Daniel House


The Art of Speaking Well

Our Dear Friends,

Coco Chanel is known to have advised those who wished to dress beautifully to glance in the mirror on their way out the door and take off the last thing they put on. Emily Post offers a similar principle to those hoping to speak well amongst their peers. In her chapter titled “Words, Phrases and Pronunciation,” Post gives a long list of phrases that never escape the lips of Best Society. One might expect the worst offenders to be vulgar slang words, abbreviations or colloquialisms. Instead, they are all overly elaborate, florid ways of saying something that could be said with fewer, simpler words. Below are a few examples:

NEVER SAY:                                                CORRECT FORM:

I presume                                                    I suppose

Permit me to assist you                              Let me help you

Partook of Liquid Refreshment                  Had something to drink

Here are some we are adding for today:

NEVER SAY:                                                   CORRECT FORM:

He’s rich?                                                        He’s well off?

Where do you go for winter break?              Where do you winter?

I’m gluten intolerant.                                      I’m irritating.

Of course, the last is bit of a lark, but in truth it is never polite to impose upon your host if it is not necessary. We think, in speech or otherwise one should listen to Emily Post, Chanel and our forefather, Thomas Jefferson who said “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”

This is not meant to restrict what one can say or how one expresses one’s self. Rather, it is meant to reinforce that speech and expression by making it as salient as possible. Last time we talked about the importance of thinking before speaking. Having thought, now it’s time to speak!                                                                   



                                                                                                Peter & Alexander

P.S. We think these adages could be very well applied to home design as well. Call (971) 333-3133 to find out how.