Writing Tips

George Orwell’s 5 Rules for Effective Writing

In our society, the study of language and literature is the domain of poets, novelists, and literary critics. Language is considered a decorative art, fit for entertainment and culture, but practically useless in comparison to the concrete sciences. Just look at the value of a college degree in English versus one in computer science or accounting.

But is this an accurate assessment of value?

Language is the primary conductor between your brain and the minds of your audience. Ineffective language weakens and distorts ideas.

If you want to be understood, if you want your ideas to spread, using effective language must be your top priority.In the modern world of business and politics this is hardly ever the case. In many instances, imprecise language is used intentionally to avoid taking a position and offending various demographics. No wonder it’s hard to make sense of anything!

This is hardly a recent problem, and as George Orwell wrote in his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language, the condition is curable. By following Orwell’s 5 rules for effective writing, you’ll distinguish yourself from competitors and clearly communicate your ideas.

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

This sounds easy, but in practice is incredibly difficult. Phrases such as toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, an axe to grind, Achilles’ heel, swan song, and hotbed come to mind quickly and feel comforting and melodic.

For this exact reason they must be avoided. Common phrases have become so comfortable that they create no emotional response. Take the time to invent fresh, powerful images.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

Long words don’t make you sound intelligent unless used skillfully. In the wrong situation they’ll have the opposite effect, making you sound pretentious and arrogant. They’re also less likely to be understood and more awkward to read.

When Hemingway was criticized by Faulkner for his limited word choice he replied:

Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree (Ezra Pound). Accordingly, any words that don’t contribute meaning to a passage dilute its power. Less is always better. Always.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

This one is frequently broken, probably because many people don’t know the difference between active and passive verbs. I didn’t myself until a few months ago. Here is an example that makes it easy to understand:

The man was bitten by the dog. (passive)The dog bit the man. (active).The active is better because it’s shorter and more forceful.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

This is tricky because much of the writing published on the internet is highly technical. If possible, remain accessible to the average reader. If your audience is highly specialized this is a judgment call. You don’t want to drag on with unnecessary explanation, but try to help people understand what you’re writing about. You want your ideas to spread right?

6. Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous.

This bonus rule is a catch all. Above all, be sure to use common sense.These rules are easy to memorize but difficult to apply. Although I’ve edited this piece a dozen times I’m sure it contains imperfections. But trust me, it’s much better now than it was initially. The key is effort. Good writing matters, probably more than you think.

I hope you find these rules helpful, and through their application we’re able to understand each other a little bit better. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read Orwell’s original essay. It contains many helpful examples and is, of course, a pleasure to read.

624 Responses to George Orwell’s 5 Rules for Effective Writing

  1. Xdroot says:

    I read this essay over 10 years ago. It changed the way I viewed the writing process. Lazy (‘foolish’ according to Orwell) thinking if allowed to become lazy writing encourages even lazier thinking.

    I think it was C.S. Lewis who said (echoing Einstein), and I paraphrase: If you can’t explain it to a 12 year old then you have not understood the concept. And how better to know you understand, than to put fingers to keyboard!

  2. Emily says:

    I am currently studying a basic level writing course at university.

    This blog has infact summed up what a month of lectures and tutorials has been trying and failing to do. So simple!

    Thankyou!

  3. John Wesley says:

    Yes, ironically enough, simplicity is one of the hardest things to teach.

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  5. writer says:

    Very useful and true list! Thanks very much.
    It’s on my blog now, with a link back here!

    http://www.theinternetjournalist.com/?p=86
    or
    http://www.theinternetjournalist.com/

  6. John Wesley says:

    writer, I’m glad you found the post useful. Thanks for sharing with your readers!

  7. anony says:

    Good practical tips! I’ve partially reproduced it. Hope you don’t mind!

    Most of today’s bloggers try hard trying to sound intelligent, but end up like rumsfeld!

    http://www.charchaa.com/george_orwell_s_5_rules_for_effective_writing

  8. John Wesley says:

    anony, of course I don’t mind at all, they’re not originally mine anyways. They came from Orwell. I’m just happy you want to share the message with your readers.

  9. Pepe says:

    Hehehe.. how ironic:

    “4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

    This one is frequently broken…”

  10. John Wesley says:

    Haha, thanks for catching that Pepe. I guess the difference between passive and active isn’t quite as obvious as I thought. :)

  11. asdf says:

    following rules is a complete waste of time if you’ve got nothing to say. and if you’re got something to say, then rules are irrelevant. most writers, musicians, artists, etc are just piglets eager to suckle the teats of some corporate pig as they dream of dollars, with dreck-mongers like stephen king, spielberg, lucas, eric crapton, madonna, etc, etc as their role models. not one single original thought provoking expression between the lot of them. let me put it this way: stupid people suck, it doesn’t matter what rules they follow cos whatever they say is still going to be stupid.

  12. Frank Furtive says:

    Strunk & White is more accepting of passive voice. It recommends the passive voice when the object of a sentence is, more broadly speaking, the subject. For instance if you are writing an essay about acorns, you could rightly say, “Acorns are buried by industrious squirrels.”

  13. John Wesley says:

    Thanks for the explanation, Frank. That is a great of example of when the passive voice is a better fit.

    I really need to read over my old copy of Strunk and White.

  14. Iloz Zoc says:

    I tell this to Zombos everyday, but he never listens. Excellent advice, though. Thanks.

  15. Curtis says:

    Five rules? As in 6=5? 😉 Just joking. Thanks very much for posting these, Politics and the English Language is one of the very best. And now the clock strikes thirteen…

  16. Nice post. A lot of would-be pro bloggers don’t realize how crucial great writing skills are to their lasting success. These tips are keepers!

  17. Charlzz says:

    asdf is missing the point. Writing well is not always about writing original, compelling prose. It is just as much the need to communicate effectively. If you write a memo or an email or a blog entry, you want to follow this advice. This isn’t the kind of writing that wins raves, yet is written every day.

  18. John Wesley says:

    I agree, Charlzz. If everything written had to be completely original and fabulously expressed I don’t think anything would ever get published.

  19. Alex says:

    Nicely done! going straight into my Del.icio.us!

  20. quixote says:

    A loghorreic ambiguation has sans doute suffocated our attempts at verbal manifestation like a wet rag; any smouldering embers of creativity have been snuffed like a candle leaving but a barren dessert to the lexically enabled, consequently ablating – ca va sans dire – the sematic rendition of expression in a cacoëthes loquendi.

  21. Steve says:

    So what’s with the 6th rule in a piece about 5 rules? I’m trying to see it as some witty, ironic, self-reference. But it’s not working.

  22. Dave Kirby says:

    The “trunk and White” book referred to above is “The Elements of Style”‘ by Wm. Strunk and E. B. White. It covers briefly but perfectly the issues involved in interesting and concise writing. It really is a must-have reference.

  23. My dear,
    These rules are universal like the fact that all of us should speak truth. Still, they are repeated time and again just because we tend to ignore it.
    This is for the simple reason that we ourselves do not understand what we are perceiving through our senses.
    And everytime we need some big name to tell us small things! This is the irony of the situation. You used Orwell to tell the simple truth with big name.
    Thanks for this interesting reading. I wish people really follow it rather than using it as a quote to show their intelligence.

