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Quote Author Cited
Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword. Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
To hold a pen is to be at war. Voltaire
I call a fig a fig, a spade a spade. Menander
Literature is at once the cause and the effect of social progress. George Henry Lewes
Pithy sentences are like sharp nails which force truth upon our memory. Denis Diderot
A book is the only immortality. Rufus Choate
While the spoken word can travel faster, you can't take it home in your hand. Only the written word can be absorbed wholly at the convenience of the reader. Kingman Brewster, Jr.
My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. A. A. Milne
For an author to write as he speaks is just as reprehensible as the opposite fault, to speak as he writes; for this gives a pedantic effect to what he says, and at the same time makes him hardly intelligible. Arthur Schopenhauer
I spent the entire morning inserting a comma; I spent the whole afternoon removing it again. Oscar Wilde
The Confederates won with the pen (and the noose) what they could not win on the battlefield: the cause of white supremacy and the dominant understanding of what the war was all about. We are still digging ourselves out from under the misinformation they spread, which has manifested in our public monuments and our history books. James W. Loewe
Writing preserves only the thought of literate peoples. Ann Trubeck
Words are extremely powerful. They have the power to hurt and they have the power to heal. They can help heal the racial divide that still exists in our country. It’s going to take people on all sides of the issue to come together and discuss it. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Writing" is the Latin of our times. The modern language of the people is video and sound. Lawrence Lessig
Though the pen is mightier than the sword, the sword speaks louder and stronger at any given moment. Leonard Wibberley
Now I must defend with my blood the ideas that have come from my pen. Alexander Hamilton
It is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be judged. Thomas Jefferson
It is not easy to write a familiar style. Many people mistake a familiar for a vulgar style, and suppose that to write without affectation is to write at random. On the contrary, there is nothing that requires more precision, and, if I may so say, purity of expression, than the style I am speaking of. It utterly rejects not only all unmeaning pomp, but all low, cant phrases, and loose, unconnected, slipshod allusions. It is not to take the first word that offers, but the best word in common use; it is not to throw words together in any combinations we please, but to follow and avail ourselves of the true idiom of the language. William Hazlitt
We all stand before history. I am a man of peace, of ideas. Appalled by the denigrating poverty of my people who live on a richly endowed land, distressed by their political marginalization and economic strangulation, angered by the devastation of their land, their ultimate heritage, anxious to preserve their right to life and to a decent living, and determined to usher to this country as a whole a fair and just democratic system which protects everyone and every ethnic group and gives us all a valid claim to human civilization, I have devoted my intellectual and material resources, my very life, to a cause in which I have total belief and from which I cannot be blackmailed or intimidated. Ken Saro-Wiwa
The goons in authority here do give us freedom to write, knowing full well that only a few people read anyway. What they cannot stand is that a writer should additionally give voice to the voiceless or organize them for action. In short, they do not want literature on the streets! And that is where, in Africa, it must be Ken Saro-Wiwa
I've often envied those writers in the Western world who can peacefully practice their craft and earn a living thereby. I cannot say that I would not have preferred that to the dangerous paths through which my art is taking me. However, we must go where the spirit moves us, and I can only hope that my travails will have brought pleasure in the future to many more people than my books will probably have done. Ken Saro-Wiwa
To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing; if those limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained? If the Constitution is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it, . . . then written constitutions are absurd attempts, on the part of the people, to limit a power in its nature illimitable John Marshall
A Man’s writing has but one true sense, which is that which the Author meant when he writ it John Selden
We all know that books burn—yet we have the greater knowledge that books cannot be killed by fire. People die but books never die. Franklin D. Roosevelt
There was a time when liberals were linguistically dominant in America. Geoffrey Nunberg
I write in the hope of thereby preserving from decay the remembrance of what men have done. Herodotus
My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public, but was done to last for ever. Thucydides
… without animus or partiality. Cornelius Tacitus
A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Samuel Goldwyn
The lance has never blunted the pen, nor the pen the lance. Miguel de Cervantes
Considering history as a moral exercise, her lessons would be too infrequent if confined to real life. Of those recorded by historians few incidents have been attended with such circumstances as to excite in any high degree this sympathetic emotion of virtue. We are, therefore, wisely framed to be as warmly interested for a fictitious as for a real personage. The spacious field of imagination is thus laid open to our use, and lessons may be formed to illustrate and carry home to the heart every moral rule of life. Thus a lively and lasting sense of filial duty is more effectually impressed on the mind of a son or daughter by reading King Lear, than by all the dry volumes of ethics and divinity that ever were written. Thomas Jefferson
I like good strong words that mean something. Louisa May Alcott
John Quincy Adams who can write And Andrew Jackson who can fight. [Jackson won.] Anonymous
If you didn’t write it down, you didn’t say it. Anonymous
I’d rather make history than write it. Susan B. Anthony
The passion which all Democrats seem to have for writing in Republican papers, and vice versa, is something astonishing, and it is only exceeded by their unconquerable desire to censure men of their own party. Ambrose Bierce
Supreme court opinions should be written in such a way that they can be read in the barber shop. Hugo Black
If you cannot say what you have to say in 20 minutes, you should go away and write a book about it. Derek Charles More Brabazon
The palest ink is better than the best memory. Chinese Proverb
It is therefore necessary that memorable things should he committed to writing, and not wholly betaken to slippery memory which seldom yields a certain reckoning. Edward Coke
When I want to read a novel, I write one. Benjamin Disraeli
This filthy enactment [the Fugitive Slave Law] was made in the nineteenth century, by people who could read and write. I will not obey it, by God. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Write down the advice of him who loves you, though you like it not at present. English Proverb or Saying
... writing had become an essential element of the process of thinking. Not until I had put my thoughts down on paper could I examine them with objectivity. Ralph E. Flanders
All epoch-making revolutionary events have been produced not by the written word but by the spoken word. Adolf Hitler
Said Aldermen shall forwith proceed to have a schoolhouse built ... and shall see that the same be kept in repair.... At everyone of these schools shall be taught reading, writing, and common arithmetic, and the books which shall be used herein for instructing the children to read shall be such as will at the same time make them acquainted with Grecian, Roman, English and American history. Thomas Jefferson
I detest writing. The process itself epitomizes the European concept of “legitimate” thinking: what is written has an importance that is denied the spoken. My culture, the Lakota culture, has an oral tradition, so I ordinarily reject writing. It is one of the white world’s ways of destroying the cultures of non-European peoples … Russell Means
… he writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean-soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm (I was about to write abscess!) of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash. H. L. Mencken
My plan of instruction is extremely simple and limited. They learn, on week-days, such coarse works as may fit them for servants. I allow of no writing for the poor. My object is not to make fanatics, but to train up the lower classes in habits of industry and piety. Hannah More
Think a lot, say little and write nothing. J. Pierpont Morgan
The English language has been carefully culled to find words feeble in their nature or doubtful in their meaning. Richard Henry Lee
The cornerstone of education is an easy system of reading and writing. The hey to this is the new Turkish alphabet based on the Latin script. Kemal Ataturk
Don't talk to me of your Archimedes' lever. He was an absentminded person with a mathematical imagination. Mathematics commands all my respect, but I have no use for engines. Give me the right word and the right accent and I will move the world. Joseph Conrad
If a white teach a free negro or a slave to write he is fined $500, and imprisoned at the discretion of the Court; if the offender be a colored man, bond or free, he may be fined or whipped at the discretion of the Court Georgia
I would not be telling anyone anything [new] that in these beautiful dispatches from the Italian campaign, General Bonaparte was already a great writer. It is a trait he had in common with the great captains Desire Nisard
O man, of whatever country you are, and whatever your opinions may be, behold your history, such as I have thought to read it, not in books written by your fellow creatures, who are liars, but in nature, which never lies Jean Jacques Rousseau
The United States is the only nation in the world whose entire culture was formed entirely in the age of print. James H. Billington
Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain. John Adams
I often pick up papers and books which have all kinds of pictures and marks in them, but I cannot understand them as a white person does. They have a way of communicating by the use of written symbols and figures; but before they could do that, they had to have an understanding among themselves. You are learning that, and I was very much pleased to hear you are reading. Sitting Bull
After the battle is over, they [whites] retire to feast, and drink wine, as if nothing had happened; after which, they make a statement in writing, of what they have done – each party claiming the victory! And neither giving an account of half the number that have been killed on their own side. Black Hawk
The policy of rewarding those who learn to read and write by giving them a chance to vote remain in operation in New England for many years as an influence tending to reduce illiteracy Francis G. Caffey
