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Grammar Central > Favorite Reference Book?

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message 1: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18340 comments Mod
What are your go-to books when it comes to dictionaries, thesauri, grammar handbooks, and other language books without end, amen...

message 2: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikec) The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. It still resonates after all these decades.

message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18340 comments Mod
Welcome, Mike. I think what makes The Elements of Style an enduring favorite is the fact that it's concise (unlike any sentence with "the fact that" in it). In other words, both Strunk AND White not only talk the talk, they walk the walk -- unlike some huge reference books that lecture us six ways to Sunday about being succinct.

message 4: by Symbol (last edited Feb 23, 2008 04:34PM) (new)

Symbol | 51 comments I always have my trusty Oxford English Dictonary close at hand.
When I'm searching for le mot juste and just breathing alone doesn't give me the 'inspiration' I need, my thesaurus is there for me.
For French, it doesn't get any better than Bescherelle!

I have to admit, I am also quite fond of dear old (new?) Wikipedia. I realize that, as an 'electronic resource', Wiki does not qualify as a reference book but I feel the need to mention my favourite fount of knowledge and amusement here anyway.

message 5: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18340 comments Mod
How new is your OED? Maybe you can check "audiobook" vs. "audio book" for Grumpus. He stumped Dr. Grammar yesterday (no major feat, that!).

message 6: by Symbol (new)

Symbol | 51 comments Alas! My OED was published in 1996 and does not contain the wisdom for which we are searching! It lists "audiotape"... but that's the closest I can come.
However, I have it on the authority of my mother - bibliophile, grammar wiz, and librarian extraordinaire, that "audiobook" is, in fact, one word.

message 7: by Donna (new)

Donna | 2 comments Hello word lovers,
Thought I'd take a look around this group and read what there is to read. Like Mike, I love the classic Elements of Style. I equally adore the "workbook" Writing Down the Bones. Grammar guides The Deluxe Transitive Vampire and The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course have been greatly appreciated when looking for just the right way to explain why something works the way it does.

message 8: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18340 comments Mod
I read Writing Down the Bones a few years back. It was a lot of fun. Great for getting the "writing yeast" to rise.

As for The Deluxe Transitive Vampire, I wish I could read it and hate it JUST so my review could read: "The Deluxe Transitive Vampire sucks!"

Bloody right.

message 9: by Eastofoz (new)

Eastofoz Practical English Usageby Richard Swann is a great book for grammar, the OED of course --the 2 volume mother huge ones :) You name it it's in there!

message 10: by Inky (new)

Inky | 249 comments Strunk and White's The Elements of Style is my favorite. It's never on a shelf because it's taken up permanent residence on my desk.

The Associated Press Stylebook and The Associated Press Guide to Punctuation have answers for almost every odd thing.

I'm also very fond of William Zinsser's On Writing Well.

message 11: by Amy (new)

Amy | 21 comments I was wondering if anyone has recommendations for a good guide/introduction to the IPA. I am just finishing a degree in Linguistics and I will admit that I am sorely lacking in adequate phonetic knowledge, though it really fascinates me. My first professor taught mostly the americanist system but I have quickly realized IPA may be the way to go (if you disagree please elaborate). I know there are books with DVDs or CDs that are quite pricy but are any worth it? Thanks!

message 12: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18340 comments Mod
Hi, Beth, and welcome. Your wonderful post could double for an Introduction & Welcome post, too. Double duty. And whoever thought of that corny expression "the world is your oyster" has some explaining to do...

message 13: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6393 comments Mod
I have met the Urban Dictiojnary too Beth....fascinating usages in there!!

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

ok-i have goethe's faust in english
and goethe's faust in german
i have cassell's german/english dictionary
and the german...ahem friend
(when he isn't acting all german and punishing me for my misdeeds and brooding on the impossibility of love
and i'm not acting all irish and berating him in colorful witticisms for his punishments and brooding)
so...reference books and primary sources of the german varigation, light and dark...oh who are we kidding it's german, all dark

message 15: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18340 comments Mod
Shall I put on the Wagner?

