The Bedford Handbook
Twelfth EditionDiana Hacker; Nancy Sommers©2023
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The Bedford Handbook is a one-stop affordable source for writing well in all of your courses. You’ll find advice that’s direct and trustworthy, and straightforward answers to any questions you have about college writing, whether it’s how to strengthen your thesis, use a semicolon, cite your research, or judge whether a source is credible.
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Table of Contents
PREFACE FOR INSTRUCTORS
PART 1 A Process for Writing
1 Exploring, planning, and drafting
1a Assess your writing situation.
1b Explore your subject.
1c Draft and revise a working thesis statement.
1d Draft a plan.
1e Draft an introduction.
1f Draft the body.
1g Draft a conclusion.
2 Writing effective paragraphs
2a Focus on a main point.
2b Make paragraphs coherent.
2c Choose a suitable strategy for developing paragraphs.
3 Revising, editing, and proofreading
3a Use peer review: Give constructive comments.
3b Use peer review: Revise with comments.
3c Approach global revision in cycles.
3d Revise and edit sentences.
3e Proofread and format the final version of your essay.
3f Reflect on your writing.
PART 2 Academic Reading and Writing
4 Reading critically; writing analytically
4a Read actively.
4b Summarize to deepen your understanding.
4c Analyze to demonstrate your critical reading.
4d Sample student writing: Analysis of an article
4e Read and write about multimodal texts.
5 Reading arguments
5a Read with an open mind and a critical eye.
5b Evaluate ethical, logical, and emotional appeals.
5c Evaluate the evidence behind an argument.
5d Evaluate how fairly a writer handles opposing views.
6 Writing arguments
6a Identify your purpose and context.
6b View your audience as a panel of jurors.
6c In your introduction, establish credibility and state your position.
6d Back up your thesis with persuasive lines of argument.
6e Support your thesis with specific evidence.
6f Anticipate objections; counter opposing arguments.
6g Build common ground with your audience.
6h Sample student writing: Argument
7 Writing in the disciplines
7a Recognize the questions that writers in a discipline ask.
7b Understand the kinds of evidence that writers in a discipline use.
7c Become familiar with a discipline’s language conventions.
7d Use a discipline’s preferred citation style.
PART 3 Clear Sentences
8 Prefer active verbs.
8a Choose the active voice or the passive voice depending on your writing situation.
8b Replace be verbs that result in dull or wordy sentences.
9 Balance parallel ideas.
9a Balance parallel ideas in a series.
9b Balance parallel ideas presented as pairs.
10 Add needed words.
10a Add words needed to complete compound structures.
10b Add the word that where needed for clarity.
10c Add words needed to make comparisons logical and complete.
11 Untangle mixed constructions.
11a Untangle the grammatical structure.
11b Straighten out the logical connections.
11c Avoid is when, is where, and reason . . . is because constructions.
12 Repair misplaced and dangling modifiers.
12a Put limiting modifiers in front of the words they modify.
12b Place phrases and clauses so that readers can see at a glance what they modify.
12c Avoid split infinitives when they are awkward.
12d Repair dangling modifiers.
13 Eliminate distracting shifts.
13a Make the point of view consistent in person and number.
13b Maintain consistent verb tenses.
14 Emphasize key ideas.
14a Coordinate equal ideas; subordinate minor ideas.
14b Combine choppy sentences.
14c Avoid ineffective or excessive coordination.
14d Do not subordinate major ideas.
15 Provide some variety.
15a Vary your sentence openings.
15b Use a variety of sentence structures.
15c Try inverting sentences occasionally.
PART 4 Word Choice
16 Tighten wordy sentences.
16a Eliminate redundancies.
16b Cut empty or inflated phrases.
16c Simplify the structure.
16d Reduce clauses to phrases, phrases to single words.
17 Use language that fits your writing situation.
17a Choose a suitable level of formality.
17b Avoid jargon, except in specialized writing situations.
17c Avoid most euphemisms and doublespeak.
17d In most contexts, avoid slang.
17e Avoid sexist and noninclusive language.
18 Find the exact words.
18a Select words with suitable connotations.
18b Prefer specific, concrete nouns.
18c Take care with idioms.
18d Do not rely heavily on clichés.
18e Use figures of speech with care.
19 Use the right words. (Glossary of usage)
PART 5 Grammatical Sentences
20 Repair sentence fragments.
20a Attach fragmented subordinate clauses or turn them into sentences.
