Edwin Hamlin Carr.

Putnam's Phrase Book online

. (page 1 of 14)
Online LibraryEdwin Hamlin CarrPutnam's Phrase Book → online text (page 1 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Produced by Donalies, Larry B. Harrison and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net

Transcriber’s Note

Italic markup is denoted with _underscores_.

Putnam’s Phrase Book

An Aid to Social Letter Writing and to
Ready and Effective Conversation, with
Over 100 Model Social Letters
and 6000 of the World’s
Best English Phrases

Compiled and Arranged by

Edwin Hamlin Carr

G. P. Putnam’s Sons
New York and London
The Knickerbocker Press


Copyright, 1919



[Illustration: Knickerbocker Press Logo]

_Printed in the United States of America_


Since we talk in phrases as well as in words every home needs a phrase
book as well as a dictionary.

This book has been prepared to meet that need, and contains a
dictionary of six thousand choice phrases arranged synonymously for
general use; many polite expressions, phrases of charm and courtesy,
for use in letter writing; one hundred sample social letters, including
instruction concerning the method of their preparation by the use of
the dictionary of phrases; a guide to choice phrases for social letter
writing; and finally, a handy index, very helpful, even though the
phrases have been arranged in dictionary form.

I have made an effort to emphasize phrases of commendation, optimism,
and courtesy. Also many for use in letter writing——especially phrases
suitable for letters of condolence. There is perhaps no more difficult
letter to write than one of condolence, hence a considerable number
under this designation in order to assist in this necessary and yet
most blessed task.

The primary purpose of this book is that it may serve as a synonymous
phrase dictionary, yet I have so planned it that it can also be used
as a social letter writer. The dictionary of phrases is to be used
in letter writing in connection with the sample letters. In case the
sample letters are not desirable, the instructions and guide, upon pp.
275-81 will show how to use the book when one desires to write his own
social letters.

Some of the social letters were written by using the phrases in the
dictionary section of the book; others were suggested by the perusal of
the same.

The very fact that one keeps his eyes open for new expressions tends
to make him more careful of his own phraseology, and to encourage the
constant improvement of his own style either by the addition of old
phrases, new to him, or by the coining of new ones.

Whenever and wherever I have found in any volume, magazine, newspaper,
or in conversation, a usable phrase I have made note of it. This
method has given me the material for the book. As far as possible I
have endeavored to collect phrases which are the common speech of all,
phrases which are not quotations, and are the property of all.

I am very greatly indebted to all I have heard and read, especially to
the standard authors.

I have included and located a goodly number of phrases from Shakespeare
and the Bible.

E. H. C.



I.——A Dictionary of Six Thousand Expressions and General
Phrases for Use in Conversation, Social Letter Writing,
and Public Speaking 1

II.——A Sample Letter Showing how this Book may be Used in
Preparation of Social Letters 275

III.——A Guide to Phrases for Use in Preparing One’s Own
Letters if the Sample Letters are not Satisfactory 279

IV.——One Hundred Social Letters 283
Of Condolence 285
Of Congratulation 298
Of Friendly Appreciation 300
With Gifts 301
Of Introduction 301
Of Invitation 302
Of Recommendation 304
Of Resignation 305
Of Thanks 306
Replies 308