  24. Elika says:

    Williams’ Style: Towards Clarity and Grace is also a good read for writing. It focuses more on the paragraph level, whereas Strunk and White focuses more on phrases and sentences.

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  26. Frank Furtive says:

    Charlzz: “Writing well is not always about writing original, compelling prose. It is just as much the need to communicate effectively.”

    Can you give a single example of compelling prose that is not effective communication, or vice versa?

  27. g says:

    isn’t this the guy who wrote an excellent read on the dangers of slimming down language as a danger of the government slowly taking over the details of citizens’ lives?

    i love the essay.. but damn!! i believe in extending the words in order to best clarify a point. after reading orwell’s insight.. i think he actually agrees!!

    maybe those who came before us were a bit longer in their wording. we all have our ways..

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  30. James Zhou says:

    I checked out some parts of in the Economist’s Style Guide, quite useful. But I can not help getting myself doing that when it comes to real writing.

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  32. Ivan Minic says:

    He was a strange man…

  33. Ross Parker says:

    “Less is always better.”

    Fewer is better still.

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  36. Judith says:

    I could have used this yesterday *smiles*

    I had to write a piece – and I’m not a writer at all! – on what I do for a few thousand people – GAH!

    I wish I’d had this yesterday… *sighs*

  37. John Wesley says:

    That’s unfortunate, Judith. I’m sure there will be a next time though.

  38. Offalycool says:

    I do not wish to sound pretentious, but I really wish to inform anybody who may be understandably unsure as to the meaning of the word “fascism”. If one simply Google’s it they will understandably confused, and could be forgiven for concluding this word has no definitive meaning.

    Various different dictionaries claim many different meanings, such as “tyrannical government” or “oppressive regime”. This word is frequently introduced by the media in order to deflect investigative questions, and claim the moral high ground, in effect manipulating the emotions of the public.

    The correct and original meaning of “fascism” is a direct coalition between a state and industry. Big industries role is increasingly overlooked. One may only take the EU for an example of a modern fascist organisation; it did after all start out as European Economic Community.

    I believe this is both good and bad, but I fear the increasing trend in western culture to frown upon such terminology, whilst at the same time attempting to perfect it. I agree with the points in this post. We must be able to communicate clearly in order to avoid self-destruction.

  39. George says:

    @asdf

    Young man, you are quite mistaken. The object of the exercise is to ‘write well’, not ‘write original material’. By that definition, the much reviled Stephen King [et al] has performed quite admirably. Or else you have done better and the proceeds of your prowess have equally allowed you to live quite prosperously.

    Furthermore, it is quite useless to be envious and disdainful of the productions of others. If you find them so, ignore them. If you want to be proven right: do better. If you cannot: read better material. What use is a life spent lamenting the poor quality of others’ work when your own cannot match them?

    Write well and enjoy the process!

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  41. Brad says:

    Hey, “no hands down” the best blog I’ve read this a.m. I found it via DIGG.

  42. John Wesley says:

    Thanks, Brad. I’ve been getting a lot of visitors from Digg this morning, it’s my first time on the front page.

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  44. Brad says:

    John, Digg is awesome. I was just actually thinking “You know I bet that guy just put a Digg button on his blog and one person hit it and bam.”

    And as I read along more of your blogs, you may have just found another faithful subscriber. Good stuff keep it coming!

  45. Andreas says:

    @George

    Here is worthwhile advice to you:

    Don’t use the word ‘quite’ in every other sentence, especially when you are criticizing someone. It looks snobbish and stupid.

    When you communicate a point, be direct.

    Throw out all the quites, almosts, evens, pretty muches and their friends too. Write with authority and people will believe you.

    See rule #3.

  46. Misósofos says:

    Nice and useful tips. Thanks 😉

  47. anon says:

    4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

    > The active is better because it’s shorter and more forceful.

    Another problem is that the passive can be vague. Eg. You can write “The man was bitten” but it begs the question, “by whom?”

    > This one is frequently broken

    …by whom?

    “Many writers break this rule.”

  48. andshewas says:

    Love it! I’ve been out of school for a while and am now finding myself writing short bits at my job to get the boss to buy things for my department. It is always great to get some tips! Thanks!

  49. Judith says:

    John (couldn’t reply to “thread”)
    I actually do hope there will be another opportunity as I do enjoy sharing what I’ve learned but given what I produced I worry that was the last time they will allow me to contribute *smiles*

  50. Jersey Exile says:

    Another problem is that the passive can be vague. Eg. You can write “The man was bitten” but it begs the question, “by whom?”

    Regarding the phrase “begs the question,” Orwell’s #5 comes to mind (not to mention the fact that it’s one of the most misused phrases in the English language).

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  53. fred says:

    “omit needless words”
    Strunk and White abbbreviated Rule #2.
    The other shorter alternative is
    KISS ( keep it simple stupid) .
    It violates rule #1

  54. billwrtr says:

    “This is tricky because much of the writing published on the internet is highly technical.”

    Good technical writers know these things and revel in them.

  55. George says:

    @Andreas
    The cheek!
    I give you 1 quite. One less would have been good. It sounds snobbish and stupid? Tough cookies. If I want your opinion about me, I’ll give it to you.
    I did not use ‘almost’, ‘even’, ‘pretty much’ at all, what’s your point? If I have to write more direct than that, I have to use Borg idiom. I wanted to use a chiding tone and dammit, I did a good job of it too!

  56. shrimmmmmp says:

    “3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

    Less is always better. Always.”

    The extra “always” on this one is so funny, I assume it was intentional.

  57. Andreas says:

    @George

    Haha! Thats better!

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  59. John Wesley says:

    Shrimmmp, you are right about that. I figured that breaking the rule would be worth it if I could help emphasize the point.

  60. milo says:

    I read 1984 many years ago, and it reminds me of “the new word order”, which is taking place even as I write. George.W. Bush belongs to the illuminaty, a group of people made up of industrialist, polititonss and the most powerful people in the world. You can find out for yourselves, don’t take my word for it. The plan is for world domination, one law one world religeon, and centralised in Europe. Gordon Brown the British home secretary has plans that invove the new word order, ( British newspapers). Their plan will include micro chips in our hand or in ones forehead, these have already been acomplished by the FBI, they tested it on gas pumps in the US. Imagine that we wont be able to by any food or sell anythiing,
    when we go into a store we will be scanned for the hidden chip in our hand or head. It will be on point of death if one refuses to have the chip which will be administered through a hypodermic injection. Then we will find out who is on the Lord’s side. There is much more for you to find out, so get searching and read the book of Revelations Chapter 13.

  61. George says:

    Milo, you’re right that George Orwell would be proud of what we’re doing to the world but you’re over extending the whole new world order thing [although George H.W. Bush certainly used the phrase, he’s thinking about it for sure].

    A new world order makes no sense. We can hardly manage our environment as it is. Look at what a controlled environment does to people: the Soviet Union, China, Islam. All ideologically dominated. No more initiative, social stagnation. Your grand scheme ends. You may be king of the dungheap but in the end you’re just running a pile of shit. Suppose your dystopian paradise comes into being. What are our supreme overlords going to do to us that they’re not already doing to us today?

