Want to improve your teaching? Study the teaching of your subject

Clio et cetera

What makes someone a good writer? There are various guides out there and one of the more famous is the list of rules in George Orwell’s essay Politics and the English Language. The list runs as follows:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

My personal bible on writing (though I’m sure I deviate frequently) is Fowler’s Modern English Usage (2nd Edition) which provides helpful advice on grammar and syntax.

It…

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