If you indulge in long periods, you must be sure to have a snapper at the end.

What did Henry David Thoreau mean by:

If you indulge in long periods, you must be sure to have a snapper at the end.


This quote is a piece of writing advice from Thoreau, suggesting that if one chooses to write long, complex sentences (long periods), they should ensure there’s a strong, impactful point or conclusion (a snapper) at the end. The ‘snapper’ serves to reward the reader’s patience and effort in navigating the lengthy sentence. It’s a bit like telling a long joke: if the punchline isn’t good, the joke falls flat, no matter how well the setup was crafted.

In today’s world, this concept can be applied in various contexts beyond writing. In business presentations or speeches, for instance, if you’re going to take a while to make your point, you better make sure the conclusion is worth the wait. It’s about managing expectations and delivering on them.

In personal development, this could be interpreted as the importance of having clear, meaningful goals when embarking on a long-term project or learning journey. If you spend a lot of time and effort on something, make sure there’s a significant payoff at the end, whether it’s a tangible result or personal growth.

It also touches on the idea of delayed gratification: the willingness to endure a period of hard work or discomfort, knowing there’s a worthwhile reward at the end. This is a key trait associated with maturity and long-term success. So, whether you’re crafting a sentence, planning a speech, or setting personal goals, Thoreau’s advice reminds us of the importance of a strong finish.

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