In my blog about Nik Wallenda’s walk across Niagara Falls, “So What?”, I objected to the careless use of words like historic and miracle. Precision and clarity of meaning are essential, and languge misuse by the media sets a terrible example of ambiguity and overstatement.
As the US election date gets closer and political rhetoric becomes ever more inflammatory, we need to recall Orwell’s famous advice about the political implications of language use… and abuse.
These rules are from the end of George Orwell’s famous essay, Politics and the English Language.
- 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.
Good advice for everyone. But the question remains, can we also be too concise?
Click here to watch this surprise video, and decide for yourself.
Say what you mean and mean what you say!
That is the answer!