Selected Extracts from Well-Known Sources and Individuals
The passages cited below are from diverse sources and are of diverse kinds. They are all witty and practical. You will see this as you read through. I start with a good saying (Subhashitam) from Sanskrit, the most ancient of the Indo-European group of languages, and the elder sister of English which has currently the most wide-spread presence on the globe. The translation given for the Sanskrit verse is by my self. Enjoy the quotations.
1. A Wise Saying:
vidya dadati vinayam, vinayad yati patratam ǀ
patratwad dhanamapnoti, dhanad dharmastatah sukham ǁ
Translation: Knowledge or learning (vidya) imparts modesty or humility (vinayam), humility gives rise to competence or worthiness. On attaining competence, one acquires wealth. This wealth enables to do dharma (right performance of duties) and from dharma comes happiness (sukham).
2. Slow Thinking:
Albert Einstein’s associates still remark on his humility. Professor Banesh Hauffmann describes his first meeting with Einstein at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Hauffmann was working on some relativity theories of his own at the institute and colleagues urged to talk them over with Einstein. After hesitating, Hauffmann knocked on Einstein’s door, introduced himself and told Einstein why he has come. Einstein said he would be delighted to help. “Put the equations on the board”, he directed, “but please go slowly because I do not understand things quickly.”
-Jane Rosen in The Guardian, London
3. Take Heed:
It is a mistake to read too many good books when quite young. A man once told me that he has read all the books that mattered. Cross questioned, he appeared to have read a great many, but they seem to have made only a slight impression. How many had he understood? How many had entered into his mental composition? How many had been hammered on the anvils of his mind, and afterwards ranged in an armory of bright weapons ready to hand?
It is a great pity to read a book too soon in life. The first impression is the one that counts; and if it is a slight one, it may be all that can be hoped for. A later and second perusal may recoil from a surface already hardened by premature contact. Young people should be careful in their reading, as old people in eating their food. They should not eat too much. They should chew it well.
-Winston Churchill in “Painting as a Pastime”
4. Not Good for Business:
Many years ago when JOSEPH SEAGRAM & SONS, Incorporated, was the world’s largest producer of alcohol and wine, it awarded a $5.8 million research grant to Harvard Medical School to study why some people are more susceptible to alcoholism than others. In awarding the largest grant for basic research ever made by private industry at that time, Seagram hoped that the research would eventually lead to the ability to predict and prevent alcoholism.
– United Press International (UPI)
5. Dangerous Designing:
Spare a thought for the comrade who worked in the People’s Democratic Perambulator factory in an un-named Eastern European state. Since his wife was expecting the birth of their first child, he decided to suspend his socialist principles and steal one component from the factory each day to assemble a pram at home. Sadly the plan came to naught. As he confided to a friend: “It’s no good- no matter how I put the pieces together, it always comes out as a machine- gun.”
– South China Morning Post, Hong Kong
6. Language Neverisms:
William Safire, in his book On Language, a large collection of “fumblerules” of grammar, has passed along a bunch of these never-say-neverisms:
Don’t use no double negatives.
Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
Proof-read carefully to see if you any words out.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language.
Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixed metaphors.
Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, resist hyperbole.
Don’t string too many prepositional phrases together unless you are walking
through the valley of the shadow of death.
“Avoid overuse of ‘quotation marks.” ’ ”
If you re-read your work you will find on re-reading that a great deal of repetition
can be avoided by re-reading and editing.
Eschew dialect, irregardless.
Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!!
Write all adverbial forms correct.
Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
Avoid colloquial stuff.
Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague; seek viable alternatives.
-Published by Times books
7. Turned to Good Use:
In Hunan, a south-western province of China, weather forecasting is done by fourth and fifth-standard school children. The pupils, whose forecasts are said to be very accurate, observe local weather patterns and any unusual behaviour by animals, and then correlate these to local peasant weather maxims. They issue their forecasts by loudspeaker.
– Quoted in Post, Bangkok
8. How’s That Again? :
Report in a Suffolk, England, parish magazine: “The restoration of the church was completed by the resurfacing of the driveway, when, to the applause of all who had helped, the vicar and his wife rolled in the new gravel.”
– Evening Standard, London
9. Cartoon Quips:
One peon to another outside the company chairman’s office: “They are considering suspending me? Nonsense. It must be him they’re thinking of. Remember, this is a public sector unit.”
– Laxman in The Times of India
By Dr. Sachidanand das