Higher Education

The Beacon Handbook and Desk Reference, 6th Edition

  • includes 2009 MLA Update Card
  • Robert Perrin Indiana State University
  • ISBN-10: 0495899518  |  ISBN-13: 9780495899518
  • 764 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2003, 2000, 1997
  • © 2003 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $48.75



The Beacon Handbook and Desk Reference is a compact guide to a broad range of issues related to writing. Written in an accessible, non-technical style, The Beacon discusses the writing process, critical thinking, grammar, usage, punctuation, mechanics, and the research process, illustrating principles with both student and professional samples. The text's spiral binding makes it a convenient tool for students composing on the computer. Students receive the most up-to-date information on MLA documentation with the enclosed tri-fold card providing NEW 2009 MLA Handbook formats.

Features and Benefits

  • Students receive the most up-to-date information on MLA documentation with the enclosed tri-fold card providing NEW 2009 MLA Handbook formats.

Table of Contents

The Composing Process
1. Planning
1a A General Subject
1b Ideas and Planning
1c A Specific Topic
1d Your Role, Readers, and Purpose
1e A Working Thesis Statement
2. Drafting
2a Organizing Materials
2b An Outline
2c A Rough Draft
2d A Title and Introductory and Concluding Paragraphs
3. Revising
3a Setting Aside the Rough Draft
3b Content Revision
3c Style Revision
3d Technical Revision
3e Peer Editing
3f The Final Draft
3g A Sample Paper
4. Paragraphs
4a Unified Paragraphs
4b Coherent Paragraphs
4c Paragraph Length
4d Organization and Development
5. Critical Thinking and Argumentation
5a Principles of Reasoning
5b Purpose of Writing
5c Ways to Respond Critically
5d Argumentation
5e A Sample Argument
ESL Writers
6. ESL Writers: Working beyond Mechanics
6a Writing in the American Culture
6b General Issues of Writing
6c Special Concerns
6d Technical Issues for ESL Writers: A Guide
Grammatical Sentences
7. Parts of Speech
7a Nouns
7b Pronouns
7c Verbs
7d Adjectives
7e Adverbs
7f Conjunctions
7g Prepositions
7h Interjections
8. Sentences
8a Parts of Sentences
8b Kinds of Sentences
9. Fragments
9a Without Subjects or Verbs
9b Subordinate Clauses
9c Special Use of Fragments
10. Comma Splices and Fused Sentences
10a Forming Two Sentences
10b Using a Semicolon
10c Using Coordinating or Subordinating Conjunctions
10d Conjunctive Adverbs
11. Agreement
11a Subjects and Verbs
11b Pronouns and Antecedents
12. Parallelism
12a With Coordinating Conjunctions
12b With Correlative Conjunctions
12c Repetition of Sentence Elements
13. Pronoun Reference
13a Unclear Pronoun References
13b Reflexive Pronouns and Subjects of Sentences
13c Clear Pronoun References
14. Pronoun Case
14a Subjective Case
14b Objective Case
14c Possessive Case
14d Appositives and Elliptical Constructions
14e Who and Whoever and Whom and Whomever
15. Positioning Modifiers
15a Clarity and Smoothness
15b Dangling Modifiers
15c Squinting Modifiers
16. Verb Tenses
16a Verb Forms
16b Simple Tenses
16c Perfect Tenses
16d Progressive Tenses
16e Relationships Among Actions and Conditions
16f Mood
17. Adjectives and Adverbs
17a Modifying Nouns and Pronouns
17b Modifying Verbs, Adjectives, and Adverbs
17c Positive, Comparative, and Superlative Adjective and Adverbs
17d Troublesome Adjective and Adverb Pairs
18. Sentence Variety
18a Sentence Length
18b Sentence Types
18c Sentence Beginnings
18d Coordination and Subordination
19. Emphasis
19a Active and Passive Sentences
19b Concision
20. Diction
20a Levels of Diction
20b Denotations and Connotations
20c Specific Words
20d Biased Language
20e Slang and Regionalisms
20f Clichés and Triteness
20g Forms of Idioms
20h Jargon
20i Euphemisms
20j Pretentious Language
20k Figures of Speech
20l Neologisms and Archaisms
Punctuation and Mechanics
21. End Punctuation
21a Periods
21b Question Marks
21c Exclamation Points
22. Commas
22a Three or More Items in a Series
22b Compound and Compound-Complex Sentences
22c Introductory Words and Phrases
22d Nonrestrictive Information
22e Contrasting Sentence Elements
22f Expressions That Signal Direct Quotations
22g Numbers, Dates, Addresses, Place Names, and Titles
22h Unnecessary Commas
23. Semicolons and Colons
23a Independent Clauses
23b Sentence Elements That Contain Commas
23c Incorrect Use of Semicolons
23d To Introduce Elements
23e Numerals
23f Incorrect Use of Colons
24. Apostrophes
24a Possessive Case
24b Omission of Letters and Numbers
24c Not with Possessive Pronouns
25. Other Marks of Punctuation
25a Dashes
25b Hyphens
25c Parentheses
25d Brackets
25e Ellipsis Points
26. Capitals
26a The First Word in Every Sentence
26b Proper Nouns and Proper Adjectives
26c Titles and Subtitles
27. Italics
27a Titles of Lengthy Published Works
27b Specific Names of Ships, Trains, Aircraft, and Spacecraft
27c Unfamiliar Foreign Words and Phrases
27d Words Used as Words, Letters Used as Letters, and Numbers Used as Numbers
27e For Emphasis
28. Quotation Marks
28a Direct Quotations and Dialogue
28b Punctuation with Quotation Marks
28c Titles of Brief Works, Parts of Long Works, and Unpublished Works
28d Ironic or Other Special Use of a Word
29. Numbers and Abbreviations
29a Numbers
29b Abbreviations
30. Spelling
30a General Rules
30b Dictionaries
30c Technical Words and British Variants
31. Topic, Research, and Note Taking
31a Subject to Topic
31b A Working Thesis Statement or Research Question
31c The Library
31d Electronic Search Systems
31e Online Periodical Databases
31f Using Electronic Sources
31g Selecting and Evaluating Sources
31h Taking Notes
31i Plagiarism
32. Works-Cited Entries
32a Citation Format
32b Accuracy and Completeness
32c Books
32d Periodicals
32e Nonprint Sources
32f The Internet and Other Electronic Sources
33. Organizing, Writing, and Documenting
33a Organization
33b A Rough Draft
33c Incorporating Notes
33d Parenthetical Notes
33e Revision
33f A Final Manuscript
33g A Sample Research Paper
Document Design
34. Document Design and Manuscript Preparation
34a A Document''s Purpose
34b Basic Printing Features
34c Visual Elements
34d Web Site Design
Desk Reference
A. APA Documentation Style
B. Writing Essay Exams
C. Business Writing
D. Writing About Literature
Glossary of Usage
Glossary of Grammatical Terms
General Index

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Robert Perrin

Robert Perrin (Ph.D., University of Illinois--Champaign/Urbana) is currently Chairperson of the Department of English at Indiana State University, after serving as Director of Writing Programs for seventeen years. He has won the University’s Caleb Mills Award for distinguished teaching and the Theodore Dreiser Award for distinguished research, as well as the College of Arts and Sciences’ Distinguished Professor award. He has published numerous articles on composition and teaching and has published seven textbooks and research guides, including The Beacon Handbook (six editions) and Handbook for College Research (three editions).