Handbook for Writers: Excellence in Literature

$39.00

The Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers is a unique one-stop reference for how to write essays, as well as a guide for punctuation, style, and usage.

Paperbound; 8 x 10″; 420 pages

Description

Finally, a writer’s handbook that goes from high school into college!

Need to know how to create a topic outline for an essay?

Wondering whether to put punctuation inside or outside the quotation marks?

Looking for a handy guide to written arguments, paragraph structure, and basic mechanics?

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You need the Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers!

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This 420-page writer’s handbook has two primary sections. The first section provides detailed instructions and models (samples) for constructing arguments and writing essays, and the second part covers mechanics, including style and usage. This reference book answers the questions your student will face in high school and college classes.
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A few highlights:

— How to construct a logical, interesting argument (focus) for an essay, debate, or research paper

— How to structure different types of essays, paragraph by paragraph

— How to use inductive and deductive reasoning

— How read thoughtfully and write about literature, including short stories, full-length classics, and poetry

Topic sentence outline examples for papers in literature, social studies, public policy, and more
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The Handbook for Writers is a collaborative effort — think Strunk and White, except this one is Johnston and Campbell. Mr. Johnston is a retired college professor who generously granted me permission to adapt two of his wonderful handbooks to fit the needs of Excellence in Literature students. This is mostly his work, but I have added a few things, updated examples, and converted Canadian styles to standard, current American usage.
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I think you will find the Handbook for Writers a very useful part of your homeschool. It’s helpful in English, classes, of course, but it’s also useful for other writing and speaking your student will need to do through high school and college. If your student studies debate, the chapters on constructing an argument are very helpful. In the essay section, the sample topic sentence outlines are like a blueprint for writing success. You can even use the Handbook as you evaluate your student’s papers. This is truly a one-of-a-kind book.
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No handbook covers every single thing (though the Chicago Manual of Style, a $65 handbook for professional editors, comes pretty close), but the Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers covers a lot of ground. At risk of making this an absurdly long page, I’ll paste the table of contents below, with a few of my favorite sections highlighted. It’s a lot of information!
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So you don’t have to scroll all the way down, here’s the page for the the print and ebook bundle. The link will open in a new window. 

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Contents of the Handbook for Writers

Introduction to the Handbook 

Part 1: Introduction to Essays and Arguments 

Arguments: Some Simple First Principles 

  • 2.1 Initial Comments
  • 2.2 Trivial Arguments over Matters of Established Fact
  • 2.3 More Complex and Interesting Arguments
  • 2.4 The Importance of Reason
  • 2.5 An Overview of The Major Tools
  • 2.6 Exercise 1: Recognizing the Form of Simple Arguments
  • 2.7 Some Brain Teasers

Setting Up The Argument: Definition (1) 

  • 3.1 Defining the Argument: Some General Points
  • 3.2 Two Simple Examples
  • 3.3 Some Sample Openings
  • 3.4 The Importance of Defining a Focus
  • 3.5 The Importance of Defining a Thesis
  • 3.6 Exercises in Recognizing Potentially Useful Thesis Statements
  • 3.7 Some Hints on Forming Good Thesis Statements
  • 3.8 The Start of an Outline for the Argument
  • 3.9 Some Problems with Introductory Paragraphs
  • 3.10 Exercise With Sample Opening Paragraphs

Definition (2): Defining Key Terms 

  • 4.1 The Importance of Certain Key Terms in the Argument
  • 4.2 Organizing Definitions
  • 4.3 Self-Serving Definitions
  • 4.5 Exercise 4: Definitions
  • 4.6 Descriptive and Narrative Definitions
  • 4.7 Extended Definitions
  • 4.8 Some Summary Points on Definition
  • 4.9 Defining the Scope of the Essay

Deduction And Induction 

  • 5.1 General Comments
  • 5.2 Deduction: Some Points to Observe
  • 5.3 The Opening General Principle
  • 5.4 The Importance of Step 2 in a Deductive Argument
  • 5.5 The Importance of Deduction in Falsification Theories of Science
  • 5.6 The Deductive Structure of Listing the Alternatives
  • 5.7 The Problem of Hidden or Misleading Assumptions
  • 5.8 Exercise in Hidden Assumptions
  • 5.9 False Dilemma
  • 5.10 Overstating or Understating the Conclusion
  • 5.11 Analogies
  • 5.12 Induction
  • 5.13 Making Inductive Generalizations
  • 5.14 Exercise in Simple Inductive Argument
  • 5.15 Some Potential Problems in Inductive Arguments
  • 5.16 Exercise in Evaluating Short Arguments
  • 5.17 Induction in Arguments on Literary Topics
  • 5.18 Deduction and Induction in Combination

