you set the trap ; and he sets the saw."
Care should be used not to have two negatives
in a sentence when affirmation is meant ; thus,
" Do n't never tell a lie " should be " Never tell
a lie;" "I can't see nothing" should be "I
can see nothing," or " I cannot see anything."
Slang Phrases and Profanity.
A man is known by the company he keeps.
He is also known by his language. No amount
of good clothes or outside polish can prevent a
man from being regarded as vulgar and low-bred
who is addicted to the use of profane words. The
use of profanity plainly indicates that the person
employing it has such a limited knowledge of
words suitable to express ideas, that he is com-
pelled to use vulgar language in order to convey
his thought. And the same measurably is true
of slang phrases. Such words as " Level best,"
"Eight smart," "Played out" "You bet,"
" Bottom dollar" etc., while sometimes allowed
among familiar acquaintances, are vulgarisms,
and in all graver speaking and writing should be
The uniform use of a chaste, refined, and
beautiful language is not only an index to a
pure, clear, and cultivated intellect, but is
always, to the lady or gentleman, one of the
surest elements of success in any business where
language is required.
Declamation of Original Compositions.
'HE man or the woman in any com-
munity who can express ideas cor-
rectly, plainly, readily, with good
voice and self possession; in the
presence of others, wields always a
commanding influence, provided this
accomplishment is guided by good judgment,
which teaches what to speak, how to speak,
when to speak, and where to speak.
The correct and fluent expression of thought
is largely a matter of practice. Our youth
should be early taught to write their thoughts,
and to declaim in public.
The writing of compositions in school is one
of the most important of the studies pursued,
and, with every student, in some form, should
be among the daily exercises of the school-room ;
as in the writing of the composition are learned
spelling, penmanship, punctuation, use of capital
letters, grammar, and correct expression. And
frequently, during the week, should the student
declaim ; the declamation being, generally, the
student's own composition. Thus youth become
accustomed to the speaking of their own
thoughts correctly, and oftentimes eloquently.
This art, acquired under the guidance of an
experienced teacher, will be of infinite service
to the man in after life. And with the rapidly
widening sphere of woman's work, the ability
to speak well in public is equally desirable for
True, many people who have an ambition for
public speaking do not awake to the necessity
and importance of this subject until the period
of their school days has long passed, when the
conviction is likely to force itself upon their
minds that they are too late. Such, however,
need not be discouraged in their efforts towards
the acquisition of a pleasing style of oratory.
Let a debating club be established, of half a
dozen or more persons, to meet regularly during
the week at stated times, for the discussion of
current topics of the day , either at a private
residence, some hall chosen for the purpose, or
at a school-room ^ the exercises of the occa-
sion being interspersed with written essays by
various members of the club, the whole to be
criticised by critics appointed. A few weeks
thus spent will oftentimes develop in the club
several fluent essayists and speakers.
A rule ever to be acted upon by the student
is, that whatever is worth doing at all is worth
doing well. Aim always for the greatest excel-
lence when commencing the study of any art or
THE ART OF EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING.
WRITING AS AN AID TO EXTEMPORE
| HE ability to make an off-hand
speech without the aid of manu-
script, at once entertaining and
instructive, is an accomplish-
ment very much to be desired,
and is one that can be acquired
in most cases by the man or
woman of average talent, who
lias the requisite amount of training for this
purpose, accompanied by the necessary oppor-
tunities for intellectual culture. Such being the
fact, the following suggestions may be oppor-
tune, as giving an outline of the requisites
necessary for the production of a ready speaker.
First. The foundation of the discourse should
be thoroughly fixed in the mind, and the order
of succession in which the arguments are to
Second. These should be so arranged that
one thought should be the natural outgrowth
of the other, and each idea should be so dis-
tinctly marked out as to be in readiness the mo-
ment it is wanted.
Third. The speaker should vividly feel all
that he may design to speak, in order that clear
ideas may be expressed. The mind should not,
however, be so absorbed with the subject in
hand as to prevent its acting readily in the
development of the topic under consideration.
