitious high-school students. Its length is appropriate, making it possible even for the most ADHD among us to get through it. It contains expert advice, easy-to-implement essay outlines , and tips on finding the best topics and supporting them with strong arguments. Length: 124 pages Published: 2017

9. Essential Writing Skills for College and Beyond by C.M. Gill

On average, after finishing high school or college, Americans read only around twelve books per year. This is a pity because books contain a wealth of information. People at the top of the socio-economic ladder read between forty and sixty books per year – and you should too! But reading is just one skill that gets neglected after college. Writing is the other one. By reading the “Essential Writing Skills” you’ll be able to crush all of your college writing assignments and use them throughout your life to sharpen your prose. Length: 250 Published: 2014

10. The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing by Margot Livesey

If you want to write, you first need to read some of the best essays ever written . Developing your style results from conversing with great minds and then borrowing from them to create something new. All great artists are inspired by someone. In Hidden Machinery, Margot Livesey shares her essays on what makes good fiction and a strong narrative. It’s a must-read for all aspiring writers. Length: 224 Published: 2017 How did you like this article? Are you going to read any of the books listed above? Can you recommend any other book that I should add to this list?

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Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time blogger, educator, digital marketer, freelance writer, editor, and content manager with 10+ years of experience. I started RafalReyzer.com to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to become a proficient writer and achieve freedom through online creativity. My site is a one-stop shop for writers, digital marketers, and content enthusiasts who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things. Dive into my journey here , and don't miss out on my free PDF guide 80+ AI marketing tools .

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A (Very) Simple Way to Improve Your Writing

  • Mark Rennella

essay on books writing

It’s called the “one-idea rule” — and any level of writer can use it.

The “one idea” rule is a simple concept that can help you sharpen your writing, persuade others by presenting your argument in a clear, concise, and engaging way. What exactly does the rule say?

  • Every component of a successful piece of writing should express only one idea.
  • In persuasive writing, your “one idea” is often the argument or belief you are presenting to the reader. Once you identify what that argument is, the “one-idea rule” can help you develop, revise, and connect the various components of your writing.
  • For instance, let’s say you’re writing an essay. There are three components you will be working with throughout your piece: the title, the paragraphs, and the sentences.
  • Each of these parts should be dedicated to just one idea. The ideas are not identical, of course, but they’re all related. If done correctly, the smaller ideas (in sentences) all build (in paragraphs) to support the main point (suggested in the title).

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Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .

Most advice about writing looks like a long laundry list of “do’s and don’ts.” These lists can be helpful from time to time, but they’re hard to remember … and, therefore, hard to depend on when you’re having trouble putting your thoughts to paper. During my time in academia, teaching composition at the undergraduate and graduate levels, I saw many people struggle with this.

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  • MR Mark Rennella is Associate Editor at HBP and has published two books, Entrepreneurs, Managers, and Leaders and The Boston Cosmopolitans .  

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Essays About Books: Top 5 Examples and Writing Prompts

Books open portals to new worlds and display new knowledge inspired from the old to the new. Here are some published essays about books and prompts you can use.

Books are a way for the past to teach the present and preserve the present for the future. Books come in all shapes and sizes. In addition, technology has improved the way books can be accessed with eBooks and audiobooks that are more accessible and hassle-free to use. 

No matter what genre, a book aids its readers in gaining valuable knowledge, improving vocabulary, and many more. Following are 5 essays with books as their subject:

1. Why Are Books So Important in Our Life by Ankita Yadav

2. essay on books for students by kanak mishra, 3. listening to books by maggie gram, 4. short essay on books and reading by sastry, 5. long essay on books by ram, 1. do we still need libraries, 2. the names an author gives to their characters, 3. do you read or write, 4. your favorite book, 5. books and inspirations, 6. the book cover, 7. paper books vs. digital copies, 8. why read the book you hate, 9. the book is better than the movie.

“Books are the best companions in our life. They never leave us alone and are like our best friends.”

For Yadav, a book is someone’s best friend, guide, all-time teacher, and keeper of various information. The essay talks about how reading a physical book is better than watching movies or using modern technologies for entertainment and learning purposes. The author also believes that autobiography books of great people inspire students and motivate them to work hard to achieve their goals in life.

“Though the technology has so much changed that we can take information about anything through internet… importance of books has not decreased…”

The writer describes books as the best option for self-learners. They don’t only note an issue, topic, or story but also put effort and emotions into their writing. Next, she discusses the types of books and their subcategories. Finally, she gives tips about finding a good book to read.

“The possibility of reading while also doing something else produces one of the stranger phenomenological characteristics of audio book reading: you can have a whole set of unrelated and real (if only partially attended) experiences while simultaneously experiencing a book.”

Gram’s primary focus in this essay is audiobooks, discussing their history and how audiobooks started. She also mentions how audiobooks help blind people who find it challenging to read braille books. The author also compares physical books and audiobooks to help the reader choose better for a long drive, house cleaning, or simply doing anything other than reading. 

“Books are standing counsellors and preachers, always at hand and always neutral.”

Sastry considers novels the best option when one is tired and looking for healthy recreational activity. Still, the author didn’t forget the fact that reading history, science, religion, and other more “serious” books can also bring gratification to their readers. Books offer unlimited benefits if well used, but not when abused, and as the writer said, “no book can be good if studied negligently.”

“Books are important because they provide a few things that are key to an open and intelligent society.”

The essay is best to be read by students from classes 7 to 10, as it gives the simplest explanation of why it is vital to read a book during their spare time or extended holidays. Ram says people get inspired and receive life lessons by reading books. Reading classic and newer books with lots of words of wisdom and new ideas are better than wasting time and learning nothing.

Are you looking for writing applications to help you improve your essay? See the seven best essay writing apps to use.

Top 10 Writing Prompts on Essays About Books

Writing essays about books can be easy as many subtopics exist. However, it can also be challenging to pick a specific subcategory. To help you narrow it down, here are ten easy writing prompts that you can use.

Essays About Books: Do We Still Need Libraries?

Libraries help many people – from bibliophiles to job seekers and students. They offer free access to books, newspapers, and computers. But with modern devices making it easier to get information, are libraries still needed? Use this prompt to discuss the importance of libraries and the consequences if all of them close down.

Some authors like to give their characters very unusual names, such as “America Singer” from the book The Selection by Keira Cass. Do you think characters having strange names take away the reader’s attention to the plot? Does it make the book more interesting or odd? Suppose you are writing a story; how do you name the characters and why?

They say writers need readers and vice versa, but which role do you find more challenging? Is writing harder than finding the best book, story, and poetry to read? 

Use this prompt to describe their roles and explain how readers and writers hold each other up.

Essays About Books: Your Favorite Book

There is always a unique book that one will never forget. What is your favorite book of all time, and why? Write an essay about why you consider that book your favorite. You can also persuade others to try to read it. 

If you have more than one preference, describe them and tell the readers why you can’t choose between your favorite books. Check out these essays about literature .

Authors inspiring their readers to try something new by reading their book are not always intentional but usually happens. Have you ever experienced wanting to move to a new place or change career paths after reading something? 

Use this prompt to share your experience and opinion on readers who make significant life changes because books and characters influence them in a story.

Have you ever gone to a book shop to find a book recommended to you but didn’t buy or read it because of the cover? They said never judge a book by its cover. In this prompt, you can.