Organizing The Main Body Of An Argument (I) 

  • 6.1 General Remarks
  • 6.2 The Length of the Argument: Approximate Paragraph Count
  • 6.3 Selecting the Topics for the Argument
  • 6.4 Rethinking the Focus and Thesis of the Argument
  • 6.5 Developing an Outline: Topic Sentences
  • 6.6 The Commonest Error in Topic Sentences
  • 6.7 Exercise in Topic Sentences
  • 6.8 Drawing Up a Simple Outline (for a Short Essay)
  • Essay 1: On Hamlet
  • Essay 2: On Intellectual Property Violations
  • 6.9 Checking the Outline
  • 6.10 Some Sample Formats for Topic Sentences
  • A. Standard Format: Interpretative Assertion (Opinion)
  • B. Standard Format Emphasized: Interpretative Assertion Followed by Clarification, Extension, or Emphasis.
  • C. Question: Simple Direct Question for Emphasis
  • D. Double Question
  • E. Statement of Fact and Question: Directing the Reader to a Fact in the Argument and Raising an Issue About It
  • F. Statement of Fact and a Double Question
  • 6.11 Topic Sentences to Avoid

Organizing The Main Body Of The Argument (II) 

  • 7.1 Simple Additive Structure
  • 7.2 Acknowledging the Opposition
  • 7.3 The Structure of a Comparative Argument
  • General Observations on Comparative Arguments
  • Sample Openings to a Comparative Essay
  • The Structure of a Comparative Argument
  • 7.4 Additional Samples of Outlines for Comparative Essays

Paragraph Structure 

  • 8.1 Paragraphs in the Main Body of the Argument
  • Sample Paragraph A: Deductive Structure
  • Sample Paragraph B: Inductive Structure
  • 8.2 Paragraphs Making Inductive Argument
  • Sources of Evidence
  • Interpreting Evidence
  • 8.3 Some Important Symptoms of Poor Argumentative Paragraphs
  • 8.4 Paragraph Unity
  • 8.5 Paragraph Coherence
  • A Useful Blueprint for Achieving Paragraph Coherence
  • Transition Words as Logical Indicators
  • A Catalogue of Transition Words
  • An Exercise in Transition Words
  • 8.6 Concluding Paragraphs
  • Conclusion A (from an essay arguing that Hamlet’s character is not that of the ideal prince but is badly flawed)
  • Conclusion B (from an essay arguing that the failure of the Meech Lake Accord was a direct result of the ineptitude of the federal government)
  • Conclusion C (from an essay arguing that the only rational solution to our narcotics problem is to legalize all drugs)
  • 8.7 Recommendations
  • Sample Conclusion and Recommendation Ending to a Paper

Paragraph Functions 

  • 9.1 The Basic Functions of Paragraphs
  • 9.2 Exercise in Topic Sentences Announcing the Function of a Paragraph
  • 9.3 Organizing an Essay by Paragraph Function
  • 9.4 Paragraphs of Illustration, Narration, and Description
  • Inserting Paragraphs of Narration, Description, or Analysis in the Middle of AnArgument
  • Inserting a Detailed Example into the Argument
  • Essay A
  • Essay B
  • Example A (from an essay arguing that Descartes’s argument is problematic but interesting)
  • Example B (from an essay arguing that the Chipko movement is a significant indication of the power of uneducated women to affect government policy)
  • Example C (from an essay arguing that Thoreau’s Walden is a fine example of American Romanticism)
  • Example D (in an essay arguing that a particular legal judgement was correct)
  • Setting Up a Narrative or Descriptive “Hook”
  • 9.5 Organizing an Argument in Paragraph Clusters
  • Research Paper A: The Imagist Movement in Modern Poetry
  • Research Paper 2: Modern Medicine and the Law
  • Research Paper C: Essay on William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience

