The Broadview Pocket Guide to Writing: A Concise Handbook for Students – Fourth Edition
  • Publication Date: August 15, 2017
  • ISBN: 9781554813445 / 1554813441
  • 368 pages; 5" x 8"

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The Broadview Pocket Guide to Writing: A Concise Handbook for Students – Fourth Edition

  • Publication Date: August 15, 2017
  • ISBN: 9781554813445 / 1554813441
  • 368 pages; 5" x 8"

The Broadview Pocket Guide to Writing: A Concise Handbook for Students presents essential material from the full Broadview Guide to Writing. Included are summaries of key grammatical points; a glossary of usage; advice on various forms of academic writing; coverage of punctuation and writing mechanics; helpful advice on how to research academic papers; and much more. Four commonly-used styles of citation and documentation are covered—MLA, APA, Chicago, and CSE.

This edition is intended primarily for American readers. Please see this page for our Canadian edition.


Comments on the full Broadview Guide to Writing:

“Even the most useful reference guides are not always, well, shall we say, riveting. A refreshing exception is the new Broadview Guide to Writing, which is smart, helpful, and even fun to read.” —Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, authors of They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing

“The chapter on ‘How to Be Good with Words’ braves every thorny patch of ethical usage imaginable with clear-eyed candor, a serious and generous sensibility, and refreshing wit…. [Overall,] The Broadview Guide to Writing is not only informative and impressive; it is smart—smartly written and smartly designed.” —Dennis Paoli, Co-coordinator, Writing Across the Curriculum, Hunter College, CUNY

The Broadview Guide remains the most readable writing guide available—at any price. It’s the only usage guide I’ve ever actually read for fun. Moreover, it’s sensible, and it’s complete. The authors assume nothing, but they don’t condescend. … The 6th edition gives more space to the problems of gender, race, and class-biased language; most guides don’t direct enough of our attention here. The new chapter on visual literacy is also good—an interesting group of paintings & photographs along with a set of clear, concrete ways to ‘read’ them.” — Jacky Bolding, University of the Fraser Valley

“… an excellent choice.… The expanded coverage of the sixth edition [makes] this not only a comprehensive writing guide, but also a valuable introduction to communication and critical thinking in today’s academic world. I will be recommending this text to students at all levels.” — Maria DiCenzo, Wilfrid Laurier University

“[The] reference sections on grammar and usage … cover everything I would ever point out in student writing.… The section on MLA style covers pretty much everything anyone needs to know about how to deploy this system of documentation.… The sections on academic writing are [also] very good.” — Bruce Greenfield, Dalhousie University

“In a market replete with writing guides, this practical book stands out…. The [Broadview] Guide … re-energizes this pedagogical field by providing clear and concise explanations supported by examples.” — Anne Quéma, Acadia University

“[The new] section on how language both reflects and shapes reality … is thought-provoking and sensitive.… Overall, the book is comprehensive, balanced, and engaging. I enjoyed reading it, and I rarely say that about handbooks and guides to writing. I’m sure students will find this book helpful and inspiring.” — Candace Fertile, Camosun College


  1. Choosing the Best Words
    1. Be as Clear and Specific as Possible
    2. Watch for Redundancy
    3. Avoid Wordiness
    4. Watch for Missing Parts
    5. Choose the Best Verb
  2. Connect Your Ideas Clearly
    1. Paragraphing
    2. Joining Words
    3. Order and Weight Your Ideas According to Their Importance
    4. Watch for Ambiguity
    5. Illogical or Confused Connections
  3. Making Your Writing Consistent
    1. Agreement among the Grammatical Parts of Your Writing
    2. Watch for Mixed Metaphors
  4. Rhythm, Variety, Balance, and Parallelism


  1. Academic Writing: Essays and Arguments
    1. From Topic to Thesis Statement
    2. The Nature of Argument
    3. Argument Structure and Paragraphing
    4. Your Arguments, Others’ Arguments
  2. Styles and Disciplines
    1. The Language of Academic Writing
    2. Writing about Literature / Writing about Texts
    3. Writing about Science
    4. Writing in the Workplace
    5. Slang and Informal English
  3. The Social Context
    1. Gender
    2. Race and Ethnicity, Class, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Disability, etc.
    3. Bias-free Vocabulary: A Short List


