Friday, March 16, 2018



Whenever possible try to be specific in your writing.  Being more specific brings clarity to your writing.

When describing people in your briefs or letters, it helps the reader to follow your train of thought when you use a person's name regularly in conjunction with repeated references to them as "the Plaintiff" or "the Defendant," as opposed to pronouns such as he, she, his, or her, etc.

For example, rather than saying "the injured party," periodically refer to "the Plaintiff, John Smith."  Instead of repeating a general reference to "the tortfeasor," or "the liable party," refer to the "Defendant, Jane Jones" or if there is only one defendant, simply reference "the Defendant."

In appellate briefs, an argument may be easier to follow if "Plaintiff" or "Defendant" is used as opposed to "Appellant" or "Appellee."  Some recommend that "Appellant" or "Appellee" never be used.  The use of "Appellant" or "Appellee" disrupts the flow of the reader's reading of the brief as they may have to look back up earlier in the brief for a reminder as to which party filed the appeal at issue.

During one of your multiple edits of a brief or letter, it may pay to focus one of those edits on skimming through the written product to specifically look for pronouns and asking if that sentence can be made more clear by the insertion of a more specific identification of a person in the place of a she, he, his, or her designation.

Being more specific in your writing will foster clarity in your letters and briefs and will enable your audience to easily understand your summary or argument.

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