Showing posts from December, 2013

The virtues of writing simply

Academic writing can be daunting. I often find that when trying to communicate complex ideas, coherence and clarity tends to get compromised. However, like any other skill, writing can be perfected by practice.

I recently finished reading Orwell's Why I Write, a collection of essays where he discusses his motivations to write among other things. In an essay called Politics and the English Language, he is particularly critical of how modern English has evolved as a means to confuse instead of communicate. He expresses his disgust for the use of 'dying metaphors' (e.g. toe the line, Achilles heel), 'verbal false limbs' (using phrases where a word would do: e.g. make contact with, prove unacceptable, exhibit the tendency to instead of prove, render, serve), 'pretentious or archaic diction' (such as epoch-making or age-old) and 'meaningless words' (that do not convey anything).

Orwell goes on to list some simple rules to help make decisions while writi…