  1. Basic Grammar: An Outline
    1. Parts of Speech
      Conjunctions and Conjunctive Adverbs
    2. Parts of Sentences
      Clauses and Phrases
      Parts of Speech and Parts of the Sentence
  2. Verbs and Verb Tense Difficulties
    1. The Infinitive
    2. The Simple Present Tense
    3. Subject-Verb Agreement
    4. Historical Present
    5. Survey of Verb Tenses
    6. Voice
    7. Mood
      Combining Verb Tenses: Some Challenges
    8. The Past Perfect Tense
    9. Combining Tenses—Quoted Material
    10. Irregular Verbs
  3. Dangling Constructions
  4. Noun and Pronoun Difficulties
    1. Singular and Plural Nouns
    2. Singular Pronouns
    3. Unreferenced or Wrongly Referenced Pronouns
    4. Subject and Object Pronouns
  5. Adjectives and Adverbs
    1. Comparatives and Superlatives
  6. Incomplete Sentences (Sentence Fragments)
  7. Run-on Sentences
  8. EAL: For Those Whose Native Language Is Not English
    1. Articles (and Other Determiners)
    2. Frequently Used Non-count Nouns
    3. Continuous Verb Tenses
    4. Omission or Repetition of the Subject
    5. The Conditional
    6. Word Worder


  1. The Period
  2. The Comma
    1. Commas and Non-restrictive Elements
    2. That and Which
    3. Extra Comma
    4. Commas and Lists
  3. The Question Mark
  4. The Exclamation Mark
  5. The Semi-Colon
  6. The Colon
  7. The Hyphen
  8. The Dash
  9. Parentheses
  10. Square Brackets
  11. The Apostrophe
    1. Contractions
    2. Possession
  12. Quotation Marks
    1. Other Uses of Quotation Marks
    2. Misuse of Quotation Marks to Indicate Emphasis
    3. Single Quotation Marks
    4. Direct and Indirect Speech
  13. Ellipses


  1. Capitalization
  2. Abbreviations
    1. Titles
    2. Academic and Business Terms
    3. Latin Abbreviations
  3. Numbers
  4. Italics
  5. Spelling
    1. Spell-Check
    2. Spelling and Sound
    3. American Spelling, British Spelling, Canadian Spelling
    4. Other Spelling Mistakes


  1. Approaches to Research
  2. Avoiding Plagiarism
  3. Citation and Documentation
    1. Incorporating Sources
      Quoting Directly
      Formatting Quotations
      Adding to or Deleting from a Quotation
      Signal Phrases
  4. MLA Style
    1. About In-Text Citations
    2. About Works Cited: MLA Core Elements
    3. MLA Style Sample Essay Page
  5. APA Style
    1. Incorporating Sources in APA Style
      Quoting Directly
      Formatting Quotations
      Adding to or Deleting from a Quotation
      Signal Phrases
    2. About In-text Citations
    3. About References
    4. APA Style Sample Essay Pages
  6. Chicago Style
    1. About Chicago Style
    2. Chicago Style Sample
  7. CSE Style
    1. CSE Style Samples




Corey Frost, formerly Coordinator of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program at Brooklyn College, is now a professor in the English Department at New Jersey City University.

Karen Weingarten is a professor in the Department of English at Queens College, City University of New York; a former co-Coordinator of the Introductory English program, she is also the author of Abortion in the American Imagination.

Doug Babington was until recently Director of the Writing Centre at Queen’s University, and the author of articles both on writing and on literature.

Don LePan’s other books include The Broadview Pocket Glossary of Literary Terms (2013) and Rising Stories: A Novel (2015).

Maureen Okun is a professor in both the English and the Liberal Studies Departments at Vancouver Island University; her most recent book is an edition of Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur: Selections (2014).

Nora Ruddock is Developmental Editor at Broadview Press and co-author of The Broadview Pocket Guide to Citation and Documentation 2e (2016).

The student companion site includes sample student essays, additional readings, expository essays, a section on “Seeing and Meaning,” additional links, and 100 interactive exercises with over 1000 questions to test student understanding. An access code to the website is included with all new copies. If you purchased a used copy or are missing your passcode for this site, please click here to purchase a code online.

— Highly readable
— Concise citation style information (with 2016 MLA and 2017 Chicago style updates)
— An extensive companion website featuring interactive exercises, sample essays, and useful links

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