Higher Education

When Words Collide, 9th Edition

  • Lauren Kessler University of Oregon
  • Duncan McDonald University of Oregon
  • ISBN-10: 1285052471  |  ISBN-13: 9781285052472
  • 224 Pages
  • © 2016 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $104.00
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Offering solutions for today's cross-platform, multi-media writing environment, Kessler and McDonald's WHEN WORDS COLLIDE, 9e is praised by students and professors alike for its straightforward presentation of grammar and writing guidelines. This versatile handbook works for both beginning and continuing media writers, providing concise, clear explanations and examples, as well as quick and accurate answers to common grammar and usage questions. The unique “from writer to writer” perspective guides students step by step through the writing process. The Ninth Edition emphasizes the importance of language skills to help students quickly learn to create effective prose. Its simplified rules appeal to students from a broad variety of backgrounds. In addition, engaging new boxed features reinforce key concepts.

Features and Benefits

  • Beginning with Chapter 1: “Grammar Lives!”, WHEN WORDS COLLIDE, 9e focuses on the dynamic, evolving, cross-platform, multi-media environment for today's writers.
  • This versatile handbook can be used both as an easy-to-use reference tool and as a grammar/usage textbook-making it a meaningful addition to any writer's bookshelf long after the course is complete.
  • Timeless and appropriate examples compare correct with incorrect uses, enabling students to see as well as hear the difference.
  • Chapter 2: “Ten Little Secrets, Ten Big Mistakes” engages students with the writing process right from the beginning of the text and provides them with effective tips and tactics for successful writing.
  • The text's two appendices focus on homonyms and homophones as well as troublesome verb forms, giving students additional insight into unraveling the complexities of English grammar.
  • Throughout the text, students will enjoy the authors' clear, concise explanations of important grammar issues delivered in a lighthearted, conversational tone.
  • Included as Part II of the text, “Your Speedy Grammar and Word Use Guide” provides an easy and efficient way for students to look up correct usage.
  • An Exercise Book for WHEN WORDS COLLIDE, 9e complements the main text with detailed, hands-on exercises designed to reinforce each chapter's key grammar and style concepts-enabling students to put what they learn into practice.

Table of Contents

1. Grammar Lives!
Grammar Is More Important Than Ever. What Does Your E-mail Say about You?
2. Ten Little Secrets: Ten Big Mistakes.
The Ten Secrets of Writing Well. Grammar Is Everywhere. Making Mistakes. What You Don't Know.
3. The Sentence.
Sentence Parts. Phrases and Clauses. Types of Sentences. Sentence Errors. The Lead Sentence.
4. Power UP with the Verb!
Verbs Propel Our Sentences. Verb Forms and Functions. Verb Number and Person. Verb Tense. Principal Parts of Verbs. Voice. The Mood of Verbs. Verbals.
5. Working with the Verb: The Captain's View.
Nouns. Pronouns. Adjectives. Adverbs. Prepositions. Conjunctions. Interjections.
6. Making the Case for Agreement.
Subject–Verb Agreement. Pronoun Reference: The Antecedent Search. Case: It's All about Relationships. Nominative Case. Objective Case. Possessive Case. Parallel Structure. A Final Note.
7. Punctuation: Your Symphony of Signals and Stops.
Some Basic Guidelines. Period. Comma. Semicolon. Colon. Dash. Quotation Marks. Hyphen. Apostrophe. Ellipses. Parentheses. Question Mark and Exclamation Point.
8. Clarity and Conciseness.
Choosing Words. Putting Words Together. Making Sense. Clarity, Conciseness, Coherence.
9. Style.
What is Style? Liveliness. Originality. Rhythm and Sound. Imagery. Writing with Style.
Appendix A: Homonyms, Homophones, Spell-Checks, Oh My!
Appendix B: Irregular (Make That Troublesome) Verb Forms.

