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50 Quotes About English

August 22nd, 2008

In many parts of the world and on the Internet, the English language has become a common standard for international communication. Of course it also has its fair share of quirks and eccentricities, as many of the quotes in the list below will attest.

I was somewhat surprised by the relative paucity of attributed quotes about the English language I was able to find from Internet sources. Many of the quotes that I found were actually about England or the English people, but not necessarily the language itself. I have included a few of these other types of English quotes here in order to round out the list at 50; however, I am planning to reserve most of the famous sayings about the country and culture of England for another post.

Meanwhile, if you are from a non-English speaking country or are simply trying to improve your skills with the language (and I can tell from the comments so far that many of you are), you can access one of the best resources on the subject, a book called The Least You Should Know about English: Writing Skills, here.


  • The two most beautiful words in the English language are “check enclosed.” — Dorothy Parker
  • If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur. — Doug Larson
  • The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary. — James D. Nicoll, (1990-05-15). “The King’s English”
  • A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it’s two-tired. — English Proverb
  • Here will be an old abusing of God’s patience and the king’s English. — William Shakespeare
  • The quantity of consonants in the English language is constant. If omitted in one place, they turn up in another. When a Bostonian “pahks” his “cah,” the lost r’s migrate southwest, causing a Texan to “warsh” his car and invest in “erl wells.” — Author Unknown
  • We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language. — Oscar Wilde
  • If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers. — Doug Larson
  • If the French were really intelligent, they’d speak English. — Wilfred Sheed
  • The English language is nobody’s special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself. — Derek Walcott

  • Correct English is the slang of prigs who write history and essays. And the strongest slang of all is the slang of poets. — George Eliot
  • English is a funny language; that explains why we park our car on the driveway and drive our car on the parkway. — Author Unknown
  • Me fail English? That unpossible! — Ralph Wiggum
  • Every American child should grow up knowing a second language, preferably English. — Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
  • W (double U) has, of all the letters in our alphabet, the only cumbrous name, the names of the others being monosyllabic. This advantage of the Roman alphabet over the Grecian is the more valued after audibly spelling out some simple Greek word, like “epixoriambikos.” Still, it is now thought by the learned that other agencies than the difference of the two alphabets may have been concerned in the decline of “the glory that was Greece” and the rise of “the grandeur that was Rome.” There can be no doubt, however, that by simplifying the name of W (calling it “wow,” for example) our civilization could be, if not promoted, at least better endured. — Ambrose Bierce
  • Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing. — Robert Benchley
  • ‘I am’ is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that ‘I do’ is the longest sentence? — George Carlin
  • What is the shortest word in the English language that contains the letters: abcdef? Answer: feedback. Don’t forget that feedback is one of the essential elements of good communication. — Author Unknown
  • My opposition [to interviews] lies in the fact that offhand answers have little value or grace of expression, and that such oral give and take helps to perpetuate the decline of the English language. — James Thurber
  • Reality is the only word in the English language that should always be used in quotes. — Author Unknown
  • More has been screwed up on the battlefield and misunderstood in the Pentagon because of a lack of understanding of the English language than any other single factor. — General John W. Vessey
  • English grammar is so complex and confusing for the one very simple reason that its rules and terminology are based on Latin, a language with which it has precious little in common. — Bill Bryson
  • The English language is like a broad river on whose bank a few patient anglers are sitting, while, higher up, the stream is being polluted by a string of refuse-barges tipping out their muck. — Cyril Connolly
  • He is, I think, already pondering a magisterial project: that of buggering the English language, the ultimate revenge of the colonialised. — Angela Carter
  • There is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to split an infinitive, any more than we should forsake instant coffee and air travel because they weren’t available to the Romans. — Bill Bryson
  • A major cause of deterioration in the use of the English language is very simply the enormous increase in the number of people who are using it. — Anonymous
  • The English language brings out the best in the Irish. They court it like a beautiful woman. They make it bray with donkey laughter. They hurl it at the sky like a paint pot full of rainbows, and then make it chant a dirge for man’s fate and man’s follies that is as mournful as misty spring rain crying over the fallow earth. — T.E. Kalem
  • Making English grammar conform to Latin rules is like asking people to play baseball using the rules of football. — Bill Bryson
  • The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ — Ronald Reagan
  • Men must speak English who can write Sanskrit; they must speak a modern language who write, perchance, an ancient and universal one. — Henry David Thoreau
  • To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up. — George Orwell
  • My English text is chaste, and all licentious passages are left in the obscurity of a learned language. — Edward Gibbon
  • Every English poet should master the rules of grammar before he attempts to bend or break them. — Robert Graves
  • English is just as much big business as the export of manufactured goods. There are problems with what you might call ‘after-sales service’, ‘delivery’ can be awkward, but at any rate the production lines are trouble free. — Randolph Quirk
  • The English language is rather like a monster accordion, stretchable at the whim of the editor, compressible ad lib. — Robert Burchfield
  • I speak twelve languages. English is the bestest. — Stefan Bergman
  • ENGLISH IS OUR LANGUAGE NO EXCETIONS LEARN IT — village of Crestwood welcome sign
  • Anyone who has been to an English public school will always feel comparatively at home in prison. — Evelyn Waugh
  • My English is a mixture between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Archbishop Tutu. — Billy Wilder
  • From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. — Winston Churchill
  • In my sentences I go where no man has gone before…I am a boon to the English language. — George W. Bush
  • Introducing ‘Lite’ - The new way to spell ‘Light’, but with twenty percent fewer letters. — Jerry Seinfeld
  • When I read some of the rules for speaking and writing the English language correctly, I think any fool can make a rule, and every fool will mind it. — Henry David Thoreau
  • The English have an extraordinary ability for flying into a great calm. — Alexander Woollcott
  • I never made a mistake in grammar but one in my life and as soon as I done it I seen it. — Carl Sandburg
  • The English contribution to world cuisine - the chip. — John Cleese
  • In two words, im possible. — Samuel Goldwyn
  • The English never smash in a face. They merely refrain from asking it to dinner. — Margaret Halsey
  • I like the English. They have the most rigid code of immorality in the world. — Malcolm Bradbury
  • Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all. — Walt Whitman