Writing Arguments About Literary Works 

  • 10.1 Reading Beneath the Surface
  • Reading Stories
  • Reading Arguments
  • 10.2 From Reading to Shaping An Evaluative Argument
  • Building on Our Own Reactions
  • Using Comparisons
  • 10.3 Evaluative Argument versus Prose Summaries
  • 10.4 Structuring an Argumentative Essay on Fiction
  • Essay A: On John Steinbeck’s Short Story “The Chrysanthemums”
  • Essay B: Short Essay on Homer
  • Essay C: Short Essay on a Shakespearean Play
  • A Common Mistake in the Structure of An Argument About Literature
  • 10.6 Structuring a Short Essay on the Evaluation of an Argument
  • A Note on the Process of Evaluating an Argument
  • Evaluate Arguments from the Inside not the Outside
  • Select the Focus Carefully
  • Check Carefully Any Appeals to Context
  • Use Counterexamples Intelligently
  • 10.7 Some Sample Outlines for Short Essays Evaluating Arguments
  • 10.8 Writing Short Arguments About Lyric Poetry
  • Reading a Lyric Poem
  • Structuring a Short Interpretative Essay on a Lyric Poem
  • Sample Introduction and Outline for Essay A on a Lyric Poem
  • Sample Outline for Essay B
  • Some Do’s and Don’t For Essays on Lyric Poems
  • 10.9 Sample Essay on a Lyric Poem
  • Bob Dylan’s “The Tambourine Man”: An Interpretation
  • Notes on the Sample Essay
  • 10.10 Writing Reviews of Fine and Performing Arts Events
  • Sample Short Review of a Dramatic Production

Sample Outlines For Essays And Research Papers 

  • A. Short Book Review
  • B. Short Essay Reviewing a Live Drama Production
  • D. Short Essay on a Long Fiction
  • E. Short Essay Evaluating an Argument in Another Text
  • F. Longer Essay or Research Paper on a Social Issue
  • G. Longer Essay or Research Paper on the Historical Significance of an Idea, Book, Person, Event, or Discovery
  • H. Research Paper on a Cultural Movement

Critical Approaches to Shakespeare  

  • Introduction
  • The Challenge of Shakespeare’s Work
  • The Approach Through Character Analysis
  • The Approach Through Thematic Analysis
  • The Approach Through Poetic Symbol
  • Some Other Interpretative Approaches
  • The Importance of Irony as an Interpretative Tool

Some Criteria for Making Literary Evaluations  

Part 2: Introduction to Usage and Style 

Phrases, Clauses, Sentences 

  • 1.1 The Clause
  • 1.2 Sentence Fragments
  • 1.3 Other Forms of Sentence Fragmentation
  • 1.3.1 Dependent Clauses
  • 1.3.2 Which, Who, Whose
  • 1.3.3 Present Participles
  • 1.3.4 Citing Examples
  • 1.3.5 Use of Bulleted Lists
  • 1.3.6 In Regard /In Response
  • 1.3.7 That
  • 1.3.8 Quotations
  • 1.4 Sentences are either Statements, Questions, Commands, or Exclamations
  • 1.4.1 Direct Questions
  • 1.4.2 Question as Imperative
  • 1.5 Indirect Question
  • 1.6 Question Marks in a Quotation
  • 1.7 Exclamation Points
  • 1.8 Subject/Verb Agreement
  • 1.9 Compound Subject
  • 1.10 Compound Subject as a Single Unit
  • 1.11 Plural Forms that take Singular Subjects
  • 1.12 Group Nouns
  • 1.13 Consistency
  • 1.14 There Is / There Was
  • 1.15 Indefinite Pronouns
  • 1.16 Number
  • 1.17 Compound Subjects
  • 1.18 Alternate Subjects
  • 1.19 Passive Verbs
  • 1.20 Verb Consistency
  • 1.21 Use of Passive Expression
  • 1.22 Scientific / Technical Writing
  • 1.23 Avoid Passive Construction
  • 1.24 Avoid the Passive To Use / To Do:
  • 1.25 Verb Tense Agreement
  • 1.25.1 Past Tense
  • 1.25.2 Present Tense
  • 1.25.3 Literary Analysis
  • 1.25.4 Conditional Tenses
  • 1.26 Verb Moods
  • 1.26.1 Technical Writing
  • 1.26.2 Subjunctive Usage
  • 1.26.3 Recommendations and Decisions
  • 1.27 Consistency of Tense / Mood
  • 1.28 Sentence Classification
  • 1.29 Compound Sentence
  • 1.30 Comma Placement
  • 1.31 Relationship of Clauses
  • 1.32 Length of Compound Sentences
  • 1.33 Compound Without Coordinating Conjunction
  • 1.34 Use of the Semi-Colon
  • 1.35 Excessively Long Compound Sentences
  • 1.36 Comma Splice
  • 1.37 Conjunctive Adverb
  • 1.38 Position of the Conjunctive Adverb
  • 1.39 Complex Sentences
  • 1.40 Relative Position of Clauses

