Useful books and websites

books

Effective writers don’t need to know everything about the use of English, spelling, common errors and so on — but they do need to be able to recognise what they don’t know and know where to find the relevant information.

Take care with the resources you use. Check they are reputable and whether they use UK or US rules of grammar and punctuation. 

Here are some useful resources

ONLINE

  • Fowler’s classic The King’s English, an authoritative resource with common-sense rules of style and grammar
  • Strunk’s Elements of Style, the traditional reference for anyone who wants to write clear but classy English


BOOKS

  • English for the Natives – Discover the grammar you don’t know you know by Harry Ritchie (John Murray)
  • Good Writing Guide by Graham King (Collins) — a comprehensive guide to punctuation, grammar, English usage etc.
  • Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss (Profile Books) — the best-selling punctuation guide
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser (HarperCollins) — an inspiring guide for writers who love words
  • Making Sense of English Usage by David Crystal (Chambers) — an alphabetical guide to the words we use (invaluable for writers and editors)

ONLINE

 

BOOKS

  • Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please by Joseph Kimble (Carolina Academic Press) – makes the case for plain language in business, government and the law (with research showing how plain language saves time and money)
  • Oxford Guide to Plain English by Martin Cutts (OUP) –  an easy-to-read guide on how to write plain English

 

GROUPS

  • Clarity — the journal and network for plain legal language
  • PLAIN Language Association International — for the latest developments in plain English

ONLINE

 

BOOKS

  • The Global English Style Guide by John R. Kohl (SAS) — for anyone who writes for a global audience or who writes English that will be translated into other languages
  • Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors (OUP) — helps to solve those tricky issues that writers and editors face every day
  • Oxford Style Manual (OUP) — an essential resources for any writer or editor (and it includes the Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors)

ONLINE

ONLINE

    • Find out how to use the Flesch Reading Ease Scale in MS Word to see your readability score
    • The Gunning Fog index calculates the number of years of formal education required to read a text. Time and Newsweek have a Gunning Fog index of 10 and 11. Paste one of your paragraphs into the box at Online Utility

BOOKS

    • Essential English for Journalists, Editors and Writers by Harold Evans (Pimlico) — a classic manual by a former editor of The Sunday Times
    • The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn (University of California) — a thorough grounding in editing for professionals (with exercises and answers)

BOOKS

    • Writing a Report by John Bowden (How To Books)
    • Technical Writing for Dummies by Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts (Hungry Minds) has useful tips, checklists and examples

BOOKS

  • Find out how lawyers can write English that we all understand in PLAIN Language for Lawyers by Michele M. Asprey (Federation Press)
  • Lucid Law by Martin Cutts (Plain Language Commission) shows how Acts of Parliament could be improved by plainer language and clearer design
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