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Brevity is the quality of being brief in duration.


  • I do not object to people looking at their watches when I am speaking. But I strongly object when they start shaking them to make sure they are still going.
  • It may be observed,
      in a general way,
    that life would be
      better, distinctly
    If more of the people
      with nothing to say
    were able to say it
    • Piet Hein, Mist and Moonshine: Grooks V (1973), p. 17
  • Amplification is the vice of modern oratory. It is an insult to an assembly of reasonable men, disgusting and revolting instead of persuading. Speeches measured by the hour, die with the hour.
    • Thomas Jefferson, letter to David Harding, April 20, 1824, "The Writings of Thomas Jefferson" (1854), ed. Henry Augustine Washington, vol. 7, p. 347
  • Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.
  • Few sinners are saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon.
    • Commonly attributed to Mark Twain, but not found in any collection of his writings.
  • Le secret d'ennuyer est celui de tout dire.
    • The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.
    • Voltaire, "Sixième discours: sur la nature de l'homme," Sept Discours en Vers sur l'Homme (1738).
  • But let the wise be warned against too great readiness at explanation: it multiplies the sources of mistake, lengthening the sum for reckoners sure to go wrong.
  • "Sie wissen, dass ich langsam schreibe, allein dies kommt hauptsächlich daher, weil ich mir nie anders gefallen kann, als wenn in kleinem Raum möglichst viel ist, und kurz zu schreiben viel mehr Zeit kostet als lang."
    • Translation: You know that I write slowly. This is chiefly because I am never satisfied until I have said as much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length.
    • Schreiben Gauß an Schumacher, Göttingen, 2. 4. 1833. In Christian August Friedrich Peters (Hrsg.): Briefwechsel zwischen C. F. Gauss und H. C. Schumacher Band 2, Gustav Esch, Altona 1860, S. 328

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