Monday, March 14, 2016

Thus Sayeth George Orwell, Part 1

Ryan Petty



George Orwell’s posthumous collection of essays, WHY I WRITE, is a marvel, published by Penguin Books in its Great Ideas series. 

Here’s a passage I marked from the title essay, along with others for return reading:


“It is easier - even quicker, once you have the habit - to say In my opinion it is a not unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don’t have to hunt about for words; you also don’t have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences, since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious. When you are composing in a hurry - when you are dictating to a stenographer, for instance, or making a public speech - it is natural to fall into a pretentious, latinized style. Tags like a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind or a conclusion to which all of us would readily assent will save many a sentence from coming down with a bump. By using stale metaphors, similes and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself.”

-George Orwell




2 comments:

  1. Orwell would have loved the Meta Model of NLP. Precision is certainly one of the sharpest items in the writer's toolbox. Metaphors can be useful to the imagination when they reveal and enrich--and not so useful when blurring to conceal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mike,
      Your comment demonstrates the precision it describes.
      Thanks!
      Ryan

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