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.

Wordcrafts' Quotes

The Power of Fear

"A writer must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid."

— William Faulkner

Excess Baggage

“The author makes a tacit deal with the reader. You hand them a backpack. You ask them to place certain things in it — to remember, to keep in mind — as they make their way up the hill. If you hand them a yellow Volkswagen and they have to haul this to the top of the mountain — to the end of the story — and they find that this Volkswagen has nothing whatsoever to do with your story, you're going to have a very irritated reader on your hands.”

— Frank Conroy


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