Words 

  • 2.1 Slang
  • 2.2 Colloquialisms
  • 2.3 Names in Formal Writing
  • 2.4 References to Authors in Analytical Writing
  • 2.5 Colloquialism and Nicknames
  • 2.6 Appropriateness of Tone
  • 2.7 Gender
  • 2.8 Euphemisms / Jargon
  • 2.9 Wishy-Washy Words
  • 2.10 Technical Slang / Abbreviations
  • 2.11 Be Concise
  • 2.12 Simplicity of Expression
  • 2.13 Unnecessary Repetition
  • 2.14 Proper Use of Synonyms
  • 2.15 Spelling
  • 2.16 “I” Before “E”
  • 2.17 Frequently Misused Words
  • 2.18 Plural Noun Forms
  • 2.19 Foreign-Derived Word Plurals
  • English Word
  • English Plural
  • Foreign Plural
  • 2.20 Plurals with Apostrophe
  • 2.21 Possessive Nouns
  • 2.22 Singular Possessives Ending in Y
  • 2.23 Possessive Pronouns
  • 2.24 Possessives Using “Of”
  • 2.25 Contractions or Omissions
  • 2.26 Misuse of the Apostrophe
  • 2.27 Compound Adjectives Using the Hyphen
  • 2.28 No Hyphen Needed
  • 2.29 The Hyphen as a Link
  • 2.30 The Hyphen as Break
  • 2.31 Compound Numbers
  • 2.32 Abbreviations
  • 2.33 Capitalization of Abbreviations
  • 2.34 Standardization of Abbreviations
  • 2.35 Abbreviation Usage
  • 2.36 Abbreviations to Avoid
  • 2.37 Abbreviation of Units
  • 2.38 Periods in Abbreviations
  • 2.39 Scientific Abbreviations
  • 2.40 Spacing in Units and Abbreviations
  • 2.41 Abbreviations in Formal Non-Technical Writing
  • 2.41.1 BC, AD, CE, a.m., p.m., $, p.
  • 2.41.2 Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, Dr, Messrs
  • 2.41.3 Placement of Honorary Abbreviations
  • 2.42 Abbreviations in Titles
  • 2.43 Abbreviation of Dates and Addresses
  • 2.44 Abbreviation of Units of Measurement
  • 2.45 Capitalization
  • 2.46 Capitalization of Specific Place or Object
  • 2.47 Brand Names
  • 2.48 Capitalization of Headings and Titles
  • 2.49 Capitalization of Seasons, Relationships, Subject Areas
  • 2.50 Capital after a Colon
  • 2.51 Capitalization of a Quote
  • 2.52 Capitalization of Lists
  • 2.53 Use of Italics in Titles
  • 2.54 Italics Indicate Entire Work
  • 2.55 Quotation Marks for Titles of Short Works
  • 2.56 Titles of Books Included in an Anthology
  • 2.57 Additional Title Rules
  • 2.57.1 Articles
  • 2.57.2 Book Title within a Book Title
  • 2.57.3 Quotation Marks within a Title
  • 2.57.4 Title within an Essay Title
  • 2.58 Be Clear About Titles vs. Names of Characters, Places, or Objects
  • 2.59 Use of Numbers
  • 2.60 Specific Number Usages
  • 2.60.1 Date, Time, Money, Fractions, Percents, Scores, Units, Ages
  • 2.60.2 Approximate Numbers and Stand-Alone Fractions
  • 2.60.3 Numbers at the Beginning of a Sentence or List
  • 2.60.4 Keep Numerical Figures Distinct
  • 2.60.5 Items Identified by Number
  • 2.61 Special Problems
  • 2.61.1 Fractions and Decimals
  • 2.61.2 Decimal Numbers Less than One
  • 2.61.3 Punctuation of Numbers

