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Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


The Bottom Line

Kate Turabian's style book is a good reference tool, especially if you already have it on your shelf. However, much of the material will not pertain to the work of a fiction writer, and other guides may include materials, such as exercises, that are more relevant.
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  • Turabian covers the basic rules of grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Conforms to the Chicago Manual of Style, but is much more affordable.
  • Is an easy-to-use reference tool.


  • Not as comprehensive as the Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Geared toward nonfiction writers, particularly students.
  • Does not include grammar exercises or cover other forms of discourse, as some style books do.


  • Geared toward students but covers basic rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Both affordable and easy to reference.
  • Her student's guide may provide solid information for fiction writers beginning to do research.

Guide Review - Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations

The name "Kate Turabian" is somewhat legendary in the world of style books. So much so that many don't believe that Turabian actually existed. However, she was a real person and she worked at the University of Chicago Press for nearly 30 years. For this reason, her style books have always been closely tied to Chicago style, the style used by publishing houses. But with prices ranging from $10.00-$14.00, the Turabian style books are infinitely more affordable. In addition, her books are pared down to the essentials for much easier reference.

The latest edition of A Manual has been updated for the computer age and has an expanded section on style. Her Student's Guide for Writing College Papers also includes basic tips on conducting research and an extensive research bibliography, which may be helpful for writers who did not receive a solid research background in school. Otherwise, much of both volumes will not apply to fiction writers, particularly those sections concerned with citation. However, if you are seeking a basic style book, or already have one of her books on your shelves, Turabian's Manual is a reliable and simple reference tool.

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