on 7 February 1999
I highly recommend this manual--it is very useful for undergraduates, graduate students, and those in the professional world. Some handbooks cover a lot of material but tend to be bulky and intimidating. Hacker's manual, in contrast, is clear, succinct, and non-intimidating. It covers the fine points of grammar, style, essay and research paper writing, and MLA documentation. If I had to recommend one reference book in English style and grammar to own, I would choose this one. I am a Graduate Student in the M.A. English program at Holy Names College and this manual is helping me get through the Program! Note: if you have a few more dollars to spend, get A Writer's Reference. Third Edition. by Hacker...It is an expanded version of the Pocket Style Manual, adding such subjects as ESL trouble spots, preparing Outlines, etc. It also comes with helpful tab dividers for easy reference use.
`The Pocket Style Manual' compiled by Diana Hacker is one of the most useful tools for student and professional writing available. One of the more confusing aspects of writing for many students (and those beyond student level) is the range of styles for citation, organisation and structure in texts. Different schools and different professions expect their own styles to be applied - just what is the difference between MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association) style, anyway? This book provides the answer in short, easy-to-use fashion.
The first section of Hacker's text goes over the basics of good writing - grammar, clarity, punctuation, and essential mechanics such as capitalisation, abbreviation, numbers, etc. This is not a guide that will teach the reader, but rather serve as a reminder, refresher, and quick ready-reference guide for those who (usually at the deadline and in a hurry) need information quickly to finish their assignments and projects.
The three primary styles presented for organising and documenting a research paper are MLA, APA and Chicago - the majority of papers done in sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts are expected to be done in one of these three styles (there are yet other styles, lesser used, as well as foreign styles, but these are relatively rare in the United States). Each section of style shows cover pages, sample pages of text, footnote/endnote formats, as well as the many levels of documentation and citation of sources required. Even with the dozens of documentary examples for sources from books, articles, journals, newspapers, videos, lectures, internet and more, there are always new situations arising that make documentation problematic. This guide does not solve every citation problem, but will solve the vast majority of them.
In the conclusion, there are glossaries of usage, grammatical terms, and a list of style manuals for more in-depth work. Perhaps the one omission here (somewhat surprising to me, given its wide usage in colleges) is that Turabian's `Manual for Writers of Term Papers' is not included in this list.
Overall, the design and format of this book is very useful, incredibly handy, and makes it one that I keep readily available for consultation whenever I write for academic purposes.