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The Classic Guide to Better Writing

By Rudolf Flesch and A. H. Lass

*A Book Review*

by Michael C. Gray

© 2020 by Michael C. Gray

Have you ever felt your writing skills are a little rusty?

Have you used phrases like, "I busted my balloon"? Or, "We all cooperated together in the meeting"?

Maybe you aren't confident about structuring a written explanation of how to do something?

There is a classic book that can help you achieve clear, "punchy" writing that moves people to action. It's The Classic Guide to Better Writing, by Rudolf Flesch and A. H. Lass.

The name "Flesch" might mean something to you. The Flesch score, developed by Rudolf Flesch, is a method to determine how difficult it is to read a written piece. Dr. Flesch knew how to untangle the unintelligible messes his academic colleagues were creating. In The Classic Guide to Better Writing, Dr. Flesch and A. H. Lass provide a road map to improve your writing together with exercises to reinforce the concepts.

The first half of the book is devoted to how to prepare for writing and how to structure what you are writing so that it "hangs together" and is clearly understood.

One of my favorite chapters is Chapter 8, How to Save Words. It's no secret that attention spans are falling today. People are squashing their communications into texts on their phones. If you have long sentences and paragraphs, people might not have the patience to read them. So why not make an effort to save words?

For example, instead of saying, "Open the window so that you get some fresh air," try "Open the window to get some fresh air." Or, instead of "Let's go over to the side of the street that is in the shade," try "Let's go to the shady side of the street."

In Chapter 14, How to Give It Punch, the authors show how using active verbs makes your writing more engaging and less boring. For example, instead of saying, "It is well known that advertising is designed to sell merchandise," try "Everybody knows that advertisers want to sell merchandise."

Part Two of the book focuses on grammar and spelling. (No sentence diagramming!)

Did you know you can give more emphasis to an item by making it the LAST one on a list?

Can you recall which is the correct word? "The New York City (consul, counsel, council) met to vote on important issues of the city."

When is the right time to use its or it's?

Whether you want it as a refresher course to improve your writing (for pennies!) or as a desk reference, you should have The Classic Guide to Better Writing in your library.

Buy it online at The Classic Guide to Better Writing: Step-by-Step Techniques and Exercises to Write Simply, Clearly and Correctly.

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