Tailored training in scientific and technical writing, presentations, and team building for laboratories and technical organizations



Books for
Professional Communicators

We recommend these books in our classes. Print the list to take to your local library or bookstore. Or click on a book's title to link to its page at Amazon.com.

Dictionaries and Thesauri

Dictionaries define words; some also provide etymologies and usage standards. Thesauri list synonyms; some also distinguish nuances of meaning among related word choices.

  • The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 4th edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006. ISBN: 0618701737. Print with CD Edition ISBN: 0618701737.

    The most comprehensive abridged dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary features clear definitions, authoritative usage notes, and fascinating etymologies.

    We also like the CD ROM version. You can add a button to your word processor to let you check the meaning, history, synonyms, preferred usage, and preferred spelling of almost any word. And of course, you can hear the preferred pronunciation of a word rather than having to sound out the phonetic symbols.

  • Webster's Third New International Dictionary: Since 1847 the Ultimate Word Authority for Schools, Libraries, Courts, Homes, and Offices. Philip Babcock Gove, Editor. Merriam Webster, 1993. ISBN: 0877792011. Webster's is the standard for unabridged dictionaries. Of course, if you are really serious about words, you will want the OED.

  • If day-trading has catapulted you into the moneyed class or Great Aunt Agatha has left you a legacy, then celebrate your good fortune while spending a chunk of it on the ultimate word-hoard: The Oxford English Dictionary; 20-Volume Set, Second Edition. John Simpson and Edmund Weiner, Editors. Oxford University Press,1989. ISBN: 0198611862. If you have $895.00 to spend on a reference book, the OED is worth every penny.

    If you face financial constraints, consider purchasing the unabridged CD-ROM version — though at $295, it would dent most budgets. The unabridged Compact OED ($395) comes with a magnifying glass for reading the microscopic print.

    You also may choose shorter (meaning "abridged") versions: the Shorter OED at $165 or the Shorter OED on CD-ROM for $135.

  • Roget's International Thesaurus. 6th edition. HarperCollins,2002. Robert L. Chapman, Editor. ISBN: 0060935448.

  • Software spelling, thesaurus, and grammar programs usually accompany word processing programs. They are convenient: Just remember these programs are tools. Software does not replace brains.

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Style Guides

Many large organizations and all publishers create their own style guides for internal use. Style guides describe preferred forms of address, methods for formatting, punctuating, displaying mathematics, and other production details.

Legal writing

Mathematics style

Web writing

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Grammars and Usage Manuals

These references explain or prescribe grammatical rules and the correct use of words. Some provide general guidance for clear writing.

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Editing Guides

Graphics and Displayed Information

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Richard Feldman, Reason and Argument. 2nd edition. Prentice Hall, 1998. ISBN: 0136246028.

Antony Flew, How to Think Straight: an Introduction to Critical Reasoning. 2nd edition. Prometheus Books, 1998. ISBN: 1573922390.

George Lakof and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By. 2nd edition. University Of Chicago Press, 2003. ISBN: 0226468011


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