Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

The Least You Should Know About English: Writing Skills, 13th Edition

  • Paige Wilson
  • Teresa Ferster Glazier
  • ISBN-10: 1305960947
  • ISBN-13: 9781305960947
  • 336 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2015, 2012, 2009
  • COPYRIGHT: 2018 Published
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About the Product

For decades, students have mastered the basics of writing with THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ENGLISH: WRITING SKILLS. Uncomplicated explanations allow students to focus on fundamentals, reinforced by real-world samples, over 200 exercises, and instant feedback in all areas of writing. Parts One to Three clarify and provide practice in the essentials of word use, sentence structure, and punctuation. Part Four on writing covers all types of paragraphs and essays and fundamental reading-based writing skills in a brief, easy-to-follow way. Each numbered section includes concise explanations followed by lively exercises with answers in the back of the book so that students can instantly grasp and apply what they learn. Exercises from multiple disciplines broaden students' understanding and interest in science, art, history, film, literature, social studies, business, and the media. When the course ends, the book becomes a valuable reference to support students' future writing needs.


  • Parts One through Three teach students the essentials of word use, sentence structure, and punctuation and put these skills into practice with more than 200 self-teaching exercises.

  • Complete exercise answers provided in the back of the book give students the power to learn on their own, wherever they are, and immediately apply what they've learned in their writing.

  • All four parts include model sentences, paragraphs, and essays by both student and professional writers, including excerpts from full-length texts that cross disciplines and borders and that present a balance of male and female writers in the fields of science, business, and popular culture.

  • Writing exercises in Part Four encourage students to practice the skills and stages involved in different aspects of writing: writing a thesis, finding a voice, organizing, summarizing, arguing, quoting, and in-class writing.

  • Sections in Part Four on writing in response to a reading, choosing and using quotations, writing an argument, and writing summaries -- and a chart offering tips for in-class essays -- form a foundation of skills necessary for complex analytical writing assignments.

  • A test booklet by Paige Wilson -- available to instructors only -- includes both sentence-format and paragraph-format identification and proofreading tests that correspond directly to the book's newly-numbered sections and that can also be used as additional exercises. Importantly, students do not have the answers to these supplemental tests or exercises.


"The book is a great resource. . . I like how well the text's information is organized."
— Jake Patrick, Georgia Military College

About the Author

Paige Wilson

PAIGE WILSON, Associate Professor of English, is now primary author of Teresa Ferster Glazier's THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ENGLISH classic textbook series (currently in its 13th edition) and a new co-author of Pamela Altman's SENTENCE-COMBINING WORKBOOK (5th edition). Wilson has enthusiastically taught grammar, writing, and literature at Pasadena City College since 1986 and also works as a Writing Consultant/Grammar Expert for international and local companies.

Table of Contents

Getting the Most from The Least You Should Know about English.
What Is the Least You Should Know about Word Use?
Word Use Preview Test.
1. Words Often Confused (Set 1).
2. Words Often Confused (Set 2).
3. The Eight Parts of Speech.
4. Adjectives and Adverbs.
5. Contractions.
6. Possessives.
7. Consulting a Dictionary.
Word Use Progress Test. Word Use Practice.
What Is the Least You Should Know about Sentence Structure?
Sentence Structure Preview Test.
8. Locating Prepositional Phrases.
9. Finding Subjects and Verbs.
10. Understanding Dependent Clauses.
11. Correcting Fragments.
12. Correcting Run-on Sentences.
13. Identifying Verb Phrases.
14. Using Standard English Verbs.
15. Using Regular and Irregular Verbs.
16. Maintaining Subject-Verb Agreement.
17. Avoiding Shifts in Tense.
18. Recognizing Verbal Phrases.
19. Correcting Misplaced or Dangling Modifiers.
20. Following Sentence Patterns.
21. Avoiding Clichés, Awkward Phrasing, and Wordiness.
22. Correcting for Parallel Structure.
23. Using Pronouns.
24. Avoiding Shifts in Person.
Sentence Structure Progress Test. Sentence Structure Practice.
What Is the Least You Should Know about Punctuation?
Punctuation Preview Test.
25. Periods, Question Marks, Exclamation Points, Semicolons, Colons, Dashes.
26. Commas Used to Separate Elements.
27. Commas Used to Enclose Elements.
28. Quotation Marks and Italics/Underlines.
29. Capital Letters.
Punctuation Progress Test. Punctuation Practice.
What Is the Least You Should Know about Writing?
Writing as Structure.
First, Second, and Third-Person Approaches.
Basic Structures.
30. The Paragraph.
31. The Essay. Writing Skills.
32. Writing in Your Own Voice.
33. Finding a Topic.
34. Organizing Ideas. Organizing an Essay.
35. Supporting with Details.
36. Choosing and Using Quotations.
37. Writing in Response to a Reading.
38. Writing an Argument.
39. Writing Summaries.
40. Revising, Proofreading, and Presenting Your Work.