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

see i need a dictionary in two languages ;)

i once took a drafting course at the local vo-tech thinking i would be a drafter or at the least would get a bit of a harder edge

i'm thinking the german will make me...
more disciplined?
more intellectual?

message 17: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6393 comments Mod
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.....(intake of breath).....hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!

message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

i hate sausage
of all kinds

went to the local german grocery store with my two german buddies
they forced pickled herring on me
rotten fish in bleach is my opinion
if it wouldn't have been totally rude i would have spit it into the sink

they were high fiving and falling all over themselves in little german boy glee over faukenbroat (brown bread in a can)
sauerkraut (rancid, pickled cabbage) and mauzipan (almond paste)

message 19: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6393 comments Mod
Yeah! Imagine what we would be like in real time!!! In the same room even!

message 20: by Maggie (new)

Maggie (maggiekuts) Urban Dictionary is a great tool; I have an e-mail subscription to their 'word of the day' and it ranges from thought provoking to side-splittingly funny.

My favorite reference book of late has been "Right, Wrong, and Risky" by Mark Davidson. It is extremely helpful when you're writing and you need to differentiate between "jealousy" and "envy" or "founder" and "flounder," or other things of that sort.

My most-used reference book (besides, of course, my Oxford American English Dictionary) is Diana Hacker's "A Writer's Reference." Very few of my papers have been completed without looking up at least one thing in that book!

message 21: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18340 comments Mod
Hello (and welcome), Maggie. That's multiple plugs now for Urban Dictionary. At first I thought it was an Urban Legend (like me), but no.

I have Hacker's Rules for Writers. It must be an older edition because I got it in the Olden Tymes.

message 22: by Inky (new)

Inky | 249 comments Note to self: stop skimming through this site at work -- it's getting harder to come up with reasonable explanations for why I'm snorting...

And since this is the favorite reference thread, I have to put a plug in for The Old Farmer's Almanac. I buy one every year and find it useful for all sorts of things. And, I like the way it always lists obscure holidays, historical notes and astronomical happenings in the calendar.

message 23: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18340 comments Mod
I love the Almanac, too. Only I don't get one every year. Why is that?

message 24: by Christopher (new)

Christopher (cmkeel) | 3 comments This is my first post here, and I love this group! I was one of the minorities in college, enjoying English and grammar classes. Two handbooks that I recieved early on in my undergraduate studies have remained on my shelf ever since. Well, they are often on my desk. One is the The Little Brown Handbook, Sixth Ed. and the other one is The Writer's Brief Handbook, Second Ed. by Rosa & Eschholz. Both books have helped me out allot over the years.

The Urban Dictionary online is an excellent resource. I wasn't aware that there is a daily world for the day there. I will have to check that out. I, too, have gotten allot of enjoyment out of reading through that site. I am one of those who enjoy reading through dictionaries.

This is a great group and a great thread. I have enjoyed it immensely.

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

hi christopher
glad you are here
mosey over to introductions if you'd like and give us your bio :) if you haven't already

message 26: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18340 comments Mod
Welcome, Christopher. This wouldn't be the language and grammar and spelling group if I didn't see your "allot" and raise it "a lot." You allot time to do something, and if you're busier than a Type A Bee, you do that something a lot.

End of lesson! (And feel free to call me on my sp's, too. My kindergarten teacher's name was Miss Spelling, and I still haven't recovered.)

message 27: by Debbie, sardonic princess of cheerfulness (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) | 6393 comments Mod
Welcome Christopher...don't let NE's corrections scare you off! He IS Dr Grammar (and anyway...he has a strange prediliction for standing on roofs in his non-existant ratty old bathrobe, pontificating on grammar rules - but we love him anyway)!!

message 28: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa Brewers Dictionary Of Fable And Phrase.
Full of lovely wee nugets of useless info.

message 29: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 530 comments To follow up on Marco's mention of electronic encyclopedias: at the risk of igniting a wildfire here (and with my first post to this group, no less), any opinions on Wikipedia? Pro? Con? Some of both? Or too contentious to touch?

message 30: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15772 comments Mod
I sometimes use Wikipedia, especially if my question has something to do with pop culture. But I don't really trust it with something important. Who knows what idiots have been feeding it "facts."

message 31: by Angela (new)

Angela (angelamclaughlin) I have recently fallen in love with a book called An Exaltation of Larks by James Lipton. This is a scholarly work with a lot of humor about names for assemblages of nouns like "a crash of rhinos" and a "mist of butterflies" There are some wonderful words in this book and I highly recommend it as a staple for grammar lovers bookshelves!

message 32: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18340 comments Mod
Thanks, Pumpkin (great nom de poste, btw). I'll add it to our bookshelf!

message 33: by Summer (new)

Summer | 87 comments This is elementary for this group, I'm sure, but I enjoy Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words.

message 34: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18340 comments Mod
Added it to the group's bookshelves...

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