August 2006

George Orwell's essay “Politics and the English Language” seems remarkably similar to Strunk's Elements of Style. A choice footnote:

One can cure oneself of the not un- formation by memorizing this sentence: A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field.

It's interesting (I think) that both of them, on the whole, boil things down to one point: say what you mean.

tim bulkeley commented:

The more difficult task, in the end though, is to mean what you say!

Christina commented:

I can't help but think as I read this that that he's kinda arguing about something else, as well - he seems to be complaining that human language (in this case English) is "messy" and people are "lazy" and use it "incorrectly". Ah, prescriptivists - they know f-all about the way language works, and yet assume their correctness with such smug arrogance, I love it :D (Especially when he complains about the use of "foreign" words in English - good luck finding a native one, I say).

Having said that, complex (management :P) speech is a pain..