What's New

  • More student friendly than ever, WHEN WORDS COLLIDE, 9e features a vivid new two-color interior that makes text material easier to read, follow and understand.
  • A renewed emphasis on the importance of language skills helps students quickly learn to create crisp, clear and compelling prose.
  • Simplified grammatical rules and regulations throughout the book put grammar mastery within reach for students-no matter what their backgrounds.
  • New boxed material highlights, illustrates and entertains students as it reinforces chapter concepts.

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: Text + Student Workbook

ISBN-10: 1305601068 | ISBN-13: 9781305601062

List Price = $151.95  | CengageBrain Price = $151.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $114.00

This Bundle Includes:

  • When Words Collide
    List Price = $137.95  | CengageBrain Price = $137.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $104.00
  • Student Workbook
    List Price = $80.95  | CengageBrain Price = $80.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $60.50

Efficacy and Outcomes


“I can unhesitatingly recommend WHEN WORDS COLLIDE to any colleague in media studies and journalism, but I've also recommended it to my colleagues in the areas of Composition/Rhetoric. I think it could easily work as an English handbook-and is actually superior to most handbooks dedicated to English.”

— Frank Coffman, Rock Valley College

“An engaging approach to style and grammar targeted at a college audience that has for the most part not studied or practiced grammar since middle school.”

— Don Connell, Simmons 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

Online Answer Key  (ISBN-10: 1285764366 | ISBN-13: 9781285764368)

Online Answer Key.

Student Workbook  (ISBN-10: 1305411064 | ISBN-13: 9781305411067)

Help your students apply the concepts presented in the text with this exercise workbook containing activities and exercises designed to give them the hands-on practice they need to build their confidence.

List Price = $80.95  | CengageBrain Price = $80.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $60.50

Web Site  (ISBN-10: 1285764374 | ISBN-13: 9781285764375)

This outstanding site features rich learning and test preparation resources-including chapter-by-chapter tutorial quizzes and a final exam.

Student Supplements

Student Workbook  (ISBN-10: 1305411064 | ISBN-13: 9781305411067)

Apply what you are learning in the text with this workbook featuring thirty-six exercises that provide opportunities to practice key grammar concepts outlined in the text and will help you develop the skills you need to become a successful writer.

List Price = $80.95  | CengageBrain Price = $80.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $60.50

Web Site  (ISBN-10: 1285764374 | ISBN-13: 9781285764375)

This outstanding site features rich learning and test preparation resources-including chapter-by-chapter tutorial quizzes and a final exam.

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

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Lauren Kessler

Lauren Kessler is professor and director of the Multimedia Journalism Master's Program at the University of Oregon as well as a national speaker, workshop leader, and founder and editor of ETUDE, the online magazine of narrative nonfiction. In addition, she is the author of three textbooks and seven works of narrative nonfiction, including MY TEENAGE WEREWOLF: A MOTHER, A DAUGHTER, A JOURNEY THROUGH THE THICKETS OF ADOLESCENCE, Pacific Northwest Book Award winner DANCING WITH ROSE (published in paperback as FINDING LIFE IN THE LAND OF ALZHEIMER'S), WASHINGTON POST bestseller CLEVER GIRL and LOS ANGELES TIMES bestseller THE HAPPY BOTTOM RIDING CLUB-–which David Letterman, in fierce competition with Oprah, chose as the first (and only) book for the Dave Letterman Book Club. She appeared twice on his late-night show. She is also the author of Oregon Book Award winner STUBBORN TWIG, which was chosen as the book for all Oregon to read in honor of the state's 2009 sesquicentennial. Dr. Kessler's journalism has appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, LOS ANGELES TIMES MAGAZINE, O magazine, UTNE READER, THE NATION, newsweek.com and salon.com. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington. Dr. Kessler blogs at www.myteenagewerewolf.com.Find out more at www.laurenkessler.com

Duncan McDonald

Duncan McDonald is professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, where he also served as dean of the School of Journalism and Communications as well as vice president of Public Affairs and Development. He is a former deputy director of the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University. A former newspaper reporter, editor and publisher, he has co-authored texts in grammar, media writing, information gathering and graphics.