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Research Guide: English Grammar, Style & Usage

Finding Books

Using Catalogs: Use the WSU online catalog to find the location and availability of books and other media in Stewart Library.   Because the keywords for grammar, style and usage topics are frequently generic, it's usually best to use the official Library of Congress subject headings. 

Click on the arrow next to the box and change the menu entry to  Subject Alphabetical.



  • English language--style
  • English language--rhetoric
  • English language--usage
  • English language--grammar
  • English language--syntax
  • English language--errors of usage
  • English language--composition and exercises

  • Rhetoric
  • Style, Literary
  • Authorship
  • Americanisms
  • Language and languages--style
  • Forensic linguistics

When using the subject alphabetical search, you must copy punctuation exactly - commas, dashes, etc. have meaning to the system.  If you use subject keyword, you can drop the punctuation.

You may also combine any of these terms and do a general keyword search.  For example:  rhetoric authorship.

NOTE:  When researching subjects relating to the English language, remember to allow for spelling differences between U.S. and British English:  behavior/behaviour, color/colour, etc.  Most library databases will NOT do this for you.  Some search engines do, but even they miss useful items unless you search both spellings.

Electronic Books: 

  •  has several older editions of style, grammar and usage guides as well a current American Heritage collection.
  • Netlibrary - a collection of electronic books, some public domain, some modern/copyrighted.
  • Fowler, H. W.,  The King's English, 1908.  From
  • Mencken, H.L.,  The American Language, 1921. From
  • Strunk, William, Jr., The Elements of Style, 1918. From

See reference resources below for more books.

Interlibrary Loan: If we do not own a particular book or article you need, we will borrow it for you from another library through Interlibrary Loan.

Reference Resources

Reference resources include encyclopedias, dictionaries and other materials you use to "refer" to. Use these resources for background information on a topic.



  • International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, 2nd ed. (First edition is in General Collections and may be checked out)  Reference P29.I58 2003
  • The Linguistics Encyclopedia Reference P29.L52 2002
  • Elements of Style, Strunk & White. 4th ed. Reference Table 2B
  • Garner's Modern American Usage  Reference PE2827.G37 2003
  • The New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage  Reference Table 2B
  • The Handbook of Morphology Reference  P241.H36 1998
  • The Oxford Companion to the English Language Reference PE31.O84 1992
  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language Reference P29.C64 1987
  • The Cambridge Guide to English Usage  Reference  PE 1464.P47 2004
  • The Oxford History of English Lexicography - on order
  • Donald McQuade (ed.) The Territory of Language: Linguistics, Stylistics, and the Teaching of Composition. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1986.

General Collection PE1404.T47 1986

Finding Articles



To find articles on your topic you need to use article databases, know in the past periodical indexes and/or abstracts. Each database usually covers a group of subject related journals. Search by subject or keyword in these indexes. For home or off campus access please use your WSU Login.

Note:  If you don't see the fulltext for an article, check a link that says Find Fulltext. It will bring up a screen that shows if we have the article fulltext in a different database, in print or if you need to use ILL.

  • MLA Bibliography -   MLA International Bibliography is usually the best index for researching language and linguistics topics. MLA provides article references for articles in literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore back to 1963.  Citations and some abstracts only.
  • Academic Search Premier - Provides full text articles from magazines and journals  
  • ERIC (EbscoHost) - For articles and other types of information on language teaching.  Some fulltext
  • JSTOR - Full text scholarly articles in the fields of language and literature.  Archive database, most articles are at least 3 years old.
  • Literature Resource Center - emphasis is on literature, but includes some other information.
  • Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (1985-2004) - Not online; see Stewart Library Periodicals P1.L28742  (General Collection, top floor.)

Google Scholar - this is a good place to find "gray" literature such as conference proceedings and articles on topics not covered by library databases.  The cited reference feature is an easy way to expand your bibliography.  Check out my Quick Guide to Web Searching to see how to link to ejournals available at WSU.

Intute:  Arts & Humanities - a specialized search engine/directory created by UK universities.



Current magazines and journals can be browsed in the Current Periodicals Area, in the "PE" section on the Main level. Bound volumes of older issues are found upstairs in the periodicals stacks. Relevant  journals are listed below:



The library subscribes to many electronic journals.  Check our Electronic Journals database (includes print)  to see our current holdings.    If you're using a library database, just click the Find Fulltext link - no need to go to the Electronic Journals page


Web Resources

Here are some sites to get you started. Many of these will take you to other links, so explore!

Research Tips

Updated January 5, 2010 . Please send comments to Kathy Payne, Head of Reference
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