To speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.
If you wouldn't write it and sign it, don't say it.
Two monologues do not make a dialogue.
Of those who say nothing, few are silent.
The older I grow the more I listen to people who don't talk much.
~Germain G. Glien
Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness.
To be able to ask a question clearly is two-thirds of the way to getting it answered.
There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all.
~Rebecca West (Cicily Maxwell Andrews), "The Harsh Voice," There Is No Conversation, 1935
By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach.
The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid.
Talking is like playing on the harp; there is as much in laying the hands on the strings to stop their vibration as in twanging them to bring out their music.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes
People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say.
~Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Cat's Cradle
Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne.
Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.
~Martin Farquhar Tupper, "Of Discretion," Proverbial Philosophy
The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be.
~Edgar Allan Poe
The trouble with talking too fast is you may say something you haven't thought of yet.
Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.
The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
The easiest way to save face is to keep the lower half shut.
Even a fish wouldn't get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut.
Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken.
~Orson Rega Card
Be careful of your thoughts; they may become words at any moment.
Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.
Foolishness always results when the tongue outraces the brain.
The words you choose to say something are just as important as the decision to speak.
Among provocatives, the next best thing to good preaching is bad preaching. I have even more thoughts during or enduring it than at other times.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage.
An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind.
It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.
~Maurice Switzer, 1906 (Thanks, Garson O'Toole!)
I am annoyed by individuals who are embarrassed by pauses in a conversation. To me, every conversational pause refreshes.
Isn't it surprising how many things, if not said immediately, seem not worth saying ten minutes from now?
~Arnot L. Sheppard, Jr.
It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.
~Karl Popper, Unended Quest
Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.
Drawing on my find command of language, I said nothing.
~Robert Charles Benchley
Don't tell your friends about your indigestions: "How are you!" is a greeting, not a question.
~Arthur Guiterman, A Poet's Proverbs
Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled.
Don't speak unless you can improve on the silence.
One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.
If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf.
The man was on his knees, trying to retrieve each of his ugly words that were now scattered on the floor. But, of course, it was too late.
Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving evidence of the fact.
~George Eliot, Impressions of Theophrastus Such, 1879
Calvin: Sometimes when I'm talking, my words can't keep up with my thoughts. I wonder why we think faster than we speak.Hobbes: Probably so we can think twice.
~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes
Not the fastest horse can catch a word spoken in anger.
Never miss a good chance to shut up.
~Will Rogers (verification of author per The Estate of Will Rogers, CMG Worldwide)
One way to prevent conversation from being boring is to say the wrong thing.
Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours.
Let us not look east and west for materials of conversation, but rest in presence and unity. A just feeling will fast enough supply fuel for discourse, if speaking be more grateful than silence. When people come to see us, we foolishly prattle, lest we be inhospitable. But things said for conversation are chalk eggs. Don't say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Letters and Social Aims," 1875, paraphrased over the years to the commonly quoted version "What you do speaks so loud, that I cannot hear what you say." (Thanks, Garson O'Toole!)
Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument an exchange of ignorance.
Coolidge was known for his terse speech and reticence. A woman bet her friend that she could get Coolidge to speak to her, which was something he was reluctant to do. She went up to him and said: "Hello, Mr. President, I bet my friend that I could get you to say three words to me." "You lose," Coolidge replied dryly, and walked away.
The difference between a smart man and a wise man is that a smart man knows what to say, a wise man knows whether or not to say it.
~Frank M. Garafola
I just wish my mouth had a backspace key.
No man would listen to you talk if he didn't know it was his turn next.
He's a wonderful talker, who has the art of telling you nothing in a great harangue.
~Jean Baptiste Molière, Le Misanthrope
The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.
~George Bernard Shaw
If you keep your mouth shut you will never put your foot in it.
If everybody thought before they spoke, the silence would be deafening.
Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them.
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said.
In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.
The best way to keep one's word is not to give it.
~Napoleon I, Maxims
Keep your words soft and tender because tomorrow you may have to eat them.
Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use.
Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand.
Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.
~Author unknown, attributed to Mark Twain
When you're arguing with a fool, make sure he isn't doing the same thing.
Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.