Richard-Business Eng
Professional Teacher
Misattributed quotes...
Sometimes, we make a mistake and misattribute a famous quote.

The verb misattribute means "to incorrectly give someone credit for something they did not say or do; to assign responsibility to someone for something he/she did not do".

The following quotes have been attributed to some very famous people, but in fact, those people did not say these quotations.


"The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco"
-  NOT Mark Twain

"Dance like no one's watching"
-  NOT Gandhi (leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule.) 

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to say it."
-  NOT Voltaire (French philosopher)
-  Voltaire biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall

"Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing."
-  NOT Vince Lombardi (famous American foorball coach)
-  Red Sanders

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
-  NOT Albert Einstein
-  Novelist Rita Mae Brown

"Be nice to nerds. Chances are, you'll end up working for one."
-  NOT Bill Gates
-  Author Charles J. Sykes

"Speak softly and carry a big stick."
-  NOT Teddy Roosevelt (American President)
-  African Proverb


... thanks to dictionary.com for these misattributed quotes

Jun 1, 2018 11:31 AM
Comments · 14

The fad of citing quotes that one just found on the internet is very annoying. If these quotes are misattributed it’s slightly irritating.

In French there is a saying (it’s not a quote but its source comes from popular wisdom ):

”la culture c’est comme la confiture. Moins on en a plus on l’étale »

Culture is like marmelade. If you have only little culture you try to spread it out showing off. With marmelade, it’s the same. The less you have of marmelade the more you spread it to cover your slice of bread.

Thats why people love quotes. An easy way to show or spread there wisdom with no effort.

But I like the one attributed to Voltaire, freedom of speech is probably one of the most essential rights that the western culture developed.

June 1, 2018
Here is a quote whose provenance I am fairly sure of: "Never in the field of human citation have so many quotes been misattributed to so few by so many." (Richard from Canada, Italki.com 2018)
June 1, 2018


June 1, 2018

“I didn’t say half the s*** y’all say I did.”

-Albert Einstein

June 1, 2018

Of course quotes concentrate complex thoughts with few words and they are usually brilliantly formulated. They are a little bit like proverbs. I love proverbs and find them useful for language learning.

What I dislike is the use of quotes to show off without having read one single line of the books of the author which has been quoted.

June 1, 2018
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