Who can forget those tedious days in English class when we would have rather been outside? Unfortunately, most of us did forget many of the little details, and as copywriters, are called upon to know them now.

These references are some of the best books for grammar and style, and belong on every copywriter’s reference shelf.

Grammar and Style Books

Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (Quick & Dirty Tips)
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Online sensation Grammar Girl makes grammar fun and easy in this New York Times bestseller

Are you stumped by split infinitives? Terrified of using “who” when a “whom” is called for? Do you avoid the words “affect” and “effect” altogether?

Grammar Girl is here to help!

Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl, is determined to wipe out bad grammar―but she’s also determined to make the process as painless as possible. A couple of years ago, she created a weekly podcast to tackle some of the most common mistakes people make while communicating. The podcasts have now been downloaded more than twenty million times, and Mignon has dispensed grammar tips on Oprah and appeared on the pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

Written with the wit, warmth, and accessibility that the podcasts are known for, Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing covers the grammar rules and word-choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers. From “between vs. among” and “although vs. while” to comma splices and misplaced modifiers, Mignon offers memory tricks and clear explanations that will help readers recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules. Chock-full of tips on style, business writing, and effective e-mailing, Grammar Girl’s print debut deserves a spot on every communicator’s desk.

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Merriam-Webster's Guide to Punctuation and Style
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Description: Quick answers to questions about punctuation, capitalization, plurals, and quotations.
– A guide to copyediting and proofreading
– Special sections on word usage and grammar
– Instructions for preparing notes and bibliographies
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The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law 2011 (Associated Press Stylebook & Briefing on Media Law)
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The style of the Associated Press is the gold standard for news writing. With The AP Stylebook in hand, you can learn how to write and edit with the clarity and professionalism for which they are famous. Fully revised and updated, this new edition contains more than 3,000 A to Z entries—including more than 200 new ones—detailing the AP’s rules on grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, and word and numeral usage. You’ll find answers to such wide-ranging questions as:
 
·        When should the names of government bodies be spelled out and when should they be abbreviated?
·        What are the general definitions of the major religious movements?
·        Which companies do the big media conglomerates own?
·        Who are all the members of the British Commonwealth?
·        How should box scores for baseball games be filed?
·        What constitutes “fair use”?
·        What exactly does the Freedom of Information Act cover?
 
With invaluable additional sections on the unique guidelines for business and sports reporting and on how you can guard against libel and copyright infringement, The AP Stylebook is the one reference that all writers, editors, and students cannot afford to be without.

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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation: An Easy-to-Use Guide with Clear Rules, Real-World Examples, and Reproducible Quizzes
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Description: The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation is filled with easy-to-understand rules,real-world examples, dozens of reproducible exercises, and pre- and post-tests.

This handy workbook is ideal for teachers, students in middle school through college, ESL students, homeschoolers, and professionals. Valuable for anyone who takes tests or writes reports, letters, Web pages, e-mails, or blogs, The Blue Book offers instant answers to everyday English usage questions.

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The Grammar Bible: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Grammar but Didn't Know Whom to Ask
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A comprehensive, practical reference guide to the idiosyncrasies of the English language

No one knows grammar like Michael Strumpf. For over a quarter of a century, as creator and proprietor of the National Grammar Hot Line, he helped thousands of callers from every corner of the globe tackle the thorniest issues of English grammar. Now, in The Grammar Bible, he has created an eminently useful guide to better speaking and writing.
Unlike other grammar manuals, The Grammar Bible is driven by the actual questions Professor Strumpf encountered during his years of teaching and fielding phone calls from anxious writers, conscientious students, and perplexed editors, including such perennial quandaries as
o Where do I put this comma?
o What case should this pronoun be in?
o How do I form the possessive of Dickens?
Professor Strumpf explains these and other language issues with wit and wisdom, showing how to speak more clearly and write more impressively by avoiding common errors and following the principles of good grammar. Whether you need a comprehensive review of the subjunctive mood or simply want to know which form of a verb to use, The Grammar Bible is a practical guide that will enlighten, educate, and entertain.

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The Little Gold Grammar Book: 40 Powerful Rules for Clear and Correct Writing
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Description: The Little Gold Grammar Book is based on a simple but powerful observation: Individuals who develop outstanding grammar skills do so primarily by mastering a limited number of the most important grammar rules, which they use over and over again. What are these recurring rules? The answer to this question is the basis of this book. In addition to covering the basics of grammar, diction, and idioms, this book contains a 100-question grammar quiz, a collection of 50-plus word pairings (diction), a compilation of 200 idioms, and 30 multiple-choice problems to integrate key concepts. Special sections cover editing tips and punctuation, American English versus British English, and traditional writing versus digital writing.
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The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English Grammar and Usage
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Those pesky dangling modifiers, split infinitives, and comma splices­­they infect our spoken and written language with such frequency that even native English speakers find it difficult to determine what’s right and what’s wrong!

The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English Grammar and Usage shows you how to fix these everyday English language mistakes. With commonsense, easy-to-remember usage tips throughout, this handbook features incorrect and correct grammatical examples, a short review of basic grammar, a glossary, and more.

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The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment
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Description: The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need is the ideal resource for everyone who wants to produce writing that is clear, concise, and grammatically excellent. Whether you’re creating perfect professional documents, spectacular school papers, or effective personal letters, you’ll find this handbook indispensable. From word choice to punctuation to organization, English teacher Susan Thurman guides you through getting your thoughts on paper with polish.
Using dozens of examples, The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need provides guidelines for:

  • Understanding the parts of speech and elements of a sentence
  • Avoiding the most common grammar and punctuation mistakes
  • Using correct punctuating in every sentence
  • Writing clearly and directly
  • Approaching writing projects, whether big or small


Easy to follow and authoritative, The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need provides all the necessary tools to make you successful with every type of written expression.

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The Elements of Style
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Description: The Elements of Style is a prescriptive American English writing style guide comprising eight “elementary rules of usage”, ten “elementary principles of composition”, “a few matters of form”, a list of forty-nine “words and expressions commonly misused”, and a list of fifty-seven “words often misspelled”. In 2011, Time magazine listed the writing style-guide as one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923. Cornell University professor of English William Strunk, Jr., wrote The Elements of Style in 1918, and privately published it in 1919, for in-house use at the university. In The Elements of Style (1918), as a professor of English, William Strunk concentrated on specific questions of usage and the cultivation of good writing with the recommendation “Make every word tell”; hence, the 17th principle of composition is the simple instruction: “Omit needless words.”
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