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Six things you can learn from George Orwell

In Politics and the English Language (1946) George Orwell wrote this list of rules:

  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.

I’m sure George Orwell did not have accountants and auditors in mind when he wrote his essay but that does not change their relevance to financial writing. When you’re writing a report don’t use clichés and pretentious language.

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