20b Attach fragmented phrases or turn them into sentences.
20c Attach other fragmented word groups or turn them into sentences.
21 Revise run-on sentences.
21a Consider separating the clauses with a comma and a coordinating conjunction.
21b Consider separating the clauses with a semicolon, a colon, or a dash.
21c Consider making the clauses into separate sentences.
21d Consider restructuring the sentence, perhaps by subordinating one of the clauses.
22 Make subjects and verbs agree.
22a Learn to recognize standard subject-verb combinations.
22b Make the verb agree with its subject, not with a word that comes between.
22c Treat most subjects joined with and as plural.
22d Ensure that subjects joined with or or nor take a verb that agrees with the part of the subject nearer to the verb.
22e Treat most indefinite pronouns as singular.
22f Treat collective nouns as singular unless the meaning is clearly plural.
22g Make the verb agree with its subject even when the subject follows the verb.
22h Make the verb agree with its subject, not with a subject complement.
22i Ensure that who, which, and that take verbs that agree with their antecedents.
22j Treat titles of works, company names, and words mentioned as words as singular.
23 Make pronouns and antecedents agree.
23a Take care with indefinite pronouns (anybody, everyone) and generic nouns.
23b Treat collective nouns as singular unless the meaning is clearly plural.
23c Take care with compound antecedents.
24 Make pronoun references clear.
24a Avoid ambiguous pronoun reference.
24b Avoid making broad references with this, that, which, and it.
24c Do not use a pronoun to refer to an implied antecedent.
24d Avoid the indefinite use of they and it.
24e To refer to persons, use who, whom, or whose, not which or that.
25 Distinguish between pronouns such as I and me.
25a Use the subjective case (I, you, he, she, it, we, they) for subjects and subject complements.
25b Use the objective case (me, you, him, her, it, us, them) for all objects.
25c Put an appositive and the word to which it refers in the same case.
25d Following than or as, choose the pronoun that expresses your meaning.
25e For we or us before a noun, choose the pronoun that would be appropriate if the noun were omitted.
25f Use the objective case for subjects and objects of infinitives.
25g Use the possessive case to modify a gerund.
26 Distinguish between who and whom.
26a Use who and whom correctly in subordinate clauses.
26b Use who and whom correctly in questions.
27 Choose adjectives and adverbs with care.
27a Use adjectives to modify nouns.
27b Use adverbs to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.
27c Distinguish between good and well, bad and badly.
27d Use comparatives and superlatives with care.
28 Choose the correct verb forms, tenses, and moods.
28a Choose the correct forms of irregular verbs.
28b Distinguish among the forms of lie and lay.
28c Use -s (or -es) endings on present-tense verbs that have third-person singular subjects.
28d Do not omit -ed endings on verbs.
28e Do not omit needed verbs.
28f Choose the verb tense that suits your meaning.
28g Use the subjunctive mood in the few contexts that require it.
29 Review grammar topics for multilingual writers.
29a Use modal verbs to express appropriate meaning.
29b Be familiar with articles and other noun markers.
29c Overcome certain challenges when writing sentences in English.
29d Become familiar with prepositions that show time and place.
PART 6 Punctuation
30 The comma
30a Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction joining independent clauses.
30b Use a comma after an introductory clause or phrase.
30c Use a comma between all items in a series.
30d Use a comma between coordinate adjectives not joined with and.
30e Use commas to set off nonrestrictive (nonessential) elements, but not restrictive (essential) elements.
30f Use commas to set off transitional and parenthetical expressions, absolute phrases, and word groups expressing contrast.
30g Use commas to set off nouns of direct address, the words yes and no, interrogative tags, and mild interjections.
30h Use commas with expressions such as he said to set off direct quotations.
30i Use commas with dates, addresses, titles, and numbers.
31 Unnecessary commas
31a Do not use a comma with a coordinating conjunction that joins only two words, phrases, or subordinate clauses.
31b Do not use a comma to separate a verb from its subject or object.
31c Do not use a comma before the first or after the last item in a series.
31d Do not use a comma between cumulative adjectives, between an adjective and a noun, or between an adverb and an adjective.
31e Do not use a comma to set off a concluding adverb clause that is essential for meaning.
31f Do not use a comma after a phrase that begins an inverted sentence.
31g Avoid other common misuses of the comma.
32 The semicolon and the colon
32a Use a semicolon between closely related independent clauses not joined with a coordinating conjunction.
