Links to useful resources

Dictionaries, encyclopedias, style guides, etc.

It is necessary to know LaTeX commands to prepare documents without syntax errors. It is not, however, sufficient to create documents which are well written. There are a lot of style guides, dictionaries, etc. which help with better writing. This list of style-related documents contains, however, only those related to English.

Printed dictionaries

  • Simpson J. A. (Editor), Weiner E. S., The Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (March 1, 1989), ISBN: 0-198-61186-2, 20 volumes, 22,000 pages.
    This is the ultimate source for all English users. The dictionary (OED) occupies about 22,000 pages and provides answers for almost all English language questions. This is the largest English dictionary in the world. There is only one drawback: price. If you cannot spend about $1,500 you can still think of buying a CD-ROM version for about $200.
  • Soanes C. Stevenson A. (Editors), Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (August 1, 2004), ISBN: 0-198-61347-4, 2088 pages.
    The dictionary is of course much more concise than The Oxford English Dictionary, but is still a fantastic source for anyone writing in English. It includes 355,000 words phrases and definitions, 12,000 encyclopedic entries and 68,000 explanations. Just think for a moment, do you need more? Most people answer: no, and this is the largest dictionary in their private library.
  • Pearsall J. Hanks P. (Editors) The New Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford University Press, New 3ed Edition, (November 4, 1999), ISBN: 0-198-60285-5, 2152 pages.
    The dictionary (NODE) is out of print and to the best of our knowledge will not be continued since the Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE) replaced it. We list this book here, for it is of almost the same quality as ODE and can be purchased used for a lower price (if you can locate a copy).
  • Waite M., New Oxford Thesaurus of English, Oxford University Press (T?) (August 31, 2000), ISBN: 0-198-60261-8, 1050 pages.
    A good thesaurus is often an important supplement to a dictionary. If you have ODE, NODE, or OED, you should consider buying this book. If you are not satisfied browsing your dictionary, you will be able to search the thesaurus.
  • American Heritage Dictionaries (Editor), The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Houghton Mifflin; 4th edition (January 15, 2000), ISBN: 0-395-82517-2, 2076 pages.
    We recommended above several English dictionaries. They cover both British and American English, but their main dialect is British. If you need an American English-oriented dictionary please consider this book (British English is also supported). The content of the dictionary is similar to NODE and ODE, but it contains many illustrations and drawings.
  • Ammer C., The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Houghton Mifflin (April 1, 1997), ISBN: 0-395-72774-X, 736 pages.
    A good idiom dictionary is sometimes a must for non-native English writers. There are several good dictionaries of this type and this book is one of them.

Style textbooks

  • Strunk Jr. w., White E.B., Angell R., The Elements of Style, Longman (January 15, 2000), ISBN: 0-205-30902-X, 105 pages.
    It is a good idea to read this small book by Strunk, White, and Angell as a first book concerning problems of style. The authors give many small hints how to write better, they point out most common errors, and show how easily the reader can improve his style—just read and remember.
  • University of Chicago Press Staff, The Chicago Manual of Style, University Of Chicago Press; 15th edition (August 1, 2003), ISBN: 0-226-10403-6, 984 pages.
    This manual is a large and advanced reference. It will not teach the reader the basics, but it will help if anyone has problems related to typesetting, formatting documents, etc.
  • Garner B. A., Garner's Modern American Usage, Oxford University Press (September 1, 2003), ISBN: 0-195-16191-2, 848 pages.
    The book by Garner can be used by beginners, intermediate, and advanced English users. It is a huge, in-depth reference for anyone interested in correct writing. There are thousands of entries which are extensive essays. You will be surprised how much you will learn after reading even one entry.
  • Van Leunen M.-C., A Handbook for Scholars, Oxford University Press (T?); 2nd edition (January 1, 1992), ISBN: 0-195-06954-4, 348 pages.
    This handbook is a very good introduction to the technical problems related to scholarly writing. Many researchers recommend this book (e.g., D. E. Knuth in the book listed below).
  • Knuth D. E. et al., Mathematical Writing, The Mathematical Association of America (September 5, 1996), ISBN: 0-883-85063-X, 124 pages.
    This book is based on lectures given by D. E. Knuth at Stanford. He also introduced several well-known figures such as Leslie Lamport, Paul Halmos, Mary-Claire van Leunen (if you browse this page, you will see that we also recommend their books). The book is written in a casual, humorous style. Some people will enjoy this, but others will find it irritating. Nevertheless, the book is a good introduction to technical writing.
  • Higham N. J., Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences, Soc for Industrial and Applied Math; 2nd edition (August 1, 1998), ISBN: 0-898-71420-6, pages: 302 pages.
    This is one of several good books on mathematical writing. What differentiates it from similar books is its coverage of typesetting software such as TeX and LaTeX. A nice read.

