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25 Reviews
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small, expensive, important, May 7, 2006
This review is from: A Writer's Reference: 2003 MLA Update (Plastic Comb)
Let's be real, this book is small -- almost pocket-sized. But that's the whole idea. This tough little book provides a quick reference for all English composition forms, so serious writers will want to carry it everywhere. It is a must-have for any high-school or college student taking English composition. Any person who writes for a living should have this book as well. The spiral binding allows the open book to sit flat on your desk. Its cover is heavily laminated so it can be tossed into a backpack or briefcase without thrashing it too much. ...And you won't want to thrash it because this is one expensive bad-boy book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great reference for all of us!, September 15, 2005
This review is from: A Writer's Reference: 2003 MLA Update (Plastic Comb)
Diana Hacker's Writers reference is among the finer language references that I have ever used. As a beginning novelist, I must say that I found it priceless. It was an excellent resource to have sitting at my desk, and I really appreciated how easy it was to look topics up. The only negative comment that I have about this book is the price. It's quite expensive for the size of book it is, but it is a reference that I will be able to use for years.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An actual useful real sized manual better than other Hacker Books, December 22, 2006
By 
Tony Thomas (West Palm Beach Florida USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Writer's Reference: 2003 MLA Update (Plastic Comb)
I have been published as a writer since 1967. I have written all kinds of things from Marxist polemics to restaurant reviews, from literary poetry to computer technical writing, from journal articles on the history of the banjo to literary short stories, and hundreds of reader reviews here on Amazon (Check them out!). I have taught college English composition for the past 7 years. I love A Writer's Reference.

A Writer's Reference is a great minimum level handbook to use for writing in and out of class. This is better than other Hacker products, particularly as a writer's handibook.

Hacker produces handbooks on all levels. One I like, except for its format that means the book will disappear page by page after more than one semester, is _Rules for Writers_. That is a full handbook, suitable as a textbook for English Composition 1 & 2 without any other text. One I do not like is the _Bedford Handbook_. There Hacker tries to dumb down the book, but ends up not providing enough explanation for students who need to learn on one hand, and not being handy enough for working writers to use to look up things.

A Writer's Reference has enough grammar, punctuation, usage, and mechanics to help composition students. Of, course, it would not work well as a remedial English tool, but that is not its task.

For decades before I ever taught college, I gathered these comp books as an aid for writing, copy editing, and proof reading. I am always looking for a handy reference that does not slow me down when I am looking for information. This is it! A Writer's Reference is short, sweet, clear, and superbly indexed. It took me one minute with A Writer's Reference book to find a solution to a usage and grammar question that has perplexed me over the past year.

The high price is a sad reflection of the racket of college textbook sales. However, A Writer's Reference is cheaper than comparable texts. It lacks enough reading and writing examples to serve as the sole text in a composition course. However, A Writer's Reference is an excellent resource as a handbook either for composition students using another text with more essay materials or for writers.

Particularly, for writers looking for a reference text, it is worth look around here and elsewhere to find more inexpensive used or remaindered copies of A writer.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars handy little book, March 16, 2006
This review is from: A Writer's Reference: 2003 MLA Update (Plastic Comb)
This book will come in very handy for any college or may be even high school students when they are writing essays. Many detailed requirements for citing sources and rules for plagarisms are alll included in here, and it's worth it to review them if you don't wanna get sent to the dean's office. I was a surprise to discover that this book also included AAP and Chicago style requirements as well. If you are social science student this format will come in handy because social science departments are usually very old school and loves footnotes and endnotes.

This book also have some guides to simple grammatical mistakes that many writers make. As useful as this section may be, it didn't cover the subjects extensively or detailed enough to be really applicable in more complex writing situations. It only gives few and simple examples.

This is a handy little book to have if you know you will be writing academic papers a lot. I always have this one my desk so I know how to properly cite just about every source I use.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely essential, September 7, 2006
This review is from: A Writer's Reference: 2003 MLA Update (Plastic Comb)
As a college student, I would be lost without this manual. It covers APA and MLA writing formats in great detail step by step, with tabs throughout the book marking each topic, making it easy to navigate. A lot of people are intimidated by the price, but $50 is a small price to pay for this kind of information.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It, October 25, 2005
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This review is from: A Writer's Reference: 2003 MLA Update (Plastic Comb)
Every member of my family has a copy - ages 14 to 75 (thanks to me). The book is invaluable in any type of writing including school,personal,and business. The index is useful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have, March 9, 2006
This review is from: A Writer's Reference: 2003 MLA Update (Plastic Comb)
I am so excited about this reference book. Definitely a must-have for anyone who writes, whether it be for research, blogging, academic papers or just plain Dear John letters. This one is sticking by me FOREVER (until the updates).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great, August 2, 2005
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This review is from: A Writer's Reference: 2003 MLA Update (Plastic Comb)
this book helped me get through my first year at ucla. i bought it used and sold it back to the school just because i knew a new copy would be more helpful than a used one. this book is a must have for college students who are taking writing courses. it is a tremendous help.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent resource for teachers and students, March 12, 2007
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This review is from: A Writer's Reference: 2003 MLA Update (Plastic Comb)
I am a consultant teacher for high school English students and spend a great deal of time evaluating expository writing. Diana Hacker's text is the best resource I have ever used for advising students in composing and revising their work. It is well organized and color indexed so that the reader can look up a topic easily. In addition, there is a companion web site that offers exercises, examples, links library, and more. A teacher can register with the instructor site,have students work the exercises, and have the answers sent to his/her e-mail address. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A handy book to have after college, March 14, 2014
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This review is from: A Writer's Reference: 2003 MLA Update (Plastic Comb)
I have finished all my general studies, but this is a great book to have after school is over. This is especially true in today's age of internet / e-mail reading and writing, for professional or personal use. And of course, my writing isn't perfect and there's probably over 1,000 things wrong with what I'm writing now, but the reference book is there in case I wanted to correct everything. =)
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A Writer's Reference: 2003 MLA Update
A Writer's Reference: 2003 MLA Update by Diana Hacker (Plastic Comb - May 12, 2003)
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