Have you got a library card? Here’s something you might not know: most UK libraries subscribe to resources from Oxford University Press (OUP). If you live outside the UK, it is worth checking if your local library has a subscription too.
It is a huge range of resources, but perhaps the key ones for writers are the Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford Reference and Oxford Dictionaries online. There’s information about how to access them on the OUP’s website.
I recommend taking advantage of the premium resources on oxforddictionaries.com. The login page is here, and the library card login box is on the right-hand side. Once you have logged in you will see the Premium tab.
The premium resources are:
- New Hart’s Rules: The Oxford Style Guide
- Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage
- New Oxford Dictionary for Writers & Editors
- Pocket Fowler’s Modern English Usage
If you want your work to conform to UK publishing standards, you should use New Hart’s as your guide. It is really very good.
The New Oxford Dictionary for Writers & Editors is a handy guide for any spellings or names you aren’t sure of, or if you want help with hyphenation and capitalisation.
Pocket Fowler’s does not contain all the nuances of the full-size version, but it is still very helpful.
And they are all available for free and from the comfort of your own home.