Better Writing in Just Six Decades

Here are 6 tips from legendary author George Orwell, writer of 1984 and Animal Farm. Use them to punch up your own writing.

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 saying anything outright barbarous.

These directions come from Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language.” It’s 65 years old, but the content is just as valuable and applicable now as it was when it was written. You can read the entire piece here.