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Grammars, Style Manuals, and Writers' Guides
Dictionaries and Thesauri
Other Useful References
Stuff for Aspiring Professional Writers
College and University Writing Centers
Lists of Links to Other Resources
Maricopa and Arizona Writing Sites
The Really, Really GOOD Sites!

 Check out PVCC's own Online Tutor


This site was last updated on
Thursday, August 19, 2010 4:15 PM

Need help with your writing or research?

The Writer's Block links you to more than 80 reviewed websites that link to thousands of pages that can help! You can link to the best ones from here. Here's the first one:

(If you don't have a life
and need to chat live at 3:00 A.M. with a research librarian)

There are really good resources coming online everyday. Help to keep The Writer's Block updated: We would be happy to hear from you if you have a favorite site that would fit well in The Writer's Block. Thanks.

Grammars, Style Manuals, and Writers' Guides: Some of these sites are interactive, with Q and A feedback; some are electronically stored manuals.

Guide to Grammar and Writing
The late Charles Darling's many-award-winning site! Easy to use, attractive, and with a very personable character! Check out "Ask Grammar," the interactive Q and A feature, or take one of its many self-instructional quizzes. Has numerous links to other sources. One of the best grammar resources on the Internet.
Research and Documentation Online
This site from offers online annotated examples of actual college papers using the MLA style in a Humanities paper, the APA style in a Social Sciences paper, the Chicago Style in a History paper, and the CBE style in a Science paper. There are also sections on finding and documenting sources in each of the four disciplines.
Online Citation Styles
An easy to navigate online manual of how to cite various electronic publications, messages, etc. From the well-known BedFord-St. Martins style manual folks. Each of seven types of electronic communication is discussed in relation to four different style manuals: APA, MLA, CBE, and Chicago.
The Basic Elements of English:An Interactive Guide to Grammar
This is one of the most detailed, comprehensive grammar sites that I found on the web. Well-organized, attractive and easily navigated, it rivals --only rivals-- Charles Darling's site in comprehensiveness, but lacks the charm. The best part of the site is the tutorials, which are divided into four major sections: Parts of Speech, Sentence Elements, Punctuation, and Word Use. The main page offers links to three companion sites: An extensive "Student’s Guide to the Presentation of Essays," "The Effective Writing Detailed Marking Guide," and a "Writing Guide."
Ed Vavra's Grammar Materials
This guy is serious about grammar and claims his KISS method in nearly foolproof if you're willing to follow it. This is an extensive site with free courses in grammar, some designed for teachers. All the pages are beautifully bordered with fine art reproductions, reinforcing the classical bent of this grammarian. Visit and take a fine arts tour, but keep your browser open for no larger than a 15-inch monitor. Larger windows screw up the art display.
The Tongue Untied
Subtitled "A Guide to Grammar, Punctuation and Style for Journalists," this is an entire semester's course, with weekly lessons and quizzes. It is designed as a "book" online for the course. Although it is for students taking specific courses at the University of Oregon, anyone can profit from working through some of the lessons.
The UVic Hypertext Writer's Guide
University of Victoria, British Columbia, comprehensive writer's guide. Apparently not updated since 1995, this sturdy site still serves the Queen's English quite well. Several hundred links to subtopics on how to write.
Writing a Basic Essay
This attractive site has been around for a while--long enough to garner 10 awards for excellence, but no longer displayed since it updated. It has an uncomplicated seven-step instruction for writing a basic essay. Includes a good set of 80+ links to writing resources, bibliography, research resources, grammar resources, study aids, and collections of links, rivaling --just rivaling--The Writer's Block in comprehensiveness!
The Online English Grammar
Grammar from the Brits! A useful reference for literate adults learning English as a Second Language; also useful for native speakers of English. Cited as a "Best Education Site for Teachers," by whom, who knows? Extensive grammar explanations, interactive tests, links to additional related resources. A fair amount of not too obtrusive advertising related to English and the opportunity to subscribe to additional English learning services.
Strunk's "Elements of Style"
The 1918 version of the classic style manual, before White came on board to update it.
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Dictionaries and Thesauri. You want words? We've got words!

