Writing Resources

“Miller’s Memo” along with the “Grammar and Style Checklist,” both available on this website, provide useful advice and references for improving their writing skills.  The Internet also offers a wide variety of aids, some of which appear in the links on this page.  Please note that the information here is not complete.  Much more is available on the Web, including videos on Youtube.  For thorough treatments of grammar, style, and format, see the list of print sources at the bottom of this page.


The "Purdue Owl Online Writing Lab" (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/) provides concise grammar information that targets specific issues.  A number of their instructive articles appear on this page. 


HINT: In academic writing, never use the eighth model.

Combining Short Sentences and Sentences that Repeat Information – http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/combining_skills.htm

Parallelism (writing a series of phrases) – https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/623/01/

Citation Formats

The citation system of the Manual of Style from the Chicago University Press (abbreviated in Turabian’s Manual for Writers) – https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/05/; and http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-1.html

NOTE: Historians almost exclusively use this system of citation because it facilitates multiple citations, lengthy archival citations, and comments.

Print Sources

Everyone (since everyone writes) should have the following three items in their personal libraries: 

1) a recent Webster dictionary, assuming that one is using American English;

2) a thesaurus;

3) a reference grammar, such as Michael Strumpf and Auriel Douglas, The Grammar Bible: Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Grammar but Didn’t Know Whom to Ask (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, St Martin’s Press, 2004).

Aids that help improve even the best writers are:

Garner, Bryan A.  Garner’s Modern English Usage.  4th ed.  Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

NOTE: This is a current alternative to Wilson Follett’s classic Modern American Usage: A Guide, edited and completed by Jacques Barzun in collaboration with Carlos Baker, et al. (New York: Hill and Wang, 1966).  Garner's volume not only offers explanations for American usage but also takes into account British English.

Fowler, H. W.  A Dictionary of Modern English Usage.  Ed. by Jeremy Butterfield.  4th ed.   Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.  (This is for British English, but it is still very useful.)

Strunk, William Jr. and E. B. White.  The Elements of Style.  Foreword by Robert Angell.  Harlow, Essex, UK: Pearson Education Limited, 2014.

Truss, Lynne.  Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.  Foreword by Frank McCourt.  New York and London: Gotham Books, an imprint of the Penguin Group, 2004.

For creating proper citations, historians need one or both of the following:

University of Chicago Press Staff,  A Manual of Style for Authors, Editors, and Copywriters (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, latest edition).

Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, latest edition).

NOTE: Turabian’s work is simply an abbreviated version of the so-called “Chicago” Manual of Style.

Many more sources in print help writers improve their compositions.  One of my favorites is quite old:

Waddell, Marie L; Robert M. Msch; and Roberta R. Walker.  The Art of Styling Sentences: 20 Patterns to Success.  Woodbury, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1972.