The Banned List

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The Banned List

John Rentoul

Publisher:Hardie Grant Books

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - Leonardo da Vinci. Bad English, as George Orwell argued so eloquently over 60 years ago, is a sign of laziness, sloppy thought or insincerity. Yet why is it then that so many of us remain in thrall to cliches, stale idioms and empty phrases when it comes to expressing ourselves? Jargon and cliches are undoubtedly alluring: they are quick, easy and (we like to think) they make us look like we know what we're talking about. They help us fit in with others who use the same language. The trouble is that all too often they become a short-cut for saying nothing very much - concealing meaning rather than communicating it. John Rentoul examines how poor writing and a reliance on jargon have damaged our ability to communicate with each other and makes the case for the use of clear English. Unashamedly polemical in tone yet also very funny, this compelling essay condemns such linguistic atrocities as the verbification of nouns, the use of waffle to pad out a simple statement or the importing of business jargon into everyday situations.The perfect read for anyone who has ever had the misfortune to read a public policy report on key deliverables or a hackneyed newspaper article.

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