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Proofreading Tip:  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 Services -
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 process.
     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 wrong!


Proofreading Tip:  Watch for typos (especially double letters) and word-processing/typesetting problems, ssuch as uneven margins, inconsistent indentions, spacing errors, and defective characters.


BUSINESS LETTER FORMAT
BLOCK LAYOUT FORM

 



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BUSINESS LETTER COMPONENTS

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

Date Line
    
Type on third line below letterhead. If you're using a 
     Return Address/Heading, the date should be the third 
     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.

Inside Address
    
Type on fifth line below date line
     Addressee's name and job title, name of organization, 
     street address or post office box number, city, state, 
     and ZIP.

Salutation/Greeting
    
Type on second line below inside address (or 
     attention line if used). Use "Dear" before the 
     addressee's last name. Follow with a colon. Don't use 
     "To whom it may concern."

Body
    
Begin on second line below salutation or reference 
     line.
     Don't close with "Thanking you in advance."

Complimentary Closing
    
Type on second line below last line of body.  
     Capitalize only the first word. Punctuate with a 
     comma. Avoid trendy closings such as "Yours for a 
     better community."

 
     More Personal More Formal
     Sincerely, Very truly yours,
     Cordially, Very sincerely yours,
     Sincerely yours, Very cordially yours,
     Cordially yours, Respectfully yours,

Signature
    
The signature should be in the form by which the 
     writer wishes to be addressed.
     A secretary who signs a letter at the supervisor's 
     request customarily signs the supervisor's name, 
     followed by his/her own initials.

Writer's Name and Title
    
Type on the fourth line below the Complimentary  
     Closing—the name on one line, the title on a separate 
     line.
     Writers who prefer a particular title or whose name 
     does not reval their gender may include a courtesy 
     title (Ms., Mr., Mrs., etc.) preceding their name - with 
     or without parentheses.

Copy Notation
    
On the line below the reference initials or enclosure  
     notation, type the initials cc (courtesy copy) or 
     c (copy) with or without a colon thereafter and follow 
     on same line with name of person to receive copy.
     If several people are to receive copies, type their 
     names below the first name, arranged by rank or 
     alphabetically. Don't repeat cc or c.

Postscript
    
Use a postscript for emphasis to express effectively an 
     idea that you have deliberately withheld from the body 
     of the letter.

Second Pages
    
Use plain paper (never a letterhead), using same 
     margins as on first page.
     Type a second page heading on the seventh line down 
     from top of page, giving
     1) addressee's name
     2) page number
     3) date


Proofreading 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.

 

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