The Writing Centre at the University of Waterloo is part of a community of writing centres and writing-focused organizations. From this community, we have collected some of the best writing resources for you to use.
To get more information on the following topics or to talk about any aspect of your writing, please come and see us at our drop-in locations or schedule an undergraduate or graduate writing appointment.
Structuring and Organizing your Writing
General Resources on Language
- Academic Phrasebank
- Avoiding Gender Bias
- Dictionary of English Idioms
- Dictionary of English Phrasal Verbs
- The Explicitness of Academic Language
- Inclusive Writing
- Latin Terms and Abbreviations
- Should I use "I"?
- Use of the passive voice
- Using Transitions
- Using Qualifiers
- Writing Clear, Concise Sentences
General Resources on Grammar and Mechanics
- Article Usage (from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
- Article Flowchart 1 (from The University of New Hampshire)
- Article Flowchart 2 (from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
- ESL Writers' Workbook (from The Brief Penguin Handbook)
- Gerund vs. Infinitive from (The Englishpage)
- Grammar Girl
- HyperGrammar (University of Ottawa)
- Modal Verbs (from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
- OWL: The Purdue Online Writing Lab
- Prepositions and Preposition Phrase Lists (from the English Club)
- Run-ons and Sentence Fragments (from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Recommended Writing Resources
Handbooks on writing
The following is a list of writing handbooks commonly assigned in courses at the University of Waterloo:
- Aaron, Jane E. and Aimée Morrison. The Little Brown Compact Handbook. 5th Canadian ed. Toronto: Longman, 2012.
- Harris, Muriel and Judi Jewinski. Prentice Hall Reference Guide for Canadian Writers. Toronto: Pearson, 2009.
- Hogue, Ann. The Essentials of English: A Writer’s Handbook. New York: Longman, 2003.
Spiral-bound with built-in tabs for easy reference, each book covers the basics of writing and research, including grammar, usage, sentence structure, punctuation, and citation style.
Handbook on academic writing
- Graff, Gerald, et al. They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, with Readings. New York: Norton, 2009.
This book surveys a fundamental aspect of academic writing, providing step-by-step instructions on how to incorporate the thoughts (and words) of others into our writing.
Handbooks on research and writing
The following two books cover a variety of topics related to research and writing:
- Northey, Margot and Joan McKibbin. Making Sense: A Student's Guide to Research and Writing. 7th ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2012.
- Ruszkiewicz, John R. and Jay T. Dolmage. How to Write Anything: A Guide and Reference with Readings. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011.
Both books offer clear, in-depth explanations of the main academic genres (essays, book reports, lab reports, oral presentations, and examinations), as well as professional ones (résumés and letters of application). As its title suggests, How to Write Anything covers a great range of writing genres — more than Making Sense.
Handbooks on research and writing with a focus on English Language Learners
- Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feak. Academic Writing for Graduate Students. 3rd ed. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2012.
This book covers much of the same ground as Making Sense, but this one is designed for English language learners, including “Language Focus” sections and exercises throughout.
Handbook on specific writing assignments
- Alred, Gerald J., Charles T. Brusaw, Walter E. Oliu. Handbook of Technical Writing. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008.
Covering a wide range of topics, this handbook includes brief entries on a variety of technical genres (e.g., grants, white papers, proposals), as well as on formal e-mails, cover letters, and resumes.