I Have Never Killed Any One, But I Have Read Some Obituary Notices with Great Satisfaction

Mark Twain? Clarence Darrow? Overland Monthly? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: I saw the quotation below when it was tweeted a few days ago. It was credited to Mark Twain, but apparently he never said it: I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure. Later I read news reports …

She Was a Sinking Vessel with No Freight to Throw Overboard

Mark Twain? Apocryphal? Dear Quote Investigator: I have heard the following quote attributed to Mark Twain: A man who doesn’t smoke is like a sinking ship with no rats to desert it. True of false? Quote Investigator: QI was unable to locate a close match for that quotation in the works of Mark Twain; however, …

A Banker Lends You His Umbrella When It’s Sunny and Wants It Back When It Rains

Mark Twain? Robert Frost? Ambrose Bierce? Ben Bernanke? Philippe Girardet? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: It is remarkably difficult to obtain a loan in a difficult economic climate. This notion can be expressed with the following adage: A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back …

When I Was a Boy of Fourteen, My Father Was So Ignorant

Mark Twain? Apocryphal? Dear Quote Investigator: I am interested in a fantastic quotation that I always thought was from the pen of Mark Twain: When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was …

Never Let Schooling Interfere With Your Education

Mark Twain? Grant Allen? Dear Quote Investigator: I am still in school and that is probably why the following quote attributed to Mark Twain appeals to me so much: I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. Your blog posts about Twain quotations reveal that the information on the internet about what he …

I Would Rather Go To Bed With That Woman Stark Naked Than With Ulysses S. Grant in Full Military Regalia

Mark Twain? James Montgomery Flagg? William Dean Howells? Dear Quote Investigator: When I discovered your blog I knew just the right word to describe it: Quotesmanship. That word was used in the New York Times in 1980 to describe the desire to determine and use correct attributions for quotations [NYQM]. The author of the Quotesmanship …

No Respect for a Man Who Can Spell a Word Only One Way

Mark Twain? Nyrum Reynolds? Hiram Runnels? Andrew Jackson? Dear Quote Investigator: I sometimes have difficulty spelling words correctly. But I take comfort in the magnificent statement attributed to Mark Twain: I don’t give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way. Actually, I used to take comfort in those words, …

Three Weeks to Prepare a Good Impromptu Speech

Mark Twain? Apocryphal? Dear Quote Investigator: I have to present a speech soon, and I would like to use a quotation attributed to Mark Twain: It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. The intended audience has the background to know that impromptu means without planning or preparation, and the …

Golf is a Good Walk Spoiled

Mark Twain? William Gladstone? A Northern Gael? F. W. Payn? Well-known Jockey? The Allens? Harry Leon Wilson? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: I love to play golf, but sometimes when I am playing poorly I am tempted to simply walk the course and get some exercise. When I mentioned this to a friend he told me …

Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a Fool than to Speak and Remove All Doubt

Abraham Lincoln? Mark Twain? Biblical Proverb? Maurice Switzer? Arthur Burns? John Maynard Keynes? Confucius? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: Here are two versions of an entertaining saying that is usually credited to Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt. It’s better …