Basic Punctuation 

  • 3.1 Sentence Ending Punctuation
  • 3.2 Commas in Clauses
  • 3.3 Non-Restrictive Modifiers
  • 3.4 Omit Punctuation of Essential Restrictive Modifiers
  • 3.5 Punctuation of Essential Names and Titles
  • 3.6 Punctuation of Non-Restrictive Modifiers
  • 3.7 Punctuation of Non-Restrictive Clauses
  • 3.8 Punctuation of Parenthetical Comments and Conjunctive Adverbs
  • 3.9 Punctuation of Items in a Parallel List
  • 3.10 Use of Semi-Colons in a Parallel List
  • 3.11 Punctuation in a List of Two
  • 3.12 Punctuation of Coordinate Adjectives
  • 3.13 Punctuation in a List of Adjectives Before a Noun
  • 3.14 Punctuation of Dates
  • 3.15 Writing Numerical Dates
  • 3.16 Writing the Date in Words
  • 3.17 Using Month and Year Only
  • 3.18 Writing Times
  • 3.19 Punctuation of Addresses
  • 3.20 Punctuation of Address in a Business Letter
  • 3.21 Use of the Colon Between Clauses
  • 3.22 Use of the Colon in a List
  • 3.23 The Colon in a Clause
  • 3.23.1 Omit a Colon Between a Verb and its Object
  • 3.23.2 Omit the Colon after a Present Participle
  • 3.23.3 Omit the Colon after a Preposition
  • 3.24 Other Uses of the Colon
  • 3.24.1 Use of the Colon as Introduction
  • 3.24.2 Use of the Colon to Separate Title and Subtitle
  • 3.24.3 Use of the Colon for Division of Numbers
  • 3.24.4 Use of the Colon in Bible References
  • 3.25 Use of the Colon in a Business Salutation
  • 3.26 Omit Colon at End of Heading
  • 3.27 Use of the Dash
  • 3.28 How to Indicate a Dash in Typing
  • 3.29 Use of Brackets
  • 3.30 Always Use Brackets in Pairs
  • 3.31 Use of Brackets within Brackets
  • 3.32 Avoid Unnecessary Punctuation
  • 3.32.1 Use of the Single Comma in a Clause
  • 3.32.2 Use of the Comma in Quotations
  • 3.32.3 Use of the Semi-Colon
  • 3.33 Use of the Quotation Mark
  • 3.34 Punctuation of a Quotation in a Sentence
  • 3.35 Punctuation Inside Quotation Marks
  • 3.36 Punctuation Before Quotations
  • 3.37 Punctuation of Speaker Attribution within a Quotation
  • 3.38 Quotations of Three Lines or Less
  • 3.39 Quotations of More than Three Lines
  • 3.40 Spacing in Quotations
  • 3.41 Complete sentences before and after block quotes
  • 3.42 Line Endings in Poetry Quotations of Three Lines or Fewer
  • 3.43 Poetry Quotations of More than Three Lines
  • 3.44 Line Endings of Poetry Set in a Separate Paragraph
  • 3.45 Line Endings in Prose Quotations
  • 3.46  Accuracy of Quotations
  • 3.47 Use of Quotations Marks for Slang
  • 3.48 Use of the Ellipsis
  • 3.49 How to Indicate Omission of Words from a Quotation
  • 3.50 Use of the Ellipsis with Short, Separate Omissions
  • 3.51 Omission of Lines of Poetry
  • 3.52 Selection and Framing of Quotations
  • 3.53 Use of the Ellipsis in the Introduction of Quotations
  • 3.54 Use of Square Brackets in for Writer Comments
  • 3.55 Use of Italics for Emphasis in a Quotation
  • 3.56 Limits on Use of Square Brackets
  • 3.57 Use of Single Quotation Marks
  • 3.58 Single and Double Quotation Marks at the End of a Quote
  • 3.59 Do Not Substitute Single for Double Quotation Marks
  • 3.60 Use of Block Quotations from a Play

