Rodney Ulyate's Reviews > Politics and the English Language

Politics and the English Language by George Orwell
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Quotes Rodney Liked

George Orwell
“A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 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?”
George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

George Orwell
“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”
George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

George Orwell
“When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases - bestial atrocities, iron heel, blood-stained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder - one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy, the appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved”
George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

George Orwell
“- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- 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.”
George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

George Orwell
“A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:

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?

And he will probably ask himself two more:
1. Could I put it more shortly?
2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?

But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you -- even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent -- and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself.”
George Orwell, Politics and the English Language


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