George Orwell and After the Deadline
Ok, I have to admit something. George Orwell does not use After the Deadline. But, if he were alive now, I bet he would.
In his essay, Politics and the English Language, George Orwell defines the following rules for clear writing:
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- 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 where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Did you know After the Deadline can help you with these rules? Here is how:
Rule 1: Avoid clichés
You should avoid clichés in your writing. After the Deadline flags over 650 worn out phrases. These phrases lose their power because we’re so used to seeing them.
Rule 2: Use Simple Words
After the Deadline helps you replace complex expressions with simple everyday words. Examples include use instead of utilize, set up over establish, and equal over equivalent.
Rule 3: Avoid Redundant Expressions
A common poor writing habit is using phrases with extra words that add nothing to the meaning. After the Deadline flags these so you can remove them. Examples include destroy over totally destroy, now instead of right now, and written over written down.
Rule 4: Avoid Passive Voice
Like a good copy editor, After the Deadline uses its virtual pen to find passive voice and bring it to your attention. It’s up to you if you want to revise it or not. In most cases you will make your writing much clearer.
Rule 5: Avoid Jargon
This is a hard one as each field has its own jargon. After the Deadline flags some foreign phrases and jargon words. It’s up to you to try to find the right words depending on your audience.
Rule 6: Remember, rules are meant to be broken
Rules are great but they do not cover every situation. To help, After the Deadline uses a statistical language model to filter poor suggestions.
This is a repost from the old-AtD blog. If this topic interests you visit http://www.afterthedeadline.com where you can download After the Deadline for WordPress or learn how to add it to an application.