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Richmond Public Library Richmond Public Library
English: Essay Writing
Essay Writing

Essay Writing

Essay Writing | Grammar, etc. | Citing Sources | Dictionaries & Thesauruses




The Writing Process
Explains many useful writing practices, such as reverse outlining to help you understand difficult texts or even revise your own essay, how to develop a thesis statement, how to create an outline for your own work, proofreading, and getting over that annoying writer’s block.

Writing Skills
Useful tips to help you at every stage of the writing process - sections on sentence structure, types of essays and how to write a research paper or a book report, among others.

CliffsNotes: Writing
Get help with writing your essay!

Shaping Information: Essay Writing
Step-by-step guide to writing high quality essays. It covers everything from prewriting to defining your thesis to ordering information in your essay.

Research Room
Focuses specifically on how to write research papers. It covers the whole process, from evaluating research sources to revising your paper.

A+ Research & Writing
Step-by-step guide on how to research and write an essay.

Conducting Research
Covers a general introduction to research, print vs. online resources, evaluating resources, conducting primary research, how to do effective internet searches, and reference sources on the internet.

Choose the Best Search for Your Information Need
A guide to different internet-based search engines based on what your research needs are.

Defining Primary and Secondary Sources
Explains the differences between primary and secondary sources, lists examples of each, and also elaborates on how the ways in which a resource is used can determine whether it is a primary or a secondary resource.

Writing Guides
Describes the process of writing - from preparing to write your first draft to completing your final copy.





Purdue’s OWL guide to paragraphs tells you everything you need to know about writing paragraphs, from how to unify your paragraphs to which transitional words to use.

Writing Transitions
Purdue’s OWL guide to writing transitions explains why transitions are needed, how to write them, and the different types of transitional devices (adding, comparing, showing exception, etc.).

CliffsNotes: Grammar
Avoid bad grammar by checking out this handy guide by CliffsNotes!

Grammar Exercises
Purdue’s OWL grammar exercises are an interactive way to practice your grammar and learn those rules to improve your writing.

English Grammar
SparkNotes guide to English Grammar is easy-to-read and is broken down into different grammatical categories, including common grammatical mistakes, types of sentences, and how to use adverbs vs. adjectives.

Guide to Grammar & Writing
A guide to writing, grammar, and punctuation.





Access online articles from the comfort of your home by logging on with your library card number and password.

eLibrary Canada Once you find the article you are interested in, within eLibrary, you can either click 'Citation View' at the top left-hand side of the article or you can scroll to the bottom of the article to view examples in the MLA and APA styles.
EBSCO host Once you find the article you are interested in, within EBSCO, you can click on the 'Cite' icon found on the top right-hand side of the article. Once you click on the icon EBSCO will create the citation for you!


OWL: Citation Resources
Find help with citing resources in the most common citation styles: APA, MLA, and Chicago.

Diana Hacker: Research & Documentation Online
Diana Hacker’s guides are well known and also offer examples and tips on how to cite using APA, MLA, and Chicago citation styles.

Cite Machine
Pick what type of material you're using (website, encyclopedia, book, etc.) and Cite Machine will show you exactly how you should cite it! Has MLA, APA, Turabian and Chicago citation styles.

EasyBib is a citation generator that does the work for you! Input title, author, or publication date to create your citations in the APA, MLA or Chicago styles.

How to Cite Short Stories for Students
Using the fantastic reference resource Short Stories for Students? Use this cheat sheet on how to cite from it!

Explains what plagiarism is and tips on how to avoid plagiarizing other people's work.





Access online databases from the comfort of your home by logging on with your library card number and password.

eLibrary Canada Click on 'Reference' on the top navigation bar within eLibrary Canada to use various dictionaries and thesauruses.
EBSCO host Click on 'Dictionary' on the top navigation bar within EBSCO MasterFILE to look up definitions.


Use the dictionary, thesaurus, Spanish/English dictionary or medical dictionaries. It also has a “word of the day” function, word games, and fun word lists. has dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia and translation services. It also has fun sites for crossword puzzles and word games. Thesaurus
The thesaurus page for the suite, this is an easily searchable online thesaurus to help spice up your writing.

Wordnik offers definitions from several different dictionaries, gives examples of usage from news articles and literature, provides synonyms and more! Thesaurus’s online version of the classic Roget’s Thesaurus provides synonyms and antonyms.