Principles of Good Writing by L.A. Hill

OBJECTIVE: This unit on L. A. HILL’S on ‘Principles of Good Writing’, is actually designed to add to your writing ability. After going through this unit, you will be able to:

  • Know about informative essay
  • Development logical and successful writing
  • Know the importance of newspaper and some good magazines.
  • Develop a taste for other aspects of linguistics


Lesile Alexander Hill, a renowned personality among essayist, was born in the year 1918 in Greece and was educated at Cambridge university. He worked for the British council in Greece.

Iran, Indonesia and India. Later he worked as adviser for the oxford university press, oxford, England, on the teaching of English as a second language His works include many thought provoking essays, comprehension and epitomisation for overseas students. Recent trends in educational practice, a guide to correct English, and teaching English as a second language are some very important to mention. Hill’s interest in linguistics extends to all human behavior and similarities and variations between different cultures. Hill’s good command over prose language is revealed clearly in this formal-tone essay “The Principles of Good Writing”.

In this essay, Hill has brought to light the rules and regulations to be observed in shaping and sharpening one’s writing skills. He has given valuable tips regarding the secret of successful writing. The clarity of thought and expression, the logical development of the theme, the illustrative examples and the appropriate use of vocabulary, make it a wonderful piece of work.

Summary: Hill, in first person narration, gives a piece of valuable advice to all the aspirants who want to be proficient in English-written and oral skills. In the opening passage, he clearly says that good writing demands good and ogical thinking. Good thinking, is not developed instantly, rather it emerges with practical experience and proper training. Initially thinking in the direction of logic and reason seems difficult because one’s mind may not be acquainted with this.

But with time it will happen so and it will be reflected in one’s writing. Next to give expression to thought apt vocabulary is required. Depending on the form and tone of your work, vocabulary should be either formal or slang. To improve vocabulary you need to read widely different sorts of writing. A dictionary is of great help in this field.

Sincere and diligent practice in writing is first concrete move towards a successful writing. Waiting for an inspiration will prove a hinderance towards your goal, so avoid it. Hill further suggests that one should be alive to all the happenings and pay heed to it. Even an ordinary talk heard in the street can be taken as a subject to start writing. It is required to note every new word or expression that one comes across while reading also. The writer also feels that love of mankind is an essential trait to see other state of minds, feel it intensely, and write it effectively.

And, to be a good writer the readers must be kept in mind their interest and taste should be borre in mind always. ‘Impersonality of art’ should be maintained by a poet or writer while expressing emotions or feelings. The subject that is chosen for writing should be personal experience. ‘Words are body, sentences in structure, and the expression, the soul’. So apt words, correct sentence structure, and good theme, will together constitute a good writing. Introduction would be interesting and eye-catching and conclusion should not end abruptly.

Finally, a writer is expected to write with zeal and true involvement- only then reader’s imagination can be kindled Critical appreciation Hill’s command over English language needs true appreciation, only those will be able to appreciate who, themselves have appropriate knowledge of this language. His epigrammatic style and lucidity of expression is remarkable; “Through this essay all that he wanted to do is teach the rules and regulations of good writing, and throughout the essay we find such tips. The formal tone is maintained throughout the essay. All the paragraphs are neatly linked and introduction is apt for the subject choosen.

He himself avoided very carefully; the use of slang, jargon, hackneyed expressions, rhetorical, circumlocution, verbiage, and mingling of styles- formal and too much informal or slang. The title of the essay is very appropriate as the aim of the essayist is to teach principles of good writing by the means of various suggestions mentioned in the essay. Do’s and don’ts in the field of learning writing good English, is highly suggestive. The lucidity of thought and expression, neat structure with logical development of idea, apt examples and simple vocabulary of the essay, make it a remarkable piece of work.

Summing up Hill is a writer of promising skill. His abilities are fully reflected in this thought provoking essay. ‘Principles of Good Writing’. In this essay he suggests wide reading, using a dictionary, note-making, frequent writing, maintaining humanistic and rational attitude, as essential traits for developing logical reasoning and good writing. He also suggests to avoid artificiality, avoiding second hand experience, avoiding use of jargon, rhetorical, slang along with formal, unnecessary verbose, and too much of personal element in writing. Reader-writer relationship is aptly emphasized. The essay on the whole is of great significance.

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