General Reference Sites for Writers

Online destinations every writer should have bookmarked. Find synonyms, stats, translations, and more.

  • Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) features over 130 informative articles on grammar usage, sentence construction, non-sexist writing, and other English language issues. The site also offers a special article section on professional writing topics.
  • is a one-stop-shop of almanacs, atlases, thesauri, encyclopedias, and of course, dictionaries.
  • Webster's Dictionary On-Line is a tried and true old standard.
  • Your Dictionary links to over 800 dictionaries and thesauri in 150 languages.
  • Visit the University of Michigan's "Statistical Resources on the Web" for a comprehensive guide to getting the facts and figures you need.
  • Need a foreign language translation fast? Alta Vista's Babel Fish can translate entire web pages or specific text you enter. French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and English translations are supported.
  • One of the most comprehensive reference portals on the web,, features subject-specific dictionaries (medical, legal, scientific), language translators, encyclopedias, phone books, almanacs, news links, style books, and much much more. It may not be pretty, and the page could use a little further organization for ease of use, but if you can't find a fact here, you probably can't find it online anywhere.
  • Have fun finding just the right word with The Visual Thesaurus, one of the coolest online tools for writers. A great free-form idea generator for brainstorming sessions and creative exploration.