It is possible for the feelings to become so
vehement in their expression as to paralyze
utterance from their very fullness.
Fourth. The feelings, in speaking, must be
resolved into ideas, thoughts intc images, to
express which there must be suitable language.
While the main idea should be firmly grasped,
in its elucidation it should be separated into its
principal members, and these again divided into
subordinate parts, each under perfect command
of the speaker, to be called upon and used at
will, until the subject is exhausted.
Fifth. The full, complete, and ready use of
the imagination is of the greatest importance to
the extemporaneous speaker, which power may
be greatly cultivated by reading the works of
Walter Scott, Dickens, and other standard
writers who excel in imaginative description.
To hold up before the audience a clear, distinct
outline of the subject in hand, and paint the
picture in fitting language so vividly that the
auditors will delightedly follow its progress,
step by step, is the distinguishing excellence of
the off-hand speaker. With many persons of
real talent, the powers of imagination work too
slowly to hold the attention of the audience.
This hindrance, however, can be largely over-
come by practice.
Sixth. The difficulty of embarrassment, which
afflicts some people upon public appearance, is
overcome by practice, and by having a perfectly
distinct understanding of what is to be said,
which consciousness tends to give confidence
and self-poss3ssion. To obtain the ability to
present this clear conception of the subject, the
speaker should study logic, geometry, and kin-
dred subjects, that arrive at conclusions through
a process of analytical reasoning. The speaker
should be able to think methodically, being
able to decompose his thoughts into parts, to
analyze these into their elements, to recompose,
regather, and concentrate these again in a man-
ner such as will clearly illustrate the idea sought
to be conveyed.
Seventh. One of the most efficient aids to
public speaking is the ability to write. The
public speaker will do well to commence by
writing in full what he is desirous of saying.
He should, at the same time, make a study of
the various masters of oratory. Writing gives
great clearness to the expression of thought,
and having plenty of time in its composition,
the mind is able to look at the subject in every
phase. With the main idea clearly defined and
kept constantly in view, let the speaker exam-
ine the subject in every light, the different fac-
ulties of the mind concentrating upon a single
THE AKT OF COMPOSITION.
point. Thus, step by step, the subject is con-
sidered in all its bearings, the various details of
the idea being completely studied, and the
whole matter thoroughly developed, until the
subject has reached its perfect form.
Eighth. The daily study of synonymous words
and their meanings will give greater facility of
expression. The mind should also be stored with
a great variety of information on subjects per-
taining to the arts and sciences, from which one
can constantly draw in cases of emergency. It
is impossible for the speaker to extemporize
what is not in the mind. And further, all read-
ing and study should be done with such care
that every idea thus acquired will be so thor-
oughly wrought out as to be available when we
wish to communicate our ideas to others.
Ninth. In public speaking, one of the great
secrets of success is a knowledge of human na-
ture. To acquire this the speaker should care-
fully study men the passions and impulses
that influence mankind their phrenological
characteristics, and know them as they are. To
do this, he should freely mingle in society, in-
terchanging ideas, and seeking every opportu-
nity .for the practice of extempore speaking.
Tenth. An important element necessary to
success in the off-hand speaker is courage.
While it is essential that he use choice and fit-
ting language in the expression of ideas, let him
not hesitate, when he has commenced a sentence,
because he cannot readily call to mind the exact
language necessary to beautifully clothe the
thought. Push vigorously through to the end,
even though at a sacrifice, for a time, of the
most perfect forms of speech. This courage
that dare stand up and speak a sentence un-
grammatically even, is necessary to make the
good speaker of the future.
Finally, while all cannot become equally
proficient in oratory, the industrious student of
average talent who earnestly resolves to win
success as an extempore speaker, will find him-
self, in the majority of cases, in time, self-pos-
sessed in the presence of others. With ideas
clear and distinct, vivified and quickened by
imagination, clothed in fitting words and beau-
tiful language, he will be enabled to instruct
and entertain an audience in a manner vastly
better than most people would suppose who
may have listened to his maiden efforts in the
commencement of his public speaking.
