Unformatted text preview: Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases 1 Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases
Project Gutenberg's Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases, by Greenville Kleiser This eBook is for the use of
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Title: Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases A Practical Handbook Of Pertinent Expressions, Striking Similes,
Literary, Commercial, Conversational, And Oratorical Terms, For The Embellishment Of Speech And
Literature, And The Improvement Of The Vocabulary Of Those Persons Who Read, Write, And Speak
Author: Greenville Kleiser
Release Date: May 10, 2006 [EBook #18362]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FIFTEEN THOUSAND USEFUL PHRASES ***
Produced by Don Kostuch
[Transcriber's Notes] Original "misspellings" such as "fulness" are unchanged. Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases 2 Unfamiliar (to me) words are defined on the right side of the page in square brackets. For example:
abstemious diet [abstemious = Eating and drinking in moderation.]
The blandness of contemporary (2006) speech would be relieved by the injection of some of these gems:
"Windy speech which hits all around the mark like a drunken carpenter."
[End Transcriber's Notes]
BY GRENVILLE KLEISER
HOW TO BUILD MENTAL POWER A book of thorough training for all the faculties of the mind. Octa
cloth, $3.00, net; by mail, $3.16.
HOW TO SPEAK IN PUBLIC A practical self-instructor for lawyers, clergymen, teachers, businessmen, and
others. Cloth, 543 pages, $1.50. net; by mail, $1.615.
HOW TO DEVELOP SELF-CONFIDENCE IN SPEECH AND MANNER A book of practical inspiration:
trains men to rise above mediocrity and fearthought to their great possibilities. Commended to ambitious men.
Cloth. 320 pages, $1.50. net; by mail, $1.65.
HOW TO DEVELOP POWER AND PERSONALITY IN SPEAKING Practical suggestions in English,
word-building, imagination, memory conversation, and extemporaneous speaking. Cloth, 422 pages, $1.50
net; by mail, $1.65.
HOW TO READ AND DECLAIM A course of instruction in reading and declamation which will develop
graceful carriage, correct standing, and accurate enunciation; and will furnish abundant exercise in the use of
the best examples of prose and poetry. Cloth, $1.50, net; by mail, $1.65.
GREAT SPEECHES AND HOW TO MAKE THEM In this work Mr. Kleiser points out methods by which
young men may acquire and develop the essentials of forcible public speaking. Cloth $1.50, net; by mail,
HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN Ninety-nine men in a hundred know how to argue to one who can argue and
win. This book tells how to acquire this power. Cloth, 320 pages, $1.50, net; by mail, $1.65,
HUMOROUS HITS AND HOW TO HOLD AN AUDIENCE A collection of short stories, selections and
sketches for all occasions. Cloth, 326 pages, $1.25, net; by mail. $1.37.
COMPLETE GUIDE TO PUBLIC SPEAKING The only extensive, comprehensive encyclopedic work of its
kind ever issued. The best advice by the world's great authorities upon oratory, preaching, platform and pulpit
delivery, voice-building, argumentation, debate, rhetoric, personal power, mental development, etc. Cloth, 655
pages, $5.00: by mail. $5.24.
TALKS ON TALKING Practical suggestions for developing naturalness, sincerity, and effectiveness in
conversation. Cloth, $1.00, net; by mail, $1.08.
FIFTEEN THOUSAND USEFUL PHRASES A practical handbook of felicitous expressions for enriching the
vocabulary. 12 mo, cloth, $1.60, net; by mail. $1.72. Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases 3 INSPIRATION AND IDEALS Practical help and inspiration in right thinking and right living. 12 mo, cloth,
$1.25, net: by mail, $1.37.
THE WORLD'S GREAT SERMONS Masterpieces of Pulpit Oratory and biographical sketches of the
speakers. Cloth, 10 volumes. Write for terms.
GRENVILLE KLEISER'S PERSONAL LESSONS IN PUBLIC SPEAKING and the Development of
Self-Confidence, Mental Power, and Personality. Twenty-five lessons, with special handbooks, side-talks,
personal letters. etc. Write for terms.
GRENVILLE KLEISER'S PERSONAL LESSONS IN PRACTICAL ENGLISH Twenty lessons, with Daily
Drills, special books, personal letters, etc. Write for terms.
