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Quotations about Brevity
It is with words as with sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. ~Robert Southey
Good things, when short, are twice as good. ~Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom, translated from Spanish
It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what other men say in whole books — what other men do not say in whole books. ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief.
~William Shakespeare, Hamlet
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. ~Thomas Jefferson
My great-grandfather used to say to his wife, my great-grandmother, who in turn told her daughter, my grandmother, who repeated it to her daughter, my mother, who used to remind her daughter, my own sister, that to talk well and eloquently was a very great art, but that an equally great one was to know the right moment to stop. ~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. ~William Strunk, Jr., The Elements of Style, 1918
If it takes a lot of words to say what you have in mind, give it more thought. ~Dennis Roth
If you can't explain something in a few words, try fewer. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
I have made this [letter] longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter. ~Blaise Pascal, Lettres Provinciales, 1657, translated from French
In composing, as a general rule, run your pen through every other word you have written; you have no idea what vigor it will give your style. ~Sydney Smith
That writer does the most, who gives his reader the most knowledge, and takes from him the least time. ~Charles Caleb Colton
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. ~Author Unknown
The trick to writing an aphorism is to place a period at the point where you're inclined to say, "in other words...." ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
If you bring that sentence in for a fitting, I can have it shortened by Wednesday. ~M*A*S*H, Hawkeye, "The Gun"
"In good prose (says Schlegel) every word should be underlined!" that is, every word should be the right one; and then no one would be righter than another. There are no italics in Plato. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827
He replies nothing but monosyllables. I believe he would make three bites of a cherry. ~Rabelais, Pantagruel
Any philosophy that can be put in a nutshell belongs there. ~Branch Rickey
If any man will draw up his case, and put his name at the foot of the first page, I will give him an immediate reply. Where he compels me to turn over the sheet, he must wait my leisure. ~Lord Sandwich
· This is it. ~Erik Jensen, "The Shortest Article in Law Review History"
· Not so! ~Grant H. Morris' rebuttal
· Why? ~Thomas H. Ohom's response
· [blank page] ~Erik Jensen, "Comments in Reply"
Brevity is the soul of lingerie. ~Dorothy Parker
If you can't write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don't have a clear idea. ~David Belasco
Last modified 2015 Dec 22 Tue 15:31 PST