Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tired old phrases to use nevermore

Almost a century ago, on page 546 of his 1915 book Kleiser’s Complete Guide to Public Speaking, Grenville Kleiser presented the following list of of 46 redundant (and thus undesirable) phrases:

“I rise with diffidence
Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking,
By a happy stroke of fate,
It becomes my painful duty
I am encouraged to go on
I point with pride
On the other hand (with gesture) I hold
The vox populi
Be that as it may,
I shall not detain you
As the hour is growing late,
Believe me,
We view with alarm
As I was about to tell you,
The happiest day of my life
It falls to my lot
I can say no more
In the fluff and bloom
I can only hint
I can say nothing
I cannot find words
The fact is
To my mind
I can not sufficiently do justice
I fear
All I can say is
I shall not inflict a speech on you
Far be it from me
It behooves me
Rise Phoenix-like from his ashes
But alas!
What more can I say?
At this late period of the evening
It is hardly necessary to say
I cannot allow the opportunity to pass
For, mark you
I have already taken up too much time
I might talk to you for hours
Looking back upon my childhood
We can imagine the scene
I haven’t the time nor ability
Ah no, dear friends!
One word more and I have done
I will now conclude
I really must stop
I have done.”

They were tired way back then, but many are still around. I’ve never heard “in the fluff and bloom” though. Please avoid them all.

Politicians are fond of both of pointing with pride (at the past) and viewing (the present) with alarm. Their speeches fit an outline used as an article title in 2008 by David B. Nash:

“Point with pride, view with alarm, end with hope.”

The image, based on Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven, was adapted from a 1900 Puck magazine cover.

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