New to this edition

  • With a revised introduction ("Getting the Most from The Least You Should Know about English") and a corresponding "What Is the Least You Should Know about . . . ?" opening for each of the four parts, the thirteenth edition highlights key concepts of this time-tested approach and demonstrates its value throughout the text.
  • A Preview Test and Progress Test now frame each of the first three parts on word use, sentence structure, and punctuation. Extended answers to these tests provide full explanations with page references to help students self-manage the improvement of their sentence-level skills.
  • Part One, "Word Use," includes a new "Consulting a Dictionary" section that offers brief explanations and a full set of exercises covering eleven different uses of this often overlooked but valuable resource for writers.
  • In Part Two, "Sentence Structure," the section on locating prepositional phrases now precedes the related skill of finding subjects and verbs. Reordering these sections doubles the number of exercises in which students can practice finding intervening phrases that influence subject-verb agreement and sentence clarity.
  • Two new charts in Part Two follow the section on understanding dependent clauses to illustrate the kinds of clauses and patterns of punctuation used to create simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor's Companion Website  (ISBN-10: 1337093688 | ISBN-13: 9781337093682)

Everything you need for your course in one place! This collection of book-specific lecture and class tools is available online via Access and download PowerPoint® presentations, images, instructor's manual, videos, and more.

MindTap Developmental English, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Wilson/Glazier's The Least You Should Know About English: Writing Skills  (ISBN-10: 1337091960 | ISBN-13: 9781337091961)

MindTap Developmental English for Wilson/Glazier's The Least You Should Know About English: Writing Skills, 13th Edition is the digital learning solution that helps instructors engage and transform today's students into critical thinkers. Through paths of dynamic assignments and applications that you can personalize, real-time course analytics, and an accessible reader, MindTap helps you turn cookie-cutter into cutting-edge, apathy into engagement, and memorizers into higher-level thinkers. As an instructor using MindTap, you have at your fingertips the right content and unique set of tools curated specifically for your course, all in an interface designed to improve workflow and save time when planning lessons and course structure. The control to build and personalize your course is all yours, focusing on the most relevant material while also lowering costs for your students. Stay connected and informed in your course through real-time student tracking that provides the opportunity to adjust the course as needed based on analytics of interactivity in the course.

Student Supplements

MindTap Developmental English, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Wilson/Glazier's The Least You Should Know About English: Writing Skills  (ISBN-10: 1337091960 | ISBN-13: 9781337091961)

It’s 1 AM, there are 20 tabs open on your computer, you lost your flashcards for the test, and you’re so tired you can’t even read. It’d be nice if someone came up with a more efficient way of studying. Luckily, someone did. With a single login for MindTap Developmental English for Wilson/Glazier's The Least You Should Know About English: Writing Skills, 13th Edition you can connect with your instructor, organize coursework, and have access to a range of study tools, including e-book and apps all in one place! Manage your time and workload without the hassle of heavy books! The MindTap Reader keeps all your notes together, lets you print the material, and will even read text out loud. Need extra practice? Find pre-populated flashcards and the entire eBook in the MindTap Mobile App, as well as quizzes and important course alerts. Want to know where you stand? Use the Progress app to track your performance in relation to other students.