Readings and Resources for Writers
- Classic Essays (353)
- Essay Samplers (6)
- Grammar & Composition Blogs (7)
- Reading Quizzes (13)
- Readings on Language (31)
- Style Scrapbook: Passages (116)
Navigation Guide to About.com Grammar & Composition
Since it began in 2006, About.com Grammar & Composition has grown to well over 3,000 pages. Unfortunately, finding the page you're looking for can be a challenge, so the aim of this article is to help you navigate the site.
Composing Descriptive Paragraphs and Essays
For ideas on how to compose your own descriptive paragraph or essay, spend some time studying the guidelines, topic suggestions, exercises, and readings offered here.
Choosing a Style Manual and Documentation Guide
A style manual is a set of editing and formatting standards for use by students, researchers, journalists, and other professionals. Style manuals are essential for scholars who need to document their sources, and because style manuals also attend to some of the finer points of usage, spelling, and mechanics, they should be useful to all writers....
Classic British and American Essays and Speeches
From the works of Francis Bacon and Daniel Defoe to those of Virginia Woolf and Martin Luther King, Jr.: 200 of the greatest essays and speeches by British and American writers over the past four centuries.
100 Major Works of Modern Creative Nonfiction
Essays, memoirs, biographies, travel writing, history, cultural studies, nature and science writing--all fit under the broad heading of creative nonfiction, and all are represented here: an alphabetical list of 100 major works of British and American creative nonfiction published over the past 80 years.
60 Essays: Contents of Essay Samplers
To help you find essays that match your own interests and concerns, the contents of the five Essay Samplers have been organized here by author, title, and theme.
E.B. White's Drafts of "Once More to the Lake"
It's remarkable what a good writer can do with a seemingly dull subject--though it may take a bit longer than usual to complete the assignment. In this case, the good writer was E.B. White, and the essay that took more than a quarter century to write was "Once More to the Lake."
Ten Blogs for Writers
Visit some of the more popular and useful blogs hosted by (and designed for) editors, writers, and teachers of writing.
Ten Online Style Guides
If you're not already committed to one particular code of conventions, consider befriending one of these free online style guides. Each has its eccentricities and limitations, and no two of them agree on every fine point of usage. But they're all sensible and reasonably consistent.
Free Online Dictionaries You've Probably Never Heard Of
You'll find countless specialized dictionaries on the Web. Some of these are clearly labors of love, the work of amateur lexicographers. Others are wikis, developed by communities of volunteers. Here are seven of the best.
How to Write for an International Audience
If you ever have occasion to communicate in writing with non-native speakers of English, you might want to make room on your shelf for one more style manual: "The Global English Style Guide" by John Kohl.
Grammar and Usage Advice Sites
For answers to questions about some of the finer and fussier aspects of English grammar and usage, visit these three question-and-answer sites--all of them hosted by publishers of major style and usage guides.
Sites for Correcting Common Sentence Errors
The five websites described here focus on the most common errors in English: how to recognize those errors and (more importantly) how to correct them.
Reading About Writing at About.com
Grammar & Composition is one of a number of sites at About.com that can help you to improve your writing skills. If you can't find what you're looking for here, consider visiting one or more of these other helpful sites at About.com
English Teachers Who Changed Our Lives
Not long ago, I invited readers to describe that one teacher or professor who has had "an enduring influence on the way you think, work, read, or write." For those who missed the article, here are some of the original responses, along with a follow-up invitation.
The Lighter Side of Language at Grammar & Composition
Humorous, provocative, and sometimes bizarre stories about grammar, rhetoric, and the English language. Drawn from the blog of Grammar & Composition, here are some of the more notable linguistic occasions that have left us smacking our foreheads--in amazement, vexation, or unabashed delight.
Words at Play
Today's topic is word play--otherwise known as recreational linguistics or logology. Before you dash off, keep in mind that a significant part of all language use is a form of play and that activities involving word play appeal to students' natural interest in language.
Grammar Crackers: Jokes, Riddles, and Word Play
Gather the children and suspend your long-preserved maturity: we're about to visit the lighter side of the English language. Enjoy this new collection of jokes, puns, and riddles.
More Than One Great English Teacher
Most of us, I'm guessing, can recall at least one great English teacher--someone who challenged us, motivated us, and deepened our appreciation and understanding of language and literature. While thinking about the most influential English teacher in your life, consider the recollections of these 10 modern authors.
Web Sites for Language Lovers
If you consider yourself a "logophile" (that is, a lover of words), these websites are for you. Crisscrossing the fields of linguistics, journalism, and lexicography, these sites offer insights into the English language from a variety of perspectives--all of them (we think) fascinating.
Daily Word Sites: Learn a New Word Every Day
Here are three of our favorite word-of-the-day sites: all are free and available through e-mail subscriptions.
The Top Five Online Journals for Composition Instructors
Intended for teachers, tutors, and writers in general, the composition journals described here are available without subscription. All five journals have been online for several years and (fingers crossed) show no signs of imminent expiration.
Copyediting is the work that an editor does to improve a manuscript and prepare it for publication. Here we reveal some of the jargon of the copyediting trade: 140 terms and abbreviations used by editors in their efforts to produce copy that is clear, correct, concise, consistent, and comprehensible.
Four Extreme Language Blogs for Grammar Geeks
We're venturing here into the outer limits of language studies, to that point in cyberspace where prescriptive grammar turns into wacky obsession. Enjoy the ride.
Cliche Sites for Writers and Editors
Before we can eliminate cliches from our writing, we need to be able to recognize them. These web sites can help us to do just that.
Online Writing Labs
Many colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada host exceptional online writing labs (OWLs). Here are five of the very best.
Reference Works for Writers
Despite the ready availability of spell checkers, grammar programs, and online dictionaries and style guides, every serious writer still needs a few good reference books by her side.
Business Writing Sites
Business writers are often called on to compose special kinds of projects (such as memos, letters, reports, and proposals) that follow distinctive conventions. To learn more about those conventions, visit one of these outstanding web sites for business writers.
English as a Second Language Sites
Here are four superior websites for students and teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL).