A Selection of Quotes and Sayings in English

Compiled by Heinz Herold for “Drums and Drumming

“A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” (Winston Churchill, 1874-1965)

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” (Mark Twain, 1835-1910)

“A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.” (Paul Erdös, 1913-1996)

“A person who won’t think has no advantage over one who can’t think.” (Paul Lutus, www.arachnoid.com)

“A poet can survive everything but a misprint.” (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900)

“A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.” (William Strunk, Jr., 1869-1946)

“A translator is to be like his author; it is not his business to excel him.” (Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784)

“Against stupidity even gods contend in vain.” (Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, 1759-1805)

“Amateurs talk about strategy, professionals talk about logistics” (US-General Omar Nelson Bradley, 1893-1981)

“An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.” (Dwight David Eisenhower, 1890-1969)

“Any intelligent woman, who reads the marriage contract and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences.” (Isadora Duncan, 1877-1927)

“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955)

“As the island of our knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.” (John Archibald Wheeler, 1911-2008)

“Be careful while reading health books, you might die of a misprint.” (Mark Twain, 1835-1910)

“Because they are necessarily defective, all translations are reputed females.” (John Florio, 1553?-1625)

“Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.” (Winston Churchill, 1874-1965)

“Dictionary: A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.” (Ambrose Bierce, 1842-1914)

“Did you know you can’t steer a boat that isn’t moving? Just like a life.” (Paul Lutus, www.arachnoid.com)

“Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” (William Penn Adair Rogers, aka Will, 1879-1935)

“Expect much from yourself and little from others and you will avoid incurring resentments.” (Confucius, 551-479 BC)

“Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.” (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900)

“Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.” (Samuel Butler, 1835-1902)

“Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” (Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931)

“God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice.” (John Donne, 1572-1632)

“Grasp the subject, the words will follow.” (Marcus Porcius Cato, 234-149 BC)

“Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.” (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955)

“Happiness isn’t something you experience; it’s something you remember.” (Oscar Levant, 1906-1972)

“Happyness is the only thing that grows as it is shared.” (Albert Schweitzer, 1875-1965)

“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.” (Chinese Proverb)

“He who invents, is master of his thoughts and words: he can turn and vary them as he pleases, till he renders them harmonious; but the wretched translator has no such privilege: for, being tied to the thoughts, he must make what music he can in the expression; and for this reason, it cannot be so sweet as that of the original.” (John Dryden, 1631-1700)

“He who knows no foreign language knows nothing of his own.” (Johann Wolfgang Goethe, 1749-1832)

“Hell hath no fury like a translator criticised.” (William Congreve, 1670-1729)

“Humor is the first gift to perish in a foreign language.” (Virginia Woolf, 1882-1941)

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900)

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” (Galileo Galilei, 1564-1642)

“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” (David Herbert Lawrence, 1885-1930)

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” (Alledged “quote” by Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.)

“I’m going to memorize your name and throw my head away.” (Oscar Levant, 1906-1972)

“If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.” (George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950)

“If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” (Florynce Rae Kennedy, 1916-2000)

“If you really want to be lonely, get married.” (Gloria Steinem, 1934-)

“In any non-trivial axiomatic system, there are true theorems which cannot be proven.” (Kurt Godel, 1906-1978)

“In my opinion, the greatest single failure of American education is that students come away unable to distinguish between a symbol and the thing the symbol stands for.” (Paul Lutus, www.arachnoid.com)

“In some sort of crude sense, which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.” (J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1904-1967)

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology exceeds our humanity.” (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955)

“It has been said that the primary function of schools is to impart enough facts to make children stop asking questions. Some, with whom the schools do not succeed, become scientists.” (Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, 1915-2007)

“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” (Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865)

“It is often said that skill in translation cannot be learned and, especially, cannot be taught.” (? Please let me know if you know the source.)