The Alpha Dictionary
Humbly claims to search 992 online dictionaries for you at once. Has lots of links to "wordy" stuff. So I looked up "ichthyosaur" and got 18 returns from different dictionaries, including a rhyming dictionary (nothing quite rhymes with "ichthyosaur," apparently.) The Alpha Dictionary actually gets all its different dictionary sources from the (even humbler) One Look Dictionary Search of 931 dictionaries. Both sites link to dictionaries in many languages and are worth exploring.
More lexicons than ought to exist on one planet! An award -winning site with links to lists of dictionaries by language and subject areas! The opening page has a quick English word search that loads the American Heritage Electronic Dictionary web-site. This is where I used to start when I wanted an online definition, but the site is a bit too cluttered these days with ads. (Now I start with One Look Dictionary Search.)
Dictionary and Language Resources
A plain and simple listing of 182 links to dictionaries, glossaries, language resources and other stuff. You can look up a word on the front page through Merriam Webster's, or scroll through the generous offering of other dictionary sites.
This interesting, newly-updated dictionary hyperlinks each word in the definition to its own separate, if you can't understand the definition of the word, you can look up the definition of the definition! (If that doesn't make sense, try it and you'll understand--Look up "ichthyosaur" and it will hyperlink you to eight synonyms for that long extinct reptile.) Along with the regular 150,000-term dictionary, there is a thesaurus, a 14,000-term computing dictionary, a medical dictionary, and--strange bedfellows--a dream interpretation dictionary.
A good, free, on-line dictionary and thesaurus with lots of interesting supplementary stuff, including some for kids.
Not to be confused with! This one provides multiple sources for your word, including a thesaurus, an encyclopedia and a Wikipedia link, and a pronouncing guide (which you have to pay extra for). It is a commercial site with ads, pop-ups, and tracking cookies, but could be useful as long as you clean out your cookie files and run an anti-spyware program regularly.
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
A searchable database of the 1919 edition of this famous work, includes lists of famous quotes organized by authors and their works. Part of the larger site mentioned below.
The Phrontistery
(Which means "a thinking place," from the Greek.) In the site author's own words: "If you're looking for an online dictionary, a word list on a given topic, or the definitions to rare and unusual words, the Phrontistery is for you. Here, you will find my 15,500-word dictionary of obscure and rare words, the International House of Logorrhea, as well as many glossaries, word lists, and other English language and etymology resources." Quite a list, worth exploring for anyone interested in weird or obscure collections of words.
Bibliomania has more than 2000 free texts, study guides and reference resources. This site's worth exploring, even if you only visit E. Cobham Brewer's Reader's Handbook, an 1897 index of over 14,000 literary references and allusions explained--like who Nebuchadnezzer was, or what a "Judas Tree" is, or a "Johnny Newcome." Start with the main site page or go to bibliomania reference and check out the links to research and reference.
Roget's Thesaurus
The classic 1911 reference work, updated, online and searchable.
Thomson Gale Glossary of literary terms
Several hundred literary terms and devices cross-referenced and defined. Come here to find out what scansion, theatre of the absurd, and neoclassicism mean.
Glossary of Internet Terms
Just what it says. Several hundred terms defined.
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Other Useful References --just a tiny fraction of all that is out there!