Share what you think the book is all about based on its cover. Then, make a follow-up writing if you were right or wrong after reading the book’s contents.

Studies confirmed more benefits to reading physical books than digital books, such as retaining information longer if read from a printed copy. Are you more of a traditional or modern reader? Use this prompt to explain your answer and briefly discuss the pros and cons of each type of book in your opinion.

Are you ever tasked to read a book you don’t like? Share your experience and tell the reader if you finished the book, learned anything from it, and what it feels like to force yourself to read a book you hate. You can also add if you come to like it in the end.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is undisputedly one of the most popular books turned into movies. However, avid readers consider books better than movies because they can echo the main protagonist’s thoughts.

Do you have a favorite book adapted into a film? Did you like it? Write about what makes the movie version better or underwhelming. You can also include why movies are more limited than books. 

Do you still feel like there is something wrong with your essay? Here is a guide about grammar and punctuation to help you.

If you still need help, our guide to grammar and syntax explains more.

essay on books writing

Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.

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9 Great Books on Essay Writing

By Med Kharbach, PhD | Last Update: October 17, 2023

Books on essay writing are the topic of our blog post today!

Essay writing stands as a cornerstone in education. It sharpens critical thinking, conveys ideas, and showcases understanding. Yet, mastering it isn’t just about practicing the act of writing. Reading, in all its wonder, plays a pivotal role too. By diving into books, students can absorb styles, structure, and nuances, essentially refining their own writing arsenal. It’s like training the mind, equipping it with tools for better essays. So, if one wishes to elevate their essay-writing game, turning pages is a brilliant place to start.

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Books on Essay Writing

Here are our top picks for best books on essay writing

1. “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

“The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White is a classic in the realm of writing guides. Though not an essay writing service , this compact book acts as a mentor, offering writers techniques to enhance their craft. It champions the principles of clarity and brevity, urging writers to be concise and to the point. White and Strunk emphasize eliminating superfluous words, ensuring every word counts. For students and writers alike, this guide is a beacon, directing them towards crisp, clear, and effective prose in their essays.

2. “On Writing” by Stephen King

Stephen King’s “On Writing” provides an intimate look into the mind of one of the world’s most renowned authors. King delves deep, sharing personal anecdotes intertwined with invaluable insights on the craft of writing.

He firmly believes in the symbiotic relationship between reading and writing. According to King, a good writer must be an avid reader. Moreover, he emphasizes the necessity of discipline, asserting that consistent effort and dedication are key to refining one’s craft.

3. “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott

“Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott offers a heartfelt dive into the tumultuous world of writing. Lamott presents her journey, riddled with challenges and moments of self-doubt, providing solace to writers everywhere.

One of her most resonating pieces of advice is on the nature of first drafts. She reassures that they are meant to be rough and imperfect. Lamott emphasizes that perfectionism is the adversary of creativity, urging writers to let go and simply get the words down, refining as they go along.

4. “How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One” by Stanley Fish

Stanley Fish’s “How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One” is a deep dive into the essence of sentences. Fish examines the intricate art and craft behind constructing a sentence, illuminating the rhythm, structure, and beauty inherent in them.

His analysis doesn’t just focus on the technicalities but ventures into what elevates a sentence from good to great. According to Fish, a great sentence captivates, conveying both meaning and emotion. It’s not just about stringing words together but creating a symphony that resonates with the reader.

5. “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein

6. “reading like a writer” by francine prose.

In “Reading Like a Writer,” Francine Prose delves into the practice of absorbing literature through the discerning lens of a writer. Rather than just skimming pages, she promotes truly engaging with the text.

Prose champions the art of close reading, urging writers to dissect language, structure, and rhythm. By immersing deeply, one uncovers layers of craftsmanship, benefiting from insights that can be mirrored in one’s own writing. This method, Prose argues, not only enhances comprehension but also enriches the writer’s toolbox, nurturing the journey from reader to adept writer.

7. “The Sense of Style” by Steven Pinker

“The Sense of Style” by Steven Pinker is not your conventional style guide. Instead, Pinker brings a fresh, modern perspective, intertwining linguistics with style.

Pinker places a strong emphasis on coherence and clarity, advocating for a balance between rules and artistry in writing. But what truly distinguishes this guide is Pinker’s delve into the science of language. He unravels the psychology behind good writing, providing readers not just rules to follow, but an understanding of why certain styles resonate more deeply. This book stands as a bridge between traditional grammar and the evolving nuances of effective communication.

8. “Writing With Power” by Peter Elbow

Peter Elbow’s “Writing With Power” provides valuable insights into the liberating practice of free writing. Emphasizing the importance of letting ideas flow without judgment, he showcases techniques that many consider the best essay writing service one can give to oneself.

Elbow believes in the power of uncensored writing to generate raw, authentic ideas. To tackle the all-too-familiar writer’s block, he offers strategies that center on continuous writing without overthinking. By doing so, writers can navigate around mental barriers and unearth genuine thoughts and expressions, making the writing process both therapeutic and productive.

9. “The Writer’s Journey” by Christopher Vogler

“The Writer’s Journey” by Christopher Vogler explores the timeless pattern of the hero’s journey, a narrative structure pervasive in myths and stories worldwide. Vogler meticulously unpacks this universal motif, revealing its applicability to various forms of writing, essays included.

Understanding the hero’s journey allows writers to craft compelling narratives, even within the constraints of an essay. It offers a framework for organizing ideas and creating a flow that engages readers. With the wisdom gleaned from this book, one can construct essays that are not just informative but also captivating and resonant.

Reading is an indispensable ally in honing essay writing skills. The books discussed not only offer techniques but inspire deeper connections with words and ideas. To truly elevate one’s essay craft, immersing in these literary treasures is invaluable. By diving into these pages, readers can glean insights and strategies that will undoubtedly enrich their essays, making them more compelling and resonant. So, let the journey of exploration begin.

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essay on books writing

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Essay on Books for Students and Children

Children's Books

500 Words Essay on Books

Books are referred to as a man’s best friend . They are very beneficial for mankind and have helped it evolve. There is a powerhouse of information and knowledge. Books offer us so many things without asking for anything in return. Books leave a deep impact on us and are responsible for uplifting our mood.

Essay on Books

This is why we suggest children read books from an early age to gain knowledge. The best part about books is that there are various types of books. One can read any type to gain different types of knowledge. Reading must be done by people of all ages. It not only widens our thinking but also enhances our vocabulary.

Different Genres of Books

There are different genres of books available for book readers. Every day, thousands of books are released in the market ranging from travel books to fictional books. We can pick any book of our interest to expand our knowledge and enjoy the reading experience.

Firstly, we have travel books, which tell us about the experience of various travelers. They introduce us to different places in the world without moving from our place. It gives us traveling tips which we can use in the future. Then, we have history books which state historical events. They teach about the eras and how people lived in times gone by.

Furthermore, we have technology books that teach us about technological developments and different equipment. You can also read fashion and lifestyle books to get up to date with the latest trends in the fashion industry.

Most importantly, there are self-help books and motivational books . These books help in the personality development of an individual. They inspire us to do well in life and also bring a positive change in ourselves. Finally, we have fictional books. They are based on the writer’s imagination and help us in enhancing our imagination too. They are very entertaining and keep us intrigued until the very end.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Benefits of Reading Books

There are not one but various advantages of reading books. To begin with, it improves our knowledge on a variety of subjects. Moreover, it makes us wiser. When we learn different things, we learn to deal with them differently too. Similarly, books also keep us entertained. They kill our boredom and give us great company when we are alone.

