Short and Sweet and to the Point – Meaning and Examples

short and sweet and to the point definition and examples, explained below

The idiom “short and sweet and to the point” is used to describe communication that is concise, clear, and straightforward, without unnecessary details or elaborations.

Communicating in a manner that is “short and sweet and to the point” is often appreciated in various contexts, especially where time is of the essence or the audience prefers clarity over embellishment.

An instance where you might hear this idiom could be after a succinct, yet informative presentation or briefing, where all necessary information was provided without any superfluous details.

chrisAbout the Author: has a PhD in Education. He has been a teacher in schools and universities and has taught English as a Second Language in Colombia. He is former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.

Short and Sweet and to the Point Idiom Origins

This idiom, “short and sweet and to the point”, doesn’t have a single, traceable origin point, but it has been surprisingly steady in the English language at least since the year 1800, as shown in Google’s historical dataset of phrases throughout time:

Here’s a simplified breakdown of the term’s etymology:

  • Appreciation of Brevity: Across different periods and societies, brevity has often been valued in communication, especially in situations where decisions need to be made swiftly, or the audience’s attention span may be limited.
  • Evolution of Language: The idiom likely evolved naturally within the English language as a straightforward descriptor for communications that are both brief (“short”) and pleasant or satisfactory (“sweet”), and directly relevant or purposeful (“to the point”).

10 Examples in a Sentence

  • “The announcement was short and sweet and to the point – the event is postponed.”
  • “I prefer emails to be short and sweet and to the point; it saves time for everyone.”
  • “Her explanation was short and sweet and to the point, leaving no room for misunderstandings.”
  • “During the crisis, the general’s orders were short and sweet and to the point.”
  • “He didn’t like prolonged discussions, always keeping things short and sweet and to the point.”
  • “The speech was not tedious at all; it was short and sweet and to the point.”
  • “Please keep your remarks short and sweet and to the point to ensure everyone gets a chance to speak.”
  • “The instructor’s directions were short and sweet and to the point, just how we like it.”
  • “Their apology was short and sweet and to the point, which was refreshing.”
  • “The memo was short and sweet and to the point, outlining the new policy clearly.”

Practice Questions Worksheet for Students

Question 1: Why might someone prefer a conversation that is “short and sweet and to the point”?

  • a) To save time and avoid confusion
  • b) To enjoy long discussions
  • c) To explore multiple topics in depth
  • d) To avoid understanding the main point

Question 2: When is it NOT ideal to keep communication “short and sweet and to the point”?

  • a) During a detailed and technical briefing
  • b) In a crisis situation
  • c) When relaying urgent news
  • d) In a quick update meeting

Question 3: How would you feel if a meeting is described as “short and sweet and to the point”?

  • a) Frustrated and confused
  • b) Relieved and informed
  • c) Bored and disinterested
  • d) Anxious and stressed

Question 4: Which of the following messages can be considered “short and sweet and to the point”?

  • a) An extensive lecture on climate change
  • b) A lengthy storytelling session
  • c) A quick weather update
  • d) A thorough exploration of a novel

Similar Idioms

1. Cut to the chase

Definition: Get to the point without unnecessary preamble.

In a Sentence: “Cut to the chase – what did the tests show?”

2. Get down to brass tacks

Definition: Begin to consider the essential facts or details.

In a Sentence: “Let’s get down to brass tacks and discuss the budget.”

3. Hit the nail on the head

Definition: Describe a situation where a person understands a complex problem perfectly.

In a Sentence: “You really hit the nail on the head with that summary.”

4. No frills

Definition: Without unnecessary extras.

In a Sentence: “The hotel was no frills, but clean and comfortable.”

5. Straight from the shoulder

Definition: Speaking directly or candidly.

In a Sentence: “She always gives advice straight from the shoulder.”

6. Keep it simple, stupid (KISS)

Definition: A design principle noting that simplicity should be the key goal.

In a Sentence: “When creating a user interface, always remember: Keep it simple, stupid.”

7. Less is more

Definition: Using fewer elements can be more effective than using many.

In a Sentence: “When it comes to home décor, sometimes less is more.”

8. The meat and potatoes

Definition: The fundamental elements or core of something.

In a Sentence: “His speech got right to the meat and potatoes of the issue.”

9. Plain and simple

Definition: Clear and straightforward.

In a Sentence: “The rules are plain and simple, with no room for misunderstanding.”

10. The long and short of it

Definition: The concise version of a story or explanation.

In a Sentence: “The long and short of it is, we need to improve sales.”

11. Straight to the point

Definition: Directly addressing the main topic.

In a Sentence: “Her review was straight to the point and highlighted key issues.”

12. Keep short accounts

Definition: Address issues or interactions as they arise.

In a Sentence: “In any relationship, it’s healthy to keep short accounts.”

13. All killer, no filler

Definition: Only providing impactful or necessary information.

In a Sentence: “Her novel was all killer, no filler, making it a thrilling read from start to finish.”

14. Bare bones

Definition: The most basic elements of something.

In a Sentence: “The report was bare bones but covered all necessary points.”

15. Say what you mean and mean what you say

Definition: Be direct and honest in your communications.

In a Sentence: “In negotiations, it’s vital to say what you mean and mean what you say.”

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