Continuously evolving to address the needs of today's students, the HODGES' HARBRACE HANDBOOK, 17th Edition, guides student writers in developing their understanding of the rhetorical situation. This understanding enables even students with minimal experience or confidence in their writing to learn to write more effectively—to choose the most pertinent information, arrange it well, and use the most appropriate language when writing for any audience. This grammar-first handbook provides comprehensive coverage of grammar, style, punctuation, mechanics, writing, and research—all presented in the context of rhetorical concerns including the writer, reader, message, context, and exigence (reason for writing). This edition has been updated to reflect guidelines from the 2009 MLA HANDBOOK FOR WRITERS OF RESEARCH PAPERS, SEVENTH EDITION.
Professor of English and Women's Studies at The Pennsylvania State University, Cheryl Glenn is widely known for her scholarship, leadership, and teaching. Besides authoring The Harbrace Guide to Writing and co-authoring The Harbrace Handbooks, she is author of the prize-winning Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition from Antiquity Through the Renaissance; Unspoken: A Rhetoric of Silence; Rhetorical Education in America; and several other titles. Glenn's rhetorical scholarship has earned her many awards, including three National Endowment for the Humanities awards, the Conference on College Composition and Communication's Richard Braddock Award, Rhetoric Review's Outstanding Essay Award, and Best Book/Honorable Mention from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women. She has served as President of the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition, and is a member of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Executive Committee, Chair of the Modern Language Association (MLA) Division on the History and Theory of Rhetoric and Composition, and a member of the MLA Delegate Assembly. Glenn's teaching and scholarship have earned her three university teaching awards. She has recently served as Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the largest organization of writing and rhetoric teachers in the world.
Professor of English at Central Washington University, Loretta Gray has three degrees related to her interest in composition and applied linguistics: Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (School for International Training), Master of Arts in Spanish (Middlebury College), and Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Linguistics (Boston University). She has experience teaching English to non-native speakers in Mexico, Spain, and the United States. In addition, she taught Spanish at Clemson University and applied linguistics at the School for International Training. Dr. Gray has been teaching composition and applied linguistics courses at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, since 1992. She also is co-author of the textbook Rhetorical Grammar.
Part I: GRAMMAR. 1. Sentence Essentials. 2. Sentence Fragments. 3. Comma Splices and Fused Sentences. 4. Adjectives and Adverbs. 5. Pronouns and Case. 6. Agreement. 7. Verbs. Part II: MECHANICS. 8. Document Design. 9. Capitals. 10. Italics. 11. Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Numbers. Part III: PUNCTUATION. 12. The Comma. 13. Unnecessary or Misplaced Commas. 14. The Semicolon. 15. The Apostrophe. 16. Quotation Marks. 17. The Period and Other Marks. Part IV: SPELLING AND DICTION. 18. Spelling, the Spell Checker, and Hyphenation. 19. Good Usage. 20. Exactness. 21. Conciseness. 22. Clarity and Completeness. Part V: EFFECTIVE SENTENCES. 23. Sentence Unity. 24. Subordination and Coordination. 25. Misplaced Modifiers. 26. Parallelism. 27. Consistency. 28. Pronoun Reference. 29. Emphasis. 30. Variety. Part VI: WRITING. 31. The Rhetorical Situation. 32. Reading Rhetorically. 33. Planning and Drafting Essays. 34. Revising and Editing Essays. 35. Writing Arguments. 36. Online Writing. Part VII: RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION. 37. Finding Sources Online, in Print, and in the Field. 38. Evaluating Sources Online and in Print. 39. Using Sources Effectively and Responsibly. 40. MLA Documentation. 41. APA Documentation. 42. Writing about Literature. 43. Writing in Business. Glossary of Usage. Glossary of Terms. Index.
Pretty to look at, comprehensive, but tries too hard to be relevant
I imagine most people who purchase this book are "forced" to do so because it is required for a writing or research course. That's why I got it (although it was only "recommended", not required for my course). Generally, I'm pleased with the book. It's surprisingly small (about 5" x 7.5"), but contains 832 well-laid-out pages. The design of the book is very up to date, with effective use of colors, insets, and graphic elements -- a clean, "pretty" look that also makes the information more accessible. The book does a good job organizing its material and cross-referencing within itself. It has a detailed index and two glossaries.
My primary use for the book is to answer "usage" questions like "when should I use 'effect' vs. 'affect'?" and the book handles those well. The book also addresses the entire research & writing process, with good tips on constructing a paper.
My only major complaint is that the book is heavily padded with numerous, long example quotations whose relevance to the subject material is often not clearly explained in detail. It almost seems like the authors intended to sprinkle in lots of quotations from obscure modern literature in order to make the book seem more "hip" or "relevant". At least one quote even included a four-letter-word not used in polite conversation -- that was quite disappointing. Overall, I found the frequent quotations very distracting and not generally helpful.
In summary, this handbook, while rather expensive (~$90), is a pretty good resource for answering usage questions and learning about the writing process. If your employer or scholarship is paying for books, I'd say "go for it", because it can be a helpful addition to your library. If you're paying your own money, though, there are better options, (see "I Also Recommend", at left).
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