If you tend to write short, choppy sentences, you should read your
documents aloud to yourself. You should listen for lots of short sentences
in a row. You should listen for repetitive phrases. You should listen for
repetitive sentences. You should combine short sentences into longer
sentences. You should combine repetitive phrases. Your sentences will be
more fluid. Your passages won't sound so choppy. Your writing will be more
coherent. You should vary your sentence structure while you are combining
sentences. You don't want all of your sentences to begin with
"you," do you?
Writing for Social
Feeling Your Client's Pain
By Dr. Diane Scott
Department of Social Work
As writers who try to capture
what clients say in the most accurate way possible, social workers and
other social services professionals need to document what clients say,
think, and feel following the contact with the worker. Workers often use
the word "feel" interchangeably with "think" and
"believe" when writing what transpires with the client. Using
"feel" universally in this way, however, is incorrect.
Typically, a social worker writes about what a
client feels by using a word that describes a feeling such as
"sad," "angry," "depressed,"
"discouraged," or "overwhelmed." When the worker uses
"feel" to describe what a client thinks or believes, the
sentence construction usually gives away the lack of a feeling word. Take
this sentence, for example: "Sally feels that her mother doesn't
listen to her." The giveaway clue that the writer is not writing
about feelings is the word combination of "feels that." Whenever
"that" is used with "feel," the next phrase refers to
what someone thinks or believes, or it refers to some other cognitive
So, if you write in the social services and want
to convey that you "feel your client's pain," please make sure
you don't "feel THAT your clients have pain." THAT makes it
Tip: Watch for typos (especially double letters) and
word-processing/typesetting problems, ssuch as uneven margins,
inconsistent indentions, spacing errors, and defective characters.
BLOCK LAYOUT FORM
Click on the picture above for a
You can also click on the link to download an Acrobat
file (*.pdf file requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) or a Word
file (*.doc file requires Microsoft Word).
Letterhead or Return Address/Heading
Company name or writer's name*
Street address or post office box number
City, state, ZIP code
Area code and phone number*
Cable address or fax*
* Letterhead only
Type on third line below letterhead. If
you're using a
Return Address/Heading, the date should be the
line of the heading, following the address
(line 1) and
the city, state, and ZIP (line 2). Avoid th,
st, rd, and
nd with the date.
Type on fifth line below date line
Addressee's name and job title, name of
street address or post office box number, city,
Type on second line below inside address
attention line if used). Use "Dear"
addressee's last name. Follow with a colon.
"To whom it may concern."
Begin on second line below salutation or
Don't close with "Thanking you in
Type on second line below last line of
Capitalize only the first word. Punctuate with
comma. Avoid trendy closings such as
"Yours for a
The signature should be in the form by
writer wishes to be addressed.
A secretary who signs a letter at the
request customarily signs the supervisor's
followed by his/her own initials.
Writer's Name and Title
Type on the fourth line below the
Closing—the name on one line, the title on a
Writers who prefer a particular title or whose
does not reval their gender may include a
title (Ms., Mr., Mrs., etc.) preceding their
name - with
or without parentheses.
On the line below the reference initials or
notation, type the initials cc (courtesy copy)
c (copy) with or without a colon thereafter and
on same line with name of person to receive
If several people are to receive copies, type
names below the first name, arranged by rank
alphabetically. Don't repeat cc or c.
Use a postscript for emphasis to express
idea that you have deliberately withheld from
of the letter.
Use plain paper (never a letterhead), using
margins as on first page.
Type a second page heading on the seventh line
from top of page, giving
1) addressee's name
2) page number
Tip: Be especially careful with "firsts":
• the first title, headline, or heading
• the first sentence
• the first paragraph
• the first page
The errors in these places are especially noticeable to readers and
especially embarrassing for writers and publishers.