Furthermore, books help us to recognize our areas of interest. They also determine our career choice to a great extent. Most importantly, books improve our vocabulary . We learn new words from it and that widens our vocabulary. In addition, books boost our creativity. They help us discover a completely new side.

In other words, books make us more fluent in languages. They enhance our writing skills too. Plus, we become more confident after the knowledge of books. They help us in debating, public speaking , quizzes and more.

In short, books give us a newer perspective and gives us a deeper understanding of things. It impacts our personality positively as well. Thus, we see how books provide us with so many benefits. We should encourage everyone to read more books and useless phones.

FAQs on Books

Q.1 State the different genres of books.

A.1 Books come in different genres. Some of them are travel books, history books, technology books, fashion and lifestyle books, self-help books, motivational books, and fictional books.

Q.2 Why are books important?

A.2 Books are of great importance to mankind. They enhance our knowledge and vocabulary. They keep us entertained and also widen our perspective. This, in turn, makes us more confident and wise.

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Example of a Great Essay | Explanations, Tips & Tricks

Published on February 9, 2015 by Shane Bryson . Revised on July 23, 2023 by Shona McCombes.

This example guides you through the structure of an essay. It shows how to build an effective introduction , focused paragraphs , clear transitions between ideas, and a strong conclusion .

Each paragraph addresses a single central point, introduced by a topic sentence , and each point is directly related to the thesis statement .

As you read, hover over the highlighted parts to learn what they do and why they work.

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Other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about writing an essay, an appeal to the senses: the development of the braille system in nineteenth-century france.

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.

In France, debates about how to deal with disability led to the adoption of different strategies over time. While people with temporary difficulties were able to access public welfare, the most common response to people with long-term disabilities, such as hearing or vision loss, was to group them together in institutions (Tombs, 1996). At first, a joint institute for the blind and deaf was created, and although the partnership was motivated more by financial considerations than by the well-being of the residents, the institute aimed to help people develop skills valuable to society (Weygand, 2009). Eventually blind institutions were separated from deaf institutions, and the focus shifted towards education of the blind, as was the case for the Royal Institute for Blind Youth, which Louis Braille attended (Jimenez et al, 2009). The growing acknowledgement of the uniqueness of different disabilities led to more targeted education strategies, fostering an environment in which the benefits of a specifically blind education could be more widely recognized.

Several different systems of tactile reading can be seen as forerunners to the method Louis Braille developed, but these systems were all developed based on the sighted system. The Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris taught the students to read embossed roman letters, a method created by the school’s founder, Valentin Hauy (Jimenez et al., 2009). Reading this way proved to be a rather arduous task, as the letters were difficult to distinguish by touch. The embossed letter method was based on the reading system of sighted people, with minimal adaptation for those with vision loss. As a result, this method did not gain significant success among blind students.

Louis Braille was bound to be influenced by his school’s founder, but the most influential pre-Braille tactile reading system was Charles Barbier’s night writing. A soldier in Napoleon’s army, Barbier developed a system in 1819 that used 12 dots with a five line musical staff (Kersten, 1997). His intention was to develop a system that would allow the military to communicate at night without the need for light (Herron, 2009). The code developed by Barbier was phonetic (Jimenez et al., 2009); in other words, the code was designed for sighted people and was based on the sounds of words, not on an actual alphabet. Barbier discovered that variants of raised dots within a square were the easiest method of reading by touch (Jimenez et al., 2009). This system proved effective for the transmission of short messages between military personnel, but the symbols were too large for the fingertip, greatly reducing the speed at which a message could be read (Herron, 2009). For this reason, it was unsuitable for daily use and was not widely adopted in the blind community.

Nevertheless, Barbier’s military dot system was more efficient than Hauy’s embossed letters, and it provided the framework within which Louis Braille developed his method. Barbier’s system, with its dashes and dots, could form over 4000 combinations (Jimenez et al., 2009). Compared to the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, this was an absurdly high number. Braille kept the raised dot form, but developed a more manageable system that would reflect the sighted alphabet. He replaced Barbier’s dashes and dots with just six dots in a rectangular configuration (Jimenez et al., 2009). The result was that the blind population in France had a tactile reading system using dots (like Barbier’s) that was based on the structure of the sighted alphabet (like Hauy’s); crucially, this system was the first developed specifically for the purposes of the blind.

While the Braille system gained immediate popularity with the blind students at the Institute in Paris, it had to gain acceptance among the sighted before its adoption throughout France. This support was necessary because sighted teachers and leaders had ultimate control over the propagation of Braille resources. Many of the teachers at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth resisted learning Braille’s system because they found the tactile method of reading difficult to learn (Bullock & Galst, 2009). This resistance was symptomatic of the prevalent attitude that the blind population had to adapt to the sighted world rather than develop their own tools and methods. Over time, however, with the increasing impetus to make social contribution possible for all, teachers began to appreciate the usefulness of Braille’s system (Bullock & Galst, 2009), realizing that access to reading could help improve the productivity and integration of people with vision loss. It took approximately 30 years, but the French government eventually approved the Braille system, and it was established throughout the country (Bullock & Galst, 2009).

Although Blind people remained marginalized throughout the nineteenth century, the Braille system granted them growing opportunities for social participation. Most obviously, Braille allowed people with vision loss to read the same alphabet used by sighted people (Bullock & Galst, 2009), allowing them to participate in certain cultural experiences previously unavailable to them. Written works, such as books and poetry, had previously been inaccessible to the blind population without the aid of a reader, limiting their autonomy. As books began to be distributed in Braille, this barrier was reduced, enabling people with vision loss to access information autonomously. The closing of the gap between the abilities of blind and the sighted contributed to a gradual shift in blind people’s status, lessening the cultural perception of the blind as essentially different and facilitating greater social integration.

The Braille system also had important cultural effects beyond the sphere of written culture. Its invention later led to the development of a music notation system for the blind, although Louis Braille did not develop this system himself (Jimenez, et al., 2009). This development helped remove a cultural obstacle that had been introduced by the popularization of written musical notation in the early 1500s. While music had previously been an arena in which the blind could participate on equal footing, the transition from memory-based performance to notation-based performance meant that blind musicians were no longer able to compete with sighted musicians (Kersten, 1997). As a result, a tactile musical notation system became necessary for professional equality between blind and sighted musicians (Kersten, 1997).

Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.

Bullock, J. D., & Galst, J. M. (2009). The Story of Louis Braille. Archives of Ophthalmology , 127(11), 1532. https://​doi.org/10.1001/​archophthalmol.2009.286.

Herron, M. (2009, May 6). Blind visionary. Retrieved from https://​eandt.theiet.org/​content/​articles/2009/05/​blind-visionary/.

Jiménez, J., Olea, J., Torres, J., Alonso, I., Harder, D., & Fischer, K. (2009). Biography of Louis Braille and Invention of the Braille Alphabet. Survey of Ophthalmology , 54(1), 142–149. https://​doi.org/10.1016/​j.survophthal.2008.10.006.

Kersten, F.G. (1997). The history and development of Braille music methodology. The Bulletin of Historical Research in Music Education , 18(2). Retrieved from https://​www.jstor.org/​stable/40214926.

