Recently I was reading on several of the discussion threads and I found a few comments concerning certain community members' violations of these rules. I had never heard of them before now, so I googled them, desiring to learn more about them. Even after my google search, I don't feel that I fully understand them. Would anyone care to enlighten me on the subject with a more than superficial explanation of each of the six rules? Perhaps you could take just one rule and explain it a bit, allowing others to explain the remaining rules? Any help here would be appreciated. Thank you.

Views: 180

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Sure.  I'll go for #2.  (You might post the list for others who want to contribute.)

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do. 

Long words are harder to read than short ones, even if you know what they mean.  "The tintinnabulation audible though emanating from no corporeal genesis."  I can puzzle it out (after all, I wrote it.)  But if I'd said "ringing in the ears," you wouldn't have to puzzle it out; you'd know at once.

It's not just for ease of use.  Orwell mentions "the liquidation of undesirable elements," which means "mass killing."  The long-word evasion makes it easier to trick people, or oneself, into going along with horrible crimes.  Or, as Orwell says, 

Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so." Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement. 

...politics [thereby becomes] a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

The rules are generally interpreted as follows:

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

Stop saying things "Achilles heel" or "his plate is full"; say "weakness" or "he has a lot of work".

Never use a long word where a short one will do.

Don't needlessly use longer words for the sake of sounding intellectual.

If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Don't be redundant. Don't needlessly use words and make your sentences longer in an attempt to sound eloquent.

Never use the passive where you can use the active.

Don't say "Bad sentences were written by Gentleman Engineer"; say "Gentleman Engineer wrote bad sentences". ;)

Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Don't say things like "You have carte blanche to create a chef d'oeuvre. It is your raison d'être. Voilà!" because you have perfectly good English words to say the same thing: "You have complete freedom to create a masterpiece. It is your reason for being. There you have it!"

Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

The rules are actually guidelines. If trying to following them makes you harder to understand then don't follow them.

Huh. I was taught the active/passive thing in grade school. Did Orwell popularize that rule?

I suspect that stating the rule predates him, but IDK.  It's certain that the passive voice was a drag even before Orwell.

For sure. He just brought it back to the attention of the masses.

Such thoughts would exist within literature much in the manner that brutalism would exist within architecture.

Brutalism can be quite beautiful. There are loads of fans of brutalism out there.

http://fuckyeahbrutalism.tumblr.com/

One would defer to that opine in the possession of a certain Welsh Prince...

The overuse of metaphor is definitely noticeable in bloviation.  If something is handed on a silver platter, or if someone has a swan song, it's time to edit.

Sports analogies.

Attend any business meeting of any kind anywhere in English-speaking North America and start counting the sports analogies. Brutal.

RSS

Latest Activity

Nature of a Man replied to Braeden's discussion Death
"I see what you're saying; I suppose to me the problem is that if the ideal goal behind survival and thriving is the eventual creation of a 'perfect world' without suffering, as opposed to personal transcendence - then it would be…"
9 minutes ago
Nature of a Man replied to Nature of a Man's discussion Pornography and property in the group The Great Debate
"And slightly tangential, but I'd have to say that if an individual has physical relations with someone they barely know and trust to the point they have to have a contract signed affirming consent, then if they are falsely accused of rape this…"
16 minutes ago
Nature of a Man replied to Nature of a Man's discussion Pornography and property in the group The Great Debate
"I'd venture that the Founding Fathers would disagree with you on that."
21 minutes ago
Jack Bauer replied to Nature of a Man's discussion Pornography and property in the group The Great Debate
"I'd venture a guess that you're the only one that found that 'nonsensical'. JB"
1 hour ago
Nature of a Man replied to Nature of a Man's discussion Pornography and property in the group The Great Debate
"Fact is fact.  The actresses consented, by any definition of the term.  You're suggesting legal technicalities to overturn that ... but that doesn't change the fact.  She was mentally capable.  She knew what her…"
1 hour ago
Jack Bauer replied to Nature of a Man's discussion Pornography and property in the group The Great Debate
"Down the rabbit hole we go. Fact is fact.  The actresses consented, by any definition of the term.  You're suggesting legal technicalities to overturn that ... but that doesn't change the fact.  She was mentally…"
1 hour ago
Nature of a Man replied to Nature of a Man's discussion Pornography and property in the group The Great Debate
"Well in the post above, you equated subjective legal definitions such as "grown up" which has varied greatly historically and legally with "objective reality", so you seem to be more confused on the subject matter than I…"
1 hour ago
Nature of a Man replied to Nature of a Man's discussion Pornography and property in the group The Great Debate
"Not to mention, what you're doing is equating subjective legal definitions such as that of 'grown up' with objective reality, which is inconsistent as that would mean that the government has some 'quasi-divine' authority to…"
1 hour ago

© 2017   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service