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[ Also see Address Assertions Company Discussion Eloquence Gossip Language Linguists Oratory Repartee Silence Speech Story Telling Talk Talking Tongue Visiting Voice Wit Words ]

Solitary reading will enable a man to stuff himself with information; but, without conversation, his mind will become like a pond without an outlet--a mass of unhealthy stagnature. It is not enough to harvest knowledge by study; the wind of talk must winnow it, and blow away the chaff; then will the clear, bright grains of wisdom be garnered, for our own use or that of others.
      - William Matthews

The fullest instruction, and the fullest enjoyment are never derived from books, till we have ventilated the ideas thus obtained, in free and easy chat with others-.
      - William Matthews

Conversation opens our views, and gives our faculties a more vigorous play; it puts us upon turning our notions on every side, and holds them up to a light that discovers those latent flaws which would probably have lain concealed in the gloom of unagitated abstraction.
      - William Melmoth ("Sir Thomas Fitzosborne")

In my whole life I have only known ten or twelve persons with whom it was pleasant to speak,--i. e., who keep to the subject, do not repeat themselves, and do not talk of themselves; men who do not listen to their own voice, who are cultivated enough not to lose themselves in commonplaces, and, lastly, who possess tact and good taste enough not to elevate their own persons above their subjects.
      - Prince Clemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar Metternich

With thee conversing I forget all time:
  All seasons and their change, all please alike.
      - John Milton, Paradise Lost
         (bk. IV, l. 639), Eve speaking to Adam

The less men think, the more they talk.
      - Charles de Montesquieu (Charles-Louis de Secondat)

No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.
      - Christopher Darlington Morley

One of the first observations to make in conversation is the state, or the character, and the education of the person to whom we speak.
      - Madame Suzanne Curchod Necker

Speak little and well, if you wish to be considered as possessing merit.
      - Old French Saying

There is no arena in which vanity displays itself under such a variety of forms as in conversation.
      - Blaise Pascal

All men, well interrogated, answer well.
      - Plato (originally Aristocles}

There is nothing so delightful as the hearing, or the speaking of truth. For this reason, there is no conversation so agreeable as that of the man of integrity, who hears without any intention to betray, and speaks without any intention to deceive.
      - Plato (originally Aristocles}

Be silent always, when you doubt your sense,
  And speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence.
      - Alexander Pope

Form'd by thy converse, happily steer
  From grave to gay, from lively to severe.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Man
         (ep. IV, l. 379)

Ideal conversation must be an exchange of thought, and not, as many of those who worry most about their shortcomings believe, an eloquent exhibition of wit or oratory.
      - Emily Post

The tone of good conversation is brilliant and natural; it is neither tedious nor frivolous; it is instructive without pedantry, gay without tumultuousness, polished without affectation, gallant without insipidity, waggish without equivocation.
      - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Not only to say the right thing in the right place, but, far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
      - George Augustus Henry Sala

The pith of conversation does not consist in exhibiting your own superior knowledge on matters of small consequence, but in enlarging, improving and correcting the information you possess by the authority of others.
      - Sir Walter Scott

The progress of a private conversation betwixt two persons of different sexes is often decisive of their fate, and gives it a turn very distinct perhaps from what they themselves anticipated. Gallantry becomes mingled with conversation, and affection and passion come gradually to mix with gallantry. Nobles, as well as shepherd swains, will, in such a trying moment, say more than they intended; and queens, like village maidens, will listen longer than they should.
      - Sir Walter Scott

Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood.
      - William Shakespeare

There are three things in speech that ought to be considered before some things are spoken--the manner, the place and the time.
      - Robert Southey

If it were not for respect for human opinions, I would not open my window to see the Bay of Naples for the first time, whilst I would go five hundred leagues to talk with a man of genius whom I had not seen.
      - Madame de Stael (Baronne Anne Louise Germaine de Stael-Holstein)

Conversation never sits easier upon us than when we now and then discharge ourselves in a symphony of laughter, which may not improperly be called the chorus of conversation.
      - Sir Richard Steele

It is a secret known but to few, yet of no small use in the conduct of life, that when you fall into a man's conversation, the first thing you should consider is, whether he has a greater inclination to hear you, or that you should hear him.
      - Sir Richard Steele

One of the best rules in conversation is, never say a thing which any of the company can reasonably wish we had rather left unsaid. Let the sage reflections of these philosophic minds be cherished.
      - Jonathan Swift

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