FIFTEEN THOUSAND USEFUL PHRASES A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK OF PERTINENT
EXPRESSIONS, STRIKING SIMILES, LITERARY. COMMERCIAL, CONVERSATIONAL, AND
ORATORICAL TERMS, FOR THE EMBELLISHMENT OF SPEECH AND LITERATURE, AND THE
IMPROVEMENT OF THE VOCABULARY OF THOSE PERSONS WHO READ, WRITE. AND SPEAK
BY GRENVILLE KLEISER
FORMERLY INSTRUCTOR IN PUBLIC SPEAKING AT YALE DIVINITY SCHOOL, YALE
UNIVERSITY; AUTHOR OF "HOW TO SPEAK IN PUBLIC," "HOW TO DEVELOP POWER AND
PERSONALITY IN SPEAKING," "HOW TO DEVELOP SELF-CONFIDENCE IN SPEECH AND
MANNER," "HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN," "HOW TO READ AND DECLAIM," "COMPLETE GUIDE
TO PUBLIC SPEAKING," ETC.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY FRANK H. VIZETELLY, LITT.D., LL.D.
FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY NEW YORK AND LONDON 1919
COPYRIGHT, 1917, BY FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY (Printed in the United States of America) ----Copyright under the Articles of the Copyright Convention of the Pan-American Republics and the United
States, August 11, 1910 ------ Published. October, 1917
One cannot always live in the palaces and state apartments of language, but we can refuse to spend our days in
searching for its vilest slums. --William Watson
Words without thought are dead sounds; thoughts without words are nothing. To think is to speak low; to
speak is to think aloud. --Max Muller
The first merit which attracts in the pages of a good writer, or the talk of a brilliant conversationalist, is the apt
choice and contrast of the words employed. It is indeed a strange art to take these blocks rudely conceived for
the purpose of the market or the bar, and by tact of application touch them to the finest meanings and
distinctions. --Robert Louis Stevenson
It is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. --Southey
No noble or right style was ever yet founded but out of a sincere heart. --Ruskin Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases 4 Words are things; and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes
thousands, perhaps millions, think. --Byron
A good phrase may outweigh a poor library. --Thomas W. Higginson
PLAN OF CLASSIFICATION
SECTION I. USEFUL PHRASES II. SIGNIFICANT PHRASES III. FELICITOUS PHRASES IV.
IMPRESSIVE PHRASES V. PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES VI. BUSINESS PHRASES VII. LITERARY
EXPRESSIONS VIII. STRIKING SIMILES IX. CONVERSATIONAL PHRASES X. PUBLIC SPEAKING
PHRASES XI. MISCELLANEOUS PHRASES
The most powerful and the most perfect expression of thought and feeling through the medium of oral
language must be traced to the mastery of words. Nothing is better suited to lead speakers and readers of
English into an easy control of this language than the command of the phrase that perfectly expresses the
thought. Every speaker's aim is to be heard and understood. A clear, crisp articulation holds an audience as by
the spell of some irresistible power. The choice word, the correct phrase, are instruments that may reach the
heart, and awake the soul if they fall upon the ear in melodious cadence; but if the utterance be harsh and
discordant they fail to interest, fall upon deaf ears, and are as barren as seed sown on fallow ground. In
language, nothing conduces so emphatically to the harmony of sounds as perfect phrasing--that is, the
emphasizing of the relation of clause to clause, and of sentence to sentence by the systematic grouping of
words. The phrase consists usually of a few words which denote a single idea that forms a separate part of a
sentence. In this respect it differs from the clause, which is a short sentence that forms a distinct part of a
composition, paragraph, or discourse. Correct phrasing is regulated by rests, such rests as do not break the
continuity of a thought or the progress of the sense.
