Before trying to find a book on grammar and usage, it would be helpful to know what are the best books for grammar and usage. Remember, anyone can write a book. That does not mean that it will get published. You should be weary of picking up a guide that you see lying around somewhere. Check the publication information before committing to it. Furthermore, even books that are published do not always have the most up-to-date information. Grammar rules change from time to time, so you need to be sure to remain on top of your game.
Those who are writing in MLA style, the format of the Modern Language Association, should absolutely use this book as their guide. It is approved by the Modern Language Association, thereby making it accurate. MLA style is generally used in high schools and for college papers associated with the arts. However, it is always best to check with a professor regarding the appropriate style of the paper before turning it in.
Make sure to purchase or borrow the most up-to-date MLA guide. Changes are often made on a yearly basis, even if they are small. For example, in 2008 it was acceptable for novels to be written as To Kill A Mockingbird or To Kill A Mockingbird. By 2010, the accepted format was limited to To Kill A Mockingbird. Titles are no longer underlined; they are italicized.
This guidebook is appropriate since it was taken from the Prentice Hall reference guide. Prentice Hall is a well known and reputable publishing company, particuarly in the field of academia.
Since students are often raised with an MLA style background in their schools, converting to APA, the style of the American Psychological Association, can be difficult. Therefore, referring to a manual is always an excellent plan. APA style is generally used more frequently in the sciences. However, some professors will require such a format in other disciplines.
Available in both hard copy and online formats, The Associated Press Style Book is an absolute must for anyone planning to go into the field of communications. When first converting from MLA to AP (Associated Press) style, some students do not see much of a difference. However, as they continue working with the style and learning the rules, they will learn that the two writing formats have quite a few areas where they differ.
For example, the Oxford comma is optional in MLA style. The Oxford comma refers to the comma that appears before the last item in a series. Let's look at an example. We could write "He ate apples, oranges, and grapes" or "He ate apples, oranges and grapes." In MLA style, either format is appropriate. However, in AP style, the Oxford comma is not used, and only "He hate apples, oranges and grapes" is acceptable.
These three books are amongst the best books for grammar and usage because they are brand names. Perhaps labels are not important everywhere, but when we're talking about grammar, you want to look for the most reputable books possible. This statement does not mean that other sources are invaluable though. Check where your source comes from. Other big names that are proof of a legitimate source are the University of Purdue, Cambridge University, and Oxford University.