By Bhalachandra Sahaj George Orwell is among those writers whom I would fairly call an authority for me.
Summary[ edit ] Orwell relates what he Orwells rules for good language essay to be a close association between bad prose and oppressive ideology: In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties.
Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. The insincerity of the writer perpetuates the decline of the language as people particularly politicians, Orwell later notes attempt to disguise their intentions behind euphemisms and convoluted phrasing.
Orwell says that this decline is self-perpetuating. He argues that it is easier to think with poor English because the language is in decline; and, as the language declines, "foolish" thoughts become even easier, reinforcing the original cause: A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks.
It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. Orwell discusses "pretentious diction" and "meaningless words". From these, Orwell identifies a "catalogue of swindles and perversions" which he classifies as "dying metaphors", "operators or verbal false limbs", "pretentious diction" and "meaningless words".
Orwell notes that writers of modern prose tend not to write in concrete terms but use a "pretentious latinized style" compare Anglish. He claims writers find it is easier to gum together long strings of words than to pick words specifically for their meaning—particularly in political writing, where Orwell notes that "[o]rthodoxy Political speech and writing are generally in defence of the indefensible and so lead to a euphemistic inflated style.
Orwell criticises bad writing habits which spread by imitation. He argues that writers must think more clearly because thinking clearly "is a necessary first step toward political regeneration".
He later emphasises that he was not "considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought".
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.
Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.
Orwell points out that this "translation" contains many more syllables but gives no concrete illustrations, as the original did, nor does it contain any vivid, arresting images or phrases.
Cicely Vaughan Wilkes nicknamed "Flip"taught English to Orwell and used the same method to illustrate good writing to her pupils. She would use simple passages from the King James Bible and then "translate" them into poor English to show the clarity and brilliance of the original.
However, he concluded that the progressive decline of the English language was reversible  and suggested six rules which, he claimed, would prevent many of these faults, although "one could keep all of them and still write bad English".
Never use a metaphorsimileor other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. He described such phrases as "dying metaphors" and argued that they were used without knowing what was truly being said.
Furthermore, he said that using metaphors of this kind made the original meaning of the phrases meaningless, because those who used them did not know their original meaning. He wrote that "some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact".
Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Never use the passive where you can use the active. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Animal Farm had been published in August and Orwell was experiencing a time of critical and commercial literary success. He was seriously ill in February and was desperate to get away from London to the island of Jura, Scotlandwhere he wanted to start work on Nineteen Eighty-Four."Politics and the English Language" () is an essay by George Orwell that criticised the "ugly and inaccurate" written English of his time and examines the connection between political orthodoxies and the debasement of language.
This assignment introduces students to a few handy rules about writing style from a highly credible source, while also giving them a text that will call their attention to the long-standing philosophical problem of how to address the variety of misuses of language and rhetoric.
Good written and verbal language is essential for effective communication. Writing in , George Orwell points to several problems with the contemporary use of English. The essay is a great read, and its criticisms of bloated language ring true in an age in which style has come to trump substance.
Let’s take a tour through some of the main points of “Politics and the English Language” and end with Orwell’s list of 6 rules for writers! These “elementary” rules do not cover “the literary use of language,” writes Orwell, “but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought.” In the seventy years since his essay, the quality of English prose has likely not improved, but .
George Orwell: 6 Questions/6 Rules. George Orwell has earned the right to be called one of the finer writers in the English language through such novels as , Animal Farm, and Down and Out in Paris and London, and essays like "Shooting an Elephant.". Orwell excoriated totalitarian governments in his work, but he was just as passionate about good .