Words at Play

The Art of Conversation Is... & More Word Wisdom

Favorite Quotations About Words, Vol. 2

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

  • Dorothy Nevill

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

  • A widely circulated paraphrase of advice from Russian writer Anton Chekhov

When you're drowning you don't think, I would be incredibly pleased if someone would notice I'm drowning and come and rescue me. You just scream.

  • John Lennon

Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.

  • Henry James, quoted by Edith Wharton in her autobiography A Backward Glance

Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assaults of thought on the unthinking.

  • John Maynard Keynes

No iron can pierce a heart with such force as a period put just at the right place.

  • Isaac Babel, from his short story Guy de Maupassant

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.

  • C.S. Lewis in Letters to Children

I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.

  • Catherine Morland, in Jane Austen's novel Northanger Abbey

The oldest, shortest words – 'yes' and 'no' – are those which require the most thought.

  • Attributed to the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras

Up Next

Don't Call Me a Loblolly, You Blatherskite

The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.

  • Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Want more? See Favorite Quotes About Words, Vol. 1


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