12 Writing Tips from George Orwell


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George Orwell has arguably written some of the best essays of the 20th century. He is also famous for his novels, including Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Apart from reading his works you can also improve your own writing by following 12 tips that he wrote on the essay “Politics and the English Language”, check it out:

When writing a sentence you should always ask yourself those questions:

1. What am I trying to say?
2. What words will express it?
3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
5. Could I put it more shortly?
6. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?

When choosing words, follow those rules:

7. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
8. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
9. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
10. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
11. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
12. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Via: WritingLessons.com

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6 Responses to “12 Writing Tips from George Orwell”

  • Bang Kritikus

    Thanks i hope my writing ability increased

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  • Dawud Miracle

    Really solid advice. A must read for all small business owners. Especially number 11.

  • Daniel

    Alister, thanks for the nice words hehe, I will check your blog to see how you described this same topic.

  • Alister Cameron, Blog Consultant

    This is amazing.

    I have a blog post in draft on exactly this same topic and I was going to do much the same thing: copy Orwell’s points out, as you have done!!

    Ahhh… I guess I can say, “great minds think alike”!

    Now to give that post a new slant 🙂

    – Alister

  • Bes Z

    Thanks for the tip Daniel. I usually tend to focus more time on rewriting my articles than coming up with a topic, and this will now be printed as a cheat sheet to look at while I rewrite and refocus my posts. 🙂

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