We recommend these books in our classes. Print the list to take to your local library or bookstore. Or click on a book's title to link to its page at Amazon.com.
Dictionaries define words; some also provide etymologies and usage standards. Thesauri list synonyms; some also distinguish nuances of meaning among related word choices.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 4th edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006. ISBN: 0618701737. Print with CD Edition ISBN: 0618701737.
The most comprehensive abridged dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary features clear definitions, authoritative usage notes, and fascinating etymologies.
We also like the CD ROM version. You can add a button to your word processor to let you check the meaning, history, synonyms, preferred usage, and preferred spelling of almost any word. And of course, you can hear the preferred pronunciation of a word rather than having to sound out the phonetic symbols.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary: Since 1847 the Ultimate Word Authority for Schools, Libraries, Courts, Homes, and Offices. Philip Babcock Gove, Editor. Merriam Webster, 1993. ISBN: 0877792011. Webster's is the standard for unabridged dictionaries. Of course, if you are really serious about words, you will want the OED.
If day-trading has catapulted you into the moneyed class or Great Aunt Agatha has left you a legacy, then celebrate your good fortune while spending a chunk of it on the ultimate word-hoard: The Oxford English Dictionary; 20-Volume Set, Second Edition. John Simpson and Edmund Weiner, Editors. Oxford University Press,1989. ISBN: 0198611862. If you have $895.00 to spend on a reference book, the OED is worth every penny.
If you face financial constraints, consider purchasing the unabridged CD-ROM version though at $295, it would dent most budgets. The unabridged Compact OED ($395) comes with a magnifying glass for reading the microscopic print.
Roget's International Thesaurus. 6th edition. HarperCollins,2002. Robert L. Chapman, Editor. ISBN: 0060935448.
Software spelling, thesaurus, and grammar programs usually accompany word processing programs. They are convenient: Just remember these programs are tools. Software does not replace brains.
Many large organizations and all publishers create their own style guides for internal use. Style guides describe preferred forms of address, methods for formatting, punctuating, displaying mathematics, and other production details.
Council of Science Editors, Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. Edited by Peggy Robinson et al. 7th ed. Reston, VA: The Council, 2006. ISBN: 097796650X. This manual addresses every conceivable detail of publishing scientific books, reports, and journal articles.
William A. Sabin, The Gregg Reference Manual. 10th edition. Macmillan/ McGraw-Hill, 2004. ISBN: 0072936533. Authoritative and easy to use, "Gregg" covers everything you ever wanted to know about grammar, usage, and mechanics. It also features guidance on writing and organizing your documents. An indispensable reference for all writers.
University of Chicago Press Staff, The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers. 15th edition. University of Chicago Press Staff. Univ. of Chicago Press, 2003. ISBN: 0226104036.
Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing). Paperback, 6th Rev edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. ISBN: 0226816273.
Bryan A. Garner, The Elements of Legal Style. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN: 0195141628.
Bryan A. Garner, Jeff Newman, and Tiger Jackson, The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style. 2nd edition. Thomson West, 2006. ISBN: 0314168915.
Steven G. Krantz, Handbook of Typography for the Mathematical Sciences. Chapman & Hall/CRC, 2000. ISBN: 1584881496.
Ellen Swanson, Mathematics into Type. Updated edition. American Mathematical Society, 1999. ISBN: 0821819615.
Jonathan Price and Lisa Price, Hot Text: Web Writing that Works. New Riders Publishing, 2002. ISBN: 0735711518.
These references explain or prescribe grammatical rules and the correct use of words. Some provide general guidance for clear writing.
Theodore M. Bernstein, The Careful Writer: a Modern Guide to English Usage. Free Press, 1995. ISBN: 0684826321. A classic guide to writing better, filled with good humor and good sense.
Robert Edward Brittain and Benjamin Griffith, A Pocket Guide to Correct Punctuation, 3rd edition. Barrons Educational Series Inc., 1997. ISBN: 0812098145. Clear explanations of Standard American English punctuation. Out of print, but used copies are available.
Bryan A. Garner, The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style. Getty Center for Education in the Arts, 1999 ISBN: 0195135083. See also his acclaimed reference, Garner's Modern American Usage.
Wilson Follett and Erik Wensberg, Modern American Usage: A Guide. Hill & Wang Pub., 2003. ISBN: 080900139X.
William Strunk and E. B. White, Elements of Style. 4th edition. Allyn & Bacon, 2000. ISBN: 020530902X.
Karen Elizabeth Gordon, The
Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for
the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed. Pantheon Books,
1993. ISBN: 0679418601.
Karen Elizabeth Gordon, The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed. Ticknor & Fields, 1993. ISBN: 0395628830.
Bruce Ross-Larson, Edit Yourself: A Manual for Everyone Who Works with Words. W.W. Norton & Company, 1996. ISBN: 0393313263.
Peggy Smith, Mark My Words: Instruction and Practice in Proofreading. 3rd edition. Editorial Experts, 1997. ISBN: 0935012230.
Edward R. Tufte, Envisioning Information. Graphics Press,1990 ISBN: 0961392118.
Edward R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2nd edition. Graphics Press, 2001. ISBN: 0961392142.
Edward R. Tufte, Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. Graphics Press, 1997. ISBN: 0961392126.
Robin Williams, The Non-Designer's Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice. 2nd edition. Peachpit Press, 2003. ISBN: 0321193857 .
Gene Zelazny, Say It with Charts: The Executive's Guide to Visual Communication. 4th edition. McGraw-Hill, 2001. ISBN: 007136997X .
Michael Doyle, How to Make Meetings Work: The New Interaction Method. Berkley Publishing Group, 1993. ISBN: 0425138704.
Doris P. Zimmerman and Henry M. Scott, Robert's Rules in Plain English, 2nd ed . HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN:0060787791.
Rules of Order: Newly Revised.
Henry M. Robert, Sarah Corbin Robert,
and William J. Evans, eds. 10th
edition. HarperCollins Publishers,
2000. ISBN: 0738203076.
Isabel Briggs Myers and Peter B. Myers, Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type. Consulting Psychologists Press, 1995. ISBN: 089106074X.
David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates, Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types. 5th edition. Prometheus Nemesis Book Co., 1984. ISBN: 0960695400.
Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron-Tieger, Marly A. Swick, The Art of Speedreading People: How to Size People Up and Speak Their Language. Little, Brown & Co., 1999. ISBN: 0316845183.
Roger Fisher and William Ury, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving in. 2nd edition. Penguin USA, 1991. ISBN: 0140157352.
Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. Penguin USA, 2000. ISBN: 014028852X.
Richard Feldman, Reason and Argument. 2nd edition. Prentice Hall, 1998. ISBN: 0136246028.
Antony Flew, How to Think Straight: an Introduction to Critical Reasoning. 2nd edition. Prometheus Books, 1998. ISBN: 1573922390.
George Lakof and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By. 2nd edition. University Of Chicago Press, 2003. ISBN: 0226468011