All-Purpose Handbooks

NOTE: All these books are available at U of T libraries. To find the location of a book, use the “search” functions of the online catalogue.

CAUTION: Many general writing handbooks have not yet updated their advice to reflect changes in the MLA and APA systems.The most reliable sources of information on documentation remain the official handbooks. See also our page on standard documentation formats for an up-to-date summary of the most commonly used systems.

Baker, Sheridan. The Practical Stylist.
An old-fashioned but readable textbook, emphasizing ways to structure arguments.

Buckley, Joanne. Fit to Print: A Canadian Student’s Guide to Essay Writing.
Good basic coverage of the processes of researching, writing, and editing essays in the humanities and social sciences.

Hacker, Diana. A Canadian Writer’s Reference.
Lets you easily find answers on grammar, punctuation, referencing. Compact, clear, moderately inexpensive to buy.

Northey, Margot. Making Sense: A Student’s Guide to Writing and Style.
Helps you organize, write, and revise essays, book reviews, lab reports; good on common problems of style and grammar.

Northey, Margot and Margaret Procter. Writer’s Choice: A Portable Guide for Canadian Writers.
Maps out the writing process and advises on reading strategies; shows how to construct essays, critiques, and reports. Special tips for ESL learners, advice on using technology. Compact and very inexpensive.

Troyka, Lynn. Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers.
A big thorough guidebook that takes you through the stages of writing research papers and also literary-analysis papers. Look also for the accompanying workbooks, including one on issues for learners of English as a Second Language.