Mellor, C.M. (2006). Louis Braille: A touch of genius . Boston: National Braille Press.

Tombs, R. (1996). France: 1814-1914 . London: Pearson Education Ltd.

Weygand, Z. (2009). The blind in French society from the Middle Ages to the century of Louis Braille . Stanford: Stanford University Press.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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Importance Of Books Essay in English - 100, 200, 500 Words

  • Essay on Importance of Books

Books play a vital role in our lives. They are an infinite source of knowledge, entertainment, and new ideas, that help to make the reader’s mind sharp, and develop creativity. Reading books can also stimulate our imagination and creativity faculty of brain. As we read, we are transported to different worlds and experiences, which can spark our own ideas and inspire us to think in new ways. Here are a few sample essays on importance of books .

100 Words Essay on Importance of Books

200 words essay on importance of books, 500 words essay on importance of books.

Importance Of Books Essay in English - 100, 200, 500 Words

Books are a really an important part of everyone’s life in some way or the other. Books have a high significance in our lives because they provide knowledge, information, and entertainment to the reader. They can broaden our horizons and deepen our understanding of the world around us. Books can also help us develop our critical thinking skills by exposing us to different ideas and perspectives. Additionally, books can help us escape from the stresses of everyday life and provide us with a temporary relief from our daily routine. Overall, books are a valuable resource that can enrich our lives in countless ways.

Books are an essential part of our lives. They provide us with knowledge, entertainment, and the opportunity to escape from the stresses of everyday life. Books can open up new worlds and experiences, and allow us to learn about different cultures and perspectives. They can also help us to develop our critical thinking skills and broaden our understanding of the world around us.

Books have the power to inspire and motivate us, and can provide us with the tools and knowledge we need to overcome challenges and achieve our goals. They can also serve as a source of comfort and solace, providing us with a sense of connection and understanding during difficult times. Additionally, books are an important tool for preserving knowledge and history. They allow us to learn from the past and gain insight into the experiences and thoughts of those who came before us. This can help us to better understand our own place in the world and the challenges and opportunities that we face.

In short, books play a vital role in our lives. They provide us with knowledge, entertainment, and the opportunity to expand our minds and explore new ideas. They are a valuable resource that we should continue to cherish and support.

Books are an invaluable part of our lives. They are the inevitable tool for knowledge, and entertainment and have been proven to be stress relievers. Books can help us experience new worlds, explore deep insights into the world and help us form a wider perspective. Books have the power to inspire and motivate us, and can provide us with the tools and knowledge we need to overcome challenges and achieve our goals . For example, a biography of a successful person can inspire us to pursue our dreams and work towards our goals. A self-help book can provide us with the tools and strategies we need to overcome a personal challenge or improve an aspect of our lives.

Books are a powerful tool for preserving knowledge and history. They allow us to learn from the past and gain insight into the experiences and thoughts of those who came before us. This can help us to better understand our own place in the world and the challenges and opportunities that we face. Books can also serve as a source of comfort and solace, providing us with a sense of connection and understanding during difficult times.

How the book “The Alchemist” helped me

One of the books that have had a profound impact on my life is ' The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho . I first read this book when I was going through a difficult time in my life, feeling lost and unsure of my direction. The story of the main character, Santiago, who embarks on a journey to find his "Personal Legend," resonated with me deeply.

As I read the book, I was struck by the idea that each of us has a unique purpose in life, and that it is up to us to pursue it with determination and passion. The book also emphasized the importance of following our hearts and listening to our inner guidance, even when it goes against the norms and expectations of society. The message of ' The Alchemist' gave me the courage and inspiration to follow my own dreams and pursue my own ' Personal Legend' . It also helped me to let go of my fears and doubts, and trust in the power of the universe to support me on my journey

In short, "The Alchemist" has been a guiding light in my life, providing me with wisdom, guidance, and motivation to pursue my dreams. It is a book that I have re-read many times, and one that I will continue to turn to whenever I need guidance and inspiration.

In conclusion, books are an essential part of our lives in one way or the other. They provide us with knowledge, entertainment, and the opportunity to expand our minds and explore new ideas. They are a valuable resource that we should continue to cherish and support. Whether we are reading for personal growth, to learn about the world, or to escape from the stresses of everyday life, books have the power to enrich and enhance our lives in countless ways.

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Data Administrator

Database professionals use software to store and organise data such as financial information, and customer shipping records. Individuals who opt for a career as data administrators ensure that data is available for users and secured from unauthorised sales. DB administrators may work in various types of industries. It may involve computer systems design, service firms, insurance companies, banks and hospitals.

Bio Medical Engineer

The field of biomedical engineering opens up a universe of expert chances. An Individual in the biomedical engineering career path work in the field of engineering as well as medicine, in order to find out solutions to common problems of the two fields. The biomedical engineering job opportunities are to collaborate with doctors and researchers to develop medical systems, equipment, or devices that can solve clinical problems. Here we will be discussing jobs after biomedical engineering, how to get a job in biomedical engineering, biomedical engineering scope, and salary. 

GIS officer work on various GIS software to conduct a study and gather spatial and non-spatial information. GIS experts update the GIS data and maintain it. The databases include aerial or satellite imagery, latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates, and manually digitized images of maps. In a career as GIS expert, one is responsible for creating online and mobile maps.

Remote Sensing Technician

Individuals who opt for a career as a remote sensing technician possess unique personalities. Remote sensing analysts seem to be rational human beings, they are strong, independent, persistent, sincere, realistic and resourceful. Some of them are analytical as well, which means they are intelligent, introspective and inquisitive. 

Remote sensing scientists use remote sensing technology to support scientists in fields such as community planning, flight planning or the management of natural resources. Analysing data collected from aircraft, satellites or ground-based platforms using statistical analysis software, image analysis software or Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a significant part of their work. Do you want to learn how to become remote sensing technician? There's no need to be concerned; we've devised a simple remote sensing technician career path for you. Scroll through the pages and read.

Database Architect

If you are intrigued by the programming world and are interested in developing communications networks then a career as database architect may be a good option for you. Data architect roles and responsibilities include building design models for data communication networks. Wide Area Networks (WANs), local area networks (LANs), and intranets are included in the database networks. It is expected that database architects will have in-depth knowledge of a company's business to develop a network to fulfil the requirements of the organisation. Stay tuned as we look at the larger picture and give you more information on what is db architecture, why you should pursue database architecture, what to expect from such a degree and what your job opportunities will be after graduation. Here, we will be discussing how to become a data architect. Students can visit NIT Trichy , IIT Kharagpur , JMI New Delhi . 

Ethical Hacker

A career as ethical hacker involves various challenges and provides lucrative opportunities in the digital era where every giant business and startup owns its cyberspace on the world wide web. Individuals in the ethical hacker career path try to find the vulnerabilities in the cyber system to get its authority. If he or she succeeds in it then he or she gets its illegal authority. Individuals in the ethical hacker career path then steal information or delete the file that could affect the business, functioning, or services of the organization.

Data Analyst

The invention of the database has given fresh breath to the people involved in the data analytics career path. Analysis refers to splitting up a whole into its individual components for individual analysis. Data analysis is a method through which raw data are processed and transformed into information that would be beneficial for user strategic thinking.

Data are collected and examined to respond to questions, evaluate hypotheses or contradict theories. It is a tool for analyzing, transforming, modeling, and arranging data with useful knowledge, to assist in decision-making and methods, encompassing various strategies, and is used in different fields of business, research, and social science.