45 Responses to “50 Quotes About English”

  1. comment number 1 by: ana

    Thanks!

  2. comment number 2 by: crisan

    hi this website is helpful to people who wants to know more quotations in english thank u very much for creating this beautiful website who ever created i am so happy fo him-crisan

  3. comment number 3 by: crisan

    hi im so interested with your website this website helps filpinos like me find english qoutations. thank you may other comment to your website too….

  4. comment number 4 by: crisan

    hi to every one !

  5. comment number 5 by: Geoffrey Sodusta

    English is not only for success but a part of our life that makes us complete.

  6. comment number 6 by: Geoffrey Sodusta

    Speaking English is the way to a better life because its possible

  7. comment number 7 by: kaycee

    thank you very much…you help me in my assignment.yeah speaking english is very important.. you got it..

  8. comment number 8 by: jessicaooo7

    thanks!for creating this beautiful websites…
    XD!!

  9. comment number 9 by: Karlonia

    @All:

    Wow, thanks for the comments! I have now updated the post to include a link to a useful resource book for those of you who are looking to improve your English skills. You can also check out my “English Usage” category for articles that I have written which address specific issues of grammar and usage.

  10. comment number 10 by: Tanya

    Excellent description about english….

  11. comment number 11 by: sohail

    lun pay chad gashti kay..kutti maan daya bachaya thora jya aur nai likh sakda sain.haram khor ,

  12. comment number 12 by: Srinath Kashyap

    nice…really nice!!
    but i think the one by George Bush is a lil out of place…do take a look at bushisms…nd then you’ll know why

  13. comment number 13 by: Anonymous

    thank you for all your quotations

  14. comment number 14 by: Marchan N. Manguera

    This is such a good website for i was able to know significant impacts of english in the existence of human covered with humorous choice of language.:)

  15. comment number 15 by: Anonymous

    ang oa naman

  16. comment number 16 by: nkg

    usefull 4 my assessment. thank u.

  17. comment number 17 by: metallista

    yes!! Comment number 17th ako!!!!!

  18. comment number 18 by: kate austine

    thank you very very much for this website!!!o gosh!!!it helps me a lot thanks again!!!love this site!!!!

  19. comment number 19 by: Anonymous

    thanks

  20. comment number 20 by: K Hutchings

    Some great quotes here - I especially liked number 37. A reluctant and begrudging welcome, a spelling mistake and a threat/warning all rolled into one - wonderful!

  21. comment number 21 by: momina

    IT WAS SO HELPFUL….THANK U 4 THE HELP….:)

  22. comment number 22 by: angel

    IT WAS NOT UP TO MY POINT-BUT GOOD

  23. comment number 23 by: shamille

    thanks …

  24. comment number 24 by: Sweety

    English - The only language where your nose runs and your feet smells

  25. comment number 25 by: teshale

    please send good english word

  26. comment number 26 by: Nishika

    This site real help me unerstand English better then beforr.

