Fault Confessed Half Redressed Essay

James Wood, comp.  Dictionary of Quotations.  
 
 
  A bad beginning has a bad, or makes a worse, ending.
  A bad dog never sees the wolf.
  A bad thing is dear at any price.
  A barren sow was never good to pigs.
  A beggar’s purse is always empty.
  A big head and little wit.
  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  A black hen will lay a white egg.
  A blind man should not judge of colours.
  A bon chat bon rat—A good rat to match a good cat. Tit for tat.
  A burnt child dreads the fire.
  A careless master makes a negligent servant.
  A carper will cavil at anything.
  A carrion kite will never make a good hawk.
  A child may have too much of its mother’s blessing.
  A clear conscience is a sure card.
  A cold hand, a warm heart.
  A crafty knave needs no broker.    Quoted in Hen. VI.
  A crown is no cure for the headache.
  A danger foreseen is half avoided.
 
 
  A drop of honey catches more flies than a hogshead of vinegar.
  A drowning man will catch at a straw.
  Ægroto, dum anima est, spes est—While a sick man has life, there is hope.
  Æmulatio æmulationem parit—Emulation begets emulation.
  A fair face may hide a foul heart.
  A fault confessed is half redressed.
  A fonte puro pura defluit aqua—From a pure spring pure water flows.
  A fool and his money are soon parted.
  A fool is wise in his own conceit.
  A fool knows more in his own house than a wise man in another’s.
  A fool may give a wise man counsel.
  A fool may make money, but it takes a wise man to spend it.
  A fool when he is silent is counted wise.
  A fool’s bolt may sometimes hit the mark.
  A friend in court makes the process short.
  A friend is never known till needed.
  A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody.
  A fronte præcipitium, a tergo lupus—A precipice before, a wolf behind.
  A full cup is hard to carry.
  A gold key opens every door.
  A good bargain is a pick-purse.
  A good beginning makes a good ending.
  A good friend is my nearest relation.
  A good horse should be seldom spurred.
  A good marksman may miss.
  A good name is sooner lost than won.
  A good presence is a letter of recommendation.
  A good road and a wise traveller are two different things.
  A good surgeon must have an eagle’s eye, a lion’s heart, and a lady’s hand.
  A good wife and health are a man’s best wealth.
  A green winter makes a fat churchyard.
  A growing youth has a wolf in his belly.
  A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
  A hair of the dog that bit him.
  A hedge between, keeps friendship green.
  A hook’s well lost to catch a salmon.
  A hundred years cannot repair a moment’s loss of honour.
  A hungry belly has no ears.
  A leaden sword in an ivory scabbard.
  A liar should have a good memory.
  A lie has no legs, but scandal has wings.
  A light heart lives long.
  A little body often harbours a great soul.
  A little is better than none.
  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
  A living dog is better than a dead lion.
  A loan should come laughing home.
  A man can do no more than he can.
  A man at sixteen will prove a child at sixty.
  A man cannot spin and reel at the same time.
  A man cannot whistle and drink at the same time.
  A man is a fool or his own physician at forty.
  A man may do what he likes with his own.
  A man must ask his wife’s leave to thrive.
  A man’s best fortune or his worst is his wife.
  A man’s gift makes room for him.
  A man’s house is his castle.
  A man’s walking is a succession of falls.
  A miss is as good as a mile.
  A new broom sweeps clean.
  A peck of March dust is worth a king’s ransom.
  A pet lamb makes a cross ram.
  A place for everything, and everything in its place.
  A plant often removed cannot thrive.
  A pound of care won’t pay an ounce of debt.
  A ragged colt may make a good horse.
  A reconciled friend is a double enemy.
  A rolling stone gathers no moss.
  A saint abroad, a devil at home.
  A silver key can open an iron lock.
  A slow fire makes sweet malt.
  A sorrow shared is but half a trouble, / But a joy that’s shared is a joy made double.
  A spot is most seen on the finest cloth.
  A spur in the head is worth two in the heels.
  A stitch in time saves nine.
  A tale never loses in the telling.
  A tattler is worse than a thief.
  A thief knows a thief, as a wolf knows a wolf.
  A thing you don’t want is dear at any price.
  A threatened blow is seldom given.