Water Manager

A career as water manager needs to provide clean water, preventing flood damage, and disposing of sewage and other wastes. He or she also repairs and maintains structures that control the flow of water, such as reservoirs, sea defense walls, and pumping stations. In addition to these, the Manager has other responsibilities related to water resource management.

Budget Analyst

Budget analysis, in a nutshell, entails thoroughly analyzing the details of a financial budget. The budget analysis aims to better understand and manage revenue. Budget analysts assist in the achievement of financial targets, the preservation of profitability, and the pursuit of long-term growth for a business. Budget analysts generally have a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, economics, or a closely related field. Knowledge of Financial Management is of prime importance in this career.

Operations Manager

Individuals in the operations manager jobs are responsible for ensuring the efficiency of each department to acquire its optimal goal. They plan the use of resources and distribution of materials. The operations manager's job description includes managing budgets, negotiating contracts, and performing administrative tasks.

Finance Executive

A career as a Finance Executive requires one to be responsible for monitoring an organisation's income, investments and expenses to create and evaluate financial reports. His or her role involves performing audits, invoices, and budget preparations. He or she manages accounting activities, bank reconciliations, and payable and receivable accounts.  

Product Manager

A Product Manager is a professional responsible for product planning and marketing. He or she manages the product throughout the Product Life Cycle, gathering and prioritising the product. A product manager job description includes defining the product vision and working closely with team members of other departments to deliver winning products.  

Investment Banker

An Investment Banking career involves the invention and generation of capital for other organizations, governments, and other entities. Individuals who opt for a career as Investment Bankers are the head of a team dedicated to raising capital by issuing bonds. Investment bankers are termed as the experts who have their fingers on the pulse of the current financial and investing climate. Students can pursue various Investment Banker courses, such as Banking and Insurance , and  Economics to opt for an Investment Banking career path.

Underwriter

An underwriter is a person who assesses and evaluates the risk of insurance in his or her field like mortgage, loan, health policy, investment, and so on and so forth. The underwriter career path does involve risks as analysing the risks means finding out if there is a way for the insurance underwriter jobs to recover the money from its clients. If the risk turns out to be too much for the company then in the future it is an underwriter who will be held accountable for it. Therefore, one must carry out his or her job with a lot of attention and diligence.

Fund Manager

Are you searching for a fund manager job description? A fund manager is a stock market professional hired by a mutual fund company to manage the funds’ portfolio of numerous clients and oversee their trading activities. In an investment company, multiple managers oversee the clients’ money and make their respective decisions. 

Welding Engineer

Welding Engineer Job Description: A Welding Engineer work involves managing welding projects and supervising welding teams. He or she is responsible for reviewing welding procedures, processes and documentation. A career as Welding Engineer involves conducting failure analyses and causes on welding issues. 

Transportation Planner

A career as Transportation Planner requires technical application of science and technology in engineering, particularly the concepts, equipment and technologies involved in the production of products and services. In fields like land use, infrastructure review, ecological standards and street design, he or she considers issues of health, environment and performance. A Transportation Planner assigns resources for implementing and designing programmes. He or she is responsible for assessing needs, preparing plans and forecasts and compliance with regulations.

Construction Manager

Individuals who opt for a career as construction managers have a senior-level management role offered in construction firms. Responsibilities in the construction management career path are assigning tasks to workers, inspecting their work, and coordinating with other professionals including architects, subcontractors, and building services engineers.

Environmental Engineer

Individuals who opt for a career as an environmental engineer are construction professionals who utilise the skills and knowledge of biology, soil science, chemistry and the concept of engineering to design and develop projects that serve as solutions to various environmental problems. 

Naval Architect

A Naval Architect is a professional who designs, produces and repairs safe and sea-worthy surfaces or underwater structures. A Naval Architect stays involved in creating and designing ships, ferries, submarines and yachts with implementation of various principles such as gravity, ideal hull form, buoyancy and stability. 

Field Surveyor

Are you searching for a Field Surveyor Job Description? A Field Surveyor is a professional responsible for conducting field surveys for various places or geographical conditions. He or she collects the required data and information as per the instructions given by senior officials. 

Highway Engineer

Highway Engineer Job Description:  A Highway Engineer is a civil engineer who specialises in planning and building thousands of miles of roads that support connectivity and allow transportation across the country. He or she ensures that traffic management schemes are effectively planned concerning economic sustainability and successful implementation.

Conservation Architect

A Conservation Architect is a professional responsible for conserving and restoring buildings or monuments having a historic value. He or she applies techniques to document and stabilise the object’s state without any further damage. A Conservation Architect restores the monuments and heritage buildings to bring them back to their original state.

Orthotist and Prosthetist

Orthotists and Prosthetists are professionals who provide aid to patients with disabilities. They fix them to artificial limbs (prosthetics) and help them to regain stability. There are times when people lose their limbs in an accident. In some other occasions, they are born without a limb or orthopaedic impairment. Orthotists and prosthetists play a crucial role in their lives with fixing them to assistive devices and provide mobility.

Veterinary Doctor

A veterinary doctor is a medical professional with a degree in veterinary science. The veterinary science qualification is the minimum requirement to become a veterinary doctor. There are numerous veterinary science courses offered by various institutes. He or she is employed at zoos to ensure they are provided with good health facilities and medical care to improve their life expectancy.

Pathologist

A career in pathology in India is filled with several responsibilities as it is a medical branch and affects human lives. The demand for pathologists has been increasing over the past few years as people are getting more aware of different diseases. Not only that, but an increase in population and lifestyle changes have also contributed to the increase in a pathologist’s demand. The pathology careers provide an extremely huge number of opportunities and if you want to be a part of the medical field you can consider being a pathologist. If you want to know more about a career in pathology in India then continue reading this article.

Speech Therapist

Gynaecologist.

Gynaecology can be defined as the study of the female body. The job outlook for gynaecology is excellent since there is evergreen demand for one because of their responsibility of dealing with not only women’s health but also fertility and pregnancy issues. Although most women prefer to have a women obstetrician gynaecologist as their doctor, men also explore a career as a gynaecologist and there are ample amounts of male doctors in the field who are gynaecologists and aid women during delivery and childbirth. 

An oncologist is a specialised doctor responsible for providing medical care to patients diagnosed with cancer. He or she uses several therapies to control the cancer and its effect on the human body such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy and biopsy. An oncologist designs a treatment plan based on a pathology report after diagnosing the type of cancer and where it is spreading inside the body.

Audiologist

The audiologist career involves audiology professionals who are responsible to treat hearing loss and proactively preventing the relevant damage. Individuals who opt for a career as an audiologist use various testing strategies with the aim to determine if someone has a normal sensitivity to sounds or not. After the identification of hearing loss, a hearing doctor is required to determine which sections of the hearing are affected, to what extent they are affected, and where the wound causing the hearing loss is found. As soon as the hearing loss is identified, the patients are provided with recommendations for interventions and rehabilitation such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and appropriate medical referrals. While audiology is a branch of science that studies and researches hearing, balance, and related disorders.

Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Cardiothoracic surgeons are an important part of the surgical team. They usually work in hospitals, and perform emergency as well as scheduled operations. Some of the cardiothoracic surgeons also work in teaching hospitals working as teachers and guides for medical students aspiring to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. A career as a cardiothoracic surgeon involves treating and managing various types of conditions within their speciality that includes their presence at different locations such as outpatient clinics, team meetings, and ward rounds. 

