Spread the love
From Politics and the English Language:
- Bad writing has two qualities: staleness of imagery and lack of precision.
- Tabulate your thoughts in precise and detailed ways.
- Prefer concrete to the abstract.
- The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.
- There is no such thing as keeping out of politics. All issues are political issues.
- Grammar is of no importance, so long as the meaning is clear.
- If you simplify your language, you are freed from the orthodoxy.
- Put off using words and get the meaning clear through pictures and sensations.
- Then choose – not simply accept – words that will conver the meaning.
- Pick words for the sake of their meaning and invent images to make the meaning clearer.
- Use arresting imagery, simple verbs, and short words.
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use 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.
- In every sentence ask yourself: what am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?