Forgotten Expressions

I’ve been reading from a copy of Putnam’s Handbook of Expression: For the Enrichment of Conversation, Writing, and Public Speaking complied by Edwin Halmin Carr (1915). It’s a delightful read.

Some of the expressions in the book are still in prominent use. Many are not. Here are some forgotten expressions that caught my attention:

“The spawning place of crime, ignorance, and debauchery”

“Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle”

“I am the lonely slave of an oft-wandering mind”

“As tedious as a twice-told tale”

“As obsolete as croquet”

“As bald as a cannon-ball”

“As idle as a painted ship on a painted ocean”

“I warm to a man with gall in his liver”

“He is above the meanness of tale-bearing”

“He is a perpetual surprise even to those who know him best”

“I trust you will repeat this experience at some future date”

“I must apologize for my stupidity”

“Don’t let me detain you for doubtless you have engagements”

“The uncertainty is irritating”

“I know the nicest little secret”

“If I rightly remember”

“Don’t give way to sure fancy”

“Certain unforeseen emergencies arose to hinder me”

“I regard him as being the cleverest man of my acquaintance”

“I feel that I have no more backbone than a jellyfish”

“As burning as the thirst of the fever-stricken”

“This merits reflection”

“In perpetual protest”

“The matter is not past mending”

“An asset of incomparable value”

“A heart alive to all the beauties of nature”

“I am exceedingly sorry that your request comes to me at a time when I am so pressed by my own affairs, that I cannot, with any convenience, comply with it”

And my favorite:

“I always thought the hour struck sooner in your home than anywhere else”

Omit Needless Words – The Elements of Style

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short, or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

– William Strunk Jr. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition, p. 23.

  

A great quote from a book that should be studied by every English reader.

The original 1918 edition is online for free.