Higher Education

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

  • Paige Wilson Pasadena City College
  • Teresa Ferster Glazier Late, Western Illinois University
  • ISBN-10: 1285443535  |  ISBN-13: 9781285443539
  • 336 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2012, 2009, 2006
  • © 2015 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $78.00
  • Newer Edition Available



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.

Features and Benefits

  • 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.
  • “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.

Table of Contents

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.

What's New

  • 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.”

Learning Resource Bundles

Choose the textbook packaged with the resources that best meet your course and student needs. Contact your Learning Consultant for more information.

Bundle: Printed Text + Aplia™, 1 term Printed Access Card

ISBN-10: 1337374806 | ISBN-13: 9781337374804

List Price = $116.95  | CengageBrain Price = $116.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $88.00

This Bundle Includes:

  • The Least You Should Know About English: Writing Skills
    List Price = $103.95  | CengageBrain Price = $103.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $78.00
  • Aplia™, 1 term with Basic Writing 1, 1 term (6 months) Printed Access Card
    List Price = $80.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $60.00

Efficacy and Outcomes


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

— Craig Bartholomaus, Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley

“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.”

— Michelle Abbott, Georgia Highlands College


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor's Web Site with Test Bank  (ISBN-10: 1305073789 | ISBN-13: 9781305073784)

The companion website contains the Test Booklet for The Least You Should Know about English: Writing Skills, 12e. Instructors can enhance course evaluation with the Test Booklet, available in pdf format. The booklet contains 60 additional exercises, pretests, posttests, and a complete answer key.

List Price = $.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $.00

Aplia™, 1 term Instant Access for Basic Writing 1  (ISBN-10: 1428274324 | ISBN-13: 9781428274327)

List Price = $80.00  | CengageBrain Price = $80.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $80.00

Student Supplements

Aplia™, 1 term Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1305667387 | ISBN-13: 9781305667389)

List Price = $80.00  | CengageBrain Price = $80.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $80.00

Aplia™, 1 term Instant Access for Basic Writing 1  (ISBN-10: 1428274324 | ISBN-13: 9781428274327)

Succeed in your course with Aplia’s interactive learning system--featuring practice problems with immediate feedback and tools developed specifically for BASIC WRITING 1, 1st Edition, including step-by-step explanations that help you improve your reasoning and skills, interactive assignments that help you understand difficult or counterintuitive concepts, and more. Aplia has already helped more than a million students succeed in college classes.

List Price = $80.00  | CengageBrain Price = $80.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $80.00

LMS Integrated for Aplia™, 1 term Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1305858565 | ISBN-13: 9781305858565)

List Price = $80.00  | CengageBrain Price = $80.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $80.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Paige Wilson

With a gift for explaining the basics of grammar, punctuation, and writing, Paige Wilson, Associate Professor at Pasadena City College, brings the vital structures of English to life, reinforcing fundamental concepts with easy-to-follow exercises, samples, and writing assignments. Since joining Teresa Ferster Glazier as author of THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ENGLISH in the 7th edition, Professor Wilson continues (in this 13th edition) to celebrate Glazier's original goal of providing students with 100% practical coverage and practice of writing skills -- from word choice to fully developed essays -- in one brief text. Through seven editions of her own, Wilson has added a fresh voice and global perspective to Glazier's vision along the way.