O be able to talk correctly, the stu-
dent should first be able to write
properly. Not only should penman-
ship be plain and easy, words rightly
spelled, capitals correctly used, and
sentences grammatically constructed
and punctuated, but much depends, also, be-
yond that, upon the style of composition, mode
of expression, and language used, whether it
be acceptable to readers and hearers, or not.
As a rule, with the great sea of literature
about us, the writer of to-day who is original
and condenses ideas into the smallest space,
whether in the sermon, book, business letter,
or newspaper article, is much the most likely to
have readers or hearers. The aim of the wri-
ter should therefore be, first, to say something
new, presenting a subject fraught with original
ideas and second, to give those ideas in the
fewest possible words consistent with agreeable
" Why did you not make that article more
brief " said an editor to his correspondent.
" Because," said the writer, ' I did not have
The idea sought to be conveyed, concerning
brevity, is clearly shown in that answer of the
correspondent. It is an easy matter to dress
ideas many words. It requires much more
care, however, to clearly state the same idea in
The chief merit of Shakespeare is the thought
conveyed in few words ; the meaning that we
catch beyond the words expressed.
Those poets that will live in immortality have
SUGGESTIONS ON COMPOSITION.
written thus. The reader cannot fail to recog-
nize the truth and thought conveyed in this
stanza of Cowper's, beyond the words them-
11 Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace ;
Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face."
The idea expressed in these few lines brings up
in long review the trials of a past life, and the
recollection of sorrows and afflictions which we
afterwards, not unfrequently, discovered to be
blessings in disguise, and in reality seemingly
designed for our best good.
There is much food for reflection in the follow-
ing stanza from Gray's " Elegy" :
"Full many a gem, of purest ray serene,
The dark, uufathonied caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air."
With this reading comes up the thought of
those of our fellow men whom we know to be
good, noble, and worthy, but whose names will go
down to the grave unhonored and unknown.
Very plainly we see the meaning beyond the
words in the following, also from Gray :
" Perhaps, in this neglected spot, is laid
Some heart, once pregnant with celestial fire
Hand, that the rod of empire migh t have swayed,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre."
A similar idea is expressed by Whittier,
though in fewer words :
" Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these, ' It might have been.' "
Both stanzas are deeply freighted with thought
beyond what is expressed.
Those extracts, whether in prose or poetry,
that are destined to go down to coming genera-
tions, are so laden with ideas and suggestions
that in listening or reading, the scenes they
suggest seem to move before us, and we forget
words in contemplating that which the words
Prose writings often contain gems of thought
told very briefly, especially in the works of our
best authors. In the following, from Irving's
description of the grave, the reader becomes so
absorbed in the picture portrayed that the words
themselves are lost in the emotions they enkin-
" O, the grave ! the grave ! It buries every error, covers every de-
fect, extinguishes every resentment. From its peaceful bosom spring
none but fond regrets and tender recollections. Who can look down
upon the grave even of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb,
that he should ever have warrtd with the poor handful of earth that
lies mouldering before him.
"But the grave of those we loved what a place for meditation!
There it is that we call up in long review the whole history of virtue
and gentleness, and the thousand endearments lavished upon us, al-
most unheeded, in the daily intercourse of intimacy; there it is that
we dwell upon the tenderness, the SDlemn, awful tenderness of the
parting scene the bed of death, with all its stifled griefs, its noiseless
attendants, its mute, watchful assiduities the last testimonies of ex-
piring love the feeble, fluttering, thrilling O how thrilling ! pres-
sure of the hand the last fond look of the glazing eye, turned upon
us even from the threshold of existence the faint, faltering accents
struggling in death to give one more assurance of affection.
"Ay, go to the grave of buried love, and meditate! There settle
the account with thy conscience for every past benefit unrequited,
every past endearment unregarded, of that departed being who can
never never never return to be soothed by thy contrition."
The Bible abounds in beautiful and expressive
sayings, that reveal much in few words, as shown
in the following:
"The wicked fl^e when no man pursneth." " Boast not thyself of
to-morrow. Thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
"A soft answer tnrneth away wrath." " Better is a dinner of herbs
where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. 1 '
" Hope deferred maketh the heart sick. 1 ' " Cast thy bread upon
the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days."
Care should be taken to prune out the unnec-
essary words with an unsparing hand. Thus,
in the sentence, " I have got back, having re-
turned yesterday," it is better to say, " I re-
Two young men, upon going into the army
during the late civil war, were requested by
their friends to telegraph at the close of any
battle they might take part in, concerning their
condition. At the close of the battle of Perry-
ville, one telegraphed the following :
" PBBRYVILLE, KT., Oct. 9. 1863.
"As requested, I take the first opportunity after the late severe
battle, fought at this place, to inform you that I came from the
The other telegraphed as follows :
" PERRTVILLE, KT., Oct. 9, 1862.
" HIRAM MAYNAED."
Hiram well knew that his friends would hear
immediately of the battle from the newspapers,
and would learn from the same source that his
regiment participated in the engagement. Their
next question would then be " How is Hiram ? "
To answer that, he had simply to telegraph one
word. In a letter afterwards, he gave the par-
The following rules should be observed in
First. Never use a word that does not add
some new thought, or modify some idea already
Second. Beware of introducing so many sub-
jects into one sentence as to confuse the sense.
Third. Long and short sentences should be
properly intermixed, in order to give a pleasing
sound in reading. There is generally a rounded
harmony in the long sentence, not found in the
short, though as a rule, in order to express
meaning plainly, it is better to use short sen-
Fourth. Make choice of such words and
phrases as people will readily understand.
HE beauty, force, clearness, and
brevity of language are frequently
greatly enhanced by the judicious
use of rhetorical figures, which are
named and explained as follows:
A Simile is an expressed comparison.
EXAMPLE " Charity, like the sun, brightens every object on which
The Metaphor is an implied comparison, indi-
cating the resemblance of two objects by apply-
ing the name, quality or conduct of one directly
to the other.
EXAMPLES "Thy word is a lamp to my feet." " Life is an isthmus
between two eternities. 1 ' "The morning of life." "The storms of
An Allegory is the recital of a story under
which is a meaning different from what is ex-
pressed in words, the analogy and comparison
being so plainly made that the designed con-
clusions are correctly drawn.
EXAMPLE Thou hast brought a vine (the Jewish nation) out of
Egypt; thou hast cast out the heathen and planted it. Thou prepar-
edst room before it and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the
land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs
thereof were like the goodly cedars. BIBLE.
In Hyperbole, through the effect of imagina-
tion or passion, we greatly exaggerate what is
founded in truth, by magnifying the good qual-
ities of objects we love, and diminish and
degrade the objects that we dislike or envy.
EXAMPLES " That fellow is so tall that he does not know when his
feet are cold." " Brougham is a thunderbolt.' 1 ' 1
Personification consists in attributing life to
EXAMPLE " Hatred stirreth up strife; but love covereth all sins."
A Metonymy (Me-ton-y-my) substitutes the
name of one object for that of another that
sustains some relation to it, either by some de-
gree of mutual dependence or otherwise so
connected as to be capable of suggesting it;
thus cause is used for effect or the effect for the
cause, the attribute for the subject or the sub-
ject for the attribute.
EXAMPLES 1. Cause and effect ; as " Extravagance is the ruin of
many," that is, the cause of ruin.
2. Attribute and that to which it belongs; as ''Pride shall be
brought low" that is, the proud.
A Synecdoche (sin-ek-do-ke) is a form of speech
wherein something more or something less is
substituted for the precise object meant, as
when the whole is put for a part, or a part for
the whole ; the singular for the plural or the
plural for the singular.
EXAMPLES " His head is grey," that is, his hair. " The world
considers him a man of talent," that is, the people.
Antithesis is the contrasting of opposites.
EXAMPLES ''Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give
my hand and heart to this vote." " Though deep yet clear."
Irony is a form of speech in which the writer
or speaker sneeringly means the reverse of what
is literally said, the words being usually mock-
ery uttered for the sake of ridicule or sarcasm.
