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Rules for Writers


Rules for Writers Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Rules for Writers is a college writers companion that covers writing, grammar, research, and documentation in an extremely affordable and portable spiral-bound format. From the best-selling family of handbooks, Rules has consistently been the best value for college writers. Now its even more so. The Seventh Edition actually teaches students how to make better use of their handbook. With new material about how to integrate the handbook into lessons and class activities, Rules for Writers is an even more useful tool for instructors. Read the preface.

About the Author

Diana Hacker class-tested her handbooks with nearly four thousand students over 35 years at Prince George's Community College in Maryland, where she was a member of the English faculty. Hacker handbooks, built on innovation and on a keen understanding of the challenges facing student writers, are the most widely adopted in America. Other Hacker handbooks, all published by Bedford/St. Martin's, include A Writers Reference, Seventh Edition; The Bedford Handbook, Eighth Edition; and A Pocket Style Manual, Fifth Edition.


Nancy Sommers has taught composition and directed composition programs for thirty years and now teaches writing in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. A two-time Braddock Award winner, Sommers is well-known for her research and publications on student writing. Her recent work involves a longitudinal study of undergraduate writing. Nancy Sommers is coauthor of Fields of Reading, Ninth Edition and is lead author on Hacker handbooks, all published by Bedford/St. Martin's.

Table of Contents

The Writing Process

1  Explore and plan.

a Assess the writing situation.

b Explore your subject.

c Draft a working thesis.

d Sketch a plan.

2  Draft the paper.

a Draft an introduction that includes a


b Draft the body.

c Draft a conclusion.

3  Make global revisions; then revise sentences.

a Make global revisions: Think Big.

b Revise and edit sentences.

c Proofread the manuscript.

d Use software tools wisely.

e Manage your files.


4  Build effective paragraphs.

a Focus on a main point.

b Develop the main point.

c Choose a suitable pattern of organization.

d Make paragraphs coherent.

e Adjust paragraph length.

Academic Writing

5  Writing about texts

a Read actively: Annotate the text.



b Sketch an outline.

c Summarize to demonstrate understanding.

d Analyze to demonstrate critical thinking.

e Sample student essay: Analysis of an article


6  Constructing reasonable arguments

a Examine your issues social and intellectual


b View your audience as a panel of jurors.

c Establish credibility and state your position.

d Back up your thesis with persuasive lines of argument.

e Support your claims with specific evidence.

f Anticipate objections; counter opposing arguments.

g Build common ground.


7  Evaluating arguments

a Distinguish between reasonable and fallacious argumentative tactics.

b Distinguish between legitimate and unfair emotional appeals.

c Judge how fairly a writer handles opposing views.       



8  Prefer active verbs.

a Active versus passive verbs

b Active versus be verbs

c Subject that names the actor

9  Balance parallel ideas.

a Parallel ideas in a series

b Parallel ideas presented as pairs

c Repetition of function words

10  Add needed words.

a In compound structures

b that

c In comparisons

d a, an, and the

11  Untangle mixed constructions.

a Mixed grammar

b Illogical connections

c is when, is where, and reason . . . is because

12  Repair misplaced and dangling modifiers.

a Limiting modifiers

b Misplaced phrases and clauses

c Awkwardly placed modifiers

d Split infinitives

e Dangling modifiers

13  Eliminate distracting shifts.

a Point of view (person, number)

