The 1946 essay by George Orwell
with the title of this post was recently discussed by the Chaos and Complex Systems seminar group that I attend at the University of Wisconsin. Orwell’s comments on the abuse of language (meaningless words, dying metaphors, pretentious diction, etc.) are an apt description of language in today’s Trumpian world. Some rules with which he ends his essay:
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use 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
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