Irony is a very effective weapon of attack, the
form of language being such as scarcely to
admit of a reply.
EXAMPLE " Have not the Indiana been kindly and justly treated?
Have not the temporal things, the vain baubles and filthy lucre of
this world, which are too apt to engage their worldly and selfish
thoughts, been benevolently taken from them; and have they not
instead thereof, been taught to set their affections on things above? "
Paralipsis pretends to conceal what is really
EXAMPLE "IwUlnotcallhimvillain,beciLU9e it wonld be unpar-
liamentary. I will no< call him fool, because he happens to be chan-
cellor of the exchequer."
Climax is the gradual ascending in the expres-
sion of thought, from things lower to a higher
and better. Reversed, it is called anticlimax.
EXAMPLES "A Scotch mist becomes a shower; and a shower, a
storm; aud a storm, a tempest; and a tempest, thunder and lightning;
and thunder and lightning, heaveuquake arid earthquake." "Then
virtue became silent, heartsick, pined away, and died."
Allusion is that use of language whereby in a
word or words we recall some interesting inci-
dent or condition by resemblance or contrast.
EXAMPLES " Give them the Amazon in South America and we '11
give laeiu the Mississippi in ihe United States."
After the signing of the Declaration of Inde-
pendence, Hancock remarked to his fellow
signers that they must all Jiang together. " Yes,"
said Franklin " or we shall all hang separately."
The allusion in this case turns to a pun, which
is a play upon words.
EXAMPLE "And the Doctor told the Sexton
Aud the Sexton tolled the bell."
A continued allusion and resemblance in
style becomes a parody.
EXAMPLE " 'T is the last rose of summer, left blooming alone ;
All her lovely companions are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes, or give sigh for sigh.
I Ml not leave thee, thou lone one, to pine on thy stem ;
Since the lovely are sleeping, go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter thy leaves o'er the bed
Where thy mates of the garden lie scentless and dead."
PARODY " 'T is the last golden dollar, left shining alone ;
All its brilliant companions are squandered and gone;
No coin of its mintage reflects back its hue,
They went in mint juleps, and this will go too !
I' 11 not keep thee, thou lone one, too long in suspense;
Thy brothers were melted, and melt thou, to pence !
I '11 ask for no quarter, I '11 spend and not spare.
Till my old tattered pocket hangs centless and bare."
PUN "Ancient maiden lady anxiously remarks,
That there must be peril 'mong so many sparks:
Roguish-looking fellow, turning to the stranger.
Says it 's his opinion she is out of danger." Saxe.
Exclamation is a figure of speech used to ex-
press more strongly the emotions of the speaker.
EXAMPLES "Oh ! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and
the knowledge of God ! "
" How poor, how rich, how abject, how august
How complicate, how wonderful is man !
Distinguished link in being's endless chain !
Midway from nothing to the Deity !
A beam ethereal, sullied and absorbed !
Though sullied and dishonored, still divine !
Au heir of glory ! a frail child of dust:
A worm ! a god ! I tremble at myself,
Aud in myself am lost."
Interrogation is a rhetorical figure by which the
speaker puts opinions in -the form of questions
for the purpose of expressing thought more pos -
itively and vehemently without expectation of
the questions being answered.
EXAMPLES " He that planned the ear shall be not hear? He that
formed the eye, shall he not see ?" "O Death, where is thy sting? O
Grave, where is thy victory ?"
" Bat when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week or the
next year ? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a Brit-
i!i jruard shall be stationed in every IIOIIM; ? * * * Is life so dear,
or peace bo sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains aud
" Can storied nrn or animated bust
Back to its mansions call the fleeting breath ?
Can Honor's voice provoke the silent du^t,
Or Flattery soothe the dull, cold ear of death ?"
Euphemism (u-fe-miz-em) is a word or sentence
so chosen and expressed as to make a disagree-
able fact sound more pleasantly than if told in
EXAMPLES " Deceased " for " dead ;" " stopping payment," instead
of "becoming bankrupt;" "falling asleep," instead of "dying;"
"you labor under a mistake," for "you lie; " "he does not keep very