  A travelled man has leave to lie.
  A tree is known by its fruit.
  A useful trade is a mine of gold.
  A wilful man must have his way.
  A willing mind makes a light foot.
  A wise man is never less alone than when alone.
  A wolf in sheep’s clothing.
  A woman conceals what she does not know.
  A word and a stone let go cannot be recalled.
  Ab inopia ad virtutem obsepta est via—The way from poverty to virtue is an obstructed one.
  Absens hæres non erit—The absent one will not be the heir.
  Abusus non tollit usum—Abuse is no argument against use.
  Accensa domo proximi, tua quoque periclitatur—When the house of your neighbour is on fire, your own is in danger.
  Actions speak louder than words.
  Adversus solem ne loquitor—Speak not against the sun, i.e., don’t argue against what is sun-clear.
  Afflictions are blessings in disguise.
  After dinner rest awhile; after supper walk a mile.
  After-wit is everybody’s wit.
  Agree, for the law is costly.
  Agues come on horseback and go away on foot.
  Alia res sceptrum, alia plectrum—Ruling men is one thing, fiddling to them another.
  Aliam excute quercum—Go, shake some other oak (of its fruit).
  Aliena optimum frui insania—It is best to profit by the madness of other people.
  Alienos agros irrigas tuis sitientibus—You water the fields of others, while your own are parched.
  Aliis lætus, sapiens sibi—Cheerful for others, wise for himself.
  All are not hunters that blow the horn.
  All are not saints that go to church.
  All are not soldiers that go to the wars.
  All are not thieves that dogs bark at.
  All cats are grey in the dark.
  All feet tread not in one shoe.
  All his geese are swans.
  All is good that God sends us.
  All is not gold that glitters.
  All is not lost that’s in peril.
  All the keys don’t hang at one man’s girdle.
  All the wit in the world is not in one head.
  All things are in perpetual flux and fleeting.
  All truth is not to be told at all times.
  All women are good, viz., for something or nothing.
  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
  All’s well that ends well.
  Almsgiving never made any man poor.
  Alter ipse amicus—A friend is a second self.
  Altera manu fert lapidem, altera panem ostentat—He carries a stone in one hand, and shows bread in the other.
  Altera manu scabunt, altera feriunt—They tickle with one hand and smite with the other.
  Always have two strings to your bow.
  Amicorum esse communia omnia—Friends’ goods are all common property.
  Among the blind the one-eyed is a king.
  An archer is known by his aim, not by his arrows.
  An Argus at home, a mole abroad.
  An empty purse fills the face with wrinkles.
  An evening red and morning grey, is a sure sign of a fair day.
  An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.
  An ill wind that blows nobody good.
  An ill workman quarrels with his tools.
  An indifferent agreement is better than a good verdict.
  An old bird is not to be caught with chaff.
  An old knave is no babe.
  An open confession is good for the soul.
  An open door may tempt a saint.
  An ounce of discretion is worth a pound of wit.
  An ounce of practice is worth a pound of preaching.
  Animo ægrotanti medicus est oratio—Kind words are as a physician to an afflicted spirit.
  Anything for a quiet life.
  Apothecaries would not sugar their pills unless they were bitter.
  Arbore dejecta qui vult ligna colligit—When the tree is thrown down, any one that likes may gather the wood.
  Arenæ mandas semina—You are sowing grain in the sand.
  Ars varia vulpis, ast una echino maxima—The fox has many tricks; the hedgehog only one, and that greatest of all.
  As a tree falls, so shall it lie.
  As good be out of the world as out of the fashion.
  As he who has health is young, so he who owes nothing is rich.
  As long lives a merry heart as a sad.
  As proud go behind as before.
  As the fool thinks, the bell clinks.
  As the good man saith, so say we: / As the good woman saith, so it must be.
  As the old cock crows, the young one learns.
  As you do to others, expect others to do to you.
  As you make your bed you must lie on it.
  As you sow you shall reap.
  Asinum sub fræno currere docere—To teach an ass to obey the rein, i.e., to labour in vain.
  Asinus asino, et sus sui pulcher—An ass is beautiful to an ass, and a pig to a pig.
  Asinus inter simias—An ass among apes, i.e., a fool among people who make a fool of him.
