Get to the Point: Painless advice for writing memos, letters, and e-mails your colleagues and clients will understand

by Elizabeth Danziger

Elizabeth Danziger’s advice on using clear, clutter-free language is consistent with the classic On Writing Well by William Zinsser, but this book is more useful as manual, whereas Zinsser’s book is more conceptual.

When is it appropriate to use which or that? The author provides an informal “just do it” rule and a formal “grammar police” rule.

“The fundamental purpose of language is not to avoid all grammatical errors. It is to convey meaning,” Danziger explains. “If bending the rules is the best way to get your meaning across, then bend them. All I ask is that you know what you are bending.”

For a book on business writing, the grammar review feels rather elementary at times, but the well-organized layout makes it easy to skip ahead.  There’s a section on frequently misused words, such as: affect/effect, discreet/discrete, disinterested/uninterested, premier/premiere, etc.

Danziger, Elizabeth. Get to the Point: Painless Advice for Writing Memos, Letters and E-mails Your Colleagues and Clients Will Understand. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001. Buy from