V.——Index 313




Alive Alert

As full of fight as ever

Eager for the fray

Full of business

Teeming with life

Alive as never before

Working like mad

Full of high spirits

Up and doing

As lively as a thrush

Step lively

Quick in every part

Keenly alive to——

Ready in a trice

With a fine swinging step

With more than a languid interest

On a furious march with sealed orders

Nobody wants to be caught napping

No whit behind——

A project tinglingly alive


Advice Counsel

The only wise course to follow

No intelligent man can afford to disregard the——

No pains should be spared to avert this eventuality

If this thing occurs the fat will be in the fire

There is food for abundant thinking in——

He had warning to set his house in order

He talked to him like a Dutch uncle

Keep a strong curb chain on

To some it will seem like the touch of a profane hand upon the ark of
the Lord

The thought is one to sober all responsible men

Little foxes among the tender vines

It seems like going out of one’s way to face a hazard

Better alone than in bad company

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
_Hamlet_, I., 3


Asseveration Avowal

Unreservedly, unequivocally, and absolutely right

I feel called upon to asseverate that——

I shall prove to a demonstration that——

I shall not die happy unless I——

Of one thing there can be no doubt

I assert without fear of successful contradiction that——

I am living in the irresistible conviction that——

I am told by persons considering themselves sagacious in business

Nothing is more certified than that——

There is no vain assumption in saying that——

I lack words to express the full extent of my conviction that——

Let me say as strongly as I can that——

It is as certain as anything in human calculation can be made certain

The fact is irrefutable that——

The explicit dictum upon——

It has been avouched again and again that——

I would say so in the presence of an Apostle

They were making unusual asseverations

Few events are better attested than——

From that result there will be no dissent

I am confidently persuaded that——

It leads to the inevitable conclusion that——

I am absolutely sure that——

It may be safely asserted that——

Beyond question the——

I asseverate that——

I am bold to aver that——

I need not scruple to repeat my assertion


Concurrence Assent

I am perfectly of that opinion

I quite agree with you

It fits exactly with my notions

I concur entirely with you

I am heartily of your opinion

It is agreed by the vast majority of students that——

We are all in agreement with the thought that——

My own reading sustains the same view

I give my word gladly

I thoroughly agree with you

I am most heartily in favor of——

The opinion is widely held that——

The tacit admission is made that——

Your plan is quite to my mind


Help Assistance

Ready to go to all lengths

I am trying to help him compose his difficulties

I am thankful to have been the means of——

With fine helpfulness

He would go through fire and water for——

A friend in need is a friend indeed

An awkward corner is turned by——

A positive service to——

He takes a solicitous interest in——

Leaving no stone unturned

The stars in their courses fought for——

Substantial benefits

A mission of mercy

A salutary restraint

A clear instance of a gracious Providence

He would have fared badly had it not been that——

An ardent champion in——

He took his stand squarely with——

He aligns himself with——

By full and hearty coöperation

A high allegiancy

In a charmingly cordial way

A very signal interposition of——

He did his best to fan the fires of——

The best that is in me is to——


Worry Apprehension

I shall be extremely distressed if——

It caused me a thousand apprehensions

A miserable victim of anxiety

I was quite apprehensive about——

It is like a nightmare for me to think of——

On the anxious seat

The paralysing fear of——

Foolishly apprehensive of the future

As frightened as a child in the dark

A cause for much anxiety

Harried by uncertainties

He betrays a most suspicious anxiety lest——

With unwarrantable concern

Robbed of tranquillity

A growing fear of consequences

It haunted me like a ghost

I am apprehensive that——

A perfect paroxysm of restlessness

I note with concern the tendency of——


Excuse Defense

I should not have intruded on you at this hour

In an unguarded moment, I——

In an evil hour, I——

Owing to a foolish error, I——

In the exasperation of the moment——

It was purely a Pagan impulse

There was no intention to discriminate against——

I offer my humblest apologies

Your forgiveness for all these offences is very penitently and humbly

He did not feel that he was committing an indiscretion when he——

I am hardly presentable for polite society

I am far from being as well informed as you suppose me to be——

Forgive me all my delinquencies

The horrible consciousness has just dawned upon me that——

I find my tongue is too foolhardy.
_All’s Well that Ends Well_, IX., 1

I did play a lamentable part.
_The Two Gentlemen of Verona_, IV., 4

If hearty sorrow be a sufficient ransom for offence, I tender’t here.
_The Two Gentlemen of Verona_, V., 4


