George Orwell rewriting Ecclesiastes

It takes some effort to get through, but Orwell’s Politics and the English Language is one of the best essays from one of the best nonfiction writers.

Here, Orwell translates a passage of what he considers good English (Ecclesiastes 9:11)…

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill, but time and chance happeneth to them all.

…into “modern English of the worst sort”:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

I’m a recovering addict of using words like “leverage” and “substitutability” and “pivot”. Ironic, that it takes MORE effort to use SIMPLER words.

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.