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The Least You Should Know About English: Writing Skills 12th Edition

Paige Wilson, Teresa Ferster Glazier

  • Published
  • Previous Editions 2012, 2009, 2006
  • 336 Pages
Starting At 80.00 See pricing and ISBN options


For 35 years, students have mastered the basics of writing with Wilson and Glazier’s THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ENGLISH: WRITING SKILLS. Its uncomplicated explanations offer students “just in time support” reinforced by real-world samples, 170 exercises, and instant feedback in all areas of writing. In the twelfth edition, Parts 1-3 continue to clarify the essentials of “Word Use,” “Sentence Structure,” and “Punctuation.” Part 4 on “Writing” covers all types of paragraphs and essays (from narration to argumentation) and all types of skills (from writing summaries to including quotations) in a brief, easy-to-follow way. New to Part 4 is a section on “Writing in Response to a Reading” and a new chart with valuable “Tips for In-Class Essays.” Each area includes concise explanations followed by numerous exercises with a complete set of answers in the back of the book so that students can instantly grasp and apply what they learn-wherever they are. In line with core standards, exercises from multiple disciplines broaden students’ understanding and interest in science, art, history, film, literature, social studies, and the media. When the course ends, THE LEAST becomes a valuable reference for students’ future writing needs.

Paige Wilson, Pasadena City College

PAIGE WILSON, Associate Professor of English, is now primary author of Teresa Ferster Glazier's THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ENGLISH classic textbook series (currently in its 13th edition) and a new co-author of Pamela Altman's SENTENCE-COMBINING WORKBOOK (5th edition). Wilson has enthusiastically taught grammar, writing, and literature at Pasadena City College since 1986 and also works as a Writing Consultant/Grammar Expert for international and local companies.

