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Tuesday, 7 November, 2000, 13:07 GMT
What's your favourite quotation?

If you were to think of a quote from the last 60 years that really evoked a moment in history, what would it be?

Penguin's Modern Dictionary of Quotations has been published and the Spice Girls, former England Manager Glen Hoddle and comedian Eddie Izzard all make entries, alongside more lofty words from world leaders and the literati.

Some may say quotes from pop stars and comedians sit uneasily next to the likes of Winston Churchill, but the dictionary's editors say they were looking for words that really illustrate the time.

What makes a good quote? Which pearls of wisdom have stuck in your mind? Send us your favourite quotations.

This Talking Point is now closed. A selection of your e-mails is published below.



A large income is the best recipe for happiness

V. Halady, Jordan
"A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" - Jane Austen.

"The greatest truths are the simplest, and so are the greatest men" - Joseph Howe.
V. Halady, Jordan

"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens" - Jimi Hendrix
Dave Porter, UK

"Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they loved her" - G. K. Chesterton, 1908.
David Taylor, UK

"Please ensure that you remove clothing before ironing" - instruction on iron packaging.
Angela, England


I feel sorry for people who don't drink

Guy Davis, England
"I feel sorry for people who don't drink, because when they wake up in the morning that's as good as they're going to feel for the rest of the day" - Frank Sinatra
Guy Davis, England

"New Labour, New Danger" - Conservative poster campaign at the last UK elections. I hate to admit it but they were completely correct.
Steve McCoull, England

Water finds its own level.
Renny Willins, Australia

"Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer!" The Pentagon
Nameless, UK

We're all in the gutter but some of us see stars - Oscar Wilde.
Cat, Ireland

My favourite comes from an advertisement for a dictionary: "Alphabetized for easy reference". One for the Batman file.
Carolyn Harford, Zimbabwe


Knowledge is like a deep well

Olawole Akinsanmi, Nigeria
"Knowledge is like a deep well. However, it takes a wise man to draw from it" - Solomon.
Olawole Akinsanmi, Nigeria

"Pope John Paul II's rejection of barrier contraception has led to the greatest holocaust in the history of mankind" - Anon.
Doug, The Netherlands

I spent a third of my fortune on women, a third on wine and song and the other third I just frittered away - Anon.
Roger Sayer, USA

"Democracy is the worst form of government, apart from the alternative" - Winston Churchill
JNB, Spain

The idle Drone, that labours not at all, Suckes up the sweete of honny from the Bee: Who worketh most, to their share least doth fall; With due desert, reward will neuer be.
Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, Lord Great Chamberlain of England, Viscount Bulbeck and Baron Scales and Badlesmere
R. Tolkien, Australia

History admires the wise, but it elevates the brave
Edmund Morris
Leigh Eden, UK


How do you make God laugh? Tell him about your plans for the future

Oliver A. Baroni, UK/CH
Give the monkey a brain and he'll swear he's the centre of the universe.
Fishbone album title, I think.
Or: How do you make God laugh? Tell him about your plans for the future.
John Cleese, in an interview.
Oliver A. Baroni, UK/CH

The reason why birds can fly is because they have perfect faith. To have perfect faith is to have wings.
The late Reverend Bernhard Judd.
Bethany


Groups with guitars are on the way out

Billy G, UK
How about a music producer who said of the Beatles, "Get these long-haired yobs out of my office. Groups with guitars are on the way out".

Another producer commented, "Son, you ain't going nowhere. Go back to drivin' a truck". The recipient of this comment was Elvis Presley.

Finally, how about a review of a wannabe performer, "Can't sing. Can't act. Can dance a little". The performer - Fred Astaire.
Billy G, UK

Remember, we are just grains of sand living in the desert of time
Clive Dorrell, UK living in USA

"There are three kinds of people in this world. Those who can count and those who can't" - Warren Buffet.
Bryan Mueller, UK

"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys" - P. J. O'Rourke
Jack, UK

Be nice to people on your way up. You'll probably meet them on your way down. - unknown.
Amit, USA


Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me!

Roy, UK
"Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me" - Kenneth Williams in Carry on Cleo.
Roy, UK

Life is a tale told by an idiot - Shakespeare.
P.S. Nirmