Fundamental College Composition

A Grammar and Style Guide (2nd Edition)

by William P. DeFeo



This second edition of Fundamental College Composition: A Grammar and Style Guide (FCC: AGSG), contains nine new chapters designed to further assist college students in their journey to become clear and precise writers of English. College classrooms--even college level English courses themselves--often overlook the teaching of fundamental writing. Consequently, students may acquire content knowledge, but often lack the language skills necessary to either demonstrate or apply that knowledge.

College-level study exposes students to ideas that are complex. A cursory study of grammar and the rules of basic language arts give students the tools they need to express complex ideas clearly and persuasively. FCC: AGSG provides systematic lessons that progressively build the students' understanding of the clarity and efficacy of language. Acquiring knowledge certainly deserves possession of the language skills to express it. Without those skills, education does not meet its primary objective. FCC: AGSG was written to assure exposure to those skills.


This book is a great guide for student writers. It concisely and clearly presents useful style and grammar techniques. I assign it in all my writing classes, and my students swear by it. I even used it as a reference when I wrote my first textbook. Anyone who uses this book will become a better writer.
---Thomas A. Miller, J.D., Associate Professor, Justice and Law Administration, Western Connecticut State University, co-author of Business Law: Foundations for the 21st Century

Fundamental College Composition provides a concise and accessible explanation of grammar components and importance. DeFeo’s prose is fluid and an excellent style example for writers to model. All writers should memorize this quote from the text, "Electronic, immediate, thoughtless communication has tainted the substructures of academic, formal written communication."
---Deanna Schaab, Adjunct Professor, Western Connecticut State University.

This is a textbook aimed at improving the language skills of its readers. Written with humor and a broad vocabulary, it entertains as it educates. It will give today's students a deeper understanding of the basic rules and structure of the English language and improve skills that are often overlooked during their academic careers. Anyone looking to improve their language skills whether in an academic setting, the workplace, or one's personal life will benefit from reading this text.
--Roseanne Shea, J.D., Professor, Attorney at Law, Legal Reference Librarian at the Haas Library, Western Connecticut State University, Danbury

Fundamental College Composition has accomplished the near impossible--it has made writing instruction for the college student accessible and easy to understand. The book's concise and informative 12 chapters will be a welcome addition to the undergraduate curriculum of any post-secondary institution. The content reflects the author's many years of teaching writing to students and highlights what he considers the main pitfalls in student writing. To that end Professor DeFeo's longest chapter, “Punctuation”, identifies a key villain to poor composition. The book removes the mystery that adorns most pedagogical approaches to college level writing instruction and sets a path for student improvement of this most critical of communication skills.
--Terrence P. Dwyer, J.D., Professor, Western Connecticut State University. Author of Legal Issues in Homeland Security – U.S. Supreme Court Cases, Commentary, and Questions (2014, Loose Leaf Law Publications, Inc.)

Professor DeFeo's Fundamental College Composition is an invaluable tool for the college student, academic, executive, and anyone else who needs to improve their writing skills. As his Foreword reveals, DeFeo's text is laced with subtle humor and moments of delightful insight. All of us need help with writing, at least occasionally. This highly accessible book will nourish the careful and determined reader who puts forth the effort to learn.
--Peter Weston Wood, author of To Swallow a Toad (1987, Donald I. Fine, Inc.). Guest columnist, The New York Times, The Jersey City Journal

In the first edition of Fundamental College Composition William DeFeo provided undergraduate students with a concise but thorough exposition on the habits and tools of being a good writer. Professor DeFeo has now expanded on what is going to become a classic of college writing instruction. Seven new chapters and a prior chapter expanded into two updated individual chapters add to this engaging and straight-forward approach to establishing solid writing skills. As he did in the First Edition with his chapter “Punctuation,” Professor DeFeo in this new edition has added an important chapter on “Verb Tenses and Moods.” This is another culprit of poor composition that has perpetually plagued the college writer. After reading Professor DeFeo’s expanded Second Edition to Fundamental College Composition there can be no excuse for failing to present clear and flowing syntax.
--Terrence P. Dwyer, J.D., Professor, Western Connecticut State University, columnist and author

About the Author

William P. DeFeo is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies at Western Connecticut State University, a practicing attorney in New York and Connecticut, and a retired Connecticut State Judge. He holds a B.A. in English from Iona University, an M.A. in 17th Century English Literature from Fordham University, and a Law Degree from Pace University Law School.

The author lives with his wife in a small town in Western Connecticut. He teaches and writes, and busies himself between visits from his children and grandchildren, which are never as frequent as he would prefer. He believes a writing textbook should support development of a writing style that places clarity of thought in the forefront.