  Astutior coccyge—More crafty than the cuckoo (who deposits her eggs in another bird’s nest).
  Audax ad omnia fœmina, quæ vel amat vel odit—A woman, when she either loves or hates, will dare anything.
  Auro loquente nihil pollet quævis ratio—When gold speaks, no reason the least avails.
  Aurora musis amica—Aurora is friendly to the Muses.
  Aut regem aut fatuum nasci oportere—A man ought to be born either a king or a fool.    In Seneca.
  Avarus, nisi cum moritur, nil recte facit—A miser does nothing right except when he dies.
  Bêtise—Folly; piece of folly.
  Barbæ tenus sapientes—Wise as far as the beard goes.
  Barking dogs seldom bite.
  Be as you would seem to be.
  Be just before you be generous.
  Be swift to hear, slow to speak.
  Bear wealth, poverty will bear itself.
  Beati monoculi in regione cæcorum—Blessed are the one-eyed among those who are blind.
  Beauty without grace is a violet without smell.
  Before you trust a man, eat a peck of salt with him.
  Beggars must not be choosers.
  Begun is half done.
  Benignus etiam dandi causam cogitat—The benevolent man even weighs the grounds of his liberality.
  Best time is present time.
  Better a fortune in a wife than with a wife.
  Better a living dog than a dead lion.
  Better an egg to-day than a hen to-morrow.
  Better be poor than wicked.
  Better bend than break.
  Better buy than borrow.
  Better deny at once than promise long.
  Better go back than go wrong.
  Better it is to be envied than pitied.
  Better lose a jest than a friend.
  Better never begin than never make an end.
  Better one-eyed than stone-blind.
  Better say nothing than nothing to the purpose.
  Better ten guilty escape than one innocent man suffer.
  Better to ask than go astray.
  Better to say “Here it is” than “Here it was.”
  Better untaught than ill taught.
  Between saying and doing there’s a long road.
  Beware of “Had I wist.”
  Beware of a silent dog and still water.
  Beware of a silent man and a dog that does not bark.
  Birds of a feather flock together.
  Birth is much, but breeding is more.
  Bis peccare in bello non licet—It is not permitted to blunder in war a second time.
  Blessed be nothing.
  Blood is thicker than water.
  Bos alienus subinde prospectat foras—A strange ox every now and then turns its eyes wistfully to the door.
  Bos in lingua—He has an ox on his tongue, i.e., a bribe to keep silent, certain coins in Athens being stamped with an ox.
  Bos lassus fortius figit pedem—The tired ox plants his foot more firmly.
  Bought wit is best—i.e., bought by experience.
  Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is better.
  Bread at pleasure, / Drink by measure.
  Brevis voluptas mox doloris est parens—Short-lived pleasure is the parent of pain.
  Bullies are generally cowards.
  By bravely enduring it, an evil which cannot be avoided is overcome.
  By doing nothing we learn to do ill.
  By others’ faults wise men correct their own.
  Cæsar non supra grammaticos—Cæsar has no authority over the grammarians.
  Camelus desiderans cornua etiam aures perdidit—The camel begging for horns was deprived of his ears as well.
  Capiat, qui capere possit—Let him take who can.
  Caput artis est, decere quod facias—The chief thing in any art you may practise is that you do only the one you are fit for.
  Car tel est votre plaisir—For such is our pleasure.
  Care killed the cat.
  Carte blanche—Unlimited power to act (lit. blank paper).
  Catch not at the shadow and lose the substance.
  Catus amat pisces, sed non vult tingere plantas—Puss likes fish, but does not care to wet her feet.
  Caution is the parent of safety.
  Cave ab homine unius libri—Beware of a man of one book.
  Charity begins at home.
  Charta non erubescit—A document does not blush.
  Chastity is like an icicle; if it once melts, that’s the last of it.
  Cheapest is the dearest.
  Chi si affoga, s’attaccherebbe a’ rasoj—A drowning man would catch at razors.
  Children and chickens are always a-picking.
  Children and drunk people speak the truth.
  Children and fools speak the truth.
  Children suck the mother when they are young, and the father when they are old.
  Christmas comes but once a year.
  Cleanliness is near of kin to godliness.
  Close sits my shirt, but closer sits my skin.
  Cold hand, warm heart.
  Cold pudding settles one’s love.
  Common fame is seldom to blame.
  Commune naufragium omnibus est consolatio—A shipwreck (disaster) that is common is a consolation to all.
  Compagnon de voyage—A fellow-traveller.
