Garblog's Pages

Friday, August 17, 2012

Garbl's Concise Writing Guide--and Words of Wisdom on Concise Writing

This free Web tool of mine provides alternatives to overstated, pompous words; wordy, bureaucratic phrases; and verbose, sometimes amusing redundant phrases: But it also lists Words of Wisdom on concise writing that you might find helpful, if not inspiring. Here are some of them:
Winston Churchill: "Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words when short are best of all."
Cicero: "When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men's minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge: "Words in prose ought to express the intended meaning; if they attract attention to themselves, it is a fault; in the very best styles you read page after page without noticing the medium."
George Eliot: "The finest language is mostly made up of simple unimposing words."
Wilson Follett: "Whenever we can make 25 words do the work of 50, we halve the area in which looseness and disorganization can flourish."
Anatole France: "The finest words in the world are only vain sounds if you can't understand them."
Thomas Jefferson: "The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do."
Samuel Johnson: "Do not accustom yourself to use big words for little matters."
James J. Kilpatrick: "Use familiar words--words that your readers will understand, and not words they will have to look up. No advice is more elementary, and no advice is more difficult to accept. When we feel an impulse to use a marvelously exotic word, let us lie down until the impulse goes away."
C.S. Lewis: "Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite."
John Locke: "Vague forms of speech have so long passed for mysteries of science; and hard words mistaken for deep learning, that it will not be easy to persuade either those who speak or those who hear them, that they are but a hindrance to true knowledge."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: "Many a poem is marred by a superfluous word."
George Orwell: "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 squirting out ink."
William Penn: "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."
Alexander Pope: "Words are like leaves; and where they most abound, Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found."
Will Rogers: "I love words but I don't like strange ones. You don't understand them and they don't understand you. Old words is like old friends, you know 'em the minute you see 'em."
William Safire: "It behooves us to avoid archaisms. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do."
William Shakespeare: "Men of few words are the best men."
William Strunk: "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."
E.B. White: "Use the smallest word that does the job."
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