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Style Quotes


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The obscurity of a writer is generally in proportion to his incapacity.

The old prose writers wrote as if they were speaking to an audience; among us, prose is invariably written for the eye alone.

The style shows the man. Whether in speaking or writing, a gentleman is always known by his style.

The unaffected of every country nearly resemble each other, and a page of Confucius and Tillotson have scarce any material difference, paltry affectation, strained allusions, and disgusting finery are easily attained by those who choose to wear them; they are but too frequently the badges of ignorance or of stupidity whenever it would endeavor to please.

There is a certain majesty in plainness; as the proclamation of a prince never frisks it in tropes or fine conceits, in numerous and well-turned periods, but commands in sober natural expressions.

Those who make antitheses by forcing the sense are like men who make false windows for the sake of symmetry. Their rule is not to speak justly, but to make accurate figures.

To have good sense and ability to express it are the most essential and necessary qualities in companions. When thoughts rise in us fit to utter among familiar friends, there needs but very little care in clothing them.

To write in a genuine familiar or truly English style is to write as any one would speak in common conversation, who had a thorough command and choice of words, or who could discourse with ease, force, and perspicuity, setting aside all pedantic and oratorical flourishes.

Whatever is pure is also simple; it does not keep the eye on itself. - The observer forgets the window in the landscape it displays. - A fine style gives the view of fancy - of its figures, its trees, its palaces without a spot.

When we meet with a natural style, we are surprised and delighted, for we expected to find an author, and we have found a man.

When you doubt between words, use the plainest, the commonest, the most idiomatic. - Eschew fine words as you would rouge, and love simple ones as you would native roses on your cheek.

Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison.

With many readers, brilliancy of style passes for affluence of thought; they mistake buttercups in the grass for immeasurable gold mines under ground.

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.


Pages: Prev 123