Have more than one copy: A Writer’s Reference

A Writer's ReferenceDay 8: A Writer’s Reference is the abridged edition of Diana Hacker’s The Bedford Handbook. Roughly the size of an old-fashioned address book with a plastic comb binding, its best feature is the convenient, easy-to-use design. Nancy Sommers is the lead co-author of the newer editions.

My copies—one for home and one for the office—are antiques, and I’ve given and frequently recommended the compact handbook. Everyone seems to appreciate A Writer’s Reference‘s many examples, some illustrated with correction marks. Lately, there are ebook editions, as well as a website, Writer’s Help, which expands on the content in A Writer’s Reference and is touted for its search and social features.

You might question whether A Writer’s Reference is worth the steep price, now that few people fret about grammar, punctuation, or word choice. I suppose an answer can be found in Taylor Mali‘s poem “The The Impotence of Proofreading.” You’ve seen the video of his reading, but here it is again, from the Bowery Poetry Club in 2005.


The Diana Hacker TYCA Outstanding Programs in English Awards, which is sponsored by the Two-Year College English Association (TYCA) of the National Council of Teachers of English and the books’ publisher, Bedford/St. Martin’s, is accepting program nominations online until November 10, 2014.

BookADay-The Borough Press

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