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The coming writing storm

April 30, 2010
tags: ,

Whoever said that the pen was mightier than the sword?

Depressingly, many of us seem to have begun revising for the coming exam period already. For those amongst us who have yet to master the art of time management, essays, take-home exams and dissertations seem to be the order of the day.

Either way, that means a lot of writing. With timing and style both being important factors, it can be useful to try and tidy up the way you write. Here’s something that I’ve found extremely useful from the greatest British essayist of the 20th century, George Orwell.

In his essay Politics and the English Language (1946) he writes about the decline in standards of English literature, and gives 6 handy tips to try and halt the decline. Help halt the decline and take a look:

  • Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  • Never us a long word where a short one will do.
  • If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  • Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  • Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  • Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
  • So, if you bear all that in mind, distinctions all round!

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    One Comment leave one →
    1. Sophie Stevens permalink
      May 4, 2010 12:54 pm

      Better than Wade’s advice… less long words! Thank you George!

      I’d like some clarification on what counts “anything outright barbarous”…

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