The meaning of the term, “Brevity is the soul of wit” is that an intelligent person is capable of expressing himself within the minimum possible words.

A less intelligent and mediocre persons will go on writing pages on a certain subject. But, an intelligent person will possesses the art to say something within the fewest possible words is an art. Such a quality is not taught, but comes from heart. Wit and humor are the expression of the ridiculous element of life. Wit is a sudden flash, an electric spark, a stroke of lighting. The successful humorous story can appeal to all of us at all ages. No conversation is complete without them. They satisfy our mental appetite, and enable us to digest the more serious parts of the discourse.

A good style in writing is one that arouses curiosity at the beginning, maintains it throughout and satisfies it in the end. A literary work which provides the reader with a good mental excitement and subsequent relief is one of the real pleasures of life. This is true whether you are writing a poem, a story, a drama, a biography or a magazine article. Originally, this phrase had an ironic meaning. This is because of its context. It was first coined in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, written around 1599. In Hamlet, the character Polonius says ‘brevity is the soul of wit’. But, Polonius is not a very concise person: he talks too much. Despite this, the saying has a kernel of truth to it. Brevity or conciseness can be a virtue in all areas of life. Being concise shows that we appreciate the value of other people’s time. While making presentations, sticking to the point and being brief will stop people being swamped with information. Many times, short letters can be more welcome than long, rambling ones.

n dialogues also brilliant conversation should be avoided and those should be ‘smart’ and brief. In the case of a journalist also the style will be photographic and graphic. The newspaper story must be almost telegraphic in its brevity and yet it must tell a complete and interesting story. Public is no longer interested in drab reports of the news. Brevity is the motto in the newspaper editorial column. Wit and humor are important not only in the news item, but in the feature story as well.

Thus one should avoid exaggeration and flowery expressions and should practice brevity in speech and writing so that wit and humor thereof are fully appreciated by all.

by: Ammara Siddique