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The Literature Page
Quotations by Subject
- We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.
- Abigail Adams (1744 - 1818), letter to John Adams, 1774
- He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met.
- Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)
- Words calculated to catch everyone may catch no one.
- Adlai E. Stevenson Jr. (1900 - 1965), speech to Democratic National Convention, Chicago, Illinois, July 21, 1952
- Words are the physicians of the mind diseased.
- Aeschylus (525 BC - 456 BC), Prometheus Bound
- Language is the source of misunderstandings.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900 - 1944)
- Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in a few words.
- High thoughts must have high language.
- Aristophanes (450 BC - 388 BC), Frogs, 405 B.C.
- Grasp the subject, the words will follow.
- Cato the Elder (234 BC - 149 BC)
- Use soft words and hard arguments.
- English Proverb
- Great literature is simply charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.
- Ezra Pound (1885 - 1972)
- The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.
- George Orwell (1903 - 1950), "Politics and the English Language", 1946
- A man thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things.
- Herman Melville (1819 - 1891)
- For me, words are a form of action, capable of influencing change.
- Ingrid Bengis
- When ideas fail, words come in very handy.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
- Deeds, not words shall speak me.
- John Fletcher (1579 - 1625)
- Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assaults of thought on the unthinking.
- John Maynard Keynes (1883 - 1946)
- The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand.
- Lewis Thomas (1913 - 1993)
- Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.
- Lily Tomlin (1939 - )
- We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.
- Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Canterville Ghost, 1882
- Words have a longer life than deeds.
- Pindar (522 BC - 443 BC), Nemean Odes
- Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides.
- Rita Mae Brown, Starting From Scratch, 1988
- Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.
- Robert Benchley (1889 - 1945)
- No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut.
- Sam Rayburn (1882 - 1961)
- Do not accustom yourself to use big words for little matters.
- Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)
- Works of imagination should be written in very plain language; the more purely imaginative they are the more necessary it is to be plain.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834)
- Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.
- Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)
- Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.
- William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)
- Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood.
- William Penn (1644 - 1718)
- I understand a fury in your words,
But not the words.
- William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), "Othello", Act 4 scene 2
- My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
- William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), "Hamlet", Act 3 scene 3