Evaluating Web Sites
A comprehensive set of important questions to apply when evaluating Internet resources for student research.
PVCC Library Databases
a truly great collection of dozens of academic research databases available free to PVCC and Maricopa students with a library card. If you are a college student elsewhere, hope that your library can rival PVCC in its depth of Internet-based research (brag, brag).
A perfect citation is a thing of beauty, a marvelous sight! This site cites for you! Select MLA, APA, or Chicago style, then select the type of work you want to cite, then enter the asked for information and KnightCite produces the correctly formatted citation for your paper. How exciting! This could make the MLA style manual virtually obsolete, just as the hand-held calculator made memorizing your times tables unnecessary (not!).
The Internet Public Library
A vast collection of 45,000 links organized into the categories you would expect in a public library. There are also some online "books" and articles, organized by topics and subtopics. You can get fat doing research here, because you don't even have to walk anywhere! I searched for "ichthyosaur" and got no results, but "attention deficit disorder" produced 118 links in 12 different categories. If you have a high speed Internet connection, you can "Grok" your search (that's what they call it) and get the results either in an outline or a map of relationships. And you don't even need a library card, and there's never an overdue fine. Just to get an idea of how big the IPL is, go to one tiny corner of it and you'll find links to well over a thousand online newspapers from around the world, in all the languages of the world!
Project Gutenberg free books
The Internet's oldest producer of free electronic books (eBooks or etexts). Download to your computer one, or as many as you want, of more than 18,000 free fiction and nonfiction eBooks in many different languages. Aesop's Fables is there, along with Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, and Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and even Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, one of the longest novels in the world. But not everything is there, especially newer works that are still under copyright. So you'll just have to explore or search for your favorite author.
The On-line Books Page
Hundreds of links to other archives of THOUSANDS of on-line texts, including the Gutenberg collection and dozens of foreign language literature archives. Here are the category headings for the Specialty Archives of this collections of hundreds of links to online book collections: Agriculture -- Architecture -- Art and Crafts -- Audio -- Blacks -- Children -- Computing -- Dissertations -- Drama -- Economics -- Historical -- Home Economics -- Literary -- Military -- Music and Dance -- New Original Works -- Philosophy -- Poetry -- Politics, Government, Law -- Portable Reader Editions -- Religion -- Science, Social Science and Math -- Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror -- Women. This page provides access to so many online texts that the 18,000 of Project Gutenberg seem paltry.
The Internet Modern History Sourcebook
Access to hundreds of complete works of important historical significance. The original sources that historians read before writing their texts, or students have to read when doing research papers. Hosted by Fordham University, this is an attractive, thorough, and well-organized site.
Book Spot
Dozens and dozens of links to stuff about books! What Bookspot says about itself: "a free resource center that simplifies the search for the best book-related content on the Web. Featured sites are hand-selected by editors and organized into intuitive categories, such as bestseller lists, genres, book reviews, electronic texts, book news and more." There is a lot here to explore! Has ads and popups--not every good thing on the web can be free.
The Alex Catalog of Electronic Texts
"...A collection of 600 public domain documents from American and English literature as well as Western philosophy...not only can you search for and display texts from the collection, but you can also search the content of located texts."
Encyclopedia Britannica online
Search the "the oldest and largest general reference in the English language," now for FREE! (Wikipedia did it!) Lots of attractive features: search for subjects, photos, blogs, and more.
Language Sites on the Internet
This site is for "verbivores," lovers of words. Over 130 links to sites related to words and language. Some of the categories include: Etymology, Grammar & Usage, Linguistic Links, Newsgroups, Puns, Reference works, Word Games, Word & Letter Play, Word Watching & Vocabulary Development. If you are a writer, you'll browse here for fun and work. It links from Richard Lederer's Verbivore site, which is itself an interesting resource.
Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet
Advertised as a "complete annotated guide to the scholarly Shakespeare resources available on the Internet." Links to search engines that will find any line in the Bard's plays or poems. Lots of other stuff about his work, life and times. Bard buffs will bookmark this one.
A very useful site which provides access to hundreds of online texts categorized thusly: Reference (40+ works); Poetry (60+ authors); Fiction (85+ authors); Nonfiction (60+ authors).
Newspaper Opinion Pages Hundreds of national and international newspaper opinion pages. Find out what the world thinks about a current event.
College Newspapers
A great resource! Links to about 200 daily, weekly or monthly U.S. college and university newspapers, including the Arizona State Press.
The Bible Gateway
Want to search the Old and New Testaments to nail down where that literary/biblical reference came from? Or find multiple references to an event, name, word or phrase in the Bible? This site searches 4 different English language translations and translations in eight other languages! This site takes Strong's Concordance to miraculous heights.
Highbeam Reference
"The HighBeam Research Engine delivers over 35 million articles from more than 3,000 credible academic journals, newspapers, magazines, and more - going back more than 25 years"...impressive! I searched for "ichthyosaur" and got 180 returns, but only 18 were free articles. The rest were "premium," requiring an unspecified subscription fee. Of course, I could sign up for a seven-day free trial and read all 180 articles, but I didn't want to fill out the free-trial registration without knowing the subscription fee.
A Helpful Guide To Web Search Engines
Last updated May 2004. Recommends specific search engines for specific purposes and explains how they work. You can get a more current explanation at which claims to be the only online dictionary of computer technology you will ever need--along with a whole lot of advertising. has a lot of good info for using the Internet, and without the ad clutter.
Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial
From the University of California at Berkley, this is a comprehensive and useful site for college students who want to do serious research on the Internet--its current and ad-free.
Word Spy
In author Paul McFedries' own words: "This Web site is devoted to lexpionage, the sleuthing of new words and phrases. These aren't "stunt words" or "sniglets," but new terms that have appeared multiple times in newspapers, magazines, books, Web sites, and other recorded sources." So, if you want to know where a new phrase or word came from, and what it means, and it is so new that it isn't in your dictionary, try this site.