My people have called upon me to speak to you. The red man has no books, and when he wishes to make known his views...like his father before him...he speaks with his mouth. He is afraid of writing. When he speaks he knows what he says; the Great Spirit hears him. Writing is the invention of the pale faces; Colonel Cobb
This is an imperfect world, as actors, athletes, priests and presidents soon discover. Writers have known this from the day they read their first review. Thomas J. Fleming
What he learns from the government he writes on his tongue and we learn from him. Wolf Rump
Silence was never written down. Italian Proverb
Everybody in politics writes a book and the books are dull—almost as dull as the people who wrote them. Willie Brown
President Johnson wanted his speech writers to use words with fou r letters, sentences with four words, and paragraphs with four sentences Robert Hardesty
The historical phase of India began with the Muslim invasion. Muslims were India's first historians. Gustave Le Bon
A book is only dangerous when it unmasks something that many people want hidden or it brings to the forefront an issue that many want marginalized. Dinesh D'Souza
The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing. John Adams
word thrower … phrase maker Theodore Roosevelt
Any white person who shall assemble with slaves, or free negroes . . . for the purpose of instructing them to read or write, . . .shall be punished by confinement in the jail . . . and by fine . . Ginni Rometty
What’s written remains, though a writer is buried beneath the ground. Arab Proverb
Every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty; and in all trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, when published with good motives and for justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense Illinois
No man ought to be hindered saying or writing what he pleases on the conduct of those who undertake the management of national affairs, in which all are concerned, and therefore have the right to inquire, and to publish their suspicions concerning them. For if you punish the slanderer, you deter the fair inquirer. James Burgh
All the farmers in this area have electricity, even in their barns. There have been times where the writing of a book is just as important as the milking of a cow. Edna St. Vincent Millay
The education of their Children, as well Daughters as Sons; all whiesch, be they of never so great quality or estate, they always take care to bring up to write perfect good hands, and to have the full knowledge and use of Arithmetick and Merchants’ Accounts; the well understanding and practice whereof, doth strangely infuse into most that are the owners of that quality, of either Sex, not only an ability for Commerce of all kinds, but a strong aptitude, love, and delight in it; and in regard the women are as knowing therein as the men, it doth encourage their Husbands to hold on in their Trades to their dying days, knowing the capacity of their Wives to get in their Estates, and carry on their Trades after their Deaths. Josiah Child
Since human memory is short and does not suffice for a crowd of things, the authority of those who preceded our age, the divine emperors and kings, has decreed that those things were to be written down which the progress of fleeting time generally removes from the knowledge of men. Frederick I Barbarosa
I Burchard, bishop of the church of Worms, on account of the strenuous lamentations of the wretched, and the frequent schemes of those many people who tear like dogs at the familia of St. Peter, imposing various laws on them and oppressing the weaker among them by their judgments; with the advice of the clergy and knights and the whole familia I have ordered that these laws be written down, so that no advocate or agent or official or any other person among them may impose on the familia anything new; rather, let it be known before everyone that there is one and the same law, common to rich and poor alike. Burchard of Worms
… a barbarian who could not write one sentence of grammar. John Quincy Adams
He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary William Faulkner
The value of the writing is not in what you publish but in its consequences. If you set out to describe reality, then the influence of the writing is upon reality Ryszard Kapuscinski
As men whose intentions require no concealment generally employ the words which most directly and aptly express the ideas they in tend to convey, the enlightened patriots who framed our Constitution, and the people who adopted it, must be understood to have employed words in their natural sense, and to have intended what they have said. John Marshall
A man who teaches a woman to write should recognize that he is providing poison to an asp. Menander
The way that I write speeches is to do bits and pieces and then knit them together Raymond K. Price
Nothing on paper; paper can be lost or stolen or simply inherited by the wrong people; if you want to keep something secret, don't write it down. Richard Helms
The question before the court and you, gentlemen of the jury, is not of small or private concern. It is not the cause of a poor printer, nor of New York alone, which you are trying. No. It may in its consequences affect every freeman that lives under British government on the main of America. It is the best cause. It is the cause of liberty. And I make no doubt but your upright conduct, this day, will not only entitle you to the love and esteem of your fellow citizens, but every man who prefers freedom to a life of slavery will bless and honor you as men who have baffled the attempt at tyranny and who, by an impartial and uncorrupt verdict, have laid a noble foundation for securing to ourselves and our posterity and our neighbors that to which nature and the laws of our country have given us a right—the liberty both of exposing and opposing arbitrary power by speaking and writing the truth. Andrew Hamilton