  Confess you were wrong yesterday; it will show you are wise to-day.
  Confine your tongue, lest it confine you.
  Conscientia mille testes—Conscience is equal to a thousand witnesses.
  Content is better than riches.
  Content is the true philosopher’s stone.
  Contre fortune bon cœur—Against change of fortune set a bold heart.
  Courage against misfortune, and reason against passion.
  Courage is the wisdom of manhood; foolhardiness, the folly of youth.
  Courtesy costs nothing.
  Cover yourself with honey and the flies will fasten on you.
  Covetousness bursts the bag.
  Cras credemus, hodie nihil—To-morrow we will believe, but not to-day.
  Creditors have better memories than debtors.
  Crimina qui cernunt aliorum, non sua cernunt, / Hi sapiunt aliis, desipiuntque sibi—Those who see the faults of others, but not their own, are wise for others and fools for themselves.
  Crosses are ladders that lead to heaven.
  Crows do not pick out crows’ eyes.
  Cucullus non facit monachum—The cowl does not make the monk.
  Cui placet, obliviscitur; cui dolet, meminit—Acts of kindness are soon forgotten, but the memory of an offence remains.
  Cuilibet in arte sua perito credendum est—Every man is to be trusted in his own art.
  Cuique suum—His own to every one.
  Cura facit canos—Care brings grey hairs.
  Curses are like chickens; they always return home.
  Custom is the plague of wise men and the idol of fools.
  Cut your coat according to your cloth.
  Dames quêteuses—Ladies who collect for the poor.
  Damnum appellandum est cum mala fama lucrum—Gain at the expense of credit must be set down as loss.
  Danger past, God forgotten.
  Dare pondus idonea fumo—Fit only to give importance to trifles (lit. give weight to smoke).
  Dat Deus immiti cornua curta bovi—God gives the vicious ox short horns.
  Daub yourself with honey, and you’ll be covered with flies.
  De fumo in flammam—Out of the frying-pan into the fire.
  De pilo, or de filo, pendet—It hangs by a hair.
  Death pays all debts.
  Debt is the worst kind of poverty.
  Deliberat Roma, perit Saguntum—While Rome deliberates, Saguntum perishes.
  Desperate diseases need desperate remedies.
  Di irati laneos pedes habent—The gods when angry have their feet covered with wool.
  Diet cures more than doctors.
  Dii laboribus omnia vendunt—The gods sell all things to hard labour.
  Dives aut iniquus est aut iniqui hæres—A rich man is an unjust man, or the heir of one.
  Do not halloo till you are out of the wood.
  [Greek]—Don’t pronounce sentence till you have heard the story of both parties.
  Doing nothing is doing ill.
  Dolium volvitur—An empty vessel rolls easily.
  Domi manere convenit felicibus—Those who are happy at home should remain at home.
  Don’t reckon your chickens before they are hatched.
  Dulcibus est verbis alliciendus amor—Love is to be won by affectionate words.
  Duos qui sequitur lepores neutrum capit—He who follows two hares is sure to catch neither.
  Durum telum necessitas—Necessity is a hard weapon.
  E flamma cibum petere—To live by desperate means (lit. to seek food from the flames).
  E multis paleis paulum fructus collegi—Out of much chaff I have gathered little grain.
  E tenui casa sæpe vir magnus exit—A great man often steps forth from a humble cottage.
  Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
  Eat at your pleasure, drink in measure.
  Eat what you like, but pocket nothing.
  Eating little and speaking little can never do harm.
  Ego apros occido, alter fruitur pulpamento—I kill the boars, another enjoys their flesh.
  Eloignement—Estrangement.
  Employment is enjoyment.
  Empta dolore docet experientia—Experience bought with pain teaches effectually.
  Empty vessels make the most noise.
  En amour comme en amitié, un tiers souvent nous embarrasse—A third person is often an annoyance to us in love as in friendship.
  Enough is as good as a feast.
  Enough is better than too much.
  Enquire not what is in another man’s pot.
  Et sanguis et spiritus pecunia mortalibus—Money is both blood and life to men.
  Eum ausculta, cui quatuor sunt aures—Listen to him who has four ears, i.e., who is readier to hear than to speak.
  Even a hair casts a shadow.
  Even a horse, though he has four feet, will stumble.
  Every bean has its black.
  Every bullet has its billet.
  Every cock is proud on his own dunghill.
  Every couple is not a pair.
  Every day hath its night, every weal its woe.
  Every door may be shut but death’s door.