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Stuff for Aspiring Professional Writers

Top 100 Creative Writing Blogs (why isn't mine listed?)
A "blog" is short for "web log," a place where someone writes his or her thoughts for all to see, and where those who see can respond with their own posts. There are millions and millions (really!) of blogs out there for folks who want to share their writing with others, and you can Google any blog subject imaginable. You can even start your own blog for the rest of the world to read. Here's someone's list of the top one hundred for creative writers.
The Internet Writing Journal
Another good source with some famous and not so famous professional writers' blogs.
Writers' Guild of America
A professional compendium of current stuff for writers and wannabees; lots of interesting stuff for interested writers; numerous pages; has member and nonmember features.
a comprehensive site for professional and aspiring writers. Lots of features, including a monthly online journal by and about writers; archives all its issues; advice on getting published.
Nebraska Center for Writers
Hosted by Creighton University, an attractive site with many useful literary links for serious writers from Nebraska and most anywhere else.
College and University Literary Magazines
Twenty foursuch magazines listed by prose, poetry, fiction and essays by college students and the college-educated; some creative and cutting-edge stuff.

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College and University Writing Centers

Ten years ago, there were a lot of OWLS hooting around the Internet--that is, Online Writing Labs that offered students the opportunity to get advice and tutoring by e-mail. Most OWLS today have become so successful that they restrict that service to their own registered students, but there are many college and university writing centers that offer reference links and worksheets that are helpful to anyone. This is a very short list of some good writing resources, but I only know of Colorado State accepting tutoring requests from outsiders, but allow five days for a response! If you find another college writing center that accepts work from outsiders, please let The Writer's Block know. And, of course, PVCC students should check out PVCC's Online Tutor.