GRENVILLE KLEISER, who has devoted years of his diligent life to imparting the art of correct expression
in speech and writing, has provided many aids for those who would know not merely what to say, but how to
say it. He has taught also what the great HOLMES taught, that language is a temple in which the human soul
is enshrined, and that it grows out of life--out of its joys and its sorrows, its burdens and its necessities. To
him, as well as to the writer, the deep strong voice of man and the low sweet voice of woman are never heard
at finer advantage than in the earnest but mellow tones of familiar speech. In the present volume Mr. Kleiser
furnishes an additional and an exceptional aid for those who would have a mint of phrases at their command
from which to draw when in need of the golden mean for expressing thought. Few indeed are the books fitted
to-day for the purpose of imparting this knowledge, yet two centuries ago phrase-books were esteemed as
supplements to the dictionaries, and have not by any manner of means lost their value. The guide to familiar
quotations, the index to similes, the grammars, the readers, the machine-made letter-writer of mechanically
perfect letters of congratulation or condolence--none are sententious enough to supply the need. By the
compilation of this praxis, Mr. Kleiser has not only supplied it, but has furnished a means for the increase of
one's vocabulary by practical methods. There are thousands of persons who may profit by the systematic study
of such a book as this if they will familiarize themselves with the author's purpose by a careful reading of the
preliminary pages of his book. To speak in public pleasingly and readily and to read well are accomplishments
acquired only after many days, weeks even, of practise.
Foreigners sometimes reproach us for the asperity and discordance of our speech, and in general, this reproach
is just, for there are many persons who do scanty justice to the vowel-elements of our language. Although
these elements constitute its music they are continually mistreated. We flirt with and pirouette around them
constantly. If it were not so, English would be found full of beauty and harmony of sound. Familiar with the
maxim, "Take care of the vowels and the consonants will take care of themselves,"--a maxim that when put
into practise has frequently led to the breaking-down of vowel values--the writer feels that the common Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases 5 custom of allowing "the consonants to take care of themselves" is pernicious. It leads to suppression or to
imperfect utterance, and thus produces indistinct articulation.
The English language is so complex in character that it can scarcely be learned by rule, and can best be
mastered by the study of such idioms and phrases as are provided in this book; but just as care must be taken
to place every accent or stress on the proper syllable in the pronouncing of every word it contains, so must the
stress or emphasis be placed on the proper word in every sentence spoken. To read or speak pleasingly one
should resort to constant practise by doing so aloud in private, or preferably, in the presence of such persons
as know good reading when they hear it and are masters of the melody of sounds. It was Dean Swift's belief
that the common fluency of speech in many men and most women was due to scarcity of matter and scarcity
of words. He claimed that a master of language possessed a mind full of ideas, and that before speaking, such
a mind paused to select the choice word--the phrase best suited to the occasion. "Common speakers," he said,
"have only one set of ideas, and one set of words to clothe them in," and these are always ready on the lips.
Because he holds the Dean's view sound to-day, the writer will venture to warn the readers of this book
against a habit that, growing far too common among us, should be checked, and this is the iteration and
reiteration in conversation of "the battered, stale, and trite" phrases, the like of which were credited by the
worthy Dean to the women of his time.
Human thought elaborates itself with the progress of intelligence. Speech is the harvest of thought, and the
relation which exists between words and the mouths that speak them must be carefully observed. Just as
nothing is more beautiful than a word fitly spoken, so nothing is rarer than the use of a word in its exact
meaning. There is a tendency to overwork both words and phrases that is not restricted to any particular class.
The learned sin in this respect even as do the ignorant, and the practise spreads until it becomes an epidemic.
The epidemic word with us yesterday was unquestionably "conscription"; several months ago it was
"preparedness." Before then "efficiency" was heard on every side and succeeded in superseding "vocational
teaching," only to be displaced in turn by "life extension" activities. "Safety-first" had a long run which was
brought almost to abrupt end by "strict accountability," but these are mere reflections of our cosmopolitan life
and activities. There are others that stand out as indicators of brain-weariness. These are most frequently met
in the work of our novelists.
English authors and journalists are abusing and overworking the word intrigue to-day. Sir Arthur Quillercouch
on page 81 of his book "On the Art of Writing" uses it: "We are intrigued by the process of manufacture
instead of being wearied by a description of the ready-made article." Mrs. Sidgwick in "Salt and Savour,"
page 232, wrote: "But what intrigued her was Little Mamma's remark at breakfast," From the Parliamentary
news, one learns that "Mr. Harcourt intrigued the House of Commons by his sustained silence for two years"
and that "London is interested in, and not a little intrigued, by the statement." This use of intrigue in the sense
of "perplex, puzzle, trick, or deceive" dates from 1600. Then it fell into a state of somnolence, and after an
existence of innocuous desuetude lasting till 1794 it was revived, only to hibernate again until 1894. It owes
its new lease of life to a writer on The Westminster Gazette, a London journal famous for its competitions in
aid of the restoring of the dead meanings of words.
