In George Orwell s Politics and the English Language , the author argues that written language has suffered a serious decline as a result of political causes. Orwell shows there is a correlation between mistakes found in political language and modern language. He describes common misuses of the modern writing and provides examples of each one. Additionally, he proposes guidelines for solving language problems. Following his rules can help the writer prevent making further mistakes and help modern writing discontinue the decline.
Orwell implies politics has negative an effect on the English language. He stresses that the political writing is bad writing (365). The political language found in speeches consists of the same terminology which is faithfully repeated by all politicians. Orwell states, a speaker s brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself (366). Furthermore, political writing found in newspapers often involves substitution of a vague term for a word describing harsh reality. Such statements full of deceptions and dishonesty are the great enemy of clear language (367). Because political language is heard everyday, Orwell reasons that the poor political writing directly affects English writing.
As a result of the political influence, bad writing habits have developed. Like political writing, English writing is marked by vagueness , clumsiness , and inability to correctly express meaning (365). Orwell points out the incorrect use of metaphors, verbal phrases, foreign phrases, and unnecessary words. Consequently, usage of improper words leads to poor prose that lacks concreteness (364). In addition, Orwell suggests that as in political language, in modern language repetition of ready-made phrases is common (365). Certainly this occurs because it is the easier for a writer to use phrases he heard or read many times before than to create new ones. The combination of such language misuses greatly contributes to the deterioration of the quality of English writing.
Orwell claims that following his advice can stop the decay of modern language. He urges the readers to recognize their bad habits, ask questions, and use simple rules in order to improve writing. He asks us to put off using words when contemplating ideas, because later it will help us convey true meaning of our thoughts (369). At the same time, his rules emphasized the use of shorter words instead of long words, the active instead of the passive, and English phrases instead of foreign phrases. Additionally he insists on avoiding the usage of metaphor, simile or other figure of speech already seen in print (369). Orwell declares that his advice will aid any writer and in turn the English language.