On-line dictionaries and encyclopedias

  • Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary 10th Edition, 2003.
    This is a great dictionary available for free. It contains 107552 words. Moreover, the www.m-w.com page contains both a dictionary and a thesaurus.
  • The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language 4th Edition, 2000.
    A classy dictionary which contains 89,248 words. You can use it instead of the print version cited above. You can find it here.
  • Encarta® World English Dictionary, North American Edition, 2003.
    This is one more good dictionary and thesaurus. It contains 107301 words.
  • Dictionary.com, 2005.
    This is one of the largest free dictionaries available (it contains 349,714 words). You can use here both the dictionary and thesaurus.
  • Oxford English Dictionary.
    This is the largest English dictionary. This is an on-line version of Oxford English Dictionary. It has one important drawback: this version is not free.
  • Merriam–Webster, A Dictionary of Prefixes, Suffixes, and Combining Forms from Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, 2002.
    A dictionary of prefixes, suffixes, etc. is rarely necessary, but sometimes it can be useful, so why not have a good, free one? We recommend this one based on the Webster's Third New International Dictionary.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, 1911.
    This archival edition of Encyclopedia Britannica is interesting, of course, but you are probably looking for something more modern, so please see the links below.
  • Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 2004.
    This is an up-to-date on-line version of the well known one-volume encyclopedia.
  • Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia 2005.
    What can we say when we think of the Wikipedia? Impressive, huge, up-to-date, multilingual, and more. This encyclopedia is developed by Internet users and is constantly growing. In the end of 2006, Wikipedia contained more than 1,551,000 articles (most of them are quite long essays). There are also localized language versions of this project. The largest are:
    • German (517,000+ entries),
    • French (415,000+ entries),
    • Polish (328,000+ entries),
    • Japanese (305,000+ entries),
    • Deutch (251,000+ entries),
    • Italian (227,000+ entries).
    • Portuguese (221,000+ entries),
    • Swedish (200,000+ entries),
    • Spanish (183,000+ entries),
    Even if you do not like free and open projects you should take a look at the Wikipedia—you will see that free and open does not necessarily mean unprofessional.
  • Bartlett J., Familiar Quotations, 10th Edition, 1919.
    If you like quotations you will be probably interested in this set of 11,000 pre-twentieth century quotations.
  • Andrews R., Biggs M., and Seidel M. (Editors), The Columbia World of Quotations, Columbia University Press, 1996.
    This collection of quotations by Columbia University Press is much larger and much more up-to-date. It contains about 65,000 quotations and can be found here.
  • Simpson J. B. (editor), Simpson's Contemporary Quotations. The Most Notable Quotations: 1950–1988, Houghton Mifflin, 1988.
    This last collection of quotations contains about 9,000 entries from the second half of the twentieth century.
  • Bartleby.com.
    If you have been unable to find a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, or related work in our list please visit Bartleby.com. This is an impressive page containing a great variety of useful resources.
  • AskOxford.com.
    You can also visit AskOxford.com, where you can find dictionaries, styl guides, and more.

On-line style-related documents

  • Knuth D. E., Mathematical Writing.
    We recommended above the book by D. E. Knuth entitled Mathematical Writing. If you want to save money you can download a PDF version or a TeX version of the lecture notes which were used to create this book.
  • Strunk Jr. W., The Elements of Style, W.P. Humphrey, 1918.
    We recommended above The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. The print version has been updated, but it is not free. The 1918 edition can, however, used free of charge.
  • On-line supplement to The Chicago Manual of Style.
    Another good book is The Chicago Manual of Style. The home page of the book contains a supplement and much more, e.g., the FAQ. It is worthwhile to visit this page.

Links to some style-related pages

There are many style-related pages. We give here links to only a few of them. We believe, that you will find these links useful:

Updating the Links Page

The links on this page were selected based on our and our friends experience. We undoubtedly missed some interesting books and links, so if you think some other resource should be included, please send us a note. Nevertheless, we believe this page should be concise, since there are other Web pages containing a plethora of resources related to TeX/LaTeX and writing style (however, providing a link to such a good page would be of course nice), so we would like to present here only the most important and some of the most interesting (even if less important) links.