Flatbed printing press
A flatbed printing press, circa 1842. Photo: Smithsonian Institution

With the excitement surrounding ChatGPT and artificial intelligence (not to mention the wealth of misinformation available online), reliable writing resources are more important than ever.

Here is a collection of references that will be helpful for writers of British and American English, and the people who manage them. The list includes dictionaries, style guides and other references, as well as online resources.


Many of these books are also offered as online references.


The Oxford Dictionary of English, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2010, ISBN 9780199571123. British usage.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc, 2020, ISBN 9780877798095. American usage.


Pocket Ref, 4th Edition, Thomas J. Glover, Sequoia Publishing, 2010, ISBN 9781885071620. A tiny book filled with technical and scientific data, formulae, conversion tables and other useful information.

Roget’s International Thesaurus, 8th Edition, Harper Collins, 2022, ISBN 9780062843739. Roget’s is organized by concept rather than alphabetically, for maximum inspiration.

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 19th Edition, John Bartlett, Little, Brown and Company, 2022, ISBN 9780316375306. The gold standard for quotations.

Style guides

The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition, University of Chicago Press, 2017, ISBN 9780226287058. The definitive guide to American usage.

The Economist Style Guide, 12th Edition, The Economist, 2018, ISBN 9781610399814. Includes a section on the differences between American and British usage.

The Elements of Style, 4th Edition, Strunk & White, Pearson, 2000, ISBN 9780205309023. This short book remains a classic.

Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Oxford University Press, 2015, ISBN 9780199661350. Since 1926, Fowler’s has been the standard reference for British usage.

New Hart’s Rules, Oxford University Press, 2014, ISBN 9780199570027. Britain’s answer to The Chicago Manual of Style.

Online resources

Otter.ai provides online transcription services. There are free and paid service plans.

Zotero.org is a free tool for collecting, organizing, annotating, citing and sharing research. Browser and word processor extensions are available. Zotero is invaluable for research projects and books.

Onelook.com is a turbocharged thesaurus. Enter a word, phrase or a description, and it will offer synonyms, antonyms, related words and more.

Text-to-speech reader lets you paste text into a browser and listen to playback in different voices. This free service is helpful for catching missing, repeated and overused words.

LanguageTool checks grammar, spelling and punctuation. Extensions are available for word processors and browsers, and you can paste text directly into LanguageTool’s website.

New, AI-based services are being launched every day, so watch this space!

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