    Here is what will happen with your new world order. Global warming is causing major planet-wide changes to the ecology. That will drive very tough choices because people will no longer have an alternative. Your new world order will be swept away by untold millions who can’t be bothered being impressed. They will be poor, miserable, fed up and hungry. Try to control a population that sees its children die of hunger. Good luck with that one. It’s hard to rule the world when nobody gives a wet slap.

  62. James says:

    With these rules in mind what are we to make of the writings of Christopher Hitchens?

    I think his writing is brilliant, although I’m not sure as I don’t understand most of it.

  63. Christian says:

    Never use the passive where you can use the active.

    “This one is frequently broken”.

    Too funny :)

  64. John Wesley says:

    Someone pointed that out earlier :). I never claimed to be perfect.

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  68. EelKat says:

    Cool post, thanks for posting!

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  71. joey two-times says:

    My 2 cents:

    Avoid the use of automatic and superlative adverbs – these words (ex from the article – ‘incredibly’, ‘highly’), break rules #3 and #1, adding unnecessary and meaningless mass to your writing.

    A personal rule: never describe something as ‘ironic’ or refer to ‘irony’ unless you take A FULL 30 SECONDS to evaluate the truth of that description. Actual irony is rare – paradox, coincidence, and the unfortunate are far more often the true circumstances to be thoughtlessly given the ‘irony’ title. This last sentence was brought to you by the passive voice.

  72. Julia says:

    Thanks for this post. I wish my high school English teacher, as good as she was, supplied this to help us with her instantaneous writing exercises back in the ’60’s. Maybe it’s not too late!

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  74. Daniel says:

    This reminds me of David Bourland’s work on E-prime (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-prime). Bourland suggest that we should drop the verb “to be” in all its forms. This removes the passive voice and force the writing to be more precise.

    For example, writing “the rose is red” lacks clarity. Roses don’t inhibit “red” in themselves. Color is an experience in the mind of the observer. To sharpen your message you can instead write “The rose appear red to me”. This gives information that we talk about a subjective experience.

    Be sure to check out the link I provided for more details.

  75. John Wesley says:

    Thanks, for the link Daniel. I’d never head about E-prime before. I wonder how many people actually use it. It is certainly more accurate.

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  80. Jesper says:

    Hi

    Thanks for a very insightful and helpful post. Orwell is my house god and I believe that he was one of the most important intellectuals of the 20th century.

    The erosion of the language is actually enslavement, since without a meaningful language we are unable to understand what goes on around us at all.

  81. John Wesley says:

    You’re right, Jesper. It feels like we lose more meaning every day, making it harder to understand the world, and to change it if we’d like to. Still, I we can all make a difference on an individual basis.

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  84. alex says:

    hi nice site.

  85. John Wesley says:

    Hi, Alex. Thanks :)

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  89. I definitely agree with not using big words when a long one will do. There are rare cases that might be exceptions, like discussing a legal concept but in general I think that is really good advice.

  90. OMAR BIHMIDINE says:

    What George Orwell says about these rules has really attracted me.there is no success in writing effectively unless one writes in simple language.

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  92. Brain zona says:

    Thanks, But i need to know more about the Rules that Governs Essay Writing, Letter writing, and even the when and where to apply the English Semantic and verb, pronoun and so much of Foundation, Please can you teach me or recommend a good webist or text-book for me.

    I only know about Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Mathematics …. thats …. all maybe because i did not spend my time studying English Language that is why i am having problem with English language and know is my time to enter into the University and know they need me to understand English language… and currently am failing in it..

    Can any thing be done?.. if there is please you can
    email me: cleorock2002@yahoo.com.

    and by name is Brain Zona

    Thanks…. any way…… Please can you… Analyse my spelling and grammar in this little writting i just made and you guyz should correct me if applicable.

    Hoping to hear from you. Thank you

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  96. Glenn says:

    Never say ‘never’. Rule #4 – while stated using passive instead of active tense, passive tense is more appropriate in this case due to the generality of subject which it brings. Using an active tense would force specificity on the subject which would not be desirable.

  97. Quixote says:

    “never” should never be said ??

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  102. Sugo says:

    This topic is very effective for those writers who want to appear in any kind of competitive examinations

  103. I think not for competitors but for other writers as well like news reporters and essay writers as well.
    In short these are very very effective notes

  104. Harry says:

    I think someone mentioned Strunk somewhere up there. Orwell’s rules are a good brief of some of his rules. I think every writer should have a copy of The Elements of Style.

  105. arin says:

    Hi
    my job is related directly to writing. i need help on making
    research material look great in a refereed journal.
    i agree the same rules apply here but getting to
    a pro journal is tricky for me.
    thanks for great blogging!

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  107. Karen says:

    I agree with these rules I write pretty much straight on avoid euphemisms when possible flowery language and 15 letter words people shouldn’t have to struggle through a piece of writing to get the point I do use alot of humor though when appropriate what do people think of that?

  108. John Wesley says:

    I think humor can be great in the right context.

  109. Karen says:

    yes if it fits use it. if it has no place what you are writing, its better to leave it out.

  110. Valerie says:

    Hi,
    This is one of the better articles I’ve read and will help me with my future writing! This is a great Blog too. Thanks for all the good stuff!

  111. Karen says:

    I agree Val very good info context is everything keeps your writing in perspective.

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  115. Brian Clark says:

    How in the world did I miss this post? Great stuff, John!

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  117. It´s very interesting. I love Georges Orwell. I try write like him, but in spanish. I dont speak english very well sorry.

    http://2tiposdeinteres.blogspot.com/

  118. I am interested in #2. I have been told many times that I write too pretentiously. I have even been told to ‘dumb it down’ many times. It isn’t intentional, it’s just the way I like to write. I guess I should give it more thought, but how do you know how simple you should write? I read classics, mostly older ones, where the vocabulary is atrocious. Then I read very simple, almost abrupt writings (e.g Paulo Coelho), and it just doesn’t have the same charm, although the authors seem very intelligent.

    I don’t want to be pretentious, but I don’t want to live in a world where a big vocabulary is something to hide in shame.

  119. Karen says:

    re writing to pretentiously—I write the way I talk. from the hip –what you see is what you get –It’s just my personal style. If writing pretentiously is comfortable for you why back down.

  120. rules rules rules says:

    Much better are the books about writing that are less prescriptive, that explain when it’s okay to break the rules.

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  122. everardo says:

    Hello,
    I agree that you should use all 5 Rules of writing simply. Then, after you read them, understand one thing. Poetry is an Art. It is that Art that tends to bend these rules, depending on any particular word and the feeling you are trying to show. It may be an idea you might not be able to portray in any other way, except to break one of these rules. And, that is alright. You can never make rules that have to be sustained, no matter what. You can never be consistent and that is alright, as well. Only remember that it is the poem that is important, not the writer. And always keep in mind, Poetry is your entry to fun. It is also the reader’s entry to fun. They depend on us to make the poem fun, enjoyable, truthful as possible and helpful. Regards, ev.