  Every good gift comes from God.
  Every heart knows its own bitterness.
  Every honest miller has a golden thumb.
  Every light has its shadow.
  Every little helps.
  Every man has his weak side.
  Every one draws the water to his own mill.
  Every one for himself and God for us all.
  Every one knows best where his shoe pinches him.
  Every one should sweep before his own door.
  Every one thinks his own burden the heaviest.
  Every rose has its thorn.
  Every shoe fits not every foot.
  Every tub must stand on its own bottom.
  Everybody is wise after the event.
  Everybody’s business is nobody’s.
  Everybody’s friend is nobody’s.
  Everything is as you take it.
  Evil comes to us by ells and goes away by inches.
  Evil communications corrupt good manners.
  Ex auribus cognoscitur asinus—An ass is known by his ears.
  Ex quovis ligno non fit Mercurius—A Mercury is not to be made out of any log.
  Ex scintilla incendium—From a spark a conflagration.
  Ex umbra in solem—Out of the shade into the sunshine.
  Exercitatio optimus est magister—Practice is the best master.
  Experience is the mistress of fools.
  Experience makes even fools wise.
  Experience that is bought is good, if not too dear.
  Experientia docet—Experience teaches.
  Extra lutum pedes habes—You have got your feet out of the mud.
  Extrema gaudii luctus occupat—Grief treads on the confines of gladness.
  Extremes beget extremes.
  Extremes meet.
  Extremis malis extrema remedia—Extreme remedies for extreme evils.
  Fabricando fabri fimus—We become workmen by working.
  Fac et excusa—Do it and so justify yourself.
  Facile est inventis addere—It is easy to add to or improve on what has been already invented.
  Facile largiri de alieno—It is easy to be generous with what is another’s.
  Faint heart never won fair lady.
  Fair and softly goes far in a day.
  Fair enough, if good enough.
  Fair is not fair, but that which pleaseth.
  Fair play’s a jewel.
  Fair words butter no parsnips.
  Famæ laboranti non facile succurritur—It is not easy to repair a damaged character.
  Fame is but the breath of the people, and that often unwholesome.
  Fames et mora bilem in nasum conciunt—Hunger and delay stir up one’s bile (lit. in the nostrils).
  Familiarity breeds contempt.
  Fancy surpasses beauty.
  Fast bind, fast find.
  Fate leads the willing, but drives the stubborn.
  Faults are thick when love is thin.
  Fear can keep a man out of danger, but courage only can support him in it.
  Feasting makes no friendship.
  Feather by feather the goose is plucked.
  Feebleness is sometimes the best security.
  Feed a cold and starve a fever.
  Felicitas nutrix est iracundiæ—Prosperity is the nurse of hasty temper.
  Felicity lies much in fancy.
  Fervet olla, vivit amicitia—As long as the pot boils, friendship lasts.
  Festina lente—Hasten slowly.
  Festinatio tarda est—Haste is tardy.
  Few are fit to be entrusted with themselves.
  Few may play with the devil and win.
  Few take wives for God’s sake, or for fair looks.
  Fiat justitia, ruat cœlum—Let justice be done, though the heavens should fall in.
  Fiat justitiam, pereat mundus—Let justice be done, and the world perish.
  Fidelius rident tiguria—The laughter of the cottage is more hearty and sincere than that of the court.
  Fides facit fidem—Confidence awakens confidence.
  Find employment for the body, and the mind will find enjoyment for itself.
  Fine feathers make fine birds.
  Fingunt se medicos quivis idiota, sacerdos, Judæus, monachus, histrio, rasor, anus—Any untrained person, priest, Jew, monk, playactor, barber, or old wife is ready to prescribe for you in sickness.
  Finis coronat opus—The end crowns the work, i.e., first enables us to determine its merits.
  Fire and water are good servants but bad masters.
  First come, first served.
  Fit fabricando faber—A smith becomes a smith by working at the forge.
  Fit words are fine, but often fine words are not fit.
  Flattery brings friends, but the truth begets enmity.
  Flattery sits in the parlour when plain dealing is kicked out of doors.
  Fluvius cum mari certas—You but a river, and contending with the ocean.
  Follow love and it will flee, flee love and it will follow thee.
  Follow the river, and you will get to the sea.
  Fontes ipsi sitiunt—Even the fountains complain of thirst.
  Fools and obstinate men make lawyers rich.
  Fools ask what’s o’clock, but wise men know their time.
  Fools grow without watering.
