Legal & General Writing Resources: General

Prepared by Cheryl Nyberg and Nancy McMurrer, with updates by law librarianship intern Scott Matheson

This consists of website links and lists of books, most of which are located in the Gallagher Law Library's Reference Area on Floor L1.

This guide is part of a series on Legal & General Writing Resources. Other guides include:

  • legal citation manuals (The Bluebook and others)
  • legal dictionaries
  • legal writing blogs, guides, websites, and other resources

Dictionaries & Thesauri


These books are located in the Reference Area, unless otherwise indicated.

  • The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed. PE1625.A54 2000 at Reference Office
  • The Dictionary of Bias-Free Usage: A Guide to Nondiscriminatory Language. PE1460.M26 1991
  • The Elements of Nonsexist Usage: A Guide to Inclusive Spoken and Written English. PE1460.D78 1991
  • The Handbook of Nonsexist Writing, 2d ed. PN218.M5 1988
  • Roget A to Z. PE1591.R712 1994
  • Roget's II: The New Thesaurus . PE1591.R737 2003.
  • Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus in Dictionary Form. PE1591.K54 1992 at Reference Office

For additional titles, search the Law Library catalog by keywords: english language and (dictionaries or synonyms).


Bartleby, Reference is a one-stop shopping for free online dictionaries, encyclopedias, quotation collections, thesauri, usage guides, and more. provides more than a dictionary. It also offers a thesaurus, quotations, translators, mobile apps, and word games.

Merriam-Webster offers a dictionary, thesaurus, a Spanish-English dictionary, and a medical dictionary.

OneLook Dictionaries lets users search dozens of dictionaries simultaneously, covering acronyms, computers and technology, economics, Latin, medical, military, real estate, religion, science, slang, and sports; includes Bouviers Law Dictionary (1856) and the International Law Dictionary and Directory. includes a spell-checker and grammar guide, as well as a thesaurus.

UW Libraries, Reference Tools > Dictionaries including English and foreign language dictionaries. Some sources are UW Restricted.


General Writing Resources: Grammar & Usage


These books are located in the Reference Area, unless otherwise indicated.

  • The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. Z253.U69 2010
  • Fowler, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, 2d ed. PE1628.F65 1983
  • Garner's Modern American Usage, 3d ed. PE2827.G37 2009
  • The New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage. PE142.N46 1994
  • On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, 25th ed. PE1429.Z5 2001
  • Strunk & White's The Elements of Style, 4th ed. PE1408.S772 2000. First ed. (1918) on the web.
  • Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, 10th ed. PE1421.W545 2010

For additional titles, search the Law Library catalog by keywords: english language and (style or usage).


Common Errors in English provides an alphabetic guide to words and phrases commonly misused. Maintained by the the author of the same titled book.

The Economist Style Guide presents an alphabetical listing of terminology with annotations about proper usage.

Grammar Girl is a website dedicated to helping writers understand and avoid the most common pitfalls of grammar, usage, and punctuation. Additionally, there are occasional blogs about how the English language developed, which are often fun, informative, and useful.

Grammarist not only provides grammar, style, and spelling tips, but also provides unique insight into common usage by providing examples of writing in modern media.

Guide to Grammar & Style offers grammatical rules and explanations, comments on style, and suggestions on usage.

Guide to Grammar & Writing covers articles, clauses, commas, confused words, modifiers, paragraphs, parallel construction, phrases, plurals, possessives, pronouns, punctuation, sentences, and subject-verb agreement; with interactive quizzes.

The International Writing Centers Association offers resources for writers, links to academic writing centers, and email discussion groups.

The Internet Public Library, Style and Writing Guides links to almost 40 sources.

The Tongue Untied: A Guide to Grammar, Punctuation and Style provides advice and tips relating to a variety of topics, such as: subject verb agreement, parts of speech, punctuation, and writing/editing. There are also interactive quizzes and 10-week curriculum to improve technical writing skills.

University of Wisconsin-Madison, The Writing Center covers stages of the writing process, grammar and punctuation, and strategies for improving your writing style.



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