"she might have described swimming in the lake as a child, or said that lakes reminded her of being a child, or asked me if I’d enjoyed swimming as a child, or said that what she’d said about the moon was childish."

— “Leaving the Atocha Station”, Ben Lerner

"You could see Willie standing on a street corner, sweating through his seersucker suit, with his hair down in his eyes, holding an old enveloped in one hand and a pencil in the other, working out figures to explain what he was squaking about, but folks don’t listen to you when your voice is low and patient and you stop them in the hot sun and make them do arithmetic."

—  “All the King’s Men” – Robert Penn Warren 

"This, however, is my favourite piece of (Orwell’s) wisdom: “So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information.”"

— “My Reading Life” – Bob Carr 

"His real gift was as a phrase maker. ‘Shakespeare’s language,’ says Stanley Wells, ‘has a quality, difficult to define, of memorability that has cause many phrases to enter the common language.’ Among them: one fell swoop, vanish into thin air, bag and baggage, play fast and loose, go down the primrose path, be in a pickle, budge an inch, the milk of human kindness, more sinned against than sinning, remembrance of things past beggar all description, cold comfort, to thine own self be true, more in sorrow than in anger, the wish is father to the thought, salad days, flesh and blood, foul play, tower of strength, be cruel to be kind, blinking idiot, with bated breath, pomp and circumstance, foregone conclusion – and many others so repetitiously irresistible that we have debased them into clichés. He was so prolific that he could (in Hamlet) put two in a single sentence: ‘Though I am native here and to the manner born, it is a custom more honoured in the breach than the observance."

— “Shakespeare” – Bill Bryson

"Among the words first found in Shakespeare are abstemious, antipathy, critical, frugal, dwindle, extract, horrid, vast, hereditary, excellent, eventful, barefaced, assassination, lonely, leapfrog, indistinguishable, well-read, zany and countless others (including countless)… He was particularly prolific, as David Chrystal points out, when it came to attaching un- prefixes to existing words to make new words that no one had thought of before – unmask, unhand, unlock, untie, unveil and no fewer than 309 others in a similar vein. Consider how helplessly prolix the alternatives to any of these terms are and you appreciate how much punch Shakespeare gave English."

— “Shakespeare” – Bill Bryson

"Nothing in France is free from sexual assignment. I was leafing through the dictionary, trying to complete a homework assignment, when I noticed the French had prescribed genders for the various land masses and natural wonders we Americans had always thought of as sexless, Niagara Falls is feminine and, against all reason, the Grand Canyon is masculine. Georgia and Florida are female, but Montana and Utah are male. New England is a she, while the vast area we call the Midwest is just one big guy. I wonder whose job it was to assign these sexes in the first place. Did he do his work right there in the sanitarium, or did they rent him a little office where he could get away from all the noise?"

— “Me Talk Pretty One Day” - David Sedaris

"‘I am not saying the Leader of the Opposition (Downer) is a racist,’ he said over the din in the House. ‘I am saying he is the most foolish Leader of the Liberal Party since Billy McMahon.’"

— “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” - Don Watson

"Politics and history are alike and inseparable in that the craft of both is storytelling. Masters of both juggle past and present to create coherent narratives, the historian to make the past knowable, the politician to do this with the present."

— “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” - Don Watson

"They cannot expect the House to retain its dignity and traditions when those who have no understanding of either swarm all over the place like tourists at a foreign shrine. You can’t have Latin and wit and mass media democracy."

— “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” - Don Watson

"Politicians are always trying to find the words which will stick. ‘A nickname is the heaviest stone the devil can throw at a man,’ said William Hazlitt, and described precisely what is meant when words are used to ‘nail’ a rival politician—‘nail it to his forehead’, as Paul Keating used to say. It is done in the hope that one’s enemy thereafter will be branded and the public will interpret his every word and action in this light: he cannot be trusted, he is weak, he is a loser, and so on."

— “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” - Don Watson

"But (Keating’s) loss (ie lack of formal education) was politics’ gain. It left his language blessedly free of the social sciences, and being also free of the law, it was almost completely unconstrained. In its natural environment it served as the raw instrument of his intelligence, a shillelagh or a paint brush as circumstances demanded. With it he could sell an idea better than anybody else in the government. He painted word pictures, created images and moods at a stroke. He could turn ideas into icons, make phrases that stuck."

— “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” - Don Watson

"Even James Reston of The New York Times had been so profoundly moved by the press conference and the sight of the seven brave men (of the Mercury program) that his heart, he confessed, now beat a little faster. “What made them so exciting,” he wrote, “was not that they said anything new but that they said all the old things with such fierce convictions… They spoke of ‘duty’ and ‘faith’ and ‘country’ like Walt Whitman’s pioneers… This is a pretty cynical town, but nobody went away from these young men scoffing at their courage and idealism.”"

— “The Right Stuff” - Tom Wolfe

"part of any speaker’s motive for using a certain vocabulary is always the desire to communicate stuff about himself. Like many forms of Vogue Usage, 65 PCE functions primarily to signal and congratulate certain virtues in the speaker—scrupulous egalitarianism, concern for the dignity of all people, sophistication about the political implications of language—and so serves the self-regarding interests of the PC far more groups renamed."

— “Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays” - David Foster Wallace

"For whatever other reasons the language rules may have been devised, they proved of enormous help in the maintenance of order and sanity in the various widely diversified services whose cooperation was essential in this matter. Moreover, the very term “language rule” (Sprachregelung) was itself a code name; it meant what in ordinary language would be called a lie. For when a “bearer of secrets” was sent to meet someone from the outside world—as when Eichmann was sent to show the Theresienstadt ghetto to International Red Cross representatives from Switzerland—he received, together with his orders, his “language rule,” which in this instance consisted of a lie about a nonexistent typhus epidemic in the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen, which the gentlemen also wished to visit. The net effect of this language system was not to keep these people ignorant of what they were doing, but to prevent them from equating it with their old, “normal” knowledge of murder and lies. Eichmann’s great susceptibility to catch words and stock phrases, combined with his incapacity for ordinary speech, made him, of course, an ideal subject for “language rules.”"

— “Eichmann in Jerusalem” - Hannah Arendt

"Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts … A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the non space of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding…."

— “Neuromancer” - William Gibson