  For one rich man that is content there are a hundred who are not.
  Forbidden fruit is sweetest.
  Force without forecast is of little avail.
  Forgetting of a wrong is a mild revenge.
  Formidabilior cervorum exercitus, duce leone, quam leonum cervo—An army of stags would be more formidable commanded by a lion, than one of lions commanded by a stag.
  Fortiter ferendo vincitur malum quod evitari non potest—By bravely enduring it, an evil which cannot be avoided is overcome.
  Fortuna favet fatuis—Fortune favours fools.
  Fortuna favet fortibus—Fortune favours the brave.
  Fortune can take from us nothing but what she gave.
  Four eyes see more than two.
  Fretting cares make grey hairs.
  Friends may meet, / But mountains never greet.
  Friends, like mushrooms, spring up in out-of-the-way places.
  Friendship made in a moment is of no moment.
  [Greek]—From a bad crow a bad egg.
  From a bad paymaster get what you can.
  From hearing comes wisdom, from speaking repentance.
  From our ancestors come our names, from our virtues our honours.
  From pillar to post—originally from whipping-post to pillory, i.e., from had to worse.
  Frost and fraud both end in foul.
  Frugality is an estate.
  Fruit is seed.
  Frustra Herculi—In vain to speak against Hercules.
  Frustra laborat qui omnibus placere studet—He labours in vain who studies to please everybody.
  Fugere est triumphus—Flight (i.e., from temptation) is a triumph.
  Full vessels give the least sound.
  Furor fit læsa sæpius patientia—Patience, when outraged often, is converted into rage.
  Fury wasteth, as patience lasteth.
  Gallus in sterquilinio suo plurimum potest—The cock is proudest on his own dunghill.
  Gear is easier gained than guided.
  Get a good name and go to sleep.
  Get money, honestly if you can, but get money.
  Get spindle and distaff ready, and God will send the flax.
  Gifts make their way through stone walls.
  Give a dog an ill name and hang him.
  Give a hint to a man of sense and consider the thing done.
  Give a man luck and throw him into the sea.
  Give a rogue rope enough, and he will hang himself.
  Give and spend, / And God will send.
  Give and take.
  Give every man his due.
  Give him an inch and he’ll take an ell.
  Give neither counsel nor salt till you are asked for it.
  Give the devil rope enough and he will hang himself.
  Give way to your betters.
  Gladiator in arena consilium capit—The gladiator is taking advice when he is already in the lists.
  Gluttony kills more than the sword.
  God comes at last, when we think He is farthest off.
  God comes to see us without bell.
  God comes with leaden feet, but strikes with iron hands.
  God deals His wrath by weight, but His mercy without weight.
  God defend me from the man of one book.
  God gives all things to industry.
  God helps those who help themselves.
  God is where He was.
  God never forsakes His own.
  God permits, but not for ever.
  God stays long, but strikes at last.
  Gold is the sovereign of all sovereigns.
  Good advice / Is beyond all price.
  Good and quickly seldom meet.
  Good bees never turn drones.
  Good bread needs baking.    In Goethe.
  Good company upon the road is the shortest cut.
  Good courage breaks ill-luck.
  Good husbandry is good divinity.
  Good is good, but better carrieth it.
  Good laws often proceed from bad manners.
  Good luck comes by cuffing.
  Good mind, good find.
  Good take heed / Doth surely speed.
  Good to begin well, but better to end well.
  Good ware makes a quick market.
  Good wine needs no bush, i.e., advertisement.
  Good words and no deeds.
  Good words cool more than cold water.
  Good words cost nothing and are worth much.
  Good works will never save you, but you will never be saved without them.
  Gossiping and lying go hand in hand.
  Government of the will is better than increase of knowledge.
  Grasp all, lose all.
  Grass grows not on the highway.
  Gratia gratiam parit—Kindness produces kindness.
  Gratitude is the least of virtues, ingratitude the worst of vices.
  Great boast, small roast.
  Great cry but little wool, as the devil said when he shear’d his hogs.
  Great gifts are for great men.
  Great souls are not cast down by adversity.
  Great talkers are like leaky pitchers, everything runs out of them.
  Great talkers are little doers.
  Greediness bursts the bag.
  Grief divided is made lighter.
  Gutta cavat lapidem non vi, sed sæpe cadendo—The drop hollows the stone not by force, but by continually falling.

