April 20: Six Rules for Better Writing

George Orwell offers six rules for better writing.

Source: Politics and the English Language
Published: April 1946

Six Rules for Better Writing

George Orwell, the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, published an essay in 1946 called “Politics and the English Language.”  In it, he offers six rules for better writing. 

“I think the following rules will cover most cases,” writes Orwell.

  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.


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