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STYLE
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[ Also see Art Authorship Books Criticism Eloquence Language Literature Obscurity Oratory Originality Poetry Rhetoric Speech Taste Thought Writing ]

Uncommon expressions are a disfigurement rather than an embellishment of discourse.
      - David Hume

He who thinks much says but little in proportion to his thoughts. He selects that language which will convey his ideas in the most explicit and direct manner. He tries to compress as much thought as possible into a few words. On the contrary, the man who talks everlastingly and promiscuously, who seems to have an exhaustless magazine of sound, crowds so many words into his thoughts that he always obscures, and very frequently conceals them.
      - Washington Irving

Redundancy of language is never found with deep reflection. Verbiage may indicate observation, but not thinking. He who thinks much says but little in proportion to his thoughts.
      - Washington Irving

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
      - Thomas Jefferson

Whatever professes to benefit by pleasing must please at once. The pleasures of the mind imply something sudden and unexpected; that which elevates must always surprise.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

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.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

As it is a great point of art, when our matter requires it, to enlarge and veer out all sail, so to take it in and contract it is of no less praise when the argument doth ask it.
      - Ben Jonson

A temperate style is alone classical.
      - Joseph Joubert

In the present day our literary masonry is well done, but our architecture is poor.
      - Joseph Joubert

The beautiful invariably possesses a visible and a hidden beauty; and it is certain that no style is so beautiful as that which presents to the attentive reader a half-hidden meaning.
      - Joseph Joubert

The lively phraseology of Montesquieu was the result of long meditation. His words, as light as wings, bear on them grave reflections.
      - Joseph Joubert

The style of St. Jerome shines like ebony.
      - Joseph Joubert

Xenophon wrote with a swan's quill, Plato with a pen of gold, and Thucydides with a brazen stylus.
      - Joseph Joubert

The gloomy comparisons of a disturbed imagination, the melancholy madness of poetry without the inspiration.
      - Junius (pseudonym, possibly of Sir Philip Francis),
        To Sir W. Draper (letter no. VIII)

Young people are dazzled by the brilliancy of antithesis, and employ it. Matter-of-fact men, and those who like precision, naturally fall into comparisons and metaphor. Sprightly natures, full of fire, and whom a boundless imagination carries beyond all rules, and even what is reasonable, cannot rest satisfied even with hyperbole. As for the sublime, it is only great geniuses and those of the very highest order that are able to rise to its height.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

Neat, not gaudy.
      - Charles Lamb (used pseudonym Elia),
        in a letter to Wordsworth

Every good writer has much idiom; it is the life and spirit of language.
      - Walter Savage Landor

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

It is curious for one who studies the action and reaction of national literature on each other, to see the humor of Swift and Sterne and Fielding, after filtering through Richter, reappear in Carlyle with a tinge of Germanism that makes it novel, alien, or even displeasing, as the case may be, to the English mind.
      - James Russell Lowell

The secret of force in writing lies not so much in the pedigree of nouns and adjectives and verbs, as in having something that you believe in to say, and making the parts of speech vividly conscious of it.
      - James Russell Lowell

Propriety of thought and propriety of diction are commonly found together. Obscurity and affectation are the two greatest faults of style. Obscurity of expression generally springs from confusion of ideas; and the same wish to dazzle, at any cost, which produces affectation in the manner of a writer, is likely to produce sophistry in his reasonings.
      - Thomas Babington Macaulay

As the mind of Johnson was robust, but neither nimble nor graceful, so his style was void of all grace and ease, and, being the most unlike of all styles to the natural effusion of a cultivated mind, had the least pretension to the praise of eloquence.
      - Sir James Mackintosh

You know that in everything women write there are always a thousand faults of grammar, but, with your permission, a harmony which is rare in the writings of men.
      - Mme. Francoise d'Aubigne de Maintenon

Style is the hallmark of a temperament stamped upon the material at hand.
      - Andre Maurois

A copious manner of expression gives strength and weight to our ideas, which frequently make impression upon the mind, as iron does upon solid bodies, rather by repeated strokes than a single blow.
      - William Melmoth ("Sir Thomas Fitzosborne")


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