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Home > Famous Quotes > Quotes from Mark Twain

Quotes from Mark Twain

"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."

"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval."

"A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar."

"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way."

"A man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation."

"A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read."

"A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds."

"A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away. He must have time to modify his shape."

"Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often."

"Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper."

"Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand."

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

"All generalizations are false, including this one."

"All right, then, I'll go to hell."

"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure."

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured."

"Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary."

"Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today."

"As an example to others, and not that I care for moderation myself, it has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain from smoking when awake."

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."

"Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul."

"Better a broken promise than none at all."

"Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man. The biography of the man himself cannot be written."

"But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?"

"Buy land, they're not making it anymore."

"By trying we can easily endure adversity. Another man's, I mean."

"Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education."

"Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."

"Classic: A book which people praise and don't read."

"Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get."

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."

"Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn't any. But this wrongs the jackass."

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."

"Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."

"Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest."

"Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain."

"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."

"Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live."

"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream."

"Don't tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish."

"Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it."

"Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned."

"Everything has its limit - iron ore cannot be educated into gold."

"Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven."

"Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable."

"Familiarity breeds contempt - and children."

"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example."

"Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't."

"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it."

"George Washington, as a boy, was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie."

"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please."

"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company."

"God made the idiot for practice, and then he made the school board."

"Golf is a good walk spoiled."

"Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person."

"Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."

"Grief can take care if itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with."

"He is now rising from affluence to poverty."

"Honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it."

"Humor is mankind's greatest blessing."

"Humor is the good natured side of a truth."

"Humor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place."

"Humor must be one of the chief attributes of God. Plants and animals that are distinctly humorous in form and characteristics are God's jokes."

"Humor must not professedly teach and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever."

"Humor must not professedly teach, and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever."

"Humor, to be comprehensible to anybody, must be built upon a foundation with which he is familiar. If he can't see the foundation the superstructure is to him merely a freak -- like the Flatiron building without any visible means of support -- something that ought to be arrested."

"Humorists of the 'mere' sort cannot survive. Humor is only a fragrance, a decoration."

"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened."

"I can live for two months on a good compliment."

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."

"I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way."

"I don't like to commit myself about heaven and hell - you see, I have friends in both places."

"I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough."

"I have made it a rule never to smoke more that one cigar at a time."

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."

"I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting."

"I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up."

"I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn't know."

"I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one."

"Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own."

"If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat."

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."

"In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours."

"It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

"It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them."

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

"It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected."

"It is by the goodness of God that, in this country, we have three benefits: freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and the wisdom never to use either."

"It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare."

"It is easier to stay out than get out."

"It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions."

"It is not best that we should all think alike; it is a difference of opinion that makes horse races."

"It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech."

"It was wonderful to find America, but it would have been more wonderful to miss it."

"It's good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling."

"It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense."

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."

"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."

"Laughter without a tinge of philosophy is but a sneeze of humor. Genuine humor is replete with wisdom."

"Laws control the lesser man... Right conduct controls the greater one."

"Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry."

"Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation."

"Let us not be too particular; it is better to have old secondhand diamonds than none at all."

"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen."

"Lord save us all from a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms."

"Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul."

"Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it."

"Man - a creature made at the end of the week's work when God was tired."

"Man is the only animal that blushes - or needs to."

"Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied."

"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising."

"Martyrdom covers a multitude of sins."

"My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. (Fortunately) everybody drinks water."

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."

"Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident."

"Necessity is the mother of taking chances."

"Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow."

"No sinner is ever saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon."

"Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid."

"Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits."

"Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat."

"Once I talked to the inmates of an insane asylum in Hartford. I have talked to idiots a thousand times, but only once to the insane."

"One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives."

"Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial 'we.'"

"Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet."

"Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."

"Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about."

"Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed."

"Prophesy is a good line of business, but it is full of risks."

"Prosperity is the best protector of principle."

"Repartee is something we think of twenty-four hours too late."

"Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run."

"Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough."

"Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."

"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself."

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."

"The Christian's Bible is a drug store. Its contents remain the same, but the medical practice changes."

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."

"The educated Southerner has no use for an 'R', except at the beginning of a word."

"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."

"The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."

"The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter."

"The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner."

"The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it."

"The lack of money is the root of all evil."

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them."

"The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little."

"The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become."

"The more you explain it, the more I don't understand it."

"The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop."

"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not."

"The Public is merely a multiplied "me.""

"The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all."

"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

"The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause."

"The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane."

"The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right."

"The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice."

"The wit knows that his place is at the tail of a procession."

"There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded."

"There are lies, damned lies and statistics."

"There are people who can do all fine and heroic things but one - keep from telling their happiness to the unhappy."

"There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice."

"There are times when one would like to hang the whole human race, and finish the farce."

"There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable."

"There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress."

"There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist."

"This nation is like all the others that have been spewed upon the earth--ready to shout for any cause that will tickle its vanity or fill its pocket."

"Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered - either by themselves or by others."

"Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does all the work."

"To be good is noble; but to show others how to be good is nobler and no trouble."

"To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I've done it a thousand times."

"To refuse awards is another way of accepting them with more noise than is normal."

"To spell correctly is a talent, not an acquirement. There is some dignity about an acquirement, because it is a product of your own labor. It is wages earned, whereas to be able to do a thing merely by the grace of God and not by your own effort transfers the distinction to our heavenly home--where possibly it is a matter of pride and satisfaction but it leaves you naked and bankrupt."

"To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence."

"Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it ain't so."

"Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it."

"Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer."

"Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody."

"We Americans... bear the ark of liberties of the world."

"We are all erring creatures, and mainly idiots, but God made us so and it is dangerous to criticise."

"We have the best government that money can buy."

"What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before."

"What a hell of a heaven it will be when they get all these hypocrites assembled there!"

"What a wee little part of a person's life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself."

"What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin."

"What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce."

"When a person cannot deceive himself the chances are against his being able to deceive other people."

"When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear."

"When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not."

"When in doubt tell the truth."

"When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet in his private heart no man much respects himself."

"When red-haired people are above a certain social grade their hair is auburn."

"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."

"When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain."

"When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it's a sure sign you're getting old."

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."

"Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved."

"Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to have any relation."

"Words are only painted fire; a book is the fire itself."

"Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do."

"Work is a necessary evil to be avoided."

"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been."

"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."

"Your faith is what you believe, not what you know."

Total Quotes: 206

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