Good writing is all about clarity – getting your message across clearly and concisely. But in the wrong hands, words can often cloud, rather than clarify, the intended message.

Have a read of what Julian Critchlow had to say in a letter to The Times:

Sue Whiting, a “retired special educational needs co-ordinator”, asserts in her letter (Oct 10) that “there are likely to be 20 per cent of children in any classroom with specific learning differences”.

My initial reaction on reading this was that, surely, all the children would have learning differences: that is the human condition. However, on closer analysis I deduced that what was stated was not what was actually meant. Surely Ms Whiting’s unadorned meaning was that 20 per cent of the children would, for one reason or another, have learning difficulties.

Orwellian usage of this kind debases the language as a tool for expression. It leads, at best, to lack of clarity and, at worst, it is downright misleading and stifles legitimate debate. It needs to be rooted out.

Julian Critchlow, Savage Club, SW1

Hear, hear for Mr Critchlow. It’s not always easy to be honest in your writing. But if you can manage it, you’ll usually be rewarded with better understanding and more engagement from your readers.