George Orwell’s Six Simple Rules

George Orwell shared his writing advice in an essay titled Politics and the English Language, in which he provided six rules he felt all writers should follow.

Here they are:

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

2. Never us 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 say anything outright barbarous.

He goes on to admit how fundamental these rules actually are, and they’re nothing you haven’t heard before. Avoid cliches, keep it short, keep it simple.

If you’re interested, you should also check out another of Orwell’s essays, Why I write. It’s an interesting piece about what brought Orwell into this writing business to begin with.