Writing – the basics

Due to my change in job circumstance (more on that next year), have been brushing up on my language skills. That includes reading a lot of house style guides including The Economist’s. Found this gem in the latter’s style guide introduction:

George Orwell’s six elementary rules (“Politics and the English Language”, 1946):

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print (see metaphors).
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do (see short words).3. If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out (see unnecessary words)

    4. Never use the passive where you can use the active (see grammar and syntax).

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

    6.  Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous (see iconoclasm).

Still holds true now.

1 Comment


  1. ·

    Not necessarily. It depends on what kind of publication you’re working on/for. Some may need a different tone.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *