Quick Access: Reference for Writers, MLA Update, 8th edition

  • Lynn Quitman Troyka, 
  • Douglas Hesse

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Everything composition students need — how to write papers, use and document sources, write online, write with visuals, master grammar, and use correct punctuation — is in the compact handbook Quick Access: Reference for Writers. Designed for easy use, it helps students become better writers.

Published by Pearson (July 14th 2021) - Copyright © 2017

ISBN-13: 9780137517060

Subject: Composition

Category: Handbook

Table of contents


1. Five Top Tips for College Writers
1) Be specific: use RENNS.
2) Develop your ability as a critical reader and thinker.
3) Check Tab 3, "Frames for College Writing," for ideas.
4) Use logical, ethical, and emotional appeals.
5) Record source information.

2. Ten Troublesome Mistakes Writers Make
1) Sentence fragments
2) Comma splices and run-ons
3) Mistakes in subject--verb agreement
4) Mistakes in pronoun--antecedent agreement
5) Unclear pronoun reference
6) Sentence shifts
7) Misplaced modifiers
8) Mistakes with homonyms
9) Comma errors
10) Apostrophe errors

3. Essential Processes for Reading
A. Importance of reading
B. Purposes for college reading
C. SQ3R reading process
D. Reading comprehension strategies

4. Reading and Thinking Critically
A. What "critical" means
B. Rhetorical appeals
C. Levels of meaning
D. Critical thinking and reading processes
E. Close and active reading
F. Analyzing
G. Synthesizing and evaluating
H. Inductive and deductive reasoning
I. Reading images critically
J. How images persuade
K. Analyzing words with images


5. Planning Your Writing
A. Writing processes
B. Thinking like a writer
C. Planning a writing portfolio
D. Purposes for writing
E. Audience
F. Developing ideas
G. Thesis statement
H. Outlining

6. Drafting, Revising, Editing, and Proofreading
A. First draft
B. Writer's block
C. Revising
D. Revising using thesis statements and essay titles
E. Revising for style and tone
F. Editing
G. Editing software and apps
H. Proofreading

7. Composing Paragraphs
A. What a paragraph is
B. Introductory paragraphs
C. Topic sentences
D. Body paragraphs
E. Coherent paragraphs
F. Rhetorical strategies to develop body paragraphs
G. Concluding paragraphs

8. Designing Documents
A. Document design
B. Principles of design
C. Text
D. Headings
E. Photographs
F. Other visuals
G. Page layout


9. Personal Essays
A. Personal essays
B. Planning and revising
C. Frame for a personal essay
D. Sentence and paragraph guides
E. Student essay example

10. Informative Essays
A. Informative essays
B. Planning and revising
C. Frame for an informative essay
D. Sentence and paragraph guides
E. Student essay example

11. Essays Analyzing a Text
A. Textual analysis
B. Generating ideas
C. Frame for a textual analysis
D. Sentence and paragraph guides
E. Student essay example

12. Argument Essays
A. Arguments
B. Planning and revising
C. Logical fallacies
D. Frames for arguments
E. Sentence and paragraph guides
F. Student essay example

13. Proposal or Solution Essays
A. Proposal or solution essays
B. Planning and revising
C. Frame for a proposal or solution essay
D. Sentence and paragraph guides
E. Student essay example

14. Evaluation Essays
A. Evaluation essays
B. Planning and revising
C. Frame for an evaluation essay
D. Sentence and paragraph guides
E. Student essay example


15. Avoiding Plagiarism
A. Understanding plagiarism
B. Avoiding plagiarism
C. Understanding patchwriting
D. Avoiding plagiarism of intellectual property
E. Avoiding plagiarism of Internet sources
F. What not to document

16. Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing
A. Integrating sources
B. Quoting sources
C. Paraphrasing sources
D. Summarizing sources
E. Verbs for integrating sources

17. Writing About Readings
A. Typical assignments
B. Summary essays
C. Response essays
D. Synthesis essays


18. Starting a Research Project
A. Understanding research
B. Topic choice
C. Research question
D. Types of research papers

19. Developing a Search Strategy
A. Search strategies
B. Sources
C. Field research
D. Documentation style
E. Research log
F. Working bibliography
G. Documentation software
H. Annotated bibliography
I. Content notes
J. Research project plan

