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'Rules for writing'

23 November 2009

'In his essay Politics and the English Language George Orwell set out a series of rules for writing that are worth repeating in full:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech that 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 or jargon word if you can think of an everyday equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

I would add three more tips:

  1. Read the papers.
  2. Be a sponge...
  3. Write. As much as you can. The more you do the better you'll get at it.

Damian Whitworth in The Times