  123. Dom says:

    Thanks for the posting of the five rules, i have just printed them out, and will study them carefully. The active over the passive voice idea makes alot of sense to me. I good writer like orwell probably kept that rule at the front of his mind constantly. because he seems, to me anyway, to have an amazing ability to turn a idea around and hit you with something very direct and abrupt to complete the idea. I don’t know if anyone else notices that. I have just finsihed reading down and out in Paris and london. Very good.

  124. steve says:

    Great post. Some of this tips may be very useful to me.

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  135. M.M.M says:

    i need badly to change my bad englis, i face dificulty in writing specialy in litreture.

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  137. Florie says:

    Very interesting, I had no idea George Orwell had wrote rules!!!

  138. Lola says:

    I read some of the comments and it’s funny to see how some people think they know it all. Writing it’s important but isn’t there other things more important going on around the world?

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  141. nice to know says:

    Nice to know.

  142. threegs says:

    @Andreas. You taught me something. I could not put my finger on what George said that while agreeing, was also irksome. Or rather quite irksome. Thank you.

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  144. buddhistMonkey says:

    @Lola: “Writing it’s important but isn’t there other things more important going on around the world?”

    Yes, but how would you learn about them?

  145. Spork says:

    2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
    5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

    If you use the word utilize, in writing or speech, stab yourself repeatedly in the face with a broken beer bottle. Or, I suppose you could always just stop using it.

  146. Mike says:

    The comments demonstrate how little thought we put into our routine writing. Even though there is no teacher grading our writing, evaluations continue – and grammar counts, spelling counts, capitalization counts. Vomiting thoughts onto the page is not writing, it is the opposite. Rather than communicate, often it only confuses.

    Writing takes effort. Writing well requires work, thought and practice. Effective communication is worth the sweat.

  147. Wes S says:

    These are certainly useful guidelines. However, they bear only a tenuous connection to writing well. They are to writing well as arithmetic is to engineering.

  148. Andy Garcia says:

    the rules actually come from the Orwell essay: “Politics and the English Language” published in 1946

    It’s a damned good essay all the way through, very thought provoking and fully applicable today.

    http://www.spymac.com/details/?2334927

  149. satireanon says:

    I must say that anyone who has a real grasp of Orwell through his writings and many of his interviews with himself, will agree wiht me that this essay is not meant to be taken the way that it was obviously taken by these readers.
    I chose to break down his writing style and analyze “politics and the english language” for a course final paper at my university. The entire paper can be seen as sarcasm. Though he brings up very pertinent thoughts about writing, it is nothing that the common person does not know. He breaks the rules himself often in his own works. It was not meant to be completely serious. If you can grasp what he was saying in that sense, then you can explain it to a child, and you will understand.
    Yes, you should follow those rules, but we are human, and no writer is perfect. Many parallels cna be drawn between his paper and Mark Twain’s, “The literary offenses of Fenimore Cooper”

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  151. Shari says:

    I’m glad someone pointed out that these guidelines aren’t a recipe for becoming a good writer. The truth is that writing well isn’t something you can do by the numbers. Writing is about communication, but it’s also about entertaining and engaging the reader. Sometimes it’s not about the shortest path to the information, but the most interesting one.

    It’s important to remember that Orwell was writing about the literature that occurred before and up to his time. That was a time before people lived lives that were saturation-bombed with media. He was encouraging people to forgo florid literary traditions, not write in a rudimentary and simplistic fashion. People offer advice with an eye toward the times they live in and sometimes that advice doesn’t translate to future media and communication methods. He was also talking about writing meant to evoke emotions, and a lot of people seem to be treating what he has said as an all-encompassing rulebook for all kinds of writing.

    Economy and directness work well in conveying emotion because the reader doesn’t get tangled up in deciphering the prose. If you’re not writing to evoke emotions, then you’re going to bore the reader by slavishly following these rules.

  152. Thank you for this great article.

    Greetings
    Nils

  153. Intelligence says:

    George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Blair
    Whatever Blair the Eton school charity case could not be, Orwell was
    Orwell ( or Blair) had made lasting contributions to our anologies of extreme political movements and their manipulations whatever the color or side

  154. Djibril says:

    Rule six is of course the most important of these five rules. But it should be noted that you cannot even begin to apply rule six, “Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous” unless you have a good grasp of the first five rules, have internalized them, and understand why they are important to make writing both more clear and more elegant.

    Several years ago Matthew Sweeney taught a seminar on creative writing in which he insisted vigorously upon a variant of rule #1: “No clichés!” A cliché is the least poetic word possible: poetry is about finding new ways to say things that we will all understand. Originality. He demonstrated this rule by pointing out that the great poet Seamus Heaney had a rule that he would *never* use the word “soul” in his work. The ultimate cliché, right? The ultimate cop-out. If you use the word “soul” it’s because you want to say something important that you don’t know how to say in original words. It took thirty years of writing and publishing poetry, huge critical aclaim, years of experience of teaching and reading before Heaney had the competence and confidence in his own mastery of language that he dared to write a poem containing the word “soul”.

    Once you know the rules, once you know how to write and are comfortable and competent and masterful, then you can break any of the rules you like. Because they have served their purpose.

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  158. Lori Joyce says:

    I enjoyed reading this. I love to learn something new each day, and now I have. I will work on using more active writing than passive.

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  163. Word Is Love says:

    Charlzz: “Writing well is not always about writing original, compelling prose. It is just as much the need to communicate effectively.”

    Can you give a single example of compelling prose that is not effective communication, or vice versa?

    “Twas brillig and the slithy toves
    did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
    All mimsy were the borogroves,
    and the mome raths outgrabe…”

    Personally, I think that’s compelling, but I wouldn’t say it’s effective communication.

    I’m goofing, not being snarky. Just so you know.

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  165. Yochai says:

    Hi. Love the brief article. Was hoping to read the Orwell essay as well, but: http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit, seems to be “forbidden”. Error 403.

    Any advice?

    Thanks.

  166. blindingleaf says:

    “…stephen king, spielberg, lucas, eric crapton, madonna, etc, etc as their role models. not one single original thought provoking expression between the lot of them.
    spielberg and lucas were pioneers in their film making. ”
    im sure that now it does seem like they lost their way and are in it for the money, but if it were 40 years ago and the previews for their classics were just coming out on tv, you would be in awe of their groundbreaking style. those two especially are what created the hollywood style of movies, which is now in a state, as you so vehemently put it, of total tit sucking corporate blah blah or whatever you said. but for their time,they were true visionaries

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  168. Magdamali says:

    Salutations…

    Here’s my edited version of George Orwell’s politics and the English language…

    http://yesshespeaks.wordpress.com/20…s-insincerity/

    Warmest regards

    Magda

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  172. Feabband says:

    Then Donnie stepped up to Jake, slid into his mens and gave him a worldwide kiss.

  173. Peter Knight says:

    To Yochai (#99)
    Actually it isn’t ‘forbiden’: In your link there is a comma (,) at the end which doesn’t belong and isn’t good HTML (it must have crept with some ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ operation – which happens often enough, that wonderful feature of word processing has that fault). The .ru domain, Russia with shades of KGB and now Mr. Putin makes us suspicious! Not them this time.

    What an successful post this is.And though it isn’t the be all and end all of good writing they are good rules all the way to #6 inclusive.