20. Finding Published Sources
A. Published sources
B. Using libraries
C. Search engines and databases
D. Using search engines and databases
E. Books
F. Periodicals
G. Reference works
H. Images
I. Government documents

21. Evaluating Sources
A. Location of a source
B. Credibility of the publisher
C. Credibility of the author
D. Use of evidence
E. Other critical thinking tests

22. Synthesizing Sources in Research Papers
A. Synthesis of sources
B. Relationships of sources
C. Sources on different subtopics
D. Sources agree
E. Sources partly agree
F. Sources disagree
G. Sources aren't equally specific

23. Writing a Research Paper
A. Writing process
B. Drafting a thesis statement
C. Outlining a research paper
D. Drafting a research paper
E. Frames for research papers
F. Student's research paper
G. Revising
H. Editing and formatting


24. MLA In-Text Citations
A. MLA documentation style
B. MLA in-text documentation
C. Additional MLA guidelines for parenthetical citations

25. MLA Works Cited List
A. Works Cited list
B. Sources in a Works Cited list
C. Content or bibliographic notes

26. A Student's MLA-Style Research Paper
A. MLA format guidelines
B. MLA-style research paper


27. APA In-Text Citations
A. APA documentation style
B. APA in-text citations
C. APA guidelines for in-text citations

28. APA References List
A. References list
B. Sources in a References list

29. A Student's APA-Style Research Paper
A. APA format guidelines
B. APA-style research paper

30. CM-Style Documentation
A. CM-style documentation
B. Bibliographic notes

31. CSE-Style Documentation
A. CSE-style documentation
B. Sources in a list of references


32. Parts of Speech and Sentences

Parts of Speech
A. Nouns
B. Pronouns
C. Verbs
D. Verbals
E. Adjectives
F. Adverbs
G. Prepositions
H. Conjunctions
I. Interjections

Parts of Sentences
J. Subjects and predicates
K. Direct and indirect objects
L. Complements, modifiers, and appositives
M. Phrases
N. Clauses
O. Sentence types

33. Verbs
A. How verbs function
B. Forms of main verbs
C. Auxiliary verbs
D. Using lie or lay
E. Verb tenses
F. Indicative, imperative, and subjunctive moods
G. "Voice" in verbs

34. Subject--Verb Agreement
A. What subject--verb agreement is
B. Ignoring words between a subject and its verb
C. Subjects connected by and
D. Subjects connected by or
E. Verbs with indefinite pronouns
F. Verbs with who, which, and that
G. Verbs with one of the . . . who
H. Other complicated cases

35. Pronouns

Pronoun--Antecedent Agreement
A. What pronoun--antecedent agreement is
B. Pronouns when and connects antecedents
C. Pronouns when or connects antecedents
D. Pronouns when antecedents are indefinite pronouns
E. Pronouns when antecedents are collective nouns

Pronoun Reference
F. Avoiding unclear pronoun reference
G. Pronouns with it, that, this, and which
H. Using you for direct address
I. Using who, which, and that

Pronoun Case
J. What pronoun case is
K. Personal pronouns
L. Selecting the correct case
M. Case when and connects pronouns
N. Matching case in appositives
O. Subjective case after linking verbs
P. Using who, whoever, whom, and whomever
Q. Case after than and as
R. Case with infinitives and -ing words
S. Case for -self pronouns

36. Adjectives and Adverbs
A. Adjectives v. adverbs
B. Double negatives
C. After linking verbs
D. Comparative and superlative forms
E. Nouns as modifiers


37. Sentence Fragments
A. Recognizing fragments
B. Subordinating word fragments
C. Fragments without verbs
D. Fragments without subjects
E. Compound predicate fragments
F. Intentional fragments

38. Comma Splices and Run-On Sentences
A. What comma splices and run-on sentences are
B. Correcting comma splices and run-on sentences

39. Sentence Shift Problems
A. Consistent person and number
B. Consistent subject and voice
C. Consistent mood
D. Consistent verb tense
E. Consistent direct and indirect discourse
F. Sentences with mixed parts
G. Ellipticals and comparisons

40. Misplaced Modifiers
A. Misplaced modifiers
B. Squinting modifiers
C. Split infinitives
D. Disrupting
E. Dangling modifiers

41. Conciseness
A. Writing concisely
B. Avoiding redundancies
C. Avoiding wordy sentences
D. Combining sentence elements
E. Verbs and conciseness

