In this Top Reference Works for Writers section I provide descriptions and links for free websites that are particularly useful for the daily writing activities of all writers—elementary school through professional writers. I intend for writers to use this section as their go-to reference as they write.
From this page writers can access the information they need for any writing project without being overwhelmed by lists of numerous resources they need to explore and decide upon before using. These resources are the essential sites writers need. Below the links I provide descriptions of the resources.
YourDictionary is the easiest and most comprehensive online dictionary available. The dictionary features multiple definitions from sources such as the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Wiktionary and Ologies & Isms. This resource provides verbal and visual pronunciations of words and illustrates the parts of speech for each word. In addition, for each word the dictionary provides examples, sentence samples, quotations that make use of the word, and the word’s etymology. Additionally, the dictionary features synonyms, comparisons, examples and related terms and ideas for a word in the Webster’s New World Roget’s A-Z Thesaurus, specialty definitions for words in various occupations and interest areas including: computer, investment & finance and law, as well as biographies detailed in the Encyclopedia of World Biography. Also included in this site is an archive of articles on the subjects of grammar, education, ESL, and references. There are also many word-related tools and games to help one learn vocabulary and spelling words including flashcard tools. World famous organizations such as the BBC, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Times of London have recognized YourDictionary as a definitive source for word information.
ONLINE SLANG DICTIONARY
The Online Slang Dictionary is a dictionary of slang words, neologisms, idioms, aphorisms, jargon, informal speech, and figurative usages. The Online Slang Dictionary uses citations from TV programs, movies, news publications and other sources to demonstrate usage and prove accuracy. New content is continually added. The site also offers a slang map to where in the world a particular word is most likely to be used.
As the premier thesaurus on the web, Thesaurus.com provides users with over 550,000 synonyms and a suite of tools that simplify the writing process. Thesaurus.com’s proprietary relevance, complexity, and length filters, introduced in the first update to any thesaurus in over 160 years, help anyone quickly find the perfect word.
RhymeZone is the premier free rhyming dictionary on the web, but it also serves more functions than finding rhymes. For any word one can find near rhymes, synonyms, descriptive words, antonyms, definitions, lyrics and poems, related words, similar sounding words, and homophones. One can also search for pictures, quotations, and lines in Shakespeare that use the word. This site also has a number of forums, a dictionary and a reverse dictionary.
THE PURDUE ONLINE WRITING LAB (OWL)
There is no better resource for writers than this free site at Purdue University. The resources are too voluminous to describe succinctly. One simply has to spend time exploring the site and discovering those areas that are most helpful to the types of writing projects one is undertaking. Among so many other sections, there are specific sections devoted to Grades 7-12 Instructors and Students, English as a Second Language, Teacher and Tutor Resources, and Professional Writers.
GUIDE TO GRAMMAR AND WRITING
This site provides everything the elementary through professional writer needs to know about grammar and proper techniques in writing. The site is divided into the following sections: Sentence Level, Paragraph Level, Essay Level, Forms of Communication, and PowerPoint Presentations. There is also an index which includes 427 references to both the Guide to Grammar and Writing and Principles of Composition. In addition there is also a FAQ File, an Interactive Quiz section, and an Ask Grammar section as well as other useful resources.
(Although Wikipedia is helpful as a quick reference for non-academic purposes, I did not post a link to Wikipedia because anyone can contribute content, and because the reliability of any particular article is questionable, one should not rely on it for academic or professional writing.) ENCYCLOPEDIA.COM, however, is the Internet’s premier collection of online encyclopedias and provides reference entries from credible, published sources like Oxford University Press and Columbia Encyclopedia. Users get free access to nearly 200,000 reference entries from sources one can cite. Plus, more than 50,000 topic summaries feature related pictures, videos, topic summaries, and newspaper and magazine articles from around the world.
Information Please has been providing authoritative answers to all kinds of factual questions since 1938, first as a radio show, then, starting in 1947, as an annual almanac, and since 1998 on the Internet. This site provides reliable information on an array of topics, including current events, pop culture, science, government and history. Users can confidently utilize the site, assured that the content is written and edited by experts. In addition to an atlas, dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia, there are numerous tools and reference sources.
This site is the perfect source for complete, detailed world information related to continents, countries, travel, societies, economics, the environment, and world facts. The site provides numbers lists, world population clocks, maps of the world, flags of the world, time across the world, travel aids, information on geography of the world, and map clip art. Additionally, there are feature articles, reference pages and many helpful tools.
Citation Producer creates citations for many sources using both MLA and APA formats.
CHARACTER COUNT & WORD COUNT TOOL
Character Count & Word Count Tool is a free character counter tool that provides instant character count & word count statistics for a given text. The tool reports the number of character with spaces and without spaces, also the number of words and sentences. Character Count Tool monitors and reports the character counts, symbol counts & word counts of the text that you type in real time. Thus it is suitable for writing text with word/ character limits.
Visit the Sitemap for the Education-Related Quotes website for additional resources.