Rules for Writers / Edition 7

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Rules for Writers is a college writer’s 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 it’s 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Too many handbooks are absolutely cluttered. I appreciate Rules for Writers for its simplicity and ease of use."

— Allegra Blake, Central Michigan University

"My students are busier than ever before. I like that Rules is compact enough for them to have in their backpacks at all times. They also benefit from the always-available online help."

— Lisa Beckelhimer, University of Cincinnati

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312647360
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 9/16/2011
  • Format: Spiral Bound
  • Edition description: Seventh Edition
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 517
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet 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 Writer’s 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.

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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.
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
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
Examine your issue’s 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.
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.
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.
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.
b Specific, concrete nouns
c Misused words
d Standard idioms
e Clichés
f Figures of speech
19  Repair sentence fragments.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 library’s 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
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
Using quotations appropriately
b Using signal phrases to integrate sources
c Synthesizing sources
59  Documenting sources in MLA style
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 student’s 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
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

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2010

    Great book for everyone who writes

    First of all, I like how this book is made. With the spiral loop, the book stays opened using one hand, two hands, or no hand. No more fuss with the book when I have already had a lot of research paper to deal with. I origially purchased this book as it's required for my English class. However, I don't believe that the book can only be used in the class at school. I think this book can be my teacher to teach me how to write and answer questions raised as problems occur again and again. The book includes all strategy needed in writing in one place. If you don't know where to start with your writing assignment, this book is absolutely for you. It guides you how to generate ideas, conduct research, make an initial draft, and make revisions with little grammar error. The language used in the book is easy to read and understand. It doesn't consume my time. I didn't have to translate English to English like when I read some other books. There is also a section for people whose English is a second language, or ESL section, that tells about common errors that usually see in writing and how to correct them. For me, this is a keeper. I keep it on my bookshelves, so I can use it as a reference whenever I write. I'm also planning to buy an exercise book available on this website to use together with this book. Great Book!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2009

    Rules for Writers

    It's Great!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2003

    I'm buying two more for my daughters!

    I've got the 2nd edition, and have used it like a bible for years. My kids have questions, this has answers!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2015

    I bought this book back a few years ago. I have the firth Editi

    I bought this book back a few years ago. I have the firth Edition of this book. I have been using it to get through college. It really does help a lot.

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  • Posted September 5, 2014

    Never received the book

    The company said the book shipped on August 7th but it is now sept 7th and we never got the book. Very bad customer service.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2014

    Don't buy!!!!!!!!!!

    I've never was able to open the book. No matter how many times I talked to a rep.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    Highly Recommended - Easy to read and follow!

    I purchased this book as a textbook requirement for one of my classes, but it's proved to be useful beyond that one class. It's a great reference and guide for writers of all levels!

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