42. Coordination/Subordination
A. Coordination: Expressing equivalent ideas
B. Avoiding problems
C. Subordination: Expressing nonequivalent ideas
D. Subordination: Avoiding problems

43. Sentence Style
A. Understanding parallelism
B. Avoiding faulty parallelism
C. Parallelism with conjunctions
D. Strengthening a message with parallelism
E. Understanding sentence variety
F. How subjects affect emphasis
G. Adding modifiers
H. Inverting standard word order

44. Word Meanings and Impact
A. Words and their meanings
B. Exact words
C. Increasing my vocabulary
D. Suitable language
E. Figurative language
F. Clichés
G. Effect of tone in writing

45. Using Inclusive Language
A. Gender in English
B. Gender-neutral language

46. Spelling
A. Plurals
B. Suffixes
C. The ie, ei rule
D. Homonyms and frequently confused words
E. Other spelling errors


47. Commas
A. When to use commas
B. With introductory words
C. Before coordinating conjunctions
D. With a series
E. Between adjectives
F. With nonrestrictive and restrictive elements
G. With quoted words
H. Other word groups to set off
I. In dates, names, places, addresses, letter format, and numbers
J. Preventing misreadings
K. Other comma errors

48. Semicolons
A. Instead of periods
B. Instead of commas

49. Colons
A. Lists, appositives, or quotations
B. Between sentences
C. Conventional formats

50. Apostrophes
A. Possessive nouns
B. Possessive indefinite pronouns
C. Possessive pronouns: hers, his, its, ours, yours, and theirs
D. Verbs that end in -s
E. Contractions
F. Letters, numerals, symbols, and terms

51. Quotation Marks
A. Short direct quotations
B. Long direct quotations
C. Spoken words
D. Titles
E. Terms, translations, irony
F. When quotation marks are wrong
G. With other punctuation

52. Periods, Question Marks, and Exclamation Points
A. Periods
B. Question marks
C. Exclamation points

53. Other Punctuation Marks
A. Dashes
B. Parentheses
C. Brackets
D. Ellipsis points
E. Slashes

54. Hyphens
A. End of a line
B. Prefixes and suffixes
C. Compound words
D. Spelled-out numbers

55. Capitals
A "First" words
B Quotations
C Nouns and adjectives

56. Italics (Underlining)
A. Italics versus quotation marks
B. For emphasis

57. Abbreviations
A. Times and amounts
B. People's names
C. Jr., Sr., II, III, 2nd, 3rd
D. Names of countries, organizations, and government agencies
E. Addresses
F. Using etc. and other Latin abbreviations

58. Numbers
A. Spelled-out numbers
B. Dates, addresses, times, and other numbers


A Message to Multilingual Writers

59. Singulars and Plurals
A. Count and noncount nouns
B. Determiners
C. Nouns used as adjectives

60. Articles
A. Singular count nouns
B. Count and noncount nouns
C. Using the with proper nouns

61. Word Order
A. Standard and inverted word orders
B. Placing adjectives
C. Placing adverbs

62. Prepositions
A. Using in, at, and on to show time and place
B. Phrasal verbs
C. Passive voice
D. Expressions

63. Gerunds and Infinitives
A. Gerund objects
B. Infinitive objects
C. Using stop, remember, or forget
D. Sense verbs
E. Choosing between --ing and -ed adjectives

64. Modal Auxiliary Verbs
A How modals differ from be, do, and have
B Expressing ability, necessity, advisability, or probability
C Expressing preference, plan, or past habit


65. An Overview of Writing Across the Curriculum
A. Writing across the curriculum
B. Audience and purpose

66. Humanities
A. What the humanities are
B. Types of papers
C. Documentation styles

67. Literature
A. What literature is
B. Types of papers
C. Rules for writing about literature
D. A student's literature essay

68. Social Sciences
A. What the social sciences are
B. Types of papers

69. Natural Sciences
A. What the natural sciences are
B. Types of papers

70. Presentations
A. What presentations are
B. Focusing the presentation
C. Organizing a presentation
D. Incorporating multimedia
E. Presentation styles
F. Collaborative presentations

71. Digital Environments
A. What digital environments are
B. Blogs
C. Collaborative spaces
D. Video and sound

72. Work
A. Workplace Writing purposes
B. Workplace correspondence
C. Work-related e-mail
D. Business letters
E. Resumes
F. Job application letters

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