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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $55.00
  • August 2016
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-61738-2
  • 848 pages
  • Territory Rights: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.

The Norton Field Guide to Writing with 2016 MLA Update

with Handbook

Fourth Edition


See all options and formats starting at

Richard Bullock (Author, Wright State University), Maureen Daly Goggin (Author, Arizona State University), Francine Weinberg (Author)



Flexible, easy to use, just enough detail—and the number-one best selling rhetoric.

The Norton Field Guide to Writing’s flexibility and ease of use have made it the leading rhetoric text on the market—and a perfect choice for committees representing varying teaching styles. With just enough detail — and color-coded links that send students to more detail if they need it — this is the rhetoric that tells students what they need to know but resists the temptation to tell them everything there is to know. The Fourth Edition includes new chapters on summarizing and responding, on developing academic habits of mind, and on writing literary analysis.

The Norton Field Guide to Writing is also available with a handbook, an anthology, or both. To make the book more helpful for multilingual writers, the versions with the handbook include new chapters on idioms, prepositions, and Englishes; to accommodate instructors and programs teaching literary analysis, the versions with the anthology include two student essays that analyze literature and five short stories and poems for analysis. All versions are available as low-cost ebooks and in mobile-compatible formats for smart phones and tablets.


Uniquely flexible format

Short chapters addressing every topic a writing instructor might cover allow teachers to assign chapters in whatever order they wish, making The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Handbook a great choice for committees struggling to accommodate diverse teaching approaches. 

Easy to use, with just enough detail

Menus, directories, documentation templates and maps, and a glossary/index make it easy for students to find the information they need quickly and efficiently. The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Handbook is brief, providing just enough detail on each topic, along with color-coded links that send students to pages with more detail if they need it. 

A user-friendly handbook that helps students edit what they write

The handbook is organized around the intuitive categories of Sentences, Words, and Punctuation, making it easy for students to find what they’re looking for. Written in everyday language, it includes minimum terminology and color-coded links referring students to the glossary/index if they need detailed definitions.  

A new section on academic literacies

Part 1 (Academic Literacies) includes chapters on writing in academic contexts, reading in academic contexts, summarizing and responding, and developing academic habits of mind. These chapters have been written with stretch courses, ALP courses, integrated reading-writing courses, dual enrollment courses, and the needs of many incoming college students in mind. 

6 new chapters

Chapter 6 (Developing Academic Habits of Mind) encourages mental habits that lead to academic success: curiosity, engagement, persistence, flexibility, creativity, and more.
Chapter 9 (Summarizing and Responding: Where Reading Meets Writing) teaches the summary/response sequence both as a strategy that's useful in many academic contexts and as a kind of writing that many composition teachers assign.
Chapter 17 (Literary Analysis) provides guidelines for writing a literary analysis, along with a sample student analysis. This chapter was in the first two editions and has now been reinstated in response to popular demand.
• Handbook Chapters L-3, L-5, and L-10—on Idioms, Prepositions, and Englishes—make the Field Guide more helpful for multilingual writers.

5 new readings

Of the 23 readings in the Fourth Edition, 5 are new, including a report on "The Reason College Costs More Than You Think" and a profile of an F-16 pilot who was prepared to sacrifice her life to bring down one of the hijacked airliners on September 11, 2001. 

    * New to this edition
    ++ Handbook

    How to Use This Book
    Part 1 Academic Literacies

    1. Writing in Academic Contexts

    2. Reading in Academic Contexts

    *3. Summarizing and Responding: Where Reading Meets Writing

    *4. Developing Academic Habits of Mind

    Part 2 Rhetorical Situations
    5. Purpose

    6. Audience

    7. Genre
    8. Stance
    9. Media / Design

    Part 3 Genres
    10. Writing a Literacy Narrative
        Emily Vallowe, Write or Wrong Identity (student writing)
        Marjorie Agosín, Always Living in Spanish
        Shannon Nichols, “Proficiency” (student writing)
    11. Analyzing Texts
        Hannah Berry, The Fashion Industry: Free to Be an Individual (student writing)
        *Danielle Allen, Our Declaration
        Sam Anderson, Just One More Game . . . Angry Birds, Farmville, and Other Hyperaddictive Stupid Games
    12. Reporting Information
        Michaela Cullington, Does Texting Affect Writing? (student writing)
        James Fallows, Throwing Like a Girl
        *Jon Marcus, The Reason College Costs More than You Think
    13. Arguing a Position
        Joanna MacKay, Organ Sales (student writing)
        *Nicholas Kristof, Our Blind Spot about Guns
        Andrew Leonard, Black Friday: Consumerism Minus Civilization
    14. Abstracts
    15. Annotated Bibliographies
        Michael Benton, Mark Dolan, Rebecca Zisch, Teen Film$
        Jessica Ann Olson, Global Warming (student writing)
    16. Evaluations
        Ali Heinekamp, Juno: Not Just Another Teen Movie (student writing)
    *17. Literary Analyses
        *Stephanie Huff, Metaphor and Society in Shelley’s “Sonnet” (student writing)
    18. Memoirs
        Rick Bragg, All Over but the Shoutin’
    19. Profiles
        *Steve Hendrix, F-16 Pilot Was Ready to Give Up Her Life on 9-11
    20. Proposals
        Michael Granof, Course Requirement: Extortion
        Jennifer Church, Biodiversity Loss and Its Effect on Medicine (student writing)
    21. Reflections
        Jonathan Safran Foer, My Life as a Dog
    22. Résumés and Job Letters
    23. Mixing Genres
        Anna Quindlen, Write for Your Life
    24. Choosing Genres

    Part 4 Processes
    25. Writing as Inquiry
    26. Collaborating
    27. Generating Ideas and Text
    28. Drafting
    29. Assessing Your Own Writing
    30. Getting Response and Revising
    31. Editing and Proofreading
    32. Compiling a Portfolio

    Part 5 Strategies
    33. Beginning and Ending
    34. Guiding Your Reader
    35. Analyzing Causes and Effects
    36. Arguing
    37. Classifying and Dividing
    38. Comparing and Contrasting
    39. Defining
    40. Describing
    41. Dialogue
    42. Explaining Processes
    43. Narrating
    44. Taking Essay Exams

    Part 6 Doing Research
    45. Developing a Research Plan
    46. Finding Sources
    47. Evaluating Sources
    48. Synthesizing Ideas
    49. Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing
    50. Acknowledging Sources, Avoiding Plagiarism
    51. Documenting Sources
    52. MLA Style
    53. APA Style

    Part 7 Media / Design
    54. Choosing Media
    55. Designing Text
    56. Using Visuals, Incorporating Sound
    57. Writing Online
    58. Giving Presentations

    ++Part 9 Handbook
    S Sentences
        Elements of a Sentence
        Sentence Fragments
        Comma Splices, Fused Sentences
        Subject-Verb Agreement
        Coordination and Subordination
    L Language
        Appropriate Words
        Precise Words
        Words Often Confused
        Unnecessary Words
        Adjectives and Adverbs
        Words That Build Common Ground
    P Punctuation/Mechanics
        End Punctuation
        Quotation Marks
        Other Punctuation Marks
    Glossary / Index
    MLA and APA Directories