Quote Collections

Quotation: Something that somebody said that seemed to make sense at the time. —Leonard Louis Levinson.

A witty saying proves nothing. —Voltaire.

Quoting Quotes.

We all love reading quote collections. We appreciate an idea expressed with clarity, forcefullness and eloquence, especially if we agree with it. Some often-cited quotes are by relative unknowns, but most are by eminent personages whose names are household words. Of course, any quotable quote attributed to somemone "great" was probably said by someone else earlier—someone whose name is lost to history.

When we use a quote in our own writing, we should not do it in order to lend the authority of a "great person" to our work. Chances are if someone said something we particularly like, that same person said or did other things we don't like, so using a quote should never be thought of as a blanket endorsement of that person's whole output. Then, too, quotes taken out of context run the risk of being interpreted in ways the author might not approve. And sometimes that adds a new dimension to the idea, which may be good.

We use a quote in this way simply to give credit where it is deserved. You have an idea or observation, and then realise that the great "so and so" said the same thing, but probably better than you might have on your own. If you put it into your own words, folks who know the quote would think you are paraphrasing the great person without credit, or worse, are ignorant of that person's work. That's not considered polite. So you use the quote and credit it properly.



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