Politics and the English Language Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

Politics and the English Language book cover
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What is the central idea in George Orwell's "Politics in the English Language"? How does he convey this idea? Please include quotes.

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In this essay, Orwell focuses on a major theme that cuts across much of his writing: that the sloppy and inaccurate use of language leads to sloppy and inaccurate thought. This, in turn, leads to a political situation in which the common people are ill-served by their politicians, who get away with using empty phrases and meaningless jargon instead of taking clear steps to improve people's lives.

Clear and precise language is the key to clear and precise thought. As Orwell states, the English language can be

ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

As he makes clear in his novels 1984 and Animal Farm , language can be easily twisted to justify tyranny and dumbed down to meaninglessness if people aren't careful. He states his fear that what he perceives as a decline in simple, easy-to-understand, and meaningful English will lead to problems. In his essay, he points to the kind of meaningless talk...

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