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” (Antoine Jean-Baptiste Marie Roger de Saint-Exupéry, 1900-1944)

“Language is the house of Being.” (Martin Heidegger, 1889-1976)

“Language is the mother of thought, not its handmaiden.” (Karl Kraus, 1874-1936)

“Life is what happens to us while we’re making other plans.” (John Lennon, 1940-1980)

“Man is the only animal that blushes – or needs to.” (Mark Twain, 1835-1910)

“Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so.” (Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970)

“No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion.” (Karl Raimund Popper, 1902-1994)

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955)

“Nothing is as dangerous as an ignorant friend; a wise enemy is worth more.” (Jean de la Fontaine, 1621-1695)

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900)

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955)

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” (George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950)

“Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” (Julius Henry, aka Groucho Marx, 1890-1977)

“Poetry builds a great truth out of many small lies. Politics builds a great lie out of many small truths.” (Paul Lutus, www.arachnoid.com)

“Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.” (Rick Cook, 1944-2022)

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955)

“Religion is designed for stupid people. Science is designed for stupid people who are embarrassed by their stupidity, who want to do something about it.” (Paul Lutus, www.arachnoid.com)

“Speech is external thought, and thought internal speech.” (Antoine de Rivarol, 1753-1801)

“The best translators slip into the glove of a text and then turn it inside out into another language, and the whole thing comes out looking like a brand-new glove again. I’m completely in awe of this skill, since I happen to be both bilingual and a writer, but nevertheless a lousy translator.” (Alma Guillermoprieto, 1949-)

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” (Alan Curtis Kay, 1940-)

“The computer world has a language all its own, just like Hungary, the difference being that if you hang around with Hungarians long enough, you eventually start to understand what they’re talking about, whereas the language used in the computer world is specifically designed to prevent this from happening.” (Dave Barry, 1947-)

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955)

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the uneven division of blessings, while the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal division of misery.” (Winston Churchill, 1874-1965)

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955)

“The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.” (Oscar Levant, 1906-1972)

“The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.” (Niels Bohr, 1885-1962)

“The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.” (Sydney Justin Harris, 1917-1986)

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” (George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950)

“The spirit of a language manifests itself most clearly in its untranslatable words.” (Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, 1830-1916)

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” (Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, 1896-1940)

“The two words ’information’ and ’communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.” (Sydney Justin Harris, 1917-1986)

“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” (Aristotle, 384-322 BC)

“Theory is when you know everything and nothing works. Practice is when everything works and nobody knows why.” (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955)

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955)

“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written.” (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900)

“There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900)

“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.” (Voltaire, François Marie Arouet, 1694-1778)

“Translation is a notoriously thankless profession: there is absolutely no money in it; it involves a severe submersion of the self into another; the hours are long and you get about as much recognition for your efforts as the telephone repairman.” (Alma Guillermoprieto, 1949-)

“Translation is different things for different groups of people. For people who are not translators, it is primarily a text; for people who are, it is primarily an activity.” (Douglas Robinson; Becoming a translator, Routledge, 1997)

“Translations are like women. When they are pretty, chances are they won’t be very faithful.” (Steven Seymour; Jimmy Carter’s State Department interpreter)

“Truth never damages a cause that is just.” (Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948)

“We do not inherit the land; we borrow it from our children.” (Native American Proverb)

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” (Thomas Stearns Eliot, 1888-1965)

“What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left” (Oscar Levant, 1906-1972)

“When I was young, I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old, I know that it is.” (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900)

“When you read the history of the human family, it slowly comes to you that all the world’s oceans once fell as tears.” (Paul Lutus, www.arachnoid.com)

“With each passing year, because of advances in computer technology, there are more things, each more sophisticated, that we aren’t allowed to do any more.” (Paul Lutus, www.arachnoid.com)

“Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.” (François de Voltaire, 1694-1778)

“Words are like money; there is nothing so useless, unless when in actual use.” (Samuel Butler, 1835-1902)

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948)