Writing

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George Orwell ends his essay, “Politics and the English Language,” (1946) with a list of six rules.  He has introduced and demonstrated how these work and what he means by them earlier in the essay.  He offers them at the end to pull the essay together.  He writes,

I think the following rules will cover most cases:

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never us a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

These rules sound elementary, and so they are, but they demand a deep change of attitude in anyone who has grown used to writing in the style now fashionable. One could keep all of them and still write bad English, but one could not write the kind of stuff that I quoted in those five specimens at the beginning of this article.

Here is a link to another blog that concerns the Practice of Writing

Grading Sheet

More Links:

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/19/zadie-smith-10-rules-of-writing/

http://exp.lore.com/post/25883124972/never-open-a-book-with-the-weather-avoid

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/02/07/david-ogilvy-on-writing/

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/02/22/henry-miller-on-writing/

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/03/12/john-steinbeck-six-tips-on-writing/

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/07/25/susan-sontag-on-writing/

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