The following are the five basic rules for choosing vocabulary given at the start of The King's English by the Fowler brothers. They are found in the first chapter - pp. 14-17 of the 1931 edition.
- 1 Prefer the familiar word to the far-fetched.
- 2 Prefer the concrete word (or rather expression) to the abstract.
- 3 Prefer the single word to the circumlocution.
- 4 Prefer the short word to the long.
- 5 Prefer the Saxon word to the Romance