Many great writers have been extraordinarily awkward in daily exchange, but the greatest give the impression that their style was nursed by the closest attention to colloquial speech.
—Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) American Novelist, Playwright
Speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940) American Novelist
Let a man speak what is pleasant and cheerful. A wise man does not pay attention to others’ insult and always speak what is delightful.
Better pointed bullets than pointed speeches.
—Otto von Bismarck (1815–98) Prussian German- Political leader, Nationalist
I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.
—Publilius Syrus (fl.85–43 BCE) Syrian-born Roman Latin Writer
Speak but little and well if you would be esteemed a man of merit.
—Richard Chenevix Trench (1807–86) Irish Anglican Clergyman, Religious Leader, Poet
A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.
—Zhuang Zhou (369BCE–286BCE) Chinese Philosopher
Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.
—D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930) English Novelist, Playwright, Poet, Essayist, Literary Critic
A thousand useless words is not worth one by which the mind can be calmed after listening to it.
Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel. It is to bring another out of his bad sense into your good sense.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809–94) American Physician, Essayist
Speech is the gift of all, but the thought of few.
—Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato) (234–149 BCE) Roman Statesman, Orator
One should speak a word which does not cause regret to himself and is not harmful to others. That kind of words is well-spoken.
Only good words should be spoken, never evil ones. Uttering good words is profitable. One who utters evil words will have to regret.
A witty saying proves nothing.
—Voltaire (1694–1778) French Philosopher, Author
All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer.
—Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94) Scottish Novelist
A constant governance of our speech, according to duty and reason, is a high instance and a special argument of a thoroughly sincere and solid goodness.
Speech is the messenger of the heart.
—The Talmud Sacred Text of the Jewish Faith
An axe is born in a mouth of everyone. It is the axe with which a fool who says evil words wounds himself.
One should not speak too much nor keep quiet all the time. When it is time to speak, let him speak moderately and not redundantly.
Never rise to speak till you have something to say; and when you have said it, cease.
—John Witherspoon (1723–94) American Founding Father, Educator, Clergyman
We have as many planes of speech as does a painting planes of perspective which create perspective in a phrase. The most important word stands out most vividly defined in the very foreground of the sound plane. Less important words create a series of deeper planes.
—Constantin Stanislavski (1863–1938) Russian Actor, Theater Personality
Let a man talk of what he can do, not of what he still cannot do. He who is merely clever at speaking, but not doing, will he detected by the wise man.
He ‘collects evil with his own mouth’ when he praises one who should be blamed or blames one who should be praised. Such a person will thereby never find happiness.
He is a vicious person who gives false witness either for his own sake or for others’ or for wealth.
The tongue is like a sharp knife; it kills without drawing blood.