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Famous first words

By Tom Chatfield  

Giving advice on how to write well is a tricky business. In matters of non-fiction it remains difficult to add much to Orwell’s advice in Politics and the English Language :

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

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

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

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word…

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