Quoting the Quill #7

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I thought I’d get back into the habit. Today’s quote is one I stumbled upon while perusing Pinterest. Knowing my own love of words, I enjoyed this quote quite a bit.

dead poets society

“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”  ― N.H. KleinbaumDead Poets Society

This quote makes me smile for several reasons. Not only does it give good writing advice, but there’s some humorous love advice as well.

I remember when I first heard the advice to remove the word “very” from my writing, and I was surprised at the difference it made. I still slip it in there from time to time, but I’m much better about using an expanded vocabulary now.

As for the love advice – it’s true. For me at least. I love words – on a page, in a book, from a letter, whispered in the dark, accompanied with laughter or tears, said with passion. Words, particularly the written word, move me like nothing else.

In my experience and speaking as one myself, women tend to over-analyze words, especially those said by a significant other. We will remember the tiniest phrases and ponder over their meaning, whether there was one beyond the literal or not. We will remember those things no one wanted us to remember in fights. We will treasure those phrases that melted our hearts or picked us up on a bad day. We will make note of those seemingly unimportant words said in conversation together and file them away in our memory for later. Because words matter.

Basically boys, don’t be lazy with words. For this girl at least (and I’m sure many others), it won’t do you any favors.


Quoting the Quill is meme created by Becky at Blogs-Of-A-Bookaholic, which is posted every other Wednesday.  If you’d like to find out more or join in the fun, check out the details here.


4 thoughts on “Quoting the Quill #7

  1. I love this! I never read The Dead Poets Society, but I did watch the movie. I actually have pretty strong feelings about the ending, so it made me not want to read it 🙂

    I couldn’t agree with you more though. Words are powerful. I think for most women, we associate words with feelings. At least, I know I do. So when certain words are spoken or written a certain way, it makes us emote. It isn’t so much that we love the words themselves, but we love the way they make us feel. I think that is part of why we can, like you said, remember little things that were said in fights, or maybe the little things that picked us up when we were feeling down, because we can remember exactly how they made us feel.

    1. I’ve never read Dead Poet’s Society either, though I have seen this quote floating about quite a few times, so maybe one day I’ll pick it up. I haven’t seen the movie either, so I’ve got nothing holding me back.

      You worded that perfectly! That is exactly it. Words bring out all sorts of feelings in us, and even if those are negative feelings, we still remember that. It’s why we read books over and over again, I think. Because we like feeling of the adventure books take us on.

      Great comment!

    1. You know, I think Mr. Twain was the first one to teach me about the evils of the word “very.” 😉

      I think of the professor fondly, and whenever Mark Twain is mentioned – since our first conversations were about Austen vs. Twain!

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