For an individual who opts for a career as an actor, the primary responsibility is to completely speak to the character he or she is playing and to persuade the crowd that the character is genuine by connecting with them and bringing them into the story. This applies to significant roles and littler parts, as all roles join to make an effective creation. Here in this article, we will discuss how to become an actor in India, actor exams, actor salary in India, and actor jobs. 

Individuals who opt for a career as acrobats create and direct original routines for themselves, in addition to developing interpretations of existing routines. The work of circus acrobats can be seen in a variety of performance settings, including circus, reality shows, sports events like the Olympics, movies and commercials. Individuals who opt for a career as acrobats must be prepared to face rejections and intermittent periods of work. The creativity of acrobats may extend to other aspects of the performance. For example, acrobats in the circus may work with gym trainers, celebrities or collaborate with other professionals to enhance such performance elements as costume and or maybe at the teaching end of the career.

Video Game Designer

Career as a video game designer is filled with excitement as well as responsibilities. A video game designer is someone who is involved in the process of creating a game from day one. He or she is responsible for fulfilling duties like designing the character of the game, the several levels involved, plot, art and similar other elements. Individuals who opt for a career as a video game designer may also write the codes for the game using different programming languages.

Depending on the video game designer job description and experience they may also have to lead a team and do the early testing of the game in order to suggest changes and find loopholes.

Talent Agent

The career as a Talent Agent is filled with responsibilities. A Talent Agent is someone who is involved in the pre-production process of the film. It is a very busy job for a Talent Agent but as and when an individual gains experience and progresses in the career he or she can have people assisting him or her in work. Depending on one’s responsibilities, number of clients and experience he or she may also have to lead a team and work with juniors under him or her in a talent agency. In order to know more about the job of a talent agent continue reading the article.

If you want to know more about talent agent meaning, how to become a Talent Agent, or Talent Agent job description then continue reading this article.

Radio Jockey

Radio Jockey is an exciting, promising career and a great challenge for music lovers. If you are really interested in a career as radio jockey, then it is very important for an RJ to have an automatic, fun, and friendly personality. If you want to get a job done in this field, a strong command of the language and a good voice are always good things. Apart from this, in order to be a good radio jockey, you will also listen to good radio jockeys so that you can understand their style and later make your own by practicing.

A career as radio jockey has a lot to offer to deserving candidates. If you want to know more about a career as radio jockey, and how to become a radio jockey then continue reading the article.

Videographer

Careers in videography are art that can be defined as a creative and interpretive process that culminates in the authorship of an original work of art rather than a simple recording of a simple event. It would be wrong to portrait it as a subcategory of photography, rather photography is one of the crafts used in videographer jobs in addition to technical skills like organization, management, interpretation, and image-manipulation techniques. Students pursue Visual Media , Film, Television, Digital Video Production to opt for a videographer career path. The visual impacts of a film are driven by the creative decisions taken in videography jobs. Individuals who opt for a career as a videographer are involved in the entire lifecycle of a film and production. 

Multimedia Specialist

A multimedia specialist is a media professional who creates, audio, videos, graphic image files, computer animations for multimedia applications. He or she is responsible for planning, producing, and maintaining websites and applications. 

An individual who is pursuing a career as a producer is responsible for managing the business aspects of production. They are involved in each aspect of production from its inception to deception. Famous movie producers review the script, recommend changes and visualise the story. 

They are responsible for overseeing the finance involved in the project and distributing the film for broadcasting on various platforms. A career as a producer is quite fulfilling as well as exhaustive in terms of playing different roles in order for a production to be successful. Famous movie producers are responsible for hiring creative and technical personnel on contract basis.

Copy Writer

In a career as a copywriter, one has to consult with the client and understand the brief well. A career as a copywriter has a lot to offer to deserving candidates. Several new mediums of advertising are opening therefore making it a lucrative career choice. Students can pursue various copywriter courses such as Journalism , Advertising , Marketing Management . Here, we have discussed how to become a freelance copywriter, copywriter career path, how to become a copywriter in India, and copywriting career outlook. 

Careers in journalism are filled with excitement as well as responsibilities. One cannot afford to miss out on the details. As it is the small details that provide insights into a story. Depending on those insights a journalist goes about writing a news article. A journalism career can be stressful at times but if you are someone who is passionate about it then it is the right choice for you. If you want to know more about the media field and journalist career then continue reading this article.

For publishing books, newspapers, magazines and digital material, editorial and commercial strategies are set by publishers. Individuals in publishing career paths make choices about the markets their businesses will reach and the type of content that their audience will be served. Individuals in book publisher careers collaborate with editorial staff, designers, authors, and freelance contributors who develop and manage the creation of content.

In a career as a vlogger, one generally works for himself or herself. However, once an individual has gained viewership there are several brands and companies that approach them for paid collaboration. It is one of those fields where an individual can earn well while following his or her passion. 

Ever since internet costs got reduced the viewership for these types of content has increased on a large scale. Therefore, a career as a vlogger has a lot to offer. If you want to know more about the Vlogger eligibility, roles and responsibilities then continue reading the article. 

Individuals in the editor career path is an unsung hero of the news industry who polishes the language of the news stories provided by stringers, reporters, copywriters and content writers and also news agencies. Individuals who opt for a career as an editor make it more persuasive, concise and clear for readers. In this article, we will discuss the details of the editor's career path such as how to become an editor in India, editor salary in India and editor skills and qualities.

Fashion Journalist

Fashion journalism involves performing research and writing about the most recent fashion trends. Journalists obtain this knowledge by collaborating with stylists, conducting interviews with fashion designers, and attending fashion shows, photoshoots, and conferences. A fashion Journalist  job is to write copy for trade and advertisement journals, fashion magazines, newspapers, and online fashion forums about style and fashion.

Corporate Executive

Are you searching for a Corporate Executive job description? A Corporate Executive role comes with administrative duties. He or she provides support to the leadership of the organisation. A Corporate Executive fulfils the business purpose and ensures its financial stability. In this article, we are going to discuss how to become corporate executive.

Production Manager

Quality controller.

A quality controller plays a crucial role in an organisation. He or she is responsible for performing quality checks on manufactured products. He or she identifies the defects in a product and rejects the product. 

A quality controller records detailed information about products with defects and sends it to the supervisor or plant manager to take necessary actions to improve the production process.

Production Engineer

A career as a Production Engineer is crucial in the manufacturing industry. He or she ensures the functionality of production equipment and machinery to improve productivity and minimise production costs to drive revenues and increase profitability. 

Product Designer

Individuals who opt for a career as product designers are responsible for designing the components and overall product concerning its shape, size, and material used in manufacturing. They are responsible for the aesthetic appearance of the product. A product designer uses his or her creative skills to give a product its final outlook and ensures the functionality of the design. 

Students can opt for various product design degrees such as B.Des and M.Des to become product designers. Industrial product designer prepares 3D models of designs for approval and discusses them with clients and other colleagues. Individuals who opt for a career as a product designer estimate the total cost involved in designing.

Commercial Manager

A Commercial Manager negotiates, advises and secures information about pricing for commercial contracts. He or she is responsible for developing financial plans in order to maximise the business's profitability.

