Let's say I ask someone to write a very short text, but I want to insist humorously that it should not be too long (less than 50 words).

Could be something like "Don't write the Bible" or "Don't make it a Fidel Castro speech". A kind of exaggeration.

Are there similar ways of saying that in English?


5 Answers 5


Leo Tolstoy's work War and Peace is often used idiomatically to represent any long, allegedly boring piece of writing.

You can say that you don't want them to give you War and Peace.


We often say "Don't write me a thesis." (Using the second definition of a long essay, such as a doctoral thesis.) Another one is "Don't write me a dissertation."

They're less humorous than your examples, but commonly used.


Though I don't think it's an idiom per se, I think this should work well. Both of its meaning and its humor should be easy to understand.

Don't write a mile long!


A good way to ask for a condensed essay is to say or write, "Reader's Digest version, please."

Reader's Digest is a magazine known for containing short, succinct articles about a variety of topics. It provides the reader with just enough detail to understand the topic, but without unnecessary details.


You could ask them not to Filibuster.

Filibustering is a political technique to talk for an excessive time. Usually used when a debate has a fixed time duration, a filibuster will talk until the time expires and the motion therefore fails.

It would be appropriate for your humourous setting as, although the term strictly applies to speech, you can use it metaphorically for writing.

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