The only antidote to the magic of images is the magic of words Camille Paglia
I know not whether any man in the world has had more influence on its inhabitants or affairs for the last thirty years than Tom Paine. John Adams
… words acquire scope and function from the history of events which they summarize Felix Frankfurter
I am a Harvard and NYU trained lawyer and I cannot understand what these initiatives mean. Connie Rice
Things written, remain. Aaron Burr
The manner in which I learned to read and write, not only had great influence on my own mind, as I acquired it with the most perfect ease, so much so, that I have no recollection whatever of learning the alphabet Nat Turner
It wasn't by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics. Ernest Hemingway
The ancient commission of the writer has not changed. He is charged with exposing our many grievous faults and failures, with dredging up to the light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement. John Steinbeck
Literature was not promulgated by a pale and emasculated critical priesthood singing their litanies in empty churches — nor is it a game for the cloistered elect, the tinhorn mendicants of low calorie despair. Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it, and it has not changed except to become more needed. John Steinbeck
Preaching has become a byword for long and dull conversation of any kind; and whoever wishes to imply, in any piece of writing, the absence of everything agreeable and inviting, calls it a sermon. Sydney Smith
To those who say derogatory things about colonialism, I would say colonialism is a wonderful thing. It spread civilization to Africa. Before it they had no written language, no wheel as we know it, no schools, no hospitals, not even normal clothing. Ian Smith
Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did. Sophia Magdalena Scholl
A writer who takes political, social or literary positions must act only with the means that are his. These means are the written words. Jean-Paul Sartre
There is no form of prose more difficult to understand and more tedious to read than the average scientific paper. Francis Crick
In the world's history certain inventions and discoveries occurred of peculiar value, on account of their great efficiency in facilitating all other inventions and discoveries. Of these were the art of writing and of printing, the discovery of America, and the introduction of patent laws. Abraham Lincoln
Truth: An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance … Ambrose Bierce
… a word carries far--very far--deals destruction through time as the bullets go flying through space. Joseph Conrad
Literature nowadays is a trade. Putting aside men of genius, who may succeed by mere cosmic force, your successful man of letters is your skillful tradesman. He thinks first and foremost of the markets . . . George Gissing
The French - who read and theorize the most - became so addicted to political experiment that in the two centuries since our own rather drab revolution they have exuberantly produced one Directory, one Consulate, two empires, three restorations of the monarchy, and five republics. That's what happens when you take writing too seriously. Gore Vidal
The Queen returns the enclosed draft. She has written upon it, in pencil, a passage which she thinks ought to be added, if the draft—though civil—is not to be a mere refusal to do anything for Austria, and a recommendation that whatever the Italians ask for ought to be given, for which a mediation is hardly necessary. The Queen thinks it most important that we should try to mediate and put a stop to the war, and equally important that the boundary which is to be settled should be such a one as to make a recurrence of hostilities unlikely. Queen Victoria
He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it's most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian (underlined) king of Great Britain determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold and he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this, execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another. Thomas Jefferson
We are the most cosmopolitan race in the whole universe; but Irishmen should have a country; they have a right to the country of their birth. By the use and aid of one steel – the pen – our committee have taken possession of that right, and as their title one day may be disputed, I trust they will be able and willing to prove it by the aid of another steel – the sword. Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa
Few speeches which have produced an electrical effect on an audience can bear the colorless photography of a printed record. Archibald Philip Primrose Rosebery
We should not write so that it is possible for [the reader] to understand us, but so that it is impossible for him to misunderstand us. Quintilian
Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it.. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Books still accomplish miracles; they persuade men. Thomas Carlyle
Once you can express yourself, you can tell the world what you want from it. All the changes in the world, for good or evil, were first brought about by words. Jacqueline Kennedy
The greatest menace in the world is not poison gas. There are gas masks against that. The menace is poisoned words, poisoned ideas. The greatest menace in the world is not poison gas. There are gas masks against that. The menace is poisoned words, poisoned ideas. Dorothy Thompson
