Saturday, April 19, 2008

Good Writing

Just today, a student came to me for help to print his groups Science Fair project. I ended up doing quite a bit of editing, particularly some phrasing and overly convoluted jargon.

A quick look at many students' essays for their various assignments for GP and their project work Preliminary Ideas indicated that the art of succinct and purposeful writing is being lost. Interestingly, this is a case of more teaching leading to poorer results.

As a solution, I offer up the following link, to this article by George Orwell, widely acknowledged as a formidable wielder of the English Language. His six rules are very useful for any writer.

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:
1. What am I trying to say?
2. What words will express it?
3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

And he will probably ask himself two more:
1. Could I put it more shortly?
2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?

I'd note that this isn't just for writing. It's for speaking too!


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