Three (adapted) rules for academic writing that I really need to remember

George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language is one of my favorites—at times a bit reaching, but often enough an excellent reminder of the value of clear language—and after re-reading it this morning, I pulled out these three rules for writing (in fairness, his list is a bit longer) that I’m putting here for no other reason than to remind myself of them:

  • 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 voice where you can use the active.

Public commitment at blogging best. Let’s see how I do.


* for more Orwell, check out this running transcription of his diaries 1938-1942, in “real time” seventy years later.

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