Pronouns 

  • 4.1 Use of the Pronoun
  • 4.2 A Pronoun Must Refer to a Specific Noun
  • 4.3 Use of Nouns with This, That, Which
  • 4.4 Provide an Antecedent for Which
  • 4.5 Avoid General Use of Your
  • 4.6 Avoid General Use of It
  • 4.7 Every Pronoun Must Have a Specific Antecedent
  • 4.8 Pronouns Must Agree with Antecedents
  • 4.9 Use of Singular Pronouns
  • 4.10 Use of Gender in Pronouns
  • 4.10.1 Plural Pronouns for People in General
  • 4.10.2 Alternate Singular Pronouns for People in General
  • 4.10.3 Avoid Compound Gender Expressions
  • 4.11 Pronoun Usage for Each, Every, Somebody, Someone, Anyone, Everybody
  • 4.12 Use of Group Nouns
  • 4.13 Use of Collective Group Nouns
  • 4.14 Pronouns that Change Form
  • Subject Form
  • Object Form
  • Possessive Form
  • 4.15 Use of Who, Whom, Whose
  • 4.16 Use of Who, Whom, and Whose in Relative Clauses
  • 4.17 Use of Restrictive Relative Clauses

Parallelism Or Parallel Structure 

  • 5.1 Parallelism in a List of Nouns
  • 5.2 Maintain Parallel Form
  • 5.3 Parallelisms in a List of Two
  • 5.4 Parallelism with Two or More Dependent Clauses
  • 5.5 Parallelism in a Vertical List
  • 5.6 Parallelism in Definitions
  • 5.7 Parallelism in Reporting
  • 5.8 Parallelism in a Numbered List
  • 5.9 Omit and in a Vertical List
  • 5.10 Punctuation and Brackets in a List
  • 5.11 Use of Margins in a Vertical List
  • 5.12 Begin a Vertical List on a New Line
  • 5.13 Capitalization of a Vertical List
  • 5.14 Parallelism in the Use of Ordinals
  • 5.15 Use of Parallel Coordinators

Modifiers, Gerunds, Infinitives 

  • 6.1 Use of Modifiers
  • 6.2 Frequently Misused Modifiers
  • 6.3 Use of the Comparative Form of a Modifier
  • 6.4 Compare Only Comparable Items
  • 6.5 Use of the Superlative Form In the Comparison of Two Items
  • 6.6 Modification of Absolute Adjectives
  • 6.7 Placement of Modifiers
  • 6.8 Placement of Dates, Times, and Places
  • 6.9 Use of Only and Merely
  • 6.10 Use of the Participle
  • 6.11 Use of Gerunds
  • 6.12 Use of the Gerund with a Noun or Pronoun
  • 6.13 Avoid Dangling Modifiers
  • 6.14 Avoid Passive Verbs
  • 6.15 Avoid Dangling Infinitives
  • 6.16 The Infinitive as Subject or Object
  • 6.17 Use of Split Infinitives

Clarity, Logic, and Structure 

  • 7.1 Use the Right Word
  • 7.2 Avoid Colloquial Superlatives
  • 7.3 Use Appropriate Vocabulary
  • 7.4 Use Precise, Vivid Words
  • 7.5 Words that Express Logical Relationships or Transitions
  • 7.6 Use of As
  • 7.7 Use of Transitions
  • 7.8 Use Simple Sentences
  • 7.9 Avoid “Is Where” and “Is When”
  • 7.10 Usage of “Is Because”
  • 7.11 Define Key Terms
  • 7.12 Match Tone of Conclusion to Quality of Evidence
  • 7.13 Avoid Generalizations
  • 7.14 Base Conclusions on Sufficient Evidence
  • 7.15 Use Reliable, Supportable Evidence
  • 7.16 Citing Secondary Sources
  • 7.17 Cite Specific Authorities and Sources
  • 7.18 Avoid Unfounded Authoritative Statements
  • 7.19 Use of Analogies
  • 7.20 Avoid False Dichotomy
  • 7.21 Coincidence Does Not Prove Causation
  • 7.22 Straw Man Argument
  • 7.23 Use of Red Herrings
  • 7.24 Avoid Unsupported Assumptions
  • 7.25 Avoid Circular Arguments
  • 7.26 Use of the Opening Paragraph
  • 7.26.1 Include Adequate Introductory Information
  • 7.26.2 Narrow the Essay Focus
  • 7.26.3 Thesis in an Argumentative Essay
  • 7.26.4 Make Thesis Specific and Opinionated
  • 7.26.5 Define the Argument in the Thesis
  • 7.27 Use of Deductive Argument
  • 7.28 Do Not Argue Using Personal Attack
  • 7.29 Principle of Inclusiveness
  • 7.30 Prefer Simple Arguments
  • 7.31 Consistency in Interpretation of Evidence
  • 7.32 Consistency in Argumentation
  • 7.33 Three Elements of a Quality Argument
  • 7.33.1 Topic Sentences
  • 7.33.2 Use of Reliable Evidence
  • 7.33.2 Always Interpret Evidence
  • 7.34 Use of Quotations
  • 7.35 Discuss Quotes Used as Evidence
  • 7.36 Fabricated or Irrelevant Evidence
  • 7.37 Avoid Excessive Examples
  • 7.38 Use of Argument in Reviews
  • 7.39 Avoid Subjective Evidence
  • 7.40 Analysis of Poetry
  • 7.41 Identifying the Speaker of a Poem
  • 7.42 Plagiarism
  • 7.42.1 Copying
  • 7.42.2 Borrowing
  • 7.42.3 Citations Within the Text
  • 7.42.4 Internet Plagiarism

