On this page, academics, authors, businesses and organizations, and publishers will find details of reference books and writing guides, useful blogs with writing tips, information on the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, and other bodies they will find useful in completing documents ready for editing, proofreading, or publication.
Useful blog links for authors, academics, and businesses
There are many blogs on this website under the tag Tips for writers, some of which are listed below:
- Cutting the waffle
- How to use hyphens and dashes
- Levels of proofreading
- Making proofreading part of your marketing strategy
- Myths about English usage
- Pitfalls in writing
- Preparing for proofreading
- The importance of humour in writing
- Using Microsoft Word’s Find and Replace
- Writing and presenting reports (parts 1, 2, and 3)
- Oxford Dictionaries A regular blog on word usage and origins, and on the same page are links to an interactive thesaurus and guidance on grammar, punctuation, spelling, and English usage.
- Society of Indexers
Writing resources for businesses
Business English writing resources
Business plans and templates for start-ups
The Prince’s Trust
In June 2017 the Oxford English Dictionary published a list of recent additions that include new words or revised definitions of existing entries in its online dictionary.
The update includes such entries as bug chaser, gin daisy, and widdly.
Professor Larry Trask, late of the University of Sussex, who had a special interest in linguistics and grammar and was author of several books in these subject areas, has published a very useful online guide to punctuation.
I find his book Mind The Gaffe: The Penguin Guide to Common Errors in English so helpful and readable.
Writing style guides
The Oxford University Press (OUP) has a very useful style guide that is available online.
Although intended for use by OUP staff in their written communications, it is a useful interactive guide on such subjects as abbreviations, contractions, and acronyms; capitalization; numbers; punctuation; and word usage and spelling.
If you are not a fan of waffle and jargon, but prefer simpler and clearer communications there are several free guides available from the Plain English Campaign.
There are also useful tips on writing business emails, CVs, letters, reports, forms, and content for websites.
There are steps you can take to reduce the chances of publishing or circulating error-ridden documents, including:
- Reading the document back at a later time so you can approach it with a fresh view.
- Placing a piece of paper over unread sections as you read line by line to ensure your attention does not wander.
- Using spellcheckers on your work, but do not rely on them as they are not infallible and are limited in their understanding of the use of language.
- Some recommend reading the document in reverse, i.e. back to front. However, there are dangers in this in not spotting inconsistencies of fact or sequencing (e.g. section and page numbers) and I do not use or recommend this approach.