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Syracuse University Libraries

English and Writing Resources for SUPA Instructors and Students: Reference Sources

Online Reference Resources

  • Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
    Define words and trace their development with "the definitive record of the English language" (choose Enter OED Online)
  • CREDOreference
    Full-text reference books in the arts, humanities, including A Dictionary of Literary Symbols, The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English, Continuum Encyclopedia of American Literature and many others.

  • Oxford Reference Online
    Full-text of relevant reference books including The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature, The Oxford Companion to English Literature, The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English, and A Dictionary of Writers and their Works

  • Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism
    Full-text searchable database of articles on individual critics and theorists, critical and theoretical schools and movements, and the critical and theoretical innovations of specific countries and historical periods. It also treats related persons and fields that have been shaped by or have themselves shaped literary theory and criticism.

  • Dictionary of Literary Biography
    Provides entries containing biographical information, critical summaries, and references for further reading on the work of novelists, poets, playwrights, short story writers, and other creative writers from all eras and genres.

  • Contemporary Authors
    Biographical and bibliographic information on more than 130,000 active and influential authors. Includes biographical sketches, lists of author's works, and citations for further readings on the authors.  CA is updated bi-weekly with revisions and new entries.

Writing Guides & Style Manuals

  • Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 
    Provides commonsense guidance on grammar and punctuation.  Sub-chapters on common problems:  e.g., subject/verb agreement, hyphens, apostrophes, etc.
  • The OWL at Purdue
  • Guides for Writing, Research, Grammar and Mechanics, and all the major style guides.
  • The Elements of Style 
    Based on William Strunk, Jr.'s 1998 reference book, this site covers rules of usage, principles of composition, and other helpful writing tips.