The Writer's Reference Guide to Spanish

[ Latin American Studies ]

The Writer's Reference Guide to Spanish

By David William Foster, Daniel Altamiranda, and Carmen de Urioste

This reference guide provides comprehensive information on how the Spanish language is copyedited for publication.



33% website discount price


6 x 9 | 284 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-72512-6

Writers and editors of Spanish have long needed an authoritative guide to written language usage, similar to The MLA Style Manual and The Chicago Manual of Style. And here it is! This reference guide provides comprehensive information on how the Spanish language is copyedited for publication.

The book covers these major areas:

  • Language basics: capitalization, word division, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Language conventions: abbreviations, professional and personal titles, names of organizations, and nationalities.
  • Bibliographic format, particularly how Spanish differs from English.
  • Spanish language forms of classical authors' names.
  • Literary and grammatical terminology.
  • Linguistic terminology.
  • Biblical names and allusions.
  • A dictionary of grammatical doubts, including usage, grammatical constructions of particular words and phrases, verbal irregularities, and gender variations.
  • Preface
  1. Punctuation
  2. Spelling and Word Division
    • Spelling Rules and Variations
    • Accents
    • Prefixes
    • Word Divisions
  3. Gender and Number Forms
    • Gender
    • Number
  4. Word Formation
    • Affective Suffixes and Spelling Changes
    • Compound Words
    • Prefixes and Suffixes
  5. Capitalization
    • General Rules
    • Calendar and Time Designations
    • Religious Names
    • Titles of Publications
  6. Titles of Persons
  7. Professions and Occupations
  8. Terminology
    • Geographical Terms
    • Names of Organizations
    • Historical Terms
  9. Citation of Books, Periodicals, and Other Works
    • Monographs
    • Periodicals
    • Book Chapters
    • Bibliography Preparation
  10. Abbreviations
  • Appendix 1. Anonymous Spanish Classics
  • Appendix 2. Latin Authors
  • Appendix 3. Greek Authors
  • Appendix 4. Latin Expressions
  • Appendix 5. Literary and Dramaturgical Terminology
  • Appendix 6. Linguistic Terminology
  • Appendix 7. Common Biblical Allusions and References
  • Appendix 8. Common Classical Allusions and References
  • Appendix 9. Common Literary Allusions and References
  • A Dictionary of Spanish Grammatical and Lexical Doubts
  • Bibliography of Special Terminology
  • Bibliographical References
  • Index

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This volume was prepared in order to meet the demand for a guide, in English, for writers and editors working in the Spanish language. Although many fine grammars and reference works exist for the study and use of Spanish, none addresses the sorts of issues typically associated with a style manual designed for preparing manuscripts and other text for publication. The style manuals that do exist, such as those of the Modern Language Association and the University of Chicago, attempt to address language-specific issues. However, they are sketchy on some crucial points and in error--at least in terms of prevalent usage--on others. To be sure, Spanish, as an international language, presents a diversity of norms. Not only does it have a monolingual base in approximately twenty countries, but it is extensively used in the United States and in other English-speaking countries. Often usage in the latter cases suffers an interference from English that, rather than maintaining a uniformity of style imposed by English, may result in contradictory and inconsistent practices.

The goal of this manual, then, is to suggest uniformities in such humdrum details as spelling and capitalization, as well as to address important categories of grammatical and stylistic usage where it might be helpful for users to have an international norm or, in some cases, reference to a diversity of norms. Our goal is not to impose any particular brand of Spanish; rather, it is to appeal to the need for consistency of usage and to suggest some practices that may serve to achieve it.


David William Foster is Chair of the Department of Languages and Literature and Regents' Professor of Spanish, Interdisciplinary Humanities, and Women's Studies at Arizona State University. Daniel Altamiranda has taught at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and Arizona State University. Carmen de Urioste is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Arizona State University.

"The importance of this indisputable....Its usefulness will apply to an audience far beyond students of Spanish; it will, in fact, become a companion text, like the MLA Style Manual, to a larger audience of users running the gamut from bilingual writers, i.e., fiction writers and journalists, to editors who are unsure about proper usage."
—Dick Gerdes, Professor and Chair of Modern and Classical Languages, George Mason University