    See if this link works now:

    http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit

    Peter

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  180. roberto says:

    You left out one other suggestion in Orwell’s essay: use Saxon words rather than those with Greek or Latin roots.

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  182. In writing an essay paper you must be direct to the point and like what he said that “Never use a long word where a short one will do”. Much better if you’re going to use words which easy to understand so that readers will directly feel the feeling or emotion that you’re trying to express in your paper. I admire every writer for having this magical power of making their papers seem real. They have the power to touch the emotions of readers through their magical words.

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  185. “George Orwell’s 5 Rules for Effective Writing”. This is amazing. By reading this i can understand the all rules which we should keep in mind while writing an essay.

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  187. Vanessa says:

    Thanks for this – George Orwell is one of my all time favourite authors

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  189. I agree with this one. “Never use the passive where you can use the active.” Whatever kind and type of writing should be in active voice. This is just one of the many rules in creative writing

  190. Harriet says:

    Hey asdf

    I really ( Must admit..) liked YOUR comment, it seemed to come from the heart and I also full heartedly agree with it.
    Well..nearly..say for instance weric Clapton..yeah ..pas grandchose , but he wrote Leila..Steven Spielberg Well he put the money he mad e with shitty fils nto worthy causes, Madonna, her music is as shitty as it gets I mean it doesn t even count..but she had a vision and a dream and that was to not join the fate of her sisters (all women , living in a mysognist agesm riddled society..) and postulated already in 1987 that she was in it for the long run.

    Which she did!
    Apart from that yeah, there has been such a losss of meaning and talent in writing ,but also in the other arts like Fine Arts(Does anybody LIKE Damien Hirst? so why isn t he all over the place on Tea Cups, towels as Van Gogh is)

    Ecclesiastes:
    I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all

    Hey asdf I’ ve retained your attention far to long :)
    Bye.The quote is for YOU, ’cause I agree with you nevertheless..

  191. Harriet says:

    hey i like your pseudo TOO!

  192. Harriet says:

    LOOK I DIDN T GOOGLE IT RIGHT NOW..BUT I THINK “FASCISM” WAS COINED IN RELATION TO MUSSOLINI’S RISE.

    IN ANY CASE : WHY SHOULD THAT MEAN THAT THE EU IS A FASCIST ORGANSATION…ONLY BECAUSE IT INITIALLY STARTED OUT WITH THE WORD “ECONOMIC” IN IT?

    D’YU FIND THAT LOGICAL?

    WHAT’S YOU R BEEF WITH THE EU, ARE YOU A ‘APATRITIC AMERICAN ‘, WHO CAN T FATHOM THE IDEA OF A PARALLEL SUPER POWER OR WHAT ?

  193. Harriet says:

    YEP ANDREAS

    AGREE WITH GEORGE HERE.
    NOW ..

    I DON’ T WANT TO TIRE OUT ANYBODY’ S PATIENCE BY USING A WELL WORN CLICHE..AS IN COULDN’T ‘QUITE PUT MY FINGER ON IT’,…either, BUT IT BASICALLY SUMS UP WHAT I WAS THINKING ,TOO.

    OK

    OUPPPS!

    I WAS DELEBERATELY OR NOT SO DELIBERATELY USING OBSFUCATING LANGUAGE..

    SEE.. GOT PUNISHED! CAN ‘T EVEN SPEKK THE WORD!

    NEVER COULD, AND WHEN I HEARD IT THE FIRTS TIME IT TOTALLY SEEMED TO DEAFEAT THE PURPOSE.
    (IF YOU KNOW WHAT i MEAN)

  194. Harriet says:

    You won!

    good one!

    ( By the sheer wit and shortness of reply.
    You proved a point there!

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  196. Olusuyi Oluwatoyin Patience says:

    your golden rules are effective!
    keep it up!

  197. Amazing Rules. Seriously you have done a very good job to share these effective rules with us here.

  198. sauc3 says:

    I love how you said, “I’m sure it contains imperfections” and then right after you said, “The Key is…,” which is a metaphor used in almost every piece of writing. But very useful thanks im prepped not for my english exam.

  199. sauc3 says:

    *prepped now

  200. Emily, what text does the course use?

    There’s a writing course at my school that studies William Strunk’s The Elements of Style, a classic in the field.

    If you enjoyed this post, you’ll really love Strunk’s stuff. Some of it parallels Orwell’s essay, actually.

    Peace,

    +B

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  206. tansel says:

    Collaborate to write a poem for the film

    Hello all your creative writers and minds. Here is an original film clip I have created waiting for you and the community to write the poem in a collaborative effort for it. The poem will be recorded and the final film will be submitted to “The Festival Of Visualized Poetry” http://www.poetryvisualized.com/group/collaboration/

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  209. alanya haber says:

    I would think you’d know better

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  211. Oyuncu says:

    Well, this very nice and wonderful.

  212. Nic says:

    A very useful list. Best regards!!!

  213. I wish my high school English teacher, as good as she was, supplied this to help us with her instantaneous writing exercises back in the ’60’s. Maybe it’s not too late!

  214. farouk says:

    makes sense,the simpler will be the better

  215. dekorasyon says:

    your golden rules are effective!
    keep it up!

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  217. Kirsty says:

    Great post – really helpful. Thank you.

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  220. communi-k8 says:

    Very well explained, and simple principles to ensure that ideas are clearly conveyed. I will mention this in my blog and reference back to this link. http://communi-k8.blogspot.com
    Thank you!

  221. skkuumar says:

    Very good article

  222. Very good article? oh ! nice! shot the best :)

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  224. Nayan says:

    Great Post. I was searching for such an article on internet for improving my writing skills. Thanks for the post.

  225. jayesh says:

    Great article and tips on writing. I think this post will help me and others improving our writing.
    Thak you very much for the tips.

  226. Tim says:

    I would love to see a post about how you applied these rules to your 1st draft post.

  227. If you need help writing English essays I found a site called An Essay On English which has great essays that you can read for free. It is really useful to get a good idea about how to write a good essay, and then write your essay similar to one of theirs.

    That’s what I did and got a better score than usual.

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  229. way says:

    I like short words too. It’s easier to read and understand this way. Thank you for tips.

  230. Great article. I particularly like rule 5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

  231. Hitesh says:

    Hi
    Nice Article. It is very useful and kind of must read article for writing tips.

  232. Forum Sitesi says:

    Very very nice thank you

  233. Great. Strong word is like a sword.

  234. Avery says:

    Thank you for sharing.

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  236. joeeel says:

    you all are twats. and so was george orwel

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  244. vesti srbija says:

    Where I can find more article similar to this?

  245. Ben says:

    Those are great tips! I’ve always struggled with using the active voice over the passive. That’s the real struggle for me. It’s too bad too, like you said, that the study of language doesn’t have much value in modern culture.

  246. Thank you for sharing.This is nice text.

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  248. seems excellent. Thanks for posted such a wonderfull blog

  249. Mostafa Zayed says:

    Thanks for the writing tips :)

  250. YAroslava says:

    The poem will be recorded However, it is true that jargon and lengthy words do not necessarily impact a reader any more than the plain-English counterpart.

