Good writing is clear, specific and concise.

Anyone who is writing something has to make choices. On which side of the period do I put the quotation marks? Do I capitalize the job titles of the people in my office? How do I refer to the departments within my school? There are a few reference works that will help answer your questions.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

Refer to for questions related to words and their meanings. There’s a very handy  online version, but only the printed edition is authoritative. Get the version you can use as a doorstop. Language is a living thing, so make sure that you use the latest edition.

The Associated Press Stylebook

The latest version is available online, via an app for your smartphone, and even in print. Check out apstylebook.com, @APStylebook and #APStyleChat on Twitter.

The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, is a time-tested classic guide to writing with clarity and style (but ignore their advice about using the serial comma).