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November 12, 1982

Letters to the Editor

JAMA. 1982;248(18):2237. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330180011009

To the Editor.—  Writing useful, publishable letters for submission to scientific journals is an area in which I claim to be an expert by the tonguein-cheek definition that an expert is "one who has made every possible mistake and knows it." The following recommendations are offered for those who would like to avoid these errors and write letters that will find favor with editors and readers.

  1. 1. A letter to the editor is usually a response to something previously published in the same journal, either an extension of the earlier article's content or a point of disagreement with it. The letter should enhance the previous article's value by clarifying its contents and relevance, by adding additional information, or by challenging one or more points that may be erroneous or misleading.

  2. 2. It can be wise to show respect for the referenced article by starting with a sentence of praise and/or