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  252. Sam says:

    Great and useful tips. This is one of the best article I’ve read and will help me with my future writing!

  253. thanks for sharing, nice tips

  254. Term Papers says:

    Your blog is really excellent. It inspires the readers who has that great desire to lead a better and happier life. Thanks for sharing this information and hope to read more from you.

  255. thanks for sharing, nice article

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  257. Essays says:

    As a writer, you just have to know the basic rules in writing–do’s and dont’s of writing. Aside from that, everything is on the hand of the writer. I don’t prefer the idea of following advises from other writers. Why? I want my own style and I will write my piece the way I want. Even Dan Brown violates rules in writing, but look where is Dan Brown now. At the end of the day, this will fall on the composition itself and only your readers have the right to correct your work.

  258. Alex Knight says:

    Great post – but writing with simplicity is easier said than done…

  259. Excellent writing tips, they will certainly come in handy. Thanks for posting such a great article

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  261. Interesting tips but I think every writer has his own style.

  262. thanks for sharing, nice article thanks

  263. Henry says:

    A very useful list. Best regards!!!

  264. Bobbie's Pen says:

    I agree with the critic. If a writer perfects their grammar, yet the words are meaningless, both grammar and words are useless. If a writer has something profound to say, and what is spoken moves the heart, yet there is a missing hypen, the content supercedes the mechanics.

  265. Bobbie's Pen says:

    A blank sheet of paper, molested by words is trash-worthy. But, a blank sheet of paper that dances with the feelings of the reader, is a work to be consumed. End of story!

    George O has good rules, but I didn’t have a clue to what his essay was about. The godfather of writing said to use simple words, but I had to get my dictionary out after I read the first sentence. This was too much work for the reader who wants to be entertained or informed.

    Technical writing is a different sheet of paper. Creative and quick quirps should be similar to how you tell your best fried about what happened, in the language they can understand.

    What happened to targeting your market? A writer is not one size fits all, because readers have different motives, as to why they read.

    A good writer is looking for their perfect manuscript, not the editor’s approval or the receipt of a big-fat check. I am still looking for my perfect, wow-I cannot believe I wrote that, work! We’re artists, and the canvas is a white-sheet of paper.

    Does the grammar suck…you bet it does, but my words are priceless and you know exactly where I stand.

  266. Richard Shoupe says:

    Congratulations on effective usage of Orwell’s advice.

  267. Bharat says:

    Every One has a way of Writing Article

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  269. I always liked Orwells’ writing – the article makes an interesting addition to what I’v already learned.

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  271. Great information. Effective writing can be achieved or improved through the use of different tools. These can help improving the effectiveness and cohesiveness of your writing.

  272. Aditya Joshi says:

    Nice article.

    First pointed you quoted was the best. I’ve seen many people spoiling the beauty of public speaking by bringing some ‘too-common’ idioms or phrases in their speeches. Damn! they think they are acting cool, or sometimes they don’t know other words for the situation – but I want them to know that they bore me!!!

    Further points were good. I’d request you put up a complete article on the first point.

  273. I think all these tips for effective writing sre useful indeed!

  274. Program says:

    A very useful list.

  275. Putarraca says:

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  276. essay help says:

    I’m a writer and every day I improve my skills, so this help became useful for me.

  277. Gabriel says:

    Thanks for all the great writings tips!

  278. This is a really good discussion! Thanks for the viewpoints – Happy 2011!

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  280. MicroConsole says:

    You have me fired up and ready to write again!

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  282. Genuinely helpful. I actually read this article in full.

  283. Paper Writer says:

    The George Orwell’s 5 Rules for Effective Writing are really nice one for making the writing perfect, and I think writing is a thing which can make so much different in your study.

  284. Alex Deeley says:

    Hemingway only uses short words. This is innefective and successfully makes his books the dullest pieces of literature I have had the displeasure to read in a long time.

  285. haber says:

    says.
    ‘Hi! God, you’re wet!’ says Charles. ‘Come in!’
    ‘No, no, I’m fine,’ she

  286. haber says:

    very wet.
    ‘Hello,’ she says.
    ‘Hi! God, you’re wet!’ says Charles. ‘Come in!’
    ‘No, no, I’m fine,’ she

  287. Arnel says:

    Good tips, good comments as well.

  288. chiya says:

    its to good.i can lean more and improve my skills.thank u.

  289. Dr. Syed Naquib Muslim says:

    Dear Editor:

    I was enlightened by reading your explanation of Orwell’s 5-point tips. This will hone my self-editing skill. Write more like this.

  290. Dr. Syed Naquib Muslim says:

    Please write more like this.

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  294. Olamilekan Dickson says:

    have been struggling with using short phrase to explain my point in writtig. i now know better after reading this article. thanks guys

  295. Olamilekan Dickson says:

    this article has cause a shift in my writting career, thanks guys

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  298. ggboy says:

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  300. Using effective language must always be a top priority!

  301. As a writer, you just have to know the basic rules in writing–do’s and dont’s of writing. Aside from that, everything is on the hand of the writer. I don’t prefer the idea of following advises from other writers. Why? I want my own style and I will write my piece the way I want. Even Dan Brown violates rules in writing, but look where is Dan Brown now. At the end of the day, this will fall on the composition itself and only your readers have the right to correct your work.

  302. As a writer, you just have to know the basic rules in writing–do’s and dont’s of writing. Aside from that, everything is on the hand of the writer. I don’t prefer the idea of following advises from other writers. Why? I want my own style and I will write my piece the way I want.

  303. hey buddy great job thnx 4 the info u have provide. i will tell my friends about this. thank u again.

  304. thanks to all for nice information.. I am going to bookmark this page. keep it up. in future i will visit again thanx again

  305. hello all i m writing this coz i want to say thank you for a very nice & impressive post sharing with us . thank you & keep writing :-)

  306. you have published a very good post thank you for sharing it

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  394. electricityconnectionbrisbane says:

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  399. Sean says:

    These rules are just as key to the sciences as the arts, probably more so.

    Just to add to rule 4, another reason to avoid passive: it is sometimes used to be evasive and the subject is left out of the sentence.

    also avoid nominalizations (changing the verb into a long noun phrase + new verb) like : I provided an introduction for the new idea.  instead of : I introduced the new idea.

  400. Marshall says:

    As long as we have the written  word:
    Some writers will try to outsmart the reader
    Some will try to minimalize the reader
    Some will try to negotiate the concept or idea
    Few will truly connect  the  basic idea of the story.
    The golden rule has always been keep it simple and in perspective
    Papa Hemingway insisted upon this basic of concepts as did twian
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  403. Emilly says:

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  424. CarrieVS says:

    I think numbers three and six are the key here.
    But number three can’t interpreted as ‘if the sentence will make sense without it, cut it out’. It’s possible to cut a thing out only if it changes neither the meaning nor the effect, tone or feeling.
    As for six, the exception to the rule ‘there’s an exception to every rule’ is itself, which has no exception – and I am fully aware, and do not care, that that is a paradox.
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    The thing to do is to know the rules, know what they say and why they are there, and know what you are breaking and why.