b Verb tense

c Verb mood, voice

d Indirect to direct questions or quotations

14  Emphasize key ideas.

a Coordination and subordination

b Choppy sentences

c Ineffective or excessive coordination

d Ineffective subordination

e Excessive subordination

f Other techniques

15  Provide some variety.

a Sentence openings

b Sentence structures

c Inverted order

16  Tighten wordy sentences.

a Redundancies

b Unnecessary repetition

c Empty or inflated phrases

d Simplifying the structure

e Reducing clauses to phrases, phrases to single


17  Choose appropriate language.

a Jargon

b Pretentious language, euphemisms,


c Slang, regional expressions, nonstandard


d Levels of formality

e Sexist language

f Offensive language

18  Find the exact words.

a Connotations

b Specific, concrete nouns

c Misused words

d Standard idioms

e Clichés

f Figures of speech


19  Repair sentence fragments.

a Subordinate clauses

b Phrases

c Other fragmented word groups

d Acceptable fragments

20  Revise run-on sentences.

a Correction with coordinating conjunction

b Correction with semicolon, colon, or dash

c Correction by separating sentences

d Correction by restructuring

21  Make subjects and verbs agree.

a Standard subject-verb combinations

b Words between subject and verb

c Subjects joined with and

d Subjects joined with or, nor, either . . . or,

or neither . . . nor

e Indefinite pronouns

f Collective nouns

g Subject following verb

h Subject, not subject complement

i who, which, and that

j Words with plural form, singular meaning

k Titles of works, company names, words

mentioned as words, gerund phrases

22  Make pronouns and antecedents agree.

a Singular with singular, plural with plural

(indefinite pronouns, generic nouns)

b Collective nouns

c Antecedents joined with and

d Antecedents joined with or, nor, either . . . or,

or neither . . . nor

23  Make pronoun references clear.

a Ambiguous or remote reference

b Broad reference of this, that, which, and it

c Implied antecedents

d Indefinite use of they, it, and you

e who for persons, which or that for things

24  Distinguish between pronouns such as I and me.

a Subjective case for subjects and subject


b Objective case for objects

c Appositives

d Pronoun following than or as

e we or us before a noun

f Subjects and objects of infinitives

g Pronoun modifying a gerund

25  Distinguish between who and whom.

a In subordinate clauses

b In questions

c As subjects or objects of infinitives

26  Choose adjectives and adverbs with care.

a Adjectives to modify nouns

b Adverbs to modify verbs, adjectives,

and other adverbs

c good and well, bad and badly

d Comparatives and superlatives

e Double negatives

27  Choose appropriate verb forms, tenses, and

moods in standard English.

a Irregular verbs

b lie and lay

c -s (or -es) endings

d -ed endings

e Omitted verbs

f Verb tense

g Subjunctive mood

Multilingual Writers and ESL Challenges

28  Verbs

a Appropriate form and tense

b Passive voice

c Base form after a modal

d Negative verb forms

e Verbs in conditional sentences

f Verbs followed by gerunds or infinitives

29  Articles

a Articles and other noun markers

b When to use the

c When to use a or an

d When not to use a or an

e No articles with general nouns

f Articles with proper nouns

30  Sentence structure

a Linking verb between a subject and its


b A subject in every sentence

c Repeated nouns or pronouns with the same

grammatical function

d Repeated objects, adverbs in adjective


e Mixed constructions with although

or because

f Placement of adverbs

g Present participles and past participles

h Order of cumulative adjectives

31  Prepositions and idiomatic expressions

a Prepositions showing time and place

b Noun (including -ing form) after a


c Common adjective + preposition


d Common verb + preposition combinations


32  The comma

a Independent clauses joined with and, but, etc.

b Introductory elements

c Items in a series

d Coordinate adjectives

e Nonrestrictive elements

f Transitions, parenthetical expressions, absolute phrases, contrasts

g Direct address, yes and no, interrogative tags, interjections

h he said, etc.

i Dates, addresses, titles, numbers

j To prevent confusion

33  Unnecessary commas

a Between compound elements that are not independent clauses

b Between a verb and its subject or object

c Before the first or after the last item in a series

d Between cumulative adjectives, an adjective and a noun, or an adverb and an adjective

