Brevity quotes and sayings

If it takes a lot of words to say what you have in mind, give it more thought.
Dennis Roth

“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

How very paltry and limited the normal human intellect is, and how little lucidity there is in the human consciousness, may be judged from the fact that, despite the ephemeral brevity of human life, the uncertainty of our existence and the countless enigmas which press upon us from all sides, everyone does not continually and ceaselessly philosophize, but that only the rarest of exceptions do.”
Arthur Schopenhauer

To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself…Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.
Mark Twain

He replies nothing but monosyllables. I believe he would make three bites of a cherry.
Rabelais, Pantagruel

What is an epigram? a dwarfish whole, its body brevity, and wit its soul.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Any philosophy that can be put in a nutshell belongs there.
Branch Rickey

If you can’t write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea.
David Belasco

Spartans, stoics, heroes, saints and gods use short and positive speech.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

FOUR FLOWERS The Sun Arose in Morning Glory with His Goldenrod Wanding Violet to Rose.
Saiom Shriver

There is need of brevity, that the thought may run on.
Horace

For brevity is very good, where we are, or are not understood.
Samuel Butler

If you would be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams–the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.
Robert Southey

Infancy is what is eternal, and the rest, all the rest, is brevity, extreme brevity.
Antonio Porchia

Brevity is a great charm of eloquence.
Cicero

Brevity is the soul of wit.
William Shakespeare

Brevity is the soul of lingerie.
Dorothy Parker

I strive to be brief, and I become obscure.
Horace

But the shortest works are always the best.
Jean de La Fontaine

Good things, when short, are twice as good.
Baltasar Gracian

Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in few words.
Bible, Ecclesiasticus

Men of few words are the best men.
William Shakespeare

Whatever advice you give, be brief.
Horace

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
Thomas Jefferson

Trust the man who hesitates in his speech and is quick and steady in action, but beware of long arguments and long beards.
George Santayana

It is with words as with sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.
Robert Southey

A short saying often contains much wisdom.
Sophocles

Good things, when short, are twice as good.
Baltasar Gracian

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

I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short.
Blaise Pascal

The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter.
Blaise Pascal

Brevity is the best recommendation of speech, whether in a senator or an orator.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Brevity may be the soul of wit, but not when someone’s saying “I love you.
Judith Viorst

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

Be sincere; be brief; be seated.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief.
William Shakespeare

There’s a great power in words, if you don’t hitch too many of them together.
Josh Billings

Four basic premises of writing: clarity, brevity, simplicity, and humanity.
William Zinsser

If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.
Woodrow Wilson

The fewer the words, the better the prayer.
Martin Luther

Brevity is the best recommendation of speech, whether in a senator or an orator.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Brevity and conciseness are the parents of correction.
Hosea Ballou

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

Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.
Jean de la Bruyere

Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.
John Wayne