One is almost exasperated by the repeated use and abuse of the word "intimate" in a recently published work
of fiction, by an author who aspires to the first rank in his profession. He writes of "the intimate dimness of
the room;" "a fierce intimate whispering;" "a look that was intimate;" "the noise of the city was intimate," etc.
Who has not heard, "The idea!" "What's the idea?" "Is that the idea?" "Yes, that's the idea," with increased
inflection at each repetition. And who is without a friend who at some time or another has not sprung
"meticulous" upon him? Another example is afforded by the endemic use of "of sorts" which struck London
while the writer was in that city a few years ago. Whence it came no one knew, but it was heard on every side.
"She was a woman of sorts;" "he is a Tory of sorts;" "he had a religion of sorts;" "he was a critic of sorts."
While it originally meant "of different or various kinds," as hats of sorts; offices of sorts; cheeses of sorts, etc.,
it is now used disparagingly, and implies something of a kind that is not satisfactory, or of a character that is
rather poor. This, as Shakespeare might have said, is "Sodden business! There's a stewed phrase indeed!" Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases 6 [Footnote: Troilus and Cressida, act iii, sc. 1.]
The abuse of phrases and the misuse of words rife among us can be checked by diligent exercises in good
English, such as this book provides. These exercises, in conjunction with others to be found in different
volumes by the same author, will serve to correct careless diction and slovenly speech, and lead to the art of
speaking and writing correctly; for, after all, accuracy in the use of words is more a matter of habit than of
theory, and once it is acquired it becomes just as easy to speak or to write good English as bad English. It was
Chesterfield's resolution not to speak a word in conversation which was not the fittest he could recall. All
persons should avoid using words whose meanings they do not know, and with the correct application of
which they are unfamiliar. The best spoken and the best written English is that which conforms to the
language as used by men and women of culture--a high standard, it is true, but one not so high that it is
unattainable by any earnest student of the English tongue. FRANK H. VIZETELLY.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
The study of words, phrases, and literary expressions is a highly interesting pursuit. There is a reciprocal
influence between thought and language. What we think molds the words we use, and the words we use react
upon our thoughts. Hence a study of words is a study of ideas, and a stimulant to deep and original thinking.
We should not, however, study "sparkling words and sonorous phrases" with the object of introducing them
consciously into our speech. To do so would inevitably lead to stiltedness and superficiality. Words and
phrases should be studied as symbols of ideas, and as we become thoroughly familiar with them they will play
an unconscious but effective part in our daily expression.
We acquire our vocabulary largely from our reading and our personal associates. The words we use are an
unmistakable indication of our thought habits, tastes, ideals, and interests in life. In like manner, the habitual
language of a people is a barometer of their intellectual, civil, moral, and spiritual ideals. A great and noble
people express themselves in great and noble words.
Ruskin earnestly counsels us to form the habit of looking intensely at words. We should scrutinize them
closely and endeavor to grasp their innermost meaning. There is an indefinable satisfaction in knowing how to
choose and use words with accuracy and precision. As Fox once said, "I am never at a loss for a word, but Pitt
always has the word."
All the great writers and orators have been diligent students of words. Demosthenes and Cicero were
indefatigable in their study of language. Shakespeare, "infinite in faculty," took infinite pains to embody his
thought in words of crystal clearness. Coleridge once said of him that one might as well try to dislodge a brick
from a building with one's forefinger as to omit a single word from one of his finest passages.
Milton, master of majestic prose, under whose touch words became as living things; Flaubert, who believed
there was one and one only best word with which to express a given thought; De Quincey, who exercised a
weird-like power over words; Ruskin, whose rhythmic prose enchanted the ear; Keats, who brooded over
phrases like a lover; Newman, of pure and melodious style; Stevenson, forever in quest of the scrupulously
precise word; Tennyson, graceful and exquisite as the limpid stream; Emerson, of trenchant and epigrammatic
style; Webster, whose virile words sometimes weighed a pound; and Lincoln, of simple, Saxon speech,--all
these illustrious men were assiduous in their study of words.
Many persons of good education unconsciously circumscribe themselves within a small vocabulary. They
have a knowledge of hundreds of desirable words which they do not put into practical use in their speech or
writing. Many, too, are conscious of a poverty of language, which engender...
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