Fifteen Thousand Useful 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


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