Ellipsis Omnibus

Disillusioned but not disenchanted…

Clarity & Brevity

C.S. Lewis:quill

“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.”

Letters to Children-
“Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.”

“Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.”

“Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean ‘More people died’ don’t say ‘Mortality rose.’”

Mark Twain:

“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. I never write ‘metropolis’ for seven cents when I can write ‘city’ and get paid the same.”

“As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out.”

Albert Einstein:

“If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well.”

“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius–and a lot of courage–to move in the opposite direction.”

Richard Lederer and Richards Dowis:

Sleeping Dogs Don’t Lay-
“Contrary to what some people seem to believe, simple writing is not the product of simple minds. A simple, unpretentious style has both grace and power. By not calling attention to itself, it allows the reader to focus on the message”

Blaise Pascal

“I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”


“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.”

Leonardo da Vinci:

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Thomas Jefferson:

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

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.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald:

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”

George Bernard Shaw:

“The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”

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"The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man."--G.K.Chesterton

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"This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle; wonderful, inscrutable, magical and more, to whosoever will think of it... It is by not thinking that we cease to wonder at it."--Thomas Carlyle, 'On Heroes & Hero Worship'
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