Adam Patterson | May 02nd, 2013

Renowned English novelist and essayist George Orwell — author of the classic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four – dedicated his life to the pursuit of clarity, both in thought and in language.

These are his famous six rules for English language writing. Here at n/n we think they’re useful for anyone struggling to arrange words on paper.

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

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