AWS Solution Architect

An AWS Solution Architect is someone who specializes in developing and implementing cloud computing systems. He or she has a good understanding of the various aspects of cloud computing and can confidently deploy and manage their systems. He or she troubleshoots the issues and evaluates the risk from the third party. 

Azure Administrator

An Azure Administrator is a professional responsible for implementing, monitoring, and maintaining Azure Solutions. He or she manages cloud infrastructure service instances and various cloud servers as well as sets up public and private cloud systems. 

Information Security Manager

Individuals in the information security manager career path involves in overseeing and controlling all aspects of computer security. The IT security manager job description includes planning and carrying out security measures to protect the business data and information from corruption, theft, unauthorised access, and deliberate attack 

Computer Programmer

Careers in computer programming primarily refer to the systematic act of writing code and moreover include wider computer science areas. The word 'programmer' or 'coder' has entered into practice with the growing number of newly self-taught tech enthusiasts. Computer programming careers involve the use of designs created by software developers and engineers and transforming them into commands that can be implemented by computers. These commands result in regular usage of social media sites, word-processing applications and browsers.

ITSM Manager

It consultant.

An IT Consultant is a professional who is also known as a technology consultant. He or she is required to provide consultation to industrial and commercial clients to resolve business and IT problems and acquire optimum growth. An IT consultant can find work by signing up with an IT consultancy firm, or he or she can work on their own as independent contractors and select the projects he or she wants to work on.

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In History: Toni Morrison on why 'writing for black people is tough'

Toni Morrison looking right (Credit: Getty Images)

At the start of her career, Toni Morrison determined that she would write for her "neighbourhood". And so began the remarkable literary career of an author whose work tackles the complexities of identity, race and history with beguiling language and deep humanity.

By identifying herself as a black writer, and consciously writing for a black American audience, author Toni Morrison felt freed to find her voice, she said.

More like this: – How Beloved unearths a brutal past – 2024's most anticipated books – Is Don DeLillo America's greatest living writer? "When I began to write, I was thinking, suppose I just wrote for my neighbourhood and just that, and it just opened up everything. It was clearer, it was pointed," she told the BBC's Kirsty Wark in November 2003. But with that framing came an added responsibility: a need for the stories, rhythms and phrasing to sound true and authentic to readers from those communities.

"You know it was like listening to jazz musicians, black people in music were very, very critical. They hated the mediocre. So I wanted it to be like that. I wanted it to be so good, where the judgement of people who knew the community was so powerful, that I could not play. "I knew how to play up to a white reader, I knew how to manipulate that, that was easy but writing for black people is tough. Really tough, if they take you seriously." And while her writing needed to resonate with those readers about the complexities of the black experience, she was careful to not succumb to any expectations about how people wished it to be portrayed. "Now some of them thought 'well we would like a little more best foot forward here. You are always writing about violence, you are always writing about depraved people, why are you so gothic?'" she told the BBC.

"And I would always say 'whose eye is looking at this? Is it you or are you telling me to shape up because there is a white reader out there who might get the wrong impression of you?' Now once you get rid of that you are home free, you can just write."

Although she was known and celebrated globally as Toni Morrison, she was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford, on 18 February 1931. She grew up in the small Midwestern town of Lorain in Ohio, one of four children in a working-class family.

Her early life was shaped by the sharp end of the racial violence and discrimination that her family experienced while she was growing up. She would later recall how a landlord set fire to their family's home while they were in it, in order to evict them.

But that childhood was also imbued with the rich cultural tapestry and lyrical storytelling of her parents and their community. Both of these early influences would feed into her writing and literary style. "My family in those days, people didn't have televisions and things, they told stories, and we told stories and we were called upon to tell stories. We had to shape them, reinterpret them, perform them," she said. "So the habit of that, it means I hear it. And it has a rhythm, it has silence, it has rest. It has some combination of reality and magic."

Morrison is most famous for her 1987 novel Beloved, a haunting, supernatural tale about slavery and the ghosts of the past (Credit: Getty Images)

Morrison is most famous for her 1987 novel Beloved, a haunting, supernatural tale about slavery and the ghosts of the past (Credit: Getty Images)

"So, when I think of writing as I was very determined to do, is write in the language of African Americans. The language I heard. That language had always been comic, or dismissed or you know discredited in some way." A voracious reader at an early age, her passion for literature and gift for writing were encouraged by her parents. Upon graduating high school, she first went to study at the prestigious Howard University in Washington DC, before completing her master's degree at Cornell University in 1955, with a thesis on suicide in the works of Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner. She returned to Howard to begin a teaching career, where she met and married Jamaican-born architect Harold Morrison in 1958. They had two sons, and his surname would form part of the name she would become globally known by. Her first name came from Anthony, the name she took when she converted to Catholicism at the age of 12 and which university friends would later shorten to Toni.

In 1963, in the wake of the break-up of her marriage, needing to support herself and her children, she took a job as an editor at Random House publishing company. While working here she would edit and champion the works of black authors, bringing attention to books by Toni Cade Bambara, Angela Davis and Muhammad Ali.

It was also here that she would write her first novel, The Bluest Eye in 1970. The book contains many of the themes that would come to define much of her writing. Set in her own hometown of Lorain during the 1940s, it is a devastating examination of the effect of racism, poverty, abuse and damaging ideas of beauty upon a black American girl, called Pecola. The narrative puts this young black girl at the centre of the story, with an unflinching look at the trauma and challenges faced by her. Toni Morrison wanted to couple this with a lyrical literary style that captured the speech, rhythms and expressions of the conversations she remembered overhearing while growing up.

"It was everything, it was memorable and the metaphors were stunning, so I really wanted to use those characteristics in my work.

"So, when I changed the first sentence of the book The Bluest Eye from whatever it was to 'Quiet as it's kept, there were no marigolds in the fall 1941', 'Quiet as it's kept', it’s not hard to understand what that means, it just means 'shhh' but I hear those women in the backyard, at the fence, getting ready to gossip on somebody, you know, [saying] 'Quiet as it's kept' then they tell some terrible tale.

"So, it's that quality of the spoken language that is extremely important in the work," she told the BBC.

In History is a series which uses the BBC's unique audio and video archive to explore historical events that still resonate today.

She garnered more critical acclaim, three years later with her second novel, Sula, which was nominated for the National Book Award and 1977's Song of Solomon, which won her the National Book Critics Circle award.

But it is perhaps her seminal 1988 Pulitzer Prize winning-novel, Beloved , that remains her best-known work. A story that mixes horror, history and poetry, it was inspired by the true story of runaway slave Margaret Garner who, when facing recapture, kills her infant daughter rather than see her suffer a life of slavery.

Beautifully written, filled with complex, conflicted characters and intense, haunting imagery, the novel is an exploration of trauma and guilt, folklore and motherhood. It challenges its readers to confront the harrowing cruelty of slavery, its sexual violence, its brutal dehumanisation of people and its destructive lasting legacy.

The granddaughter of a slave from Alabama herself, she dedicated the book "to the 60 million who died as a result of slavery".

In 1993, her achievements were recognised with a Nobel Prize in Literature. She was the first black American woman to be awarded one, cementing her status as a literary icon, and giving her a platform which she would use to speak out on issues of race, feminism and societal injustices.

The Swedish Nobel Academy said she was an author "who in novels characterised by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality".