Sympathetic Sensible

With a beautiful sense of the fitting

A very delicate appreciation of——

It was perfectly charming to see how——

I shall be happy to recall the fact that we——

A nice sense of appreciation

The beautiful thing about it is——

With the inevitable grace that is French

Than this there is none other

He has a mind acutely responsive to——

He has a nice regard for——

You did it in the way that will count

It is a capital piece of work

That was splendid of you

It would do him a world of good

I am keenly interested in what you say

Thoroughly imbued with respect for——

I admire your foresight

I compliment you on your good sense

I have contracted a most religious veneration for——

Let us give him a hearty word of appreciation

Sensitive to every nicety of——

With a swift apprehension of——

I have a very high regard for your——


Approval Confirmation

I wish to give my hearty endorsement to——

It was a proposal which met with unanimous approbation

It is highly desirable

It is perfectly proper

It will promote instead of hinder

It is a wholesome and heartening conviction that——

It is a salutary and successful work

It was the conduct of splendid magnanimity

I felt I could leave it to your generous consideration

You have my unqualified approval

On that issue he is splendidly right

They cannot fail of producing the happiest effects

He was generous in his approbation

Unmixed approbation

This lends confirmation to——


Surprising Startling

It takes away one’s breath

A man can but rub his eyes in amazement when he sees that——

I was never so astonished

It is incredible that——

The thing fell like a thunder-clap

This is passing strange

Without having any previous inkling of——

The most amazing thing about it all is——

I was quite overcome

I was struck dumb by——

It completely surpasses my comprehension

What you tell me is simply astounding

Doubly striking

I flamed amazement.
_The Tempest_, I., 2

It was like a bombshell in our midst
Challenging even the stupid to consideration


Brazen Presumptuous

In unblushing impudence

Guilty of high-handed procedure

He was never accused of exaggerated modesty

In unctuous fashion

In a tone of virtuous superiority

A piece of ridiculous conceit

Nobody takes such precious advantage of it as he

An attempt to be smart

He had the nerve to——

It was a case of sheer audacity

He made peremptory demand that——

He is full of all kinds of sure prophecies


Attractive Fascinating

Beautiful to look at

The land of the beautiful

A potent charm

A perfect riot of color

The cult of the beautiful

Through an Eden of beauty

As beautiful as any poem

Winsome in appearance

With a certain fascination

Singularly attractive

Exquisitely dainty

Extremely prepossessing

The charm of the beautiful

Exquisitely shaped


Brag Bluster

He who threatens is afraid

I cannot abide swaggerers.
_II. King Henry IV._, II., 4

We consider him a huge joke

He has parted company with the facts

He makes unqualified assertions

Farcical pretensions

With a great assumption of dignity

A sham so thin that it requires but one test to puncture it

By smooth words he can gloze over the fact that——

Very far adrift for explanations of——

Where there is no wind every man is a pilot

It was rather tall talk upon my part

The worst wheel always creaks most

He is camouflaging

He is certainly not making a reputation for accuracy by some of his

Too affected to be real

It is not an explanation, it is only an excuse

Too transparently foolish to fool anybody

Adroit excuses

The whole proceeding was theatrical

He played up the bogey of——

He is not playing the game as a sport


Unperturbed Self-controlled

I am very tranquil about it

I am not at all solicitous about it

He generally takes things with equanimity

He kept a calm exterior in emergencies

Magnificent reserve

You could scarcely observe any of the evidences of inward perturbation

With the utmost composure

With stoical calm

With remarkable equanimity

No harm can come from stating calmly the reasons that——

He wears an unruffled front

Without the flick of an eyelid

An air of quiet, unaffected assurance


Prudent Careful

I am not going to leap in the dark

It must be handled with gloves

It is a work of eternal vigilance

Ordinary prudence would suggest that——

It is well within the bounds of conservative statement to say that——

We must keep a sharp lookout for——

That is the part of the sane caution

In spite of the most scrupulous precautions

Prudential regulations

Pull gently at a weak rope

He has infinite capacity for taking care

Haste onward with caution

Things done well, and with a care, exempt themselves from fear.
_Henry VIII._, I., 2

After adding the necessary salt of incredulity, it is to be concluded

It should receive careful consideration

It is worthy of attentive study

A conclusion not to be accepted without long deliberation

It is the part of rational protection for all concerned

We must wait for a propitious moment

On sober second thought, I——

We have to be as severe as justice

He seldom speaks without carefully considering what he is to say and
the probable effects

