Quotations about   rhetoric

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Clarity in language depends on clarity in thought.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007) American historian, author, social critic
Interview with Brian Lamb, C-SPAN (10 May 1998)
Added on 7-Apr-17 | Last updated 7-Apr-17
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“My lord,” said Lar, falling back upon the single statement that a servant may always rely upon when any other response is fraught with peril.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
The Lord of Castle Black (2003)
Added on 31-Mar-17 | Last updated 31-Mar-17
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“Why now,” said Tazendra. “There is an idea. What do you think of Kytraan’s idea, Piro?”
“It is one I had not thought of,” admitted Piro.
“And do you think it a good one?” said Kytraan.
“I must consider it.”
“Oh,” said Tazendra, “we have nothing against considering.”
“No, indeed,” said Kytraan. “I, myself, have been known to consider on occasion, and would scarcely begrudge another’s chance to consider.”
“That is good, then; I will do so.”
“And will you do so now?” said Tazendra.
“I am considering this very instant,” said Piro. .
“That is good,” said Kytraan.
“Yes. I could not tell, or I should not have asked,” said Tazendra.
“Then it is right that you asked.”
“Do you think so?”
“I am certain of it.”
“Well, then I am pleased.”
“And you should be. But, your pardon, I am considering.”
“Of course,” said Tazendra, falling silent.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
The Lord of Castle Black (2003)
Added on 24-Mar-17 | Last updated 24-Mar-17
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Kind words also produce their own image in men’s souls; and a beautiful image it is. They soothe and quiet and comfort the hearer. They shame him out of his sour, morose, unkind feelings. We have not yet begun to use kind words in such abundance as they ought to be used.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) French scientist and philosopher
(Attributed)
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Often attributed without citation in 19th Century works, e.g., The Golden Rule and Odd-Fellows' Family Companion, Vol. 7 (1847).
Added on 13-Mar-17 | Last updated 13-Mar-17
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Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to J. H. Tiffany (31 Mar 1819)
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Added on 15-Feb-17 | Last updated 15-Feb-17
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Talking is one of the fine arts — the noblest, the most important, the most difficult — and its fluent harmonies may be spoiled by the intrusion of a single harsh note.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894) American poet, essayist, scholar
The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858)
Added on 13-Feb-17 | Last updated 13-Feb-17
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The tongue is not steel, yet it cuts.

George Herbert (1593-1633) Welsh priest, orator, poet.
Jacula Prudentum (1651)
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Added on 8-Feb-17 | Last updated 8-Feb-17
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Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Studies,” Essays (1625)
Added on 29-Sep-16 | Last updated 29-Sep-16
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Our companions please us less from the charms we find in their conversation than from those they find in ours.

Fulke Greville (1554-1628) 1st Baron Brooke; Elizabethan poet, dramatist, and statesman
Maxims, Characters and Reflections, 98 (1757 ed.)
Added on 20-Oct-14 | Last updated 20-Oct-14
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I am aware that many object to the severity of my language, but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write in moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch; and I will be heard.

William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879) American abolitionist, journalist, suffragist, social reformer
The Liberator, #1 (1 Jan 1831)

On slavery.
Added on 10-Jul-14 | Last updated 10-Jul-14
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Our ends will not be won by rhetoric and we can have faith in the future only if we have faith in ourselves.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
“The New Frontier,” Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech, Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles (15 Jul 1960)
Added on 7-Jul-14 | Last updated 7-Jul-14
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That is as well said as if I had said it myself.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
A Complete Collection of Polite and Ingenious Conversation, Dialogue 2 (1738)
Added on 19-May-10 | Last updated 12-Apr-17
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