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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

English as a Second Language: Writing & Composition

A guide for second-language learners of English

Writers' Resources on the Web

UCLA Graduate Writing Center - ESL Resources

Purdue University's Online Writing Lab

Walden University's Guide to U.S. Academic Writing

Key Concepts for Writing in North American Colleges This step-by-step guide created by the Purdue Owl is designed to introduce and explain key concepts and expectations for writing in a North American college setting.

Strategies for Essay Writing A comprehensive guide created by the Harvard College Writing Center, which walks you through the entire essay process from "How to Read an Assignment" to "Revising a Draft." Also includes brief guides to writing within disciplines. 

Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay This article from the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill guides college students in moving beyond the structure of a five-paragraph essay and towards formats that are more effective in college-level writing. 

Online Courses

A Beginner’s Guide to Writing in English for University Study is a free online course from FutureLearn.


Style Manuals

These works are intended to help students write effectively in American English. They describe techniques to craft arguments and paragraphs, self-edit papers and revise paragraphs and organizational structures. Non-native students are introduced to culturally-appropriate strategies to help them succeed in their academic writing tasks.


Williams, Joseph M. Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace. New York: Pearson Longman, 2006.

Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Strunk, William. The Elements of Style3rd edition. Boston: New York : Macmillan, 1979

Lindberg, Christine. The Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus. Second Edition. New Work: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Hacker, Diana. A Pocket Style Manual7th edition, Bedford/St. Martin, 2004.

Ammer, Christine. The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston, Massachusetts : Credo Reference, 2014

Hobson, Archie. The Oxford Dictionary of Difficult Words.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Fowler, H. W. and Burchfield, R.W. The New Fowler's Modern English Usage. 3rd edition.Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2004

General Writers' Resources at the Library



Discipline-Specific Writing Guides