He is prudence itself

The dictum must be taken with reserve

He took time for careful deliberation

He took every precaution to——

I have carefully inquired into——

The precaution necessary to insure safety

For prudential reasons

Without any undue haste


Manifest Plain

As clear as daylight

The issue was clearly drawn

It makes forever clear that——

Left with no misapprehensions

It is self-evident that——

An axiomatic truth

Give me ocular proof.
_Othello_, III., 3

The apparently inevitable conclusion is that——

It is a matter of the simplest demonstration that——

A lucid explanation

It is a vivid portrayal of——

The results are everywhere apparent

Plain to every eye

I have a very clear conviction that——

I am perfectly clear in my mind as to——

There is nothing ambiguous about it

As significant as raised letters to the blind

With admirable clarity of mind

Open, aboveboard, and explicit

That clears the air

I see it

That simplifies everything enormously

It needs no great play of imagination to see that——

The plain unvarnished fact is——

It can be demonstrated to a mathematical nicety that——

It requires no extraordinary perception to discern that——

It has become perfectly evident that——

A mere cursory examination will make it clear that——

It casts an informing light upon——

As simple and as matter-of-fact as a fever chart



Second to none.
_The Comedy of Errors_, V., 1

There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple.
_The Tempest_, I., 2

A lovelier gentleman——the spacious world cannot again afford.
_King Richard III._, I., 2

He’s the rock, the oak not to be wind-shaken.
_Coriolanus_, V., 2

He reads much; he is a great observer, and he looks quite through the
deeds of men.
_Julius Cæsar_, I., 2

A dish fit for the gods.
_Julius Cæsar_, II., 1

This comes off well and excellent.
_Timon of Athens_, I., 1

That stirs good thoughts in my breast.
_King John_, II., 1

He should have a volume of farewells.
_King Richard II._, I., 4

My man’s as true as steel.
_Romeo and Juliet_, II., 4

A kinder gentleman treads not the earth.
_The Merchant of Venice_, II., 8

Ay, every inch a King.
_King Lear_, IV., 6

I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise.
_The Merchant of Venice_, I., 2

He has done nobly.
_Coriolanus_, II., 3

Happy the parents of so fair a child.
_The Taming of the Shrew_, IV., 5

The kindest man, the best-condition’d and unwearied spirit in doing
_The Merchant of Venice_, III., 2

Sing again: mine ear is much enamour’d of thy note.
_A Midsummer-Night’s Dream_, III., 1

Her voice was ever soft, gentle, and low, an excellent thing in woman.
_King Lear_, V., 3

Your fair discourse hath been as sugar, making the hard way sweet and
_King Richard II._, II., 3

You know the very road into his kindness, and cannot lose your way.
_Coriolanus_, V., 1

Neat, trimly dressed, fresh as a bridegroom.
_I. King Henry IV._, I., 3

They say, best men are moulded out of faults.
_Measure for Measure_, V., 1

Not meanly proud of two such boys.
_The Comedy of Errors_, I., 1

Your worth is very dear in my regard.
_The Merchant of Venice_, I., 1

A countryman of yours that has done worthy service.
_All’s Well that Ends Well_, III., 5

I have heard of the lady, and good words went with her name.
_Measure for Measure_, III., 1

We lack’d your counsel and your help.
_Othello_, I., 3

Thy charge exactly is performed.
_The Tempest_, I., 2

Thy counsel’s sound.
_The Taming of the Shrew_, I., 1

He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one; exceeding wise, fair-spoken,
and persuading.
_King Henry VIII._, IV., 2

The very thought of this fair company clapp’d wings to me.
_King Henry VIII._, I., 4

This was the noblest Roman of them all.
_Julius Cæsar_, V., 5

I do applaud thy spirit.
_The Two Gentlemen of Verona_, V., 4

Good phrases are surely, and ever were, very commendable.
_II. King Henry IV._, III., 2

Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, all the titles of good
_I. King Henry IV._, II., 4

Here is everything advantageous to life.
_The Tempest_, II., 1

It hath done meritorious service.
_The Merry Wives of Windsor_, IV., 2

Upon such sacrifices——the gods themselves throw incense.
_King Lear_, V., 3

A good heart’s worth gold.
_II. King Henry IV._, II., 4

My father’s honours live in me.
_Titus Andronicus_, I., 1

Never man sigh’d truer breath.
_Coriolanus_, IV., 5

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryEdwin Hamlin CarrPutnam's Phrase Book → online text (page 1 of 14)