e Before and after restrictive or mildly parenthetical elements

f Before essential concluding adverbial elements

g After a phrase beginning an inverted sentence

h Other misuses

34  The semicolon

a Between independent clauses not joined with a coordinating conjunction

b Between independent clauses linked with a transitional expression

c In a series containing internal punctuation

d Misuses

35  The colon

a Before a list, an appositive, or a quotation

b Between independent clauses

c Conventional uses

d Misuses

36  The apostrophe

a Possessive nouns

b Possessive indefinite pronouns

c Contractions

d Not for plural numbers, letters, abbreviations, words mentioned as words

e Misuses

37  Quotation marks

a Direct quotations

b Quotation within a quotation

c Titles of short works

d Words as words

e With other punctuation marks

f Misuses

38  End punctuation

a The period

b The question mark

c The exclamation point

39  Other punctuation

a The dash

b Parentheses

c Brackets

d The ellipsis mark

e The slash


40  Abbreviations

a Titles with proper names

b Familiar abbreviations

c Conventional abbreviations

d Latin abbreviations

e Inappropriate abbreviations

41  Numbers

a Spelling out

b Using numerals

42  Italics

a Title of works

b Names of ships, spacecraft, and aircraft

c Foreign words

d Words as words, letters as letters, numbers as numbers

43  Spelling

a Spelling rules

b The dictionary

c Words that sound alike

d Commonly misspelled words

44  The hyphen

a Compound words

b Hyphenated adjectives

c Fractions and compound numbers

d With certain prefixes and suffixes

e To avoid ambiguity or to separate awkward double or triple letters

f Division of words and electronic addresses

45  Capitalization

a Proper vs. common nouns

b Titles with proper names

c Titles and subtitles of works

d First word of a sentence

e First word of a quoted sentence

f First word after a colon

g Abbreviations

Grammar Basics

46  Parts of speech

a Nouns

b Pronouns

c Verbs

d Adjectives

e Adverbs

f Prepositions

g Conjunctions

h Interjections

47  Sentence patterns

a Subjects

b Verbs, objects, and complements

c Pattern variations

48  Subordinate word groups

a Prepositional phrases

b Verbal phrases

c Appositive phrases

d Absolute phrases

e Subordinate clauses

49  Sentence types

a Sentence structures

b Sentence purposes

Document Design

50  Principles of document design

a Selecting appropriate format options

b Using headings to guide readers

c Using lists to guide readers

d Adding visuals that support your purpose

51  Academic formatting

52  Business formatting

a Using established conventions for business letters

b Writing effective resumes and cover letters

c Writing clear and concise memos

d Writing effective e-mail messages


53  Conducting research

a Posing questions worth exploring

b Mapping out a search strategy

c Searching a database or consulting a print index to locate articles

d Consulting the librarys catalog to locate books

e Using a variety of online tools to locate other sources

f Using other search tools

g Conducting field research

54  Evaluating sources

a Determining how a source might contribute to your writing

b Selecting sources worth your time and attention

c Selecting appropriate versions of online sources

d Reading with an open mind and a critical eye

e Assessing Web sources with special care

55  Managing information; avoiding plagiarism

a Maintaining a working bibliography

b Keeping track of source materials

c Avoiding unintentional plagiarism

Writing papers in MLA style

56  Supporting a thesis

a Forming a working thesis

b Organizing ideas with a rough outline

c Using sources to inform and support your argument

57  Citing sources; avoiding plagiarism

a Citing quotations and borrowed ideas

b Enclosing borrowed language in quotation marks

c Putting summaries and paraphrases in your own words

58  Integrating sources

a Using quotations appropriately

b Using signal phrases to integrate sources

c Synthesizing sources

59  Documenting sources in MLA style

a MLA in-text citations

b MLA list of works cited

c MLA information notes (optional)

60  MLA manuscript format; student research process and sample paper

a MLA manuscript format

b Highlights of one students research process

c Sample MLA research paper

Writing papers in APA style

61  Supporting a thesis

a Forming a working thesis

b Organizing ideas

c Using sources to inform and support your argument

62  Citing sources; avoiding plagiarism

a Citing quotations and borrowed ideas

b Enclosing borrowed language in quotation marks

c Putting summaries and paraphrases in your own words

63  Integrating sources

a Using quotations appropriately

b Using signal phrases to integrate sources

c Synthesizing sources

64  Documenting sources in APA style

a APA in-text citations

b APA list of works cited

65  APA manuscript format; sample paper

a APA manuscript format

b Sample MLA research paper

Product Details

Hacker, Diana
Bedford Books
Sommers, Nancy
Wanda Van Goor
Van Goor, Wanda
Composition & Creative Writing
Reference - General
Publication Date:
Spiral, comb or coil bound book
11 x 8.5 in

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