  27. comment number 27 by: Vivek Bhardwaj

    I really love English i am an Indian we do speak good English i love to

    speak with American cause they are quite enteligent and theri English

    is awesome. English helped me alot i learnt English from Hollywood

    movies Americans are great and enteligent i really apreciate them and

    thanks to all American authors who wrote the Grammatical Books . Thank

    u so much

  28. comment number 28 by: shivraj patil

    English is the soul of the world

  29. comment number 29 by: Furry Canary

    Very enjoyable. No. 38 is not about English though. Ditto 44, 46, 48, 49. A shame it petered out towards the end.

  30. comment number 30 by: The Old Wolf

    The “dark alleys” piece is misquoted and mis-attributed. “The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.” - James D. Nicoll, (1990-05-15). “The King’s English”

  31. comment number 31 by: vamsi

    these quotations are very usefull for the chldrin.english will improve your communication skills.if in any countrythe common language enlish
    than q

  32. comment number 32 by: sober thoudam

    these quotations helped me a lot and thanks a lot!!!

  33. comment number 33 by: engineer shoaib shah

    these quotations gives good knowledge…….

  34. comment number 34 by: Arvee

    cool website!! thnkx 4 givn such a good xplaination on english language!! it helps a lot…

  35. comment number 35 by: Purnima Rajput

    helpful stuff .. thanks !!

  36. comment number 36 by: Anonymous

    ENGLISH is the most simpliest subject,,,, it only need mind and common sense

  37. comment number 37 by: Bob White

    Number 1 is quite amazing. It is fantastic. Thank you so much for helping me do my homework. Peace out yo!

  38. comment number 38 by: Nitkar

    they are not so good quotations. most of them are with ‘I’ ,that is not correct. the didn’t help me complete my homework.

    What does the first quotation mean?
    i mean why check and enclose are the two beautiful words in English language?

  39. comment number 39 by: Karlonia

    @Niktar:

    Back in an ancient era before electronic payments became common and most of us were still using traditional postal mail, seeing the words “check enclosed” on an envelope you had just received meant that you were getting paid. For many of us, getting paid is a beautiful thing. :)

    As far as your homework goes, you will need to be more specific for us to be able to help you.

    @The Old Wolf:

    Thank you for this one. I have made the changes to quote #3 in the original post. I actually think that your corrected version sounds better anyway. :)

    @Furry Canary:

    Yes, it is true that the quotes you pointed out did not pertain to the English language specifically, but rather the English people generally. This is why I stated in the introduction, “many of the quotes that I found were actually about England or the English people, but not necessarily the language itself”, and then mentioned that I had included a few of these in the list.

    @Vivek Bhardwaj:

    It is good that you are trying to learn English, although I am not so sure that Hollywood movies would represent the best resource for such a thing. This would be somewhat akin to depending on Fox “news” for learning the skills of proper journalism. :)

    @Srinath Kashyap:

    The inclusion of the Bush quote was meant to be humorous. Most of us who had to endure the eight years of his presidency realize that George W. Bush was certainly NOT a “boon to the English language”!

    By the way, I have a good collection of “Bushisms” at this post:

    http://www.karlonia.com/2007/11/13/funny-quotes-and-words-of-wisdom/

    There are many other quotes on the page as well; you will need to scroll down about halfway to see the Bush section. There is also a video that includes actual footage of many of Bush’s most memorable gaffes.

  40. comment number 40 by: Alya

    Good quotes , i love it.

  41. comment number 41 by: Anna

    Just great!!!!
    never thought I’d find this website.
    I’m teaching English as a second language . This really helps me and my teenage students just love the quotes, I’m sure.
    thanks a lot!!!

  42. comment number 42 by: Kate

    History and information on the British royal family. Click n8fan.net for more information.

  43. comment number 43 by: k.abinaya

    WHAT A QUOTES! I LIKE IT VERY MUCH . ENGLISH IS A GREAT LANGUAGE.THIS
    QUOTES MENTION IT RIGHT

  44. comment number 44 by: Tom

    I tried to learn English in elementary school and Hight School. It was just plain grammer structures, which was boring for most of a students.

  45. comment number 45 by: Akshitha

    Thanks a lot it Really helped me…

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