4 questions

7:50 AM

“Words end up meaning nothing when they are used improperly.”

“The whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness.”

“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.”

“Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets, this is called pacification.”

“Let the meaning choose the word, not the other way around.”

“A scrupulous writer, in every sentence 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?”

from “Politics and the English Language” (1946) by George Orwell

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