32b Use a semicolon between independent clauses linked with a transitional expression.
32c Use a semicolon between items in a series containing internal punctuation.
32d Avoid common misuses of the semicolon.
32e Use a colon after an independent clause to direct attention to a list, an appositive, a quotation, or a summary or an explanation.
32f Follow conventions for colon use.
32g Avoid common misuses of the colon.
33 The apostrophe
33a Use an apostrophe to indicate that a noun is possessive.
33b Use an apostrophe and -s to indicate that an indefinite pronoun is possessive.
33c Use an apostrophe to mark omissions in contractions and numbers.
33d Do not use an apostrophe in certain situations.
33e Avoid common misuses of the apostrophe.
34 Quotation marks
34a Use quotation marks to enclose direct quotations.
34b Use single quotation marks to enclose a quotation within a quotation.
34c Use quotation marks around the titles of short works.
34d Follow conventions for the use of punctuation with quotation marks.
34e Avoid common misuses of quotation marks.
35 End punctuation
35a The period
35b The question mark
35c The exclamation point
36 Other punctuation marks
36a The dash
36d The ellipsis mark
36e The slash
PART 7 Mechanics
37 Abbreviations, numbers, and italics
37a Use standard abbreviations for titles immediately before and after proper names.
37b Use abbreviations only when you are sure your readers will understand them.
37c Units of measurement
37d Plural of abbreviations
37e Follow the conventions in your discipline for spelling out or using numerals to express numbers.
37f Follow conventions for using numerals in dates, addresses, and so on.
37g Follow conventions for italicizing the titles of works.
37h Italicize non-English words used in an English sentence.
38 Spelling and the hyphen
38a Become familiar with the major spelling rules.
38b Consult the dictionary to determine how to treat a compound word.
38c Hyphenate two or more words used together as an adjective before a noun.
38d Hyphenate fractions and certain numbers when they are spelled out.
38e Use a hyphen with the prefixes all-, ex- (meaning “former”), and self- and with the suffix -elect.
38f Check for correct word breaks when words must be divided at the end of a line.
39a Capitalize proper nouns and words derived from them; do not capitalize common nouns.
39b Capitalize titles of persons when used as part of a proper name but usually not when used alone.
39c Follow conventions for capitalizing titles.
39d Capitalize the first word of a sentence or quoted sentence.
39e Know your options when the first word after a colon begins an independent clause.
PART 8 Grammar Basics
40 Parts of speech
41 Sentence patterns
41b Verbs, objects, and complements
42 Subordinate word groups
42a Prepositional phrases
42b Verbal phrases
42c Appositive phrases
42d Absolute phrases
42e Subordinate clauses
43 Sentence types
43a Sentence structures
43b Sentence purposes
PART 9 Researched Writing
44 Thinking like a researcher; gathering sources
44a Manage the project.
44b Pose questions worth exploring.
44c Map out a search strategy.
44d Search efficiently; master a few shortcuts to finding good sources.
44e Write a research proposal.
44f Conduct field research, if appropriate.
45 Managing information; taking notes responsibly
45a Maintain a working bibliography.
45b Keep track of source materials.
45c As you take notes, avoid unintentional plagiarism.
46 Evaluating sources
46a Evaluate the reliability and usefulness of a source.
46b Consider how sources might contribute to your research project.
46c Read with an open mind and a critical eye.
46d Assess web sources with special care.
46e Construct an annotated bibliography.
47 Writing a research paper
47a Form a working thesis statement.
47b Organize your ideas.
48 Citing sources; avoiding plagiarism
48a Understand what plagiarism is.
48b Understand the MLA and APA systems of documentation.
48c Use quotation marks around borrowed language.
48d Put summaries and paraphrases in your own words.
49 Integrating sources
49a Summarize and paraphrase effectively.
49b Use quotations effectively.
49c Use signal phrases to integrate sources.
49d Synthesize sources.
50 Documenting sources in MLA style
50a MLA in-text citations
50b MLA list of works cited
50c MLA information notes (optional)
51 MLA format; sample research paper
51a MLA format
51b Sample MLA research paper
52 Documenting sources in APA style
52a APA in-text citations
52b APA list of references
53 APA format; sample research paper
53a APA format
53b Sample APA research paper
ANSWERS TO EXERCISES
CHARTS, EDITING MARKS, AND GRAMMATICAL TERMS