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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : PHRASES FOR TALKERS

Talks On Talking by Grenville Kleiser

PHRASES FOR TALKERS

It is said of Macaulay that he never allowed a sentence to pass muster until it was as good as he could make it. He would write and rewrite, and even construct a paragraph or a whole chapter, in order to secure a more lucid and satisfactory arrangement. He wrote just so much each day, usually an average of six pages, and this manuscript was so erased and corrected that it was finally compressed into two pages of print.

The masters of English prose have been great workers. Stevenson and others like him gave hours and days to the study of words, phrases, and sentences. Through unwearied application to the art of rhetorical composition they ultimately won fame as writers.

The ambitious student of speech culture, whether for use in conversation or in public, will do well to emulate the example of such great writers. One of the best ways to build a large vocabulary is to note useful and striking phrases in one's general reading. It is advisable to jot down such phrases in a note-book, and to read them aloud from time to time. Such phrases may be classified according to their particular application, -- to business, politics, music, education, literature, or the drama.

It is not recommended that such phrases should be consciously dragged into conversation, but the practice of carefully observing felicitous phrases, and of noting them in writing, cultivates the taste for better words and a sense of discrimination in their use. Many phrases noted and studied in this way will unconsciously find their way into one's expression.

The list of phrases which follows is offered as merely suggestive. In reading the phrases aloud it is well to think clearly what each one means, and to fit it into a sentence of one's own making. This simple exercise, practiced for a few weeks, will produce surprising results by way of increased facility and flexibility of English style.

It is obviously desirable
I can well imagine
Broadly speaking
An admirable idea
In a literal sense
By sheer force of genius
You can imagine his chagrin
I hazard a guess
It challenges belief
He has an inscrutable face
Very fertile in resource
I am loath to believe
It is essentially undignified
Example is so contagious
I am not in her confidence
Taken in the aggregate
It is a reproof to shallowness
There is a misconception here
I strongly suspect it so
He was covered with confusion
It was a just rebuke
A pleasing instance of this
It lends dignity to life
She has a desultory liking for music
It seems incredible
A kind of detached ideal
It blunts the finer sensibilities
Beyond question or cavil
A well-founded suspicion
It has elicited great praise
They are landmarks in memory
Superhuman vigor and activity
A venerable and interesting figure
It is curious and interesting
Gives the impression of aloofness
Perfectly void of offence
Regard with misgiving
A stroke of professional luck
An unscrupulous adventurer
He spoke with extreme reticence
Robust common sense
Deficient in amiability
Done with characteristic thoroughness
A vein of philanthropic zeal
Definite, tangible, and practical
Too much effusive declamation
A man of keen ambition
It gives infinite zest
Singular qualifications for public life
They are bitterly hostile
The despair of the official wire-puller
Blind and unreasoning opponent
Ignoble strife for power
Surrounded by a cohort of admiring friends
In an imperative voice
Marked by copiousness and vivacity
Touched with sombre dignity
A ridiculous misconception
Habitual austerity of demeanor
Ostentation and lavish expenditure
A person of exquisite tact
Intolerant of bumptiousness
The obvious danger of dallying
This was grossly overstated
A mass of calumny and exaggeration
Inimical to religion
Fraught with peril
I venture to ask
Attributed to mental decrepitude
A strange phenomena
It argues a blind faith
Insatiable whirl of excitement
A substratum of truth
Under some conceivable circumstances
Bubbling over with infectious joy
Frigid dignity and arrogant reserve
A profound contempt
The fine art of hospitality
Grim morsels of philosophy
A tinge of sorrowness and jealousy
Due to ignorance and barbarism
Grave and monstrous scandal
A splendid instance of self-devotion
Amusingly exemplified in this case
Recognized and powerful element
A symbol of restraint
An utterly fallacious idea
In rapid and striking succession
We learn from stern experience
Pictures of an inspired imagination
An astonishing outbreak
Soothing words of sympathy
A rather bold assertion
The most enthusiastic adherents
Mere tepid conviction
Eminently qualified for the task
Almost supernatural charm
In glowing and exaggerated phrases
Somewhat rich and austere
An inexhaustible theme
Grave and undeniable faults
Perfectly chosen language
All the characteristics of a mob
Given to grandiloquent phrase
Peculiar vein of sarcasm
Froze like ice and cut like steel
A generous tribute to an eminent rival
Cold and stately composure
Fiery and passionate enthusiasm
Extraordinary violence of nature
A brilliant and delightful play
Rare and striking combination
Preeminently qualified for the part
Moderate and cautious conservatism
Daring perversions of justice
Devoid of rhetorical device
As a great thinker has observed
Almost morbid sensitiveness
Discreetly stifled yawn
He was dumb with wonder
Scarcely less familiar
Delightfully characteristic
It was a profound conviction
Greatly conceived and expressed
Blinded by its brightness
I have cudgelled my memory
Exposed to imminent peril
Screening a breach of etiquette
By a natural transition
Splendid anticipations of success
A very laudable attempt
Lapsed into complete oblivion
With most distinguished success
Like embarking on a shoreless sea
A really pretty imitation
Unless I greatly err
Undaunted by repeated failure
Became a term of reproach
An epoch-making achievement
In the guise of verbal nonsense
Received with cordial sympathy
With the most obvious sincerity
Held forth with fluency and zest
Gracious solicitude
Punctiliously civil and polite
An air of sphinx-like mystery
Consumed by zeal
Awaited with lively interest
Sledge-hammer blows against humbug
This recalls a happy retort
Preeminently a case in point
Exquisite precision and finish
Incomparably better informed
A keen eye for incongruities
Polite to the point of deference
To the last degree improbable
People with rampant prejudices
A model of chivalrous propriety
By way of digression
A splendid acquisition
Singularly attractive fashion
A kind of unconscious conspiracy
Amid engrossing demands

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