Teresa Ferster Glazier, Late, Western Illinois University

  • The twelfth edition of THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ENGLISH combines the best of the previous Forms A, B, and C into one convenient new form.
  • With the new single-book format, student writers receive both time-tested and fresh pedagogical perspectives and updates in explanations, examples, and exercises throughout the text.
  • Part 1 on “Word Use” (formerly titled “Spelling and Word Choice”) continues to cover the essentials of word use with additional new memory devices to help students distinguish between “Words Often Confused.”
  • As always, Part 2 on “Sentence Structure” presents “least you should know” coverage of the inner workings of effective sentences, describing how sentence structures actually work to help students naturally avoid common errors. Part 2 now includes the best explanations, examples, and exercises from Forms A, B, and C in one book.
  • Part 3 on “Punctuation” (formerly titled “Punctuation and Capitalization”) contains similar enhancements throughout, with changes in two section titles: “Comma Rules 1, 2, and 3” and “Comma Rules 4, 5, and 6” are now “Commas Used to Separate Elements” and “Commas Used to Enclose Elements.” These revised sections clarify and reinforce the purpose of the commas rather than focusing on “rules.”
  • In addition to its thorough coverage of paragraphs and essays, Part 4 on “Writing” offers a new section about “Writing in Response to a Reading,” complete with sample student paragraphs and essays that respond to readings and that include quotations from the readings for support. Part 4 also contains a new chart with helpful “Tips for In-Class Writing.”
  • “Writing Exercises” within Part 4 encourage students to practice the skills and stages involved in different aspects of writing (writing a thesis, finding a voice, organizing, summarizing, arguing, quoting, and in-class writing).
  • A new section on “Writing about a Reading” and a new chart offering “Tips for In-Class Essays” join existing sections in Part 4 on “Choosing and Using Quotations,” “Writing an Argument,” and “Writing Summaries” to help students with complex analytical writing assignments.
  • A Test Booklet by Paige Wilson is available only to instructors; it corresponds directly to the book’s content and includes both single-sentence and paragraph-length tests/exercises to which students do not have the answers.
  • Parts 1 through 3 teach students the essentials of word use, sentence structure, and punctuation and put these skills into practice with more than 170 self-teaching exercises.
  • Exercise answers provided in the back of the book give students the power to learn as they go and immediately apply what they’ve learned in their writing.
  • Part 4 on “Writing” includes sample paragraphs and essays by both student and professional writers, including excerpts from full-length texts.
1. Word Use.
What Is the Least You Should Know? How to Learn the Least You Should Know. The Importance of a Good Dictionary. Your Own List of Misspelled Words. Words That Can Be Broken into Parts. Guidelines for Doubling a Final Letter. Words Often Confused (Set 1). Words Often Confused (Set 2). The Eight Parts of Speech. Adjectives and Adverbs. Contractions. Possessives.
2. Sentence Structure.
Finding Subjects and Verbs. Locating Prepositional Phrases. Understanding Dependent Clauses. Correcting Fragments. Correcting Run-on Sentences. Identifying Verb Phrases. Using Standard English Verbs. Using Regular and Irregular Verbs. Maintaining Subject-Verb Agreement. Avoiding Shifts in Tense. Recognizing Verbal Phrases. Correcting Misplaced or Dangling Modifiers. Following Sentence Patterns. Avoiding Clichés, Awkward Phrasing, and Wordiness. Correcting for Parallel Structure. Using Pronouns. Avoiding Shifts in Person.
3. Punctuation.
Periods, Question Marks, Exclamation Points, Semicolons, Colons, Dashes. Commas Used to Separate Elements. Commas Used to Enclose Elements. Quotation Marks and Italics/Underlines. Capital Letters.
4. Writing.
What Is the Least You Should Know about Writing? Writing as Structure. First-Person and Third-Person Approaches. Basic Structures. I. The Paragraph: Defining a Paragraph. Types of Paragraphs. Sample Paragraphs in an Essay. Sample of a Single-Paragraph Assignment. II. The Essay: The Five-Paragraph Essay and Beyond. Defining an Essay. A Sample Essay. Writing Skills. III. Writing in Your Own Voice: Narration. A Sample Essay. Description.
IV. Finding a Topic: Look to Your Interests. Focused Free Writing (or Brainstorming). Clustering. Talking with Other Students. V. Organizing Ideas: Thesis Statements. Organizing an Essay. Topic Sentences. Organizing Body Paragraphs (or Single Paragraphs). Transitional Expressions. VI. Supporting with Details: Types of Support. A Sample Final Draft. VII. Choosing and Using Quotations: Choosing Quotations. A Sample Source. Using Quotations. Signal Phrases and Punctuation. Guidelines for Including Quotations. VIII. Writing in Response to a Reading: A Sample Paragraph Response Using Quotations. Sample Reading Prompt 1. A Sample Essay Response Using Quotations. Tips for In-Class Writing. Sample Reading Prompt 2. IX. Writing an Argument: Taking a Stand and Proving Your Point. A Sample Argument. Three Requirements of a Strong Written Argument. X. Writing Summaries: A Sample Reading. A Sample Summary. Summary Checklist. XI. Revising, Proofreading, and Presenting Your Work: A Sample Rough Draft. Revision Checklist. Exchanging Papers (Peer Evaluations), Proofreading Aloud. Presenting Your Work. Paper Formats. Titles.
Aplia is an online learning solution that increases student engagement with automatically graded assignments and detailed explanations.

This Cengage solution can be seamlessly integrated into most Learning Management Systems (Blackboard, Brightspace by D2L, Canvas, Moodle, and more) but does require a different ISBN for access codes. Please work with your Cengage Learning Consultant to ensure the proper course set up and ordering information. For additional information, please visit the LMS Integration site.

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  • ISBN-10: 1305667387
  • ISBN-13: 9781305667389
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  • ISBN-10: 1305231651
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“The jargon-free, straightforward writing is outstanding.”

“Students don't need to know a great deal of grammar terminology to write well. THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW focuses on concepts instead, a much more successful approach with my students.”

“The jargon-free, straightforward writing is outstanding.”

“Students don't need to know a great deal of grammar terminology to write well. THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW focuses on concepts instead, a much more successful approach with my students.”

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


Instructor's Companion Website

ISBN: 9781337093682
Everything you need for your course in one place! This collection of book-specific lecture and class tools is available online via Access and download PowerPoint® presentations, images, instructor's manual, videos, and more.