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Primer Provides Communications Help

October 30, 1986|ROSELLE M. LEWIS

The XYZ's of Business Writing: Sophisticated Concepts Made Simple by David G. Lyon (Dembner Books: $12.95).

This 80-page, wide-margin primer on writing clear, attention-getting business letters, memos, brochures and reports might have been more accurately titled "The ABC's . . . ." David G. Lyon begins at the beginning, looking at the word, sentence, paragraph and composition. Dividing his subject into "strategy" (what you write) and "tactic" (the "how" part), the author favors "listen up" top-sergeant imperatives.

In any writing task, define your goal, understand your audience, "get to the point" at once and find your own voice. Well and good, but when it comes to exemplifying poor writing, Lyon fails to include a corrected version of several wildly confused examples that can leave even the sophisticated reader/writer very much at sea.

There are some bonuses here, however: advice on overcoming writer's block, the necessity for revision and the use of concrete versus abstract words. Choose work and food rather than employment and nutrition. Whenever possible, select the active voice ("I made a mistake"), not the limply passive ("A mistake was made").

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