Reference Books

A common topic brought up by editors regards what type of reference books to use. There are threads all over the internet (what can I say–editors can be pretty nerdy) with recommendations for reference books. Here are what I find to be the most popular:

DICTIONARY

  • Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate
  • American Heritage College
  • Random House Webster’s College
  • Webster’s New World

STYLE MANUAL

  • The Chicago Manual of Style
  • Words into Type
  • The New York Public Library Writer’s Guide to Style and Usage
  • Gregg Reference Manual
  • Associated Press Stylebook (used mostly by newspapers and magazines)
  • Modern Language Association (used mostly by writers in the humanities)

THESAURUS

  • Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Synonyms
  • Random House Webster’s College Thesaurus
  • Rodale’s Synonym Finder
  • Roget’s International Thesaurus

USAGE GUIDES

  • Dictionary of Modern English Usage
  • The Careful Writer: A Modern Guide to English Usage
  • Modern American Usage: A Guide
  • Fowler’s Modern English Usage (3d ed.)
  • Garner’s Modern American Usage (3d ed.)

EXTRA

  • Language Dictionaries
  • The Bible (you might have to pay attention to the various translations)
  • Barlett’s Familiar Quotations
  • The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn
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