References And Bibliographies 

  • 8.1 Use of References
  • 8.2 Citation Methods
  • 8.3 Parenthetic Reference or Footnote Systems
  • 8.4 Use of a Bibliography
  • 8.4.1 Use Only One List of References
  • 8.4.2 Use Exact Formatting
  • 8.5 Use Specific Format References
  • 8.6 Use of MLA and APA Systems
  • Directory of Specific  MLA and APA Citations
  • 8.7 Reference to a Quotation from a Text With a Named Author
  • 8.7.1 Pagination of Internet Sources
  • 8.7.2 APA Citation of Reprinted Works
  • 8.7.3 APA Citation of a Multi-Volume Work
  • 8.8 Information to Include In-Text Reference
  • 8.9 Standard APA Reference with no Quoted Material
  • 8.10  Reference (APA and MLA) to Text with No Named Author
  • 8.11 Reference to the Bible
  • 8.12 Reference to Poems
  • 8.13 Punctuation of In-Text Citations
  • 8.14 Formatting of Long Quotations
  • 8.15 Reference to Two Authors with the Same Surname (MLA and APA)
  • 8.16 Reference to Different Works by the Same Author (MLA and APA)
  • 8.17 Reference to Quoted Material from a Book not By the Author of the Quotation
  • 8.18 Reference to a Text with Two Authors (MLA and APA)
  • 8.19 Reference to a Text with more than Two Authors
  • 8.20 Reference to Classic Plays (MLA)
  • 8.21 Reference to Long Classic Poems
  • 8.22 Frequency of Title Repetition in Citations
  • 8.23 Combining Several Different References into One Reference
  • 8.24 Comma Use in Page References
  • 8.25 Reference to a Multi-volume Work (MLA and APA)
  • 8.26 Reference to a Classic Work of Prose (MLA)
  • 8.27 Reference to an Interview or Personal Communication
  • 8.28 Reference to a Corporate or Institutional Author
  • 8.29 Reference to a Legal Source
  • 8.30 Reference to an Electronic Source (MLA and APA)
  • Additional Notes on Citations
  • 8.31 References to Other Sources
  • 8.32 Use of Footnotes with In-Text References
  • 8.32.1 Explanatory Footnotes
  • 8.32.2 Reference Footnotes
  • 8.32.3 Numbering of Footnotes
  • 8.32.4 Order of Footnotes
  • 8.32.5 Formatting of Footnotes
  • 8.32.6 Indenting of Footnotes
  • 8.33 Formatting of the List of Sources
  • 8.33.1 Alphabetization
  • 8.33.2 Spacing
  • 8.33.3 Page Numbers
  • 8.33.4 Titles
  • 8.33.5
  • 8.33.6 Author’s Name
  • 8.33.7 Publication Date
  • 8.33.8 Capitalization
  • 8.33.9 Titles of Short Works
  • 8.33.10 Spacing After Punctuation
  • 8.33.11 Indenting
  • 8.34 Formatting of Common Entries in List of Sources
  • 8.35 Book with a Single Author
  • 8.35.1 Reprinted Book
  • 8.35.2 New Edition of a Book
  • 8.36 Book with more than One Author
  • 8.37 Book with an Author and an Editor or Only an Editor
  • 8.38 Article, Short Story, Essay, or Poem from an Anthology
  • 8.38.1 Reprint from an Anthology
  • 8.39 Multi-volume Work
  • 8.40 Book with Corporate, Government, or Group Authorship
  • 8.41 Article from an Academic Journal or Magazine
  • 8.42 Article, Editorial, or Letter from a Newspaper
  • 8.43 Citing Two or More Works by the Same Author
  • 8.43.1  Ordering of Entries
  • 8.43.2 C0-Written Articles
  • 8.43.3 Chronological  Listing of Entries
  • 8.44 Text Translated into English from Another Language
  • 8.45 Book Without a Named Author
  • 8.46 Review of a Book, Record, or Film
  • 8.47 Article from an Encyclopedia
  • 8.48 Personal Interview, Telephone Call, or Letter
  • 8.49 Laws, Statutes, Legal Decisions
  • 8.50 Material Quoted in Secondary Source
  • 8.51 Citing the Bible
  • 8.52 Film or Videotape
  • 8.53 Television or Radio Program
  • 8.54 Records, Tapes, CD’s, Live Performances
  • 8.54.1 Live Performance
  • 8.55 Electronic Sources
  • 8.55.1 Listing URLs
  • 8.55.2 Personal Web Site or Blog
  • 8.55.3 e-Book
  • 8.55.4 Article in a Reference Database
  • 8.55.5 Article from Article Index Database
  • 8.55.5 Electronic Journal or Magazine Article
  • 8.55.6 E-Mail
  • 8.55.7 Poetry Online
  • 8.56 Lecture or Speech
  • 8.57 Work of Art
  • 8.58 Article on Microfilm or Microfiche
  • 8.59 Authors with Foreign Names
  • 8.60 Sample Lists of Works Cited (MLA and APA)
  • 8.61 Primary Source Details

