By Alan Graner
When asked about all the quotes falsely attributed to him, Yogi Berra famously replied, “I really didn’t say everything I said.”
There are lots of quotes attributed to famous people who never said them—someone else did—usually someone not famous. Here are a few.
QUOTE: Go west young man.
ATTRIBUTED: Horace Greeley
ACTUAL QUOTER: John Babsone Soule (quoted by Greeley)
QUOTE: To the victors go the spoils.
ATTRIBUTED: Andrew Jackson
ACTUAL QUOTER: New York Senator William L. Marcy
QUOTE: There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.”
ATTRIBUTED: Mark Twain
ACTUAL QUOTER: Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister
QUOTE: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
ACTUAL QUOTER: Evelyn Beatrice Hall, author of “The Friends of Voltaire”
QUOTE: I cannot tell a lie.
ATTRIBUTED: George Washington
ACTUAL QUOTER: Parson Weems, biographer
QUOTE: The end justifies the means.
ACTUAL QUOTER: Ovid, Roman writer
QUOTE: Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.
ATTRIBUTED: Vince Lombardi
ACTUAL QUOTER: Red Sanders, UCLA coach
QUOTE: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
ATTRIBUTED: Nelson Mandela
ACTUAL QUOTER: Marianne Williamson, author of “A Return to Love”
QUOTE: A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
ATTRIBUTED: Maya Angelou
ACTUAL QUOTER: Joan Walsh Anglund, poet
QUOTE: Walk softly and carry a big stick.
ATTRIBUTED: Theodore Roosevelt
ACTUAL QUOTER: African proverb
QUOTE: The British are coming.
ATTRIBUTED: Paul Revere
ACTUAL QUOTER: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in “Paul Revere’s Ride”
QUOTE: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
ATTRIBUTED: Albert Einstein
ACTUAL QUOTER: Rita Mae Brown, mystery novelist
QUOTE: There’s a sucker born every minute.
ATTRIBUTED: P.T. Barnum
ACTUAL QUOTER: Adam Forepaugh
QUOTE: You can get more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word.
ATTRIBUTED: Al Capone
ACTUAL QUOTER: Professor Irwin Corey, comedian
QUOTE: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
ATTRIBUTED: Edmund Burke
ACTUAL QUOTER: Rev. Charles F. Aked
QUOTE: Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.
ATTRIBUTED: Robert F. Kennedy
ACTUAL QUOTER: George Bernard Shaw
What are some of your favorite misattributed quotes?
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA business public relations and marketing content firm. For content that makes you stand out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.dsprel.com.