12 Writing Tips from George Orwell

By Daniel Scocco

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”

  • 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. 🙂

  • 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

  • Daniel

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

  • Dawud Miracle

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

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  • Bang Kritikus

    Thanks i hope my writing ability increased

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