The Purdue OWL
This award-winning site is the Online Writing Lab most frequently linked to by other Web writing sites. It is comprehensive and very well done, with many useful links, including lots of grammar and style "worksheets." Good section on the MLA Style Manual. Offers the OWL Newsletter for $20.00 a year, of interest to educators who run writing centers.
Colorado State Writing Center
Lots of good stuff here for both students and teachers of writing:over 70 writing guides for different subjects/purposes; interactive demos; links to Internet writing resources. Calling itself an "open acess learning environment," The CSU Writing Studio will even accept outside students writing for tutoring help when not real busy helping CSU students.
U of Richmond Writer's Web
"Writer's Web is a free, public-access handbook." This is a well-organized site useful to both students and teachers.
University of Wisconsin at Madison OWL
Has an extensive section on documenting sources, and handouts on the writing process; includes a section on Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) for instructors. Has links to the four or five most common style manuals (MLA, APA, CBE, APSA); extensive sections on "Stages of the Writing Process, Common Types of Writing Assignments, Grammar and Punctuation, Improving Your Writing Style, Citing References in Your Paper."
University of Minnesota writers' links
A good list of over 20 links to resources, including how to write for different subjects, student writing resources, and Writing Across the Curriculum for instructors.
University of Illinois Center for Writing Studies
Hosted by University Illinois Urbana-Champaign, this has some good links to resources for teachers as well as students.
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Lists of Links to Other Resources. The most comprehensive lists are first.
The Word
Provides over 350 links to interesting reference works, literary magazines, and other stuff of interest to writers/readers, including a search of several versions of the Bible. Plain brown wrapper, barely annotated list, and some links are outdated and no longer work; not very pretty (what the hey, neither is this great site), but a unique collection.
Powell's Books
A commercial bookstore with lots of used as well as new books. Calling itself "the legendary independent bookstore," it is a thorough site, online for 15 years, and competes well with
Michael Hancher's "useful sites on the Web"
From a University of Minnesota English professor, a wide-ranging, non-annotated list of links to several hundred sites related to education and the humanities. "Partially revised" in July 2006, this site has been around for awhile: plain vanilla--no graphics, just links; a good place for a curious teacher--or student--to browse to "see what's out there." Certainly, some of it will be useful to you...
ESL Links
Lots of links to other resources. Each of the following categories links to a dozen or more related sites: Listening, Reading, Writing, Grammar, Vocabulary, Lesson Plans, Kids English, Newspapers, Magazines, Business English, ESP (?), Pronunciation, Quizzes, Idioms, Methods, Games, Dictionaries, ESL Info, ESL Schools, ESL Jobs. Lots of ads, but a useful site. Has a section written in Chinese.
ESL Monkeys
What they say about their own site: "Free English-as-a-second-language teaching materials and learning resources for teachers, students & schools. Search for ESL jobs, lesson plans, English schools/programs, books, school resources and more." They also provide discussion forums for ESL students and teachers.
Dave's ESL Cafe
This site's been around for awhile, though it is current; like the ESL sites above, it is user-friendly to learners of English. "Stuff for teachers, students, and everyone."
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Maricopa and Arizona Writing Sites

There may be other good writing sites within Arizona that are not listed. Let The Writer's Block know if you find one.

Arizona State University Writing Center
Links to over 35 national and international newspapers online; 20 reference sites; 25 ASU online writing "handouts." Links to several style manuals, including MLA and APA.
Chandler Gilbert Community College Writing Internet Resources
A helpful page describing services and offering links to numerous other resources for math/science, study skills, ESL, and learning styles.
Glendale Community College Writer's Web Resources
A well-developed, comprehensive and useful page with links in two dozen categories to over 100 sites of interest to students and teachers of writing. The best in Maricopa.
Glendale Community College Literature Web
Forty useful links to sites in 11 categories, such as Am. Lit, Eng. Lit, Biography; censorship, books online, children's lit, classical lit, Poetry, Sci-Fi, Shakespeare. Hard to find GCC Writer's Web from here and vice-versa.
Northern Arizona University Writing Center
Offers help to NAU students and has a good set of links to other academic categories of OWLS, academic organizations, journals, online bookstores, literature and authors,writing resources. Its writing "tips" links to Purdue's 126 online worksheets.
Paradise Valley Community College Online Tutor
Online access to tutoring in eight subjects for enrolled students, including writing, through the BlackBoard course system.
Rio Salado Community College
ULinks to useful writing resources inside and outside the college website.
Scottsdale Community College Writing Center
Links to a useful Library Guides page.
University of Arizona Writing: Southern Arizona Writing Project
Links to lots of helpful sites for writing teachers and students.

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The Really, Really GOOD Sites! Don't miss these. The best from each category!
Guide to grammar and writing
A many-award-winning site! Easy to use, attractive, and with a very personable character! Check out "Ask Grammar," the interactive Q and A feature, or take one of its many self-instructional quizzes. Has numerous links to other sources. I think this is the best grammar resource on the web.
The Purdue OWL
This award-winning site is the Online Writing Lab most frequently linked to by other Web writing sites. It is comprehensive and very well done, with many useful links, including lots of grammar and style "worksheets."
Paradigm Online Writing Assistant
An award-winning online, interactive writer's guide for all levels of college writing. Attractive, comprehensive, easy to follow.
World Wide Words
An interesting British site for word-lovers; a good source for weird words and etymological anecdotes. Links to several dozen articles about the English language. Over 1500 pages of stuff for logophiles.
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This page is maintained by Thomas Butler and was last modified on Thursday, August 19, 2010 4:15 PM