Basic Format for Essays and Research Papers 

  • 9.1 Basic Computer Formatting
  • 9.1.1 Non-Standard Fonts and Sizes
  • 9.1.2 Margins
  • 9.1.3 Paper Selection
  • 9.2 Use a Precise Title
  • 9.3 Format of the Title Page
  • 9.4 Spacing
  • 9.5 Numbering
  • 9.6 Basic Formatting Principles
  • 9.6.1 Single Space After Punctuation
  • 9.6.2  Spacing with Various Punctuation
  • 9.6.3 Use of Multiple Punctuation Marks
  • 9.7 Foreign Characters
  • 9.8 Math and Science Symbols
  • 9.9 Headings and Subheadings
  • 9.9.1 Capitalization of Titles
  • 9.9.2 Heading Styles
  • 9.9.3 Headings at the End of a Page
  • 9.9.4 Use of Text Between Heading and Subheading
  • 9.9.5 Special Formatting
  • 9.10 Use of Illustrative Material
  • 9.10.1 Placement of Illustrations
  • 9.10.2 Quantity and Detail of Illustrations
  • 9.10.3 Place Illustration with Accompanying Text
  • 9.10.4 Number and Caption
  • 9.10.5 Labels and Keys
  • 9.10.6 Sizing of Illustrations
  • 9.10.7 Geometrical Figures
  • 9.10.8 Indicating Scale in Photographs
  • 9.10.9 Numbering of Material from a Secondary Source
  • 9.10.10 Indication of Photograph Angle

 

  • Keyhole Essay Graphic 
  • The Six Sections of an Approach Paper
  • 11 Things a Paragraph Can Do
  • Rubric for Writing Evaluation

The Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers is a one-stop reference for how to write essays, a guide for punctuation, style, and usage. Keep it by your desk, as it will be frequently consulted in high school, college, and beyond!

ISBN Update

In 2017 I changed the trim size of the Handbook to make it easier to handle and ship. The content remains the same, with the exception of an updated Keyhole Essay Graphic and Table of Contents.

  • Original ISBN: (8.25 x 11″ size): 978-1-61322-070-2
  • New ISBN (8×10″ book size): 978-1-61322-045-0

Don’t forget! This book also comes in an ebook edition, as well as a print and ebook bundle.

Click each title below for a detailed description of the study guide.

Introduction to Literature (English 1) 
Literature and Composition (English 2)
American Literature (English 3)
British Literature (English 4)
World Literature (English 5)
The Complete Curriculum: Literature and Writing for Grades 8-12
Handbook for Writers

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