A prolific writer, she penned plays, essays, children's books, even song lyrics. Through her empathic, elegant storytelling she was able to bring overlooked voices and untold stories to the fore, allowing them to resonate across cultures and different generations. In 2012 she was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom. At the ceremony, President Barack Obama said: "Toni Morrison's prose brings us that kind of moral and emotional intensity that few writers ever attempt."

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What Was The Village Voice?

“The Freaks Came Out to Write” is an oral history of America’s most important alternative weekly.

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A black-and-white photograph of a building with “The Village Voice” painted on its headsign.

By Dwight Garner

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THE FREAKS CAME OUT TO WRITE: The Definitive History of The Village Voice, the Radical Paper That Changed American Culture , by Tricia Romano

Tricia Romano’s oral history of The Village Voice , the most important alternative weekly of the 20th century, is a well-made disco ball of a book — it’s big, discursive, ardent, intellectual and flecked with gossip. “The Freaks Came Out to Write” may be the best history of a journalistic enterprise I’ve ever read, in that its garrulous tone so mirrors the institution’s own.

A lot of the people Romano interviewed, former Voice writers, editors, photographers, designers and cartoonists, will probably wince, at times, at the text. Humiliations are recalled; toes are trod upon; old hostilities have been kept warm, as if on little Sterno cans of pique. Nostalgia remains at arm’s length. Yet the tone is familial and warm. Discontent was part of The Voice’s DNA. For nearly every staffer, working there was the best thing they ever did.

Founded in 1955 by a group of writers and editors that included Norman Mailer, The Voice was intended to be a newspaper for downtown, defined as below 14th Street in Manhattan. Its influence grew to be national. The Voice’s heroic period ran from the late 1960s through the early 1990s, though there were slack stretches in between. The publication still exists in a desiccated and mostly online form, in the same way that Sports Illustrated is existing until someone has the decency to unscrew the final lightbulb.

For many oddballs and lefties and malcontents out in America’s hinterlands (I was among them), finding their first copy of The Voice was more than eye-opening. Here was a dispatch from another, better planet. There was nothing else like it. It drove many to go into journalism, or to move to New York, or both. Others fed their heads as long-distance subscribers. You could count on each issue to have been scuffed up by the vicissitudes of the U.S. Postal Service. Some of the scuffing may have been half-intentional. As one art director puts it, the covers tended to look like “The New York Post on acid and run by communists.”

Like many publications, The Voice was divided into two halves. The front of the book was for hard news, and in back resided social commentary and criticism. Even further back were The Voice’s renowned classified ads. For decades people would line up on the night before publication, in the pre-internet days, to get first crack at the apartment listings. People found their whole lives back there. It was a counterculture bulletin board. Blondie got its drummer by advertising there; so did Springsteen. The sex ads were r-a-u-n-c-h-y.

You can approach this book as urban history. Romano has chopped it into brisk set pieces — how The Voice covered Robert Moses’s plan to run a speedway though downtown, the Stonewall riots, the early years of Rudy Giuliani and Donald J. Trump, the Central Park Five and so on. The Voice played rough. Annual features included “10 Worst Judges” and “10 Worst Landlords,” as reported by the muckraker Jack Newfield. Imagine the impact such lists would have today. Imagine the impact then.

The back of the book slowly swamped the front. The Voice gave America most of the first important rock and then hip-hop criticism. It was the first paper to pay close attention to Off Broadway, and it started the Obie Awards. The literate satire of Jules Feiffer’s cartoons defined a generation’s sensibility and won a Pulitzer Prize. The Voice covered the nascent downtown art and film scenes in a way no one had.

Its critics were mighty, a killer’s row, and they often wrote in the first person, a rare thing at the time. In music, there were, to name but a few, Robert Christgau, Ellen Willis , Nelson George, Lester Bangs, Stanley Crouch , Greg Tate , Greil Marcus and James Wolcott. In art, Peter Schjeldahl , Roberta Smith and Gary Indiana. In movies, Jonas Mekas and Andrew Sarris . The novelist Colson Whitehead worked for the literary section and wrote television reviews. His editor initially worried he was too straight for The Voice because he wore a tie.

Perhaps more important was the paper’s commentary on feminism and gay rights. Vivian Gornick wrote important essays, as did Susan Brownmiller (one of her earliest was called “On Goosing”). Karen Durbin wrote a piece about the sympathy she felt for the Glenn Close character in “Fatal Attraction.” During the AIDS crisis, The Voice printed a condom on its cover. There was a sense of sustained outrage. Nat Hentoff rumbled almost weekly, in his columns, about the First Amendment, before infuriating everyone by coming out against abortion. The Voice’s sports section sent Ishmael Reed to report on the 1978 Muhammad Ali versus Leon Spinks fight, and the resulting piece ran on the cover. Its food writers, including Robert Sietsema, scanned the outer boroughs and were not interested in the top 10 gelato parlors.

The Voice defined itself against the vastly stuffier New York Times. The Times was, Whitehead says, “the Man.” To moments of glory in this book, variations of one taunt are consistently appended: “You wouldn’t read that in The New York Times.” The Voice wobbled consistently on the edges of libel; it welcomed all varieties of life; it got more of what made us human into its pages. Voice writers let their messy lives hang out.

Owners and top editors came and went. The former included Rupert Murdoch, who called the paper “the bane of my existence.” So did writers. Christgau — his potent editing skills are analyzed and praised — liked to say that 50 percent of the paper was good and 50 percent awful, though no one could agree on which 50 percent.

Romano, who worked at The Voice for eight years in its later stages, clearly asked good questions, and she has a snappy sense of conversational rhythm. Like a capable film director, she knows how to enter a scene late and leave it early. You always want a bit more of whatever topic she is allowing people to explore.

Out of context and unattributed, here are a few lines from this gaggle of talking heads: “Meeting deadlines, you know, interfered with taking drugs”; “I’m sure that every major person at The Voice had an F.B.I. file”; “We had at least three writers who wouldn’t use punctuation”; “Is Jack dead? Good”; “Lou Reed knocked up a friend of mine, and we had to help her get rid of the fetus”; “He hit Ron Plotkin, too”; “What do you think we are? A whorehouse on a field trip?” A lot of the punches came from Crouch, who believed that the pen was mightier than the sword but did not always have a pen at hand.

One contributor comments that while in certain newspapers the second mention of Derek Jeter would be “Mr. Jeter,” in The Voice the second mention would be the word “that” followed by cheerful expletives and sexual envy, unprintable here.

The internet in general and Craigslist in particular tanked The Voice. So did the gentrification of downtown. The paper was the victim of its own success. The things it cared about were embraced by the mainstream. It is hard to imagine it existing in the new journalistic world of team-building exercises and social media guidelines.

The tone of “The Freaks Came Out to Write” is a symphonic kind of anarchy. I kept imagining these interviews poured by a director into a word-drunk “Chorus Line”-like musical, without the dancers but with a plank-walking line of disrupters with cigarettes and S.T.D.s and inky fingers and authority issues. You wanted to hang the sign on The Village Voice that Ken Kesey put on the back of his magic bus: “Caution: Weird Load.”

THE FREAKS CAME OUT TO WRITE : The Definitive History of the Village Voice, the Radical Paper That Changed American Culture | By Tricia Romano | PublicAffairs | 571 pp. | $35

Dwight Garner has been a book critic for The Times since 2008, and before that was an editor at the Book Review for a decade. More about Dwight Garner

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