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Quotations about Speaking
To speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks. ~Ben Jonson
Be careful of your thoughts; they may become words at any moment. ~Ira Gassen
Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute. ~Josh Billings
She resumed speaking, after a pause that testified eloquently to the depth of her emotion... ~Eugene Field, "The Mouse and the Moonbeam," 1888 [Mauve Mouse, sister of Squeaknibble. A little altered.
Foolishness always results when the tongue outraces the brain. ~Author Unknown
Many talk as easily as they breathe, and with quite as little thought. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882
The words you choose to say something are just as important as the decision to speak. ~Author Unknown
Among provocatives, the next best thing to good preaching is bad preaching. I have even more thoughts during or enduring it than at other times. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage. ~Publilius Syrus
A profound man thinks more easily than he talks; a shallow one talks more easily than he thinks. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882
Lucy put out her hand as if to ward his words away... ~Florence Bone (1875–1971), The Morning of To‑Day, 1907
An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind. ~Walter Bagehot
It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it. ~Maurice Switzer, 1906 (Thanks, Garson O'Toole of quoteinvestigator.com!)
Many preachers shine in the pulpit who lose their brilliancy in common conversation. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882
I am annoyed by individuals who are embarrassed by pauses in a conversation. To me, every conversational pause refreshes. ~George Sanders
Isn't it surprising how many things, if not said immediately, seem not worth saying ten minutes from now? ~Arnot L. Sheppard, Jr.
It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood. ~Karl Popper, Unended Quest
If something goes without saying, let it. ~Author Unknown
Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing. ~Attributed to Robert Benchley by Evan Esar in 1949, however a similar saying already existed c.1920 (quoteinvestigator.com/2013/10/22/fine-say)
I'm not a dull speaker, I'm a bad speaker, I'm a wretched speaker. The tape of my unprepared speech differs from my written prose as much as the worm differs from the perfect insect — or, as I once put it, I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.... My hemmings and hawings over the telephone cause long-distance callers to switch from their native English to pathetic French. At parties, if I attempt to entertain people with a good story, I have to go back to every other sentence for oral erasures and inserts. Even the dream I describe to my wife across the breakfast table is only a first draft. In these circumstances nobody should ask me to submit to an interview if by "interview" a chat between two normal human beings is implied. ~Vladimir Nabokov [This is not actually a full quotation that you will find anywhere. It is a mash-up from two different sources but both by Nabokov, part from a 1977 BBC interview with Robert Robinson and the remainder from Nabokov's 1973 foreword to Strong Opinions. They do, however, share an overlapping sentence. And this, my dear Mr Nabokov, fits my INFJ personality to a T!
A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker. ~Author Unknown
Don't tell your friends about your indigestions: "How are you!" is a greeting, not a question. ~Arthur Guiterman, A Poet's Proverbs
Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled. ~Horace
Don't speak unless you can improve on the silence. ~Spanish Proverb
One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say. ~Will Durant
As a gardener, I wonder if flowers really can't speak or just exercise unfailing good judgment in the matter. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf. ~Lemony Snicket
The man was on his knees, trying to retrieve each of his ugly words that were now scattered on the floor. But, of course, it was too late. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com
Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact—from calling on us to look through a heap of millet-seed in order to be sure that there is no pearl in it. ~George Eliot, Impressions of Theophrastus Such, 1879
Let papers speak and beards be silent. ~Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
Calvin: Sometimes when I'm talking, my words can't keep up with my thoughts. I wonder why we think faster than we speak.
Hobbes: Probably so we can think twice.
~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes
Not the fastest horse can catch a word spoken in anger. ~Chinese Proverb
I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect. ~Edward Gibbon
Does it seem sometimes that you are always the one to break an embarrassing silence — and always by saying something more embarrassing than the silence? ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Never miss a good chance to shut up. ~Will Rogers (verification of author per The Estate of Will Rogers, CMG Worldwide)
One way to prevent conversation from being boring is to say the wrong thing. ~Frank Sheed
I learned an important lesson in the art of debate. Present your argument clearly, arm yourself with cutting wit and of course, bob and weave! ~Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo video game) written by Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka, and Toshihiro Kawabata
Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours. ~Benjamin Disraeli
Let us not look east and west for materials of conversation, but rest in presence and unity. A just feeling will fast enough supply fuel for discourse, if speaking be more grateful than silence. When people come to see us, we foolishly prattle, lest we be inhospitable. But things said for conversation are chalk eggs. Don't say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Letters and Social Aims," 1875, paraphrased over the years to the commonly quoted version "What you do speaks so loud, that I cannot hear what you say." (Thanks, Garson O'Toole of quoteinvestigator.com!)
Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument an exchange of ignorance. ~Robert Quillen
Coolidge was known for his terse speech and reticence. A woman bet her friend that she could get Coolidge to speak to her, which was something he was reluctant to do. She went up to him and said: "Hello, Mr. President, I bet my friend that I could get you to say three words to me." "You lose," Coolidge replied dryly, and walked away. ~Author Unknown
There is never an embarrassing silence that can't be turned into a regrettable conversation. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
The difference between a smart man and a wise man is that a smart man knows what to say, a wise man knows whether or not to say it. ~Frank M. Garafola
I just wish my mouth had a backspace key. ~Author Unknown
No man would listen to you talk if he didn't know it was his turn next. ~E.W. Howe
He's a wonderful talker, who has the art of telling you nothing in a great harangue. ~Jean Baptiste Molière, Le Misanthrope
The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech. ~George Bernard Shaw
If you keep your mouth shut you will never put your foot in it. ~Austin O'Malley
If everybody thought before they spoke, the silence would be deafening. ~George Barzan
Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them. ~Adlai Stevenson
In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet. ~Winston Churchill
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said. ~Author Unknown
He must be a poor creature that does not often repeat himself. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
The best way to keep one's word is not to give it. ~Napoleon I, Maxims
Keep your words soft and tender because tomorrow you may have to eat them. ~Author Unknown
Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use. ~Wendell Johnson
Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand. ~Author Unknown
Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference. ~Author unknown, attributed to Mark Twain
When you're arguing with a fool, make sure he isn't doing the same thing. ~Author Unknown
Oh, the things that go through my mind that I never say. Oh, the things I say that never go through my mind. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. ~Ernest Hemingway
...Shall I go on?
Or have I said enough?...
~John Milton, "Comus, A Mask"
Dialogue vs. Monologue Quotes
And there is monologue disguised as dialogue, in which two or more men, meeting in space, speak each with himself in strangely tortuous and circuitous ways and yet imagine they have escaped the torment of being thrown back on their own resources. ~Martin Buber (1878—1965), translated from German
There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all. ~Rebecca West, "There is No Conversation," 1934
As a matter of fact, have you never noticed that most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness? ~Margaret Millar, The Weak-Eyed Bat, 1942
A dialogue is not made up of two monologues. ~Howard E. Short, quoted in United Church Herald, Vol. 10, 1967 [See also above quotes.
Now, you indicate to me that you really see that as communication going back and forth rather than simply individual expression. But communication is assumed to be a dialogue between people, not two monologues. ~Quoted in Howard Stein, A Time to Speak, 1974 [See also above quotes.
Basically you are like two parallel lines which never meet. Dialogue seems to be impossible. All is monologue — you are talking to yourself and the other is talking to himself. Two monologues together look like a dialogue only in appearance. ~Osho, The Revolution: Talks on Kabir, 1979
Two monologues do not make a dialogue. ~De Nevers' Law of Debate (Murphy's Laws), c.1989 [The author being Noel de Nevers (b.1932), a chemical engineer, Professor Emeritus at the University of Utah. Also see above quotes for other monologue/dialogue comparisons.
But real dialogue is here continually hidden in all kinds of odd corners and, occasionally in an unseemly way, breaks surface surprisingly and inopportunely—certainly still oftener it is arrogantly tolerated than downright scandalizing—as in the tone of a railway guard's voice, in the glance of an old newspaper vendor, in the smile of the chimney-sweeper. ~Martin Buber, translated from German
But monologue disguised as dialogue is the great dissembler that masquerades as the interhuman. ~Maurice Friedman, Martin Buber's Life and Work, 1981
That peoples can no longer carry on authentic dialogue with one another is not only the most acute symptom of the pathology of our time, it is also that which most urgently makes a demand of us. ~Martin Buber (1878—1965)
I hope there were no listeners within earshot, as I am sure the dialogue, or, more properly speaking, the two monologues, they would have heard—(for we spoke both together, neither of us paying the slightest attention to what the other was saying!)—must have been supremely ridiculous! He poured forth a perfect rigmarole of sentimental heroics; whilst I was equally voluble in angry remonstrance! ~Illustrated News, 1863 [Thanks a million to Garson O'Toole for this quotation. Here is the full source information he provides on his blog Quote Investigator: 1863 July 4, Southern Illustrated News, A Bundle of Old Letters (Continuation from previous issue), (Written for the Illustrated News), Start Page 6, Quote Page 7, Column 1, Richmond, Virginia. (GenealogyBank)
Speech is thinking aloud. Soliloquy is thinking aloud to one's self.... Since the soul is conversant with its own reasonings, why speak?... [I]n the normal state of soul, when life is oppressed, when the vastest issues break like angry oceans in the spirit—then thoughts seem bent on uttering themselves. Soliloquy is natural to Hamlet as turbulence to the seas. His conversations are monologues. He takes other men's words as points of departure. He deals in dissertations, not conversations.... If Hamlet fell into soliloquy as naturally as stars fall with flash-light to the earth at night, yet is he still more the brooder than the soliloquizer.... Hamlet's mood is to think, to dream, rather than speak in whispers even. ~William A. Quayle, "The Soliloquies of Macbeth and Hamlet," The Poet's Poet and Other Essays, 1897