As a medical writer, I often end up spending more time researching an article than I do writing it. In that research, I often discover new online sites and tools.
In this week’s post, I share some lesser-known online resources that can help make your writing, editing and researching tasks easier.
This site was developed by the Plain Language Action and Information Network, which is a group of federal employees who support the use of clear communication in government writing. The site includes humorous examples and resources on thinking about your audience, organizing your text, using plain language writing principle, and writing for the Web. My favorite part of the site is the word suggestions page.
The Purdue OWL is a product of the Writing Lab at Purdue University. The site features articles and instructional materials on general writing mechanics and the writing process; research and citation; subject-specific writing; and job search writing. The site also includes exercises for all topics covered.
An English professor at Rutgers University, Jack Lynch’s site is a “miscellany of grammatical rules and explanations, comments on style, and suggestions on usage I put together for my classes. Nothing here is carved in stone, and many comments are matters of personal preference—feel free to psychoanalyze me by examining my particular hang-ups and bêtes noires.” Yes, he has many of the same hang-ups we all have.
Strunk and White’s classic is available in a searchable format.
This website features discussions of new words, word histories, words in the news and the quirks of the English language. You can also follow World Wide Words on Twitter and Facebook. Posts this week featured discussions on the origins of the verb “panhandle” and information about the expressions: “codswallop,” “that’s all she wrote,” and “great Scott.”
Internet Archive Wayback Machine
The Wayback Machine from the Internet Archive provides access to archived versions of websites. You can type in a URL, select a date range and view archived versions of websites. There are 439 billion archived Web pages that date to 1996. View the New York Times website on September 12, 2001, or see what your company’s website looked like in 1998.
You’ve probably heard of this site, but I couldn’t leave it off the list. WordHippo can help anyone find the perfect word. Search categories include “rhymes with,” “opposite of,” “sentences with,” “adverb for” and “past tense of.” I visit this site daily.
Do you have any other sites to share, Ragan readers?
Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor and a regular contributor to PR Daily. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.