  425. David Carruth says:

    Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the passive voice when it is used correctly (see? there’s one). Problems come when it is used to obscure the subject or when it makes the sentence flow more convoluted than necessary.

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  449. Bedrijf says:

    As a writer, you just have to know the basic rules in writing. Aside from that, everything is on the hand of the writer.

  450. “4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

    This one is frequently broken, probably because many people don’t know the difference between active and passive verbs.” –hmmm.

    Shouldn’t this read, “People frequently break this one …”?

  451. Jonesandmiller says:

    This is so true, I remember when I was young my aunt had just started college and she tried to let everyone know how smart she was, her method was to constantly use “big” words. My grandfather became tire of listening and told her “Sis, you’ll never get your point across by talking over people’s heads; plain talk is easy understood”. My grandfather was a simple hardworking man, but very smart guy, wouldn’t you say?

  452. Richard says:

    Writers stray from telling the story when they start selling themselves on the page.

  453. Kwixylver says:

    These are the same rules my English teacher gave me in high school. They work, and now I’m a writer.

  454. Kwixylver says:

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  460. Anonymous says:

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  464. To be honest I disagree with the first of your mentioned statement because metaphors and other things makes you sound more professional but the rest statements are completely true. 

  465. Fchin123 says:

    Rule no.6 Take the time and effort to read as many of Orwell’s essays as you can. They are available in an Everyman edition. 

  466. Fchin123 says:

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  467. Anonymous says:

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  470. Ileana says:

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  471. Ileana says:

     As a professional blogger, writing is a full time job for me. As I read this list, I intuitively know these rules to be correct. But I had a sinking feeling as I read them since I can see that I don’t follow them very well. I’m going to print this out and keep it by my side as a write. Thank you “pick the brain” for this kick in the pants (whoops, sorry, I’m not supposed to use metaphors). Dang, this is going to be tougher than I thought!

  472. Ileana says:

     As a professional blogger, writing is a full time job for me. As I read this list, I intuitively know these rules to be correct. But I had a sinking feeling as I read them since I can see that I don’t follow them very well. I’m going to print this out and keep it by my side as a write. Thank you “pick the brain” for this kick in the pants (whoops, sorry, I’m not supposed to use metaphors). Dang, this is going to be tougher than I thought!

  473. Ileana says:

     As a professional blogger, writing is a full time job for me. As I read this list, I intuitively know these rules to be correct. But I had a sinking feeling as I read them since I can see that I don’t follow them very well. I’m going to print this out and keep it by my side as a write. Thank you “pick the brain” for this kick in the pants (whoops, sorry, I’m not supposed to use metaphors). Dang, this is going to be tougher than I thought!

  474. Ileana says:

     As a professional blogger, writing is a full time job for me. As I read this list, I intuitively know these rules to be correct. But I had a sinking feeling as I read them since I can see that I don’t follow them very well. I’m going to print this out and keep it by my side as a write. Thank you “pick the brain” for this kick in the pants (whoops, sorry, I’m not supposed to use metaphors). Dang, this is going to be tougher than I thought!

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  478. SMS says:

    What a very informative essay. It strikes me that the language today is very well going to force one to retch their insides out with such ambiguous and unclear thought of the examples given.

    Active voice is much more direct and intentional than passive voice to give a bright meaning to a shady sentence.

    Whereas a passive voice should be used for laying an underbrush for and active voice to leap from.

    Maybe if the writers of today were to use a dictionary and encyclopedia, they will sharpen their prose skills and seek to define rather than suggest true meaning of their works.

    My thoughts alone. Agree or disagree. There is always room to learn.

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  482. I like your 5 rules, I am trying to understand from my point of view as being my native language is not English. I use a tool from Google Translation as a tool to test. The final results of around 80% of your writing can be understood by Google Translation, whereas 20%  still using a language understandable only to your audience. What do you think? Do you just write only for your own audience? 

  483. Mark Steven says:

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  487. Brilliant – I’ve always been a huge fan of  Orwell’s classics and very much look forward to reading this and other essays of his.

  488. TruthandConsequences says:

    Orwell’s tips do a good job of crystallizing journalistic style. Be succinct. Strive for clarity. Active voice.  

  489. IOP says:

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  490. IOP says:

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  491. Best way it to read a lot, and participate in different blogs and forums for improvement. Well i appreciate the tips mentioned here!

  492. Dsasrag says:

    I didn’t myself is inaccurate> I didn’t either.

  493. Beautiful attractive information is visible in this blog and the very good article are procession in this blog. This info is very helpful for me with my project time and trust you very much for using the valuable info in this blog

  494. CW says:

    I liked the information. The tips are really valuable. The key to succeed as a writer is to be more creative. And as far as writing is concerned it is always good to use simple short sentences. Using too much flashy words can be minimized or avoided for the better understanding of the readers. This is what I follow.

  495. Malachisteve123 says:

    As far as i know, Language  is the entire way of communicating people. The way that everyone could interchange. But sincerely, we should use it in a right way. Much more if it is delivered with patience.

  496. Kristel McKinley says:

    thrty

  497. Think about your reasons for writing and what you want your readers to do. Write down the points that will get your reader moving in the right direction. Collect any information you will need to flesh out your points. As you do your research, you may discover new points. Integrate them into your list, but make sure that everything in your list supports your overall purpose and no extraneous items sneak in. Write down “whatever comes to you. Just get some words down to get yourself into it. It doesn’t matter what they are at this point. The very fact of writing helps you to think of what and how to write, so it’s important to be doing it. Once you have gotten into it and have built up some momentum, ideas will begin to flow and your writing will come easier. You can always go back and do the beginning last. Look at what you’ve written from the reader’s point of view. Make your writing simple and clear. Rearrange and improve the order and flow, if necessary.

  498. April Atkins says:

    Writing a narrative essay is an essential talent for field research. Rather than summing things up for your reader, it presents your experience and allows them to draw their own conclusions. The narrative essay makes it point by subtly guiding the reader, rather than battering them the way a rhetorical essay would. 
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  499. April Atkins says:

    I know I’m stating the obvious here, but it had to be first on the list, and I speak from experience! Even the master storyteller, Stephen King, in his 2000 memoir “On Writing” admitted “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
    This is not to say that you shouldn’t plan your piece, far from it, but despite ongoing technological advancements in almost every industry, writing still requires a writer, so write.
    Edit, re-write, discard, re-invent, even all of the above, but you need to have written something first.

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  500. Ben says:

    Re:Point #2, there is science to back this one up! 
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051031075447.htm

    Orwell was right intuitively, as expected, and then science provided the proof.

  501. Writing doesn’t usually take too much time, but the proofreading is
    what requires an immense amount of revision and fine-tuning.
    Fortunately (or unfortunately), I have a dedicated readership who are
    all too glad to correct grammatical and spelling mistakes in the
    comments

  502. Seo Columbia Mo Company says:

     I like the concept here. Those five tips seems to be effective to me. But, one important thing is practice makes you what you want to be. The more you practice, the more your write-ups get even better.

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  503. C A Labarber says:

    This
    is true and a good point. There is a delicate difference between writing that
    feels passive—to the reader—and writing that is grammatically passive, the
    latter often being not only acceptable but more appropriate, depending
    on what the writer is trying to say.