I wonder if it is wise for any of us to read anyone's writings too consistently? No matter how able they may be, they seem occasionally to find it difficult to be consistent, and this tends to give me as a reader the feeling that we are all of us swayed by so much by our momentary impulses and interests, that what we write at any time can not be taken too seriously. Eleanor Roosevelt
You can’t get away from your votes. You can’t get away from your statements. Greg Walden
We inspector generals have the power of the pen, the power to persuade. But we do not have the authority to implement our recommendations or prosecute wrong-doing. Phyllis Wong
The human word is neither immortal nor invulnerable; but it is the power that orders our chaos, and the light by which we live. Northrop Frye
Words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government Vaclav Havel
Whoever criticizes others must have something to replace them. Criticism without suggestion is like trying to stop flood with flood and put out fire with fire. It will surely be without worth. Moizi
Wordiness is a sickness of American writing. Too many words dilute and blur ideas. Eric Hoffer
Humor is really laughing off a hurt, grinning at misery. Bill Mauldin
I write to the vulgar more than the learned. Jonathan Swift
It took me longer to write the book on Lincoln than it took to fight the Civil War. Doris Kearns Goodwin
A poor idea well written is more likely to be accepted than a good idea poorly written. Isaac Asimov
Realist writing, of which history offers many widely varying examples, is likewise conditioned by the question of how, when and for what class it is made use of. Bertolt Brecht
Platitudes are safe, because they're easy to wink at, but truth is something else again. Hunter S. Thompson
All honor to the noble women that have devoted earnest lives to the intellectual needs of mankind! Elizabeth Cady Stanton
The Pulpit, the Press, and the Novel—these undisputedly are the great molders of public opinion and public morals to-day. Frank Norris
I write to learn the flow of history. Rebecca West; Cicely Isabel
Generals who can write always make me nervous. Benjamin C. Bradlee
I find it hard to put complicated situations clearly on paper and, to be brutally frank, even harder to get a reply from you in time to count much. Louis McHenry Howe
As in the infirmity of human nature, no man's actions are always what he likes to look back upon, as there are points in which he would wish that he had acted otherwise; so every man who tells his own story is under a temptation more or less to disguise the truth; and the more in proportion as his actions have been upon a larger scale, and his faults or mistakes therefore have been more flagrant. Thomas Arnold
The Machine is the new Messiah. Machinery is accomplishing in the world what man has failed to do by preaching, propaganda, or the written word. Henry Ford
We have a problem in Africa with our education system. It is a relic from the past. The education system was meant to create clerks to help the administrative role of the colonial power. So the emphasis was on neat handwriting and how to write good reports and things like that, and if you move further, then you study Shakespeare and Molière. But we don’t have enough engineers and scientists. Two percent of African university graduates study agriculture, when 70 percent of our people are living off the land. Obviously, we have a problem. Mo Ibrahim
I have made it a policy not to draft documents that will be reviewed by a public body. Benjamin Franklin
If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth the reading, or do things worth the writing. Benjamin Franklin
Others can rule, many can fight, but only Thomas Paine can write for us the English tongue. Benjamin Franklin
How can I live in this country Where the foot knocks against The unburied bones of kin? I hear voices, see smiles. I cannot Write anything; five hands Seize my pen and order me to write The story of their lives and deaths. Was I born to become a ritual mourner? I want to sing of festivities, The greenwood into which Shakespeare Often took me. Leave To poets a moment of happiness, Otherwise your world will perish. Czeslaw Milosz
Writing gave me a life. Paul Beatty
Through writing, Homo sapiens then became the first species to preserve learning, enabling knowledge to grow, ultimately at an exponential pace. Collective learning over time then became the source of technological improvement, a process that could move much faster than evolution. John McGinnis
Russian literacy in the early 20th century remained below 33 percent--lower than that of Great Britain in the 18th century. Stephen Kotkin
If You Do Not Write It, You Never Said It Lewis D. Eigen
If I could require the president to read one book, it would be Cormac McCarthy's "The Road". I gives a sense of the fragility of the world. Plus each sentence is very short -- about the length of a tweet. David Grann
When I first came to this country I could not speak English. Now I get paid to write it. Julia Ioffe
It is with no pleasure that I have dipped my hands in the corruption here exposed. Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so. Ida B. Wells
Nobody in this section of the country believes the threadbare old lie that Negro men rape white women. Lynching is an excuse to get rid of Negroes who were acquiring wealth and property and thus keep the race terrorized and ‘the nigger down,’ ” she wrote in a journal. Ida B. Wells
History is not only the record of the past, but also the discipline of investigating and interpreting the past. The study of history develops habits of critical thinking and effective writing, as well as cultivates the careful analysis of various types of quantitative and qualitative evidence. Robert L. Nasson