It’s not everyday that you get tips on messaging and marketing from a Nobel Laureate. But that is exactly what Nobel Prize Winner in Economics Daniel Kahneman does in his recent bestseller Thinking Fast and Slow. Much of his book centres on the two Systems in our brain – The first system, simply called System 1, intuitively processes information and is quick to make decisions (think driving a car), while the second system, System 2, makes deliberate and considered choices (think taking a math test).

Kahneman tells us that if you have a well thought out message that you want others to believe, it’s not just what the message is that matters, but how you say it. In general, if you engage the intuitive and automatic part of our brain (System 1), the message is more likely to be believed quickly. And the psychology lab experiments bear this out.

We’ve distilled the three best tips that Kahneman dishes out on writing persuasive messages based on the science, and summarized them into a mnemonic. So here it is, The ReferralCandy S.M.L. Rule for Persuasive Messaging.

Tip No 1: Make it Simple

Many students believe that writing in complex language and with bombastic words will lead to better marks from Professors. Kahneman details how Princeton Professor Danny Oppenheimer refutes this myth with his brilliant paper Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly.

Oppenheimer gave undergraduates at Stanford sample essays to read. But some of these essays had deliberately been made more complex with longer words. The result? increasing the complexity of a text made the students judge the authors to be less, not more intelligent.

So if you have something important to say during that business presentation or marketing blurb, keep it simple and concise. It’s the smart thing to do.

Tip No. 2: Make It Memorable

Besides keeping it simple, Kahneman recommends that you make your message memorable with rhymes. He cites an experiment where participants read unfamiliar but rhyming sayings such as:

Woes unite foes. 

A fault confessed is half redressed.

Other students read some of the sayings, but with non-rhyming versions:

Woes unite enemies

A fault admitted is half redressed.

You guessed it. Readers judged that the sayings which rhymed were more insightful than those which did not, though they were equally unfamiliar. No wonder Celine Dion songs always rhyme!

Tip No. 3: Make It Legible

Which of these statements is true:

Adolf Hitler was born in 1887.

Adolf Hitler was born in 1892.

If you are anything like most people, you would have chosen the second answer. But the right answer is neither (the evil dictator was born in 1889).  The idea is that the more your message stands out from the background, the more believable it is, other things being equal.

So the next time you’re designing a website or writing advertising copy, use bold fonts, and maximize the contrast between characters and their background to make the message more legible and clear. Kahneman also advises that if you use colour, use bright blue or red as they are more believable than lighter shades of say green, yellow and pale blue.

It’s All About Cognitive Ease

It’s all about what Kahneman calls cognitive ease. The human brain likes to believe what is familiar and easy to process. So the next time you need to get your point across, use our very own S.M.L Rule of Thumb. Keep it Simple, Memorable, and Legible. Hey, that rhymes!

Alvinl

Alvin loves geeking out on technology, psychology and economics news.

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