Saturday, November 20, 2010

Writing with Style

When you need the answer to a grammar question, you can type your question into an internet browser and if you’re lucky, you’ll wade through enough sites until you eventually find one that offers the right guidance for you. Perhaps you have a few reputable sites bookmarked specifically for that purpose.

I’m old school. I keep style manuals on hand. Style manuals provide me with grammar and usage guidelines, rules, explanations, and examples. If I ever have questions on capitalization or where the commas go in a compound sentence, I can find the answers easily in one of my books.

Here are the style manuals I use:

Prentice Hall

For quick reference of general situations, this is easy to use.

FranklinCovey Style Guide

This is an expanded reference with more entries and explanations than Prentice Hall. The best thing is many of the examples and explanations are in color, and the guide comes with a CD!

The Gregg Reference Manual

For me, this is the grammar and usage holy grail! It provides examples of any type of grammar situation imaginable. If you have a question about grammar, style, punctuation, and usage . . . the answer is in this book. It’s one of my must haves.

Unless I’m writing a research paper for a class, I avoid MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and The Chicago Manual of Style. Those things give me flashbacks of all-night typing sessions (and I do mean typing as in: typing on a typewriter), NoDoz, and bad coffee.

If you have a favorite style manual or website, please share it.

“A writer without good grammar is like a cook confused about how to use pots and pans.”
--Kim Louise

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