Quotes About Vocabulary

Quotes tagged as "vocabulary" (showing 1-30 of 98)
Milan Kundera
“The Greek word for "return" is nostos. Algos means "suffering." So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.”
Milan Kundera, Ignorance

Pete Wentz
“We’re sick of hearing people say, “That band is so gay,” or “Those guys are fags.” Gay is not a synonym for shitty. If you wanna say something’s shitty, say it’s shitty. Stop being such homophobic assholes.”
Pete Wentz

Alan Bradley
“Anyone who knew the word slattern was worth cultivating as a friend.”
Alan Bradley, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Henry Hazlitt
“A man with a scant vocabulary will almost certainly be a weak thinker. The richer and more copious one's vocabulary and the greater one's awareness of fine distinctions and subtle nuances of meaning, the more fertile and precise is likely to be one's thinking. Knowledge of things and knowledge of the words for them grow together. If you do not know the words, you can hardly know the thing.”
Henry Hazlitt, Thinking as a Science

Woody Allen
“I'd call him a sadistic, hippophilic necrophile, but that would be beating a dead horse.”
Woody Allen

Baltasar Gracián
“A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one.”
Baltasar Gracián

Abigail Adams
“We have too many high sounding words and too few actions that correspond with them.”
Abigail Adams

Stephen King
“One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you're maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”
James D. Nicoll

Alexander Theroux
“Will I have to use a dictionary to read your book?" asked Mrs. Dodypol. "It depends," says I, "how much you used the dictionary before you read it.”
Alexander Theroux, Darconville’s Cat

A.S. Byatt
“Vocabularies are crossing circles and loops. We are defined by the lines we choose to cross or to be confined by.”
A.S. Byatt

Sheri S. Tepper
“As vocabulary is reduced , so are the number of feelings you can express, the number of events you can describe, the number of the things you can identify! Not only understanding is limited, but also experience. Man grows by language. Whenever he limits language he retrogresses!”
Sheri S. Tepper, A Plague of Angels

Tim Gunn
“Few activities are as delightful as learning new vocabulary.”
Tim Gunn, Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style

Stephen Chbosky
“So what's the point of using words nobody else knows or can say comfortably? I just don't understand that.”
Stephen Chbosky

John Dewey
“Every one has experienced how learning an appropriate name for what was dim and vague cleared up and crystallized the whole matter. Some meaning seems distinct almost within reach, but is elusive; it refuses to condense into definite form; the attaching of a word somehow (just how, it is almost impossible to say) puts limits around the meaning, draws it out from the void, makes it stand out as an entity on its own account.”
John Dewey, How We Think

Alberto Manguel
“We are losing our common vocabulary, built over thousands of years to help and delight and instruct us, for the sake of what we take to be the new technology's virtues. ”
Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night

Terry Pratchett
“Right!"
"Right!"
"You can get there!"
"I can get there!"
"You're a natural at counting to two!"
"I'm a nat'ral at counting to two!"
"If you can count to two, you can count to anything!"
"If I can count to two, I can count to anything!"
"And then the world is your mollusc!"
"My mollusc! What's a mollusc?”
Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms: The Play

“A true lady should have the wit and the imagination, or at least the very restraint, to express herself without resorting herself to such base vocabulary.”
Ari Marmell, Thief's Covenant

Diane Ackerman
“Metaphor isn't just decorative language. If it were, it wouldn't scare us so much. . . . Colorful language threatens some people, who associate it, I think, with a kind of eroticism (playing with language in public = playing with yourself), and with extra expense (having to sense or feel more). I don't share that opinion. Why reduce life to a monotone? Is that truer to the experience of being alive? I don't think so. It robs us of life's many textures. Language provides an abundance of words to keep us company on our travels. But we're losing words at a reckless pace, the national vocabulary is shrinking. Most Americans use only several hundred words or so. Frugality has its place, but not in the larder of language. We rely on words to help us detail how we feel, what we once felt, what we can feel. When the blood drains out of language, one's experience of life weakens and grows pale. It's not simply a dumbing down, but a numbing.”
Diane Ackerman, An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain

Jaclyn Moriarty
“Emily said ... Well, I read that it's important to sleep. While you sleep, the hippopotamus in your brain replays things that happend during the day, e.g. what you studied. So therefore it remembers it for you.”
Jaclyn Moriarty, The Ghosts of Ashbury High

Chris Gardner
“There was a language specific to all things. The ability to learn another language in one arena, whether it was music, medicine, or finance, could be used to accelerate learning and other arenas, too.”
Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness

Jack Vance
“I understand the gist of your speculation,' said Rhialto. 'It is most likely nuncupatory.”
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous

Howard Tayler
“Spy' is such a short ugly word. I prefer 'espionage.' Those extra three syllables really say something.”
Howard Tayler, Emperor Pius Dei

Sally Gardner
“I collect words--they are sweets in the mouth of sound.”
Sally Gardner, Maggot Moon

Charles Harrington Elster
“To enjoy and learn from what you read you must understand the meanings of the words a writer uses. You do yourself a grave disservice if you read around words you don’t know, or worse, merely guess at what they mean without bothering to look them up.

For me, reading has always been not only a quest for pleasure and enlightenment but also a word-hunting expedition, a lexical safari.”
Charles Harrington Elster

José Saramago
“Human vocabulary is still not capable, and probably never will be, of knowing, recognizing, and communicating everything that can be humanly experienced and felt. Some say that the main cause of this very serious difficulty lies in the fact that human beings are basically made of clay, which, as the encyclopedias helpfully explain, is a detrital sedimentary rock made up of tiny mineral fragments measuring one two hundred and fifty-sixths of a millimeter. Until now, despite long linguistic study, no one has managed to come up with a name for this.”
José Saramago, The Cave

Villiers de L'Isle-Adam
“Every human occupation has it repertoire of stock phrases, within which every man twists and turn until his death. His vocabulary, which seems so lavish, reduces itself to a hundred routine formulas at most, which he repeats over and over.”
Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, Tomorrow's Eve

William Faulkner
“...he remembered his uncle saying once how little vocabulary man really needed to get comfortably and even efficiently through his life, how not only in the individual but within his whole type and race and kind a few simple cliches served his few simple passions and needs and lusts.”
William Faulkner

“Vocabulary words are the building blocks of the internal learning structure. Vocabulary is also the tool to better define a problem, seek more accurate solutions, etc.”
Ruby K. Payne, Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities

“Milton's learned vocabulary [...] and his distant perspectives, represent the authoritative unintelligibility of the parents' speech as heard by the child.”
John Broadbent, John Milton: Introductions

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