English novelist and journalist George Orwell, one of the finer writers in the English language through such novels as 1984 and Animal Farm, was passionate about good writing. Hence, copywriters — for both print and websites — can learn a lot from him.
Reportedly, in every sentence he wrote, he asked himself at least four questions:
- What am I trying to say?
- What words will express it?
- What image or idiom will make it clearer?
- Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
Plus, he had fundamental rules for effective writing, which decades later, still apply:
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech, which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never us 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.
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George Orwell, even after all these years, still has influence on writers, even on websites. That’s cool!