A lesson from 1948

621f9-writing-style

As most of us write for others’ consumption, I’m sharing author George Orwell’s guidelines on writing style

  • 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

Of course this only comes in to play if you have to write

Before doing that please consider one of the ‘prime directives’ of presentation:

  • Never use words when you can use a picture

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