Politics and the English Language

It’s occasionally worth remembering George Orwell’s six splendid rules for writing:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Politics and the English Language

  1. Benno says:

    What are Don Watson’s rules? I read Death Sentence but can’t remember if he had any.

  2. Sacha Blumen says:

    They sound good to me.

    I liked Hemingway’s self-guide for writing (from “A moveable feast”) – to write the one true thing he knew. It’s helped me a lot in my mathematics writing.

  3. Andrew Leigh says:

    I don’t think Don Watson has any rules, though he does have an awful lot of examples.

  4. Orwell’s rules are fine in so far as they go, but that is no further than sentence-level problems. Joseph Williams produces the best writing guides I have come across. This brief book is well worth buying:


Comments are closed.