Bold part of this passage from The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

Miss Howard shook hands with a hearty, almost painful, grip. I had an impression of very blue eyes in a sunburnt face. She was a pleasant-looking woman of about forty, with a deep voice, almost manly in its stentorian tones, and had a large sensible square body, with feet to match—these last encased in good thick boots. Her conversation, I soon found, was couched in the telegraphic style.


1 Answer 1


When people actually sent telegraphs, they were charged at so much per word. Therefore a prudent correspondent would pare the words down to the minimum necessary to communicate information. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegram_style#Example

Telegram style, telegraph style, telegraphic style or telegraphese[1] is a clipped way of writing that attempts to abbreviate words and pack as much information into the smallest possible number of words or characters.

Miss Howard's speech exhibits this characteristic.

Weeds grow like house afire. Can't keep even with 'em. Shall press you in. Better be careful.

Might otherwise have been expressed as

The weeds are growing like a house on fire, I can't keep even with them. I shall pressgang you into helping me, so you had better be careful.

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