What’s in a Word: The Fewer the Words, the Greater the Profit

What’s in a Word: The Fewer the Words, the Greater the Profit

Francoise Fenelon, a writer, poet and Archbishop in France, in the 17th Century, once said:

“The more you say, the less people remember.”

I recently discovered this was one of my Grandpa’s favourite quotes.

My Grandpa passed away when I was a teenager. From what I remember of him, he didn’t say very much at all. However, true to his favourite quote, I can remember, very clearly, those things he did say.

When I typed the quote into Google, to find out who it came from, I also discovered there is a second sentence, that is often quoted with the first:

“The fewer the words, the greater the profit.”

However, using fewer words takes a lot of effort.

Another French man from the 17th century, philosopher Blaise Pascal, signed off one of his letters, with words that have been re-quoted many times, by the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, and many more:

“I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”

It takes a lot of time to carefully think through exactly what we want to say and put it as simply and succinctly as possible. Is it worth it?

There are many proverbs, in the Bible, which highlight numerous ways in which reducing one’s words can benefit a person, beyond just the advantage of our words being more memorable.

Here are some of the positive outcomes, described in Proverbs, that limiting our words can produce:

– Those that do not say much will appear wise and intelligent, even if they aren’t (Proverbs 17:28).

-Those that have learnt to habitually restrain their lips are more knowledgeable and prudent (Proverbs 10:19, 17:27).

-Those that restrain their words will keep themselves out of trouble (Proverbs 21:23)

And here is what they say about us not limiting our words:

– Those that speak a lot are more likely to say something wrong (Proverbs 10:19).

– There is more hope for a fool than for those that speak hastily (Proverbs 29:20). 

– Those that do not guard their mouths, will come to ruin (Proverbs 13:3).

It makes logical sense that, if we pause and think, before we speak, our words will be better and more useful to others. And when we remember that words can have the power of life and death in them (Proverbs 18:21), it gives us all the more reason to pause that little bit longer…

Teaching grammar

I believe teaching children to write well is incredibly important. If a person ever wants to share their ideas with others, being able to write them in a clear and engaging way makes a big difference – whether they are explaining concepts, writing stories or typing up reports.

Learning the rules of grammar is a big part of that. But they can be dry, complicated and difficult to teach.

However I have found a free, online grammar curriculum that my children and I are really enjoying. I would highly recommend it, if you’re looking for an engaging way to teach the rules.

It has video clips and free, printable worksheets that are very well put together, and it’s all based on nature.

Have a look at the link below:


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