    With
    this said, taking grammatical passivity out of writing altogether is actually a bad idea.
    To help illustrate my point, I’ve shared an excerpt from one of my favorite
    books on writing style.
    Again, writing that is grammatically passive isn’t always bad, but writing
    that feels passive is.

    Grammatically active sentences can feel passive when:a. None of its actions
    are verbs; rather, they are abstract nominalizations.b. The subject is an
    abstraction.c. The sentence lacks
    flesh-and-blood characters entirely.

    When to use grammatical passive voice:a. You don’t know who
    did an action, readers don’t care, or you don’t want them to know.b. You want to shift a
    long and complex bundle of information to the end of its sentence, especially
    when it also lets you move to its beginning a chunk of information that is
    shorter, more familiar, and therefore easier to understand.c. You want to focus
    your readers’ attention on one or another character.

    (Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, 10th ed.)I hope this helps.

    With
    this said, taking grammatical passivity out of writing altogether is actually a bad idea.
    To help illustrate my point, I’ve shared an excerpt from one of my favorite
    books on writing style.
    Again, writing that is grammatically passive isn’t always bad, but writing
    that feels passive is.

    Grammatically active sentences can feel passive when:
    a. None of its actions
    are verbs; rather, they are abstract nominalizations.
    b. The subject is an
    abstraction.
    c. The sentence lacks
    flesh-and-blood characters entirely.

    When to use grammatical passive voice:
    a. You don’t know who
    did an action, readers don’t care, or you don’t want them to know.
    b. You want to shift a
    long and complex bundle of information to the end of its sentence, especially
    when it also lets you move to its beginning a chunk of information that is
    shorter, more familiar, and therefore easier to understand.
    c. You want to focus
    your readers’ attention on one or another character.

    (Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, 10th ed.)

    I hope this helps.

  504. C A Labarber says:

    Ew, that is a jumbled mess. Sorry that I pasted it twice. Get past that horrible formatting if you can!

  505. C A Labarber says:

    I’m sorry, Andreas, but you seem to be a little misinformed about the words you are grouping together.

    The words almost, even, and pretty much are called hedges, and, contrary to your belief, they are a good type of metadiscourse to use when you want people to believe you. Why? Because in reality confident writers use hedges to avoid sounding assertive. Yes, this is true. When most readers read a sentence that begins with something like obviously, undoubtedly, it is clear that, there is no question that, and so on, they reflexively think the opposite. These words are called intensifiers. And, in fact, the most common type of intensifier is the absence of a hedge–this is your suggestion. Some writers think using intensifiers, or avoiding hedges, as a kind of assertive style is persuasive. Quite the opposite: If you state a claim moderately, readers are more likely to consider it thoughtfully.

    You need metadiscourse in everything you write, especially metadiscourse that guides readers through your text, words such as first, second, therefore, on the other hand, and so on. You also need some metadiscourse that hedges your certainty, words such as perhaps, seems, could, almost, even, and pretty much. The risk is using too many.

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  507. electronic voting systems says:

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  509. Virtual Assistant Services says:

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  510. Ronald Koven says:

    Did Orwell really write this ? It refers to the Internet, which didn’t exist in his lifetime — a bit like discovering a painting is a fake because it was made with pigments that were unavailable in the artists’s time.

  511. Jussie Cerny says:

    I think its cool, though

  512. jermin says:

    couldn’t have said it better

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  514. Scorpionboy147 says:

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  515. electronic voting systems says:

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  516. Wizfoz23 says:

    “But” is a conjunction, it doesn’t start a sentence. 😉

  517. guest says:

     Um, doesn’t he say to use passive over active, not the other way around?

  518. guest says:

     Oh wait I think I’m wrong re-reading his essay

  519. David Hirst says:

    Don’t say ‘judgment call’ – it’s an expression favoured by office guys punching one anothers’ shoulders in the locker room and ragging one another about how their teams are doing.

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  522. Rod says:

    Beware. “common sense” is not always common and does not always make sense.

  523. Shelrae says:

    Wow. Take your pill. The title of the article sites “5 Rules”.
    Do you just troll around looking for people to blast?
    Are you short?

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  528. Great! I really enjoy how you position your topic because it reminds me of my father who really loves to write poem but he was a writer in our locality. Again, Great tips! Thanks a lot for your insightful ideas

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  531. David says:

    “Where you can use the active”

    Use the active :P.

    Double irony.

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  535. Guest says:

    “… hookin’ up words and phrases and clauses… ”
    “But, that’s sorta the opposite: not this, but that”
    “and, but, & or will get you pretty far”

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  539. FIMedia says:

    FIMedia

    Actually top notch piece of wisdom.

  540. Daniel says:

    Wrong – that sentence is in the active voice. ‘You’ is the subject, ‘use’ is the verb, ‘the active’ is the object.

    If it was in the passive voice, it would be “Where the active can be used by you.”

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  542. Taylor Church says:

    I enjoyed this piece. I tend to agree with Faulkner and Hemingway however. I love large words and advocate the use of them. For if we do not use them, what purpose do they serve? But it is wise to not alienate your intended audience. The true art is to mingle the simple with the verbose, the basic with the complex etc. Check out my blog post on the importance of reading. I think it is important http://billymoney.blogspot.com/2013/03/if-you-dont-like-reading-youre-doing-it.html

  543. Rite Way Fencing says:

    Rite-Way Fencing

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  547. AngelontheEDGE says:

    Hemingway and Faulkner do not agree on this point. Reread the example, and check out the disparity between their prose styles. Arguably their styles are as distinct from one another as oil and water.

  548. AngelontheEDGE says:

    The blog is a paraphrasing of a very popular, widely read essay by Orwell. At no time does the author state that Orwell wrote the blog. That’s just silly.

  549. Prefabrik says:

    Shrimmmp, you are right about that. I figured that breaking the rule would be worth it if I could help emphasize the point.

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  551. Your father was lucky guy .

  552. Conor says:

    Yeah that’s a great point Xdroot. Any real expert always make the topic accessible to the masses.

  553. Cihan Cakir says:

    http://www.ankastreset.com.tr That would be rule 7 dips hit. The article wasn’t so long that you shouldn’t be able to count the number of rules.

  554. Cihan çakır says:

    written in the simplest possible vernacular language of his days, but according to TS Eliot, such simple writing requires a life time to master! http://www.mksmetal.com.tr

  555. Cihan çakır says:

    The true art is to mingle the simple with the verbose, the basic with the complex etc. Check out my blog post on the importance of reading http://www.ovelkapi.com/fotoselli-kapi.html

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  560. talia says:

    do u go to job corp

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  563. anonymous says:

    You broke a rule.

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  567. SerdarBenim says:

    Be succinct. Strive for clarity. Active voice.

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  569. Alex Weinle says:

    Just a little expansion on the difficult rule 6 and editing.

    “What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”
    ― Samuel Johnson, Johnsonian Miscellanies – Vol II

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  572. Kari Olsen says:

    This post is very interesting :) Thanks for sharing it :)
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  577. Rottenberg Paul says:

    Writing well goes with thinking well, and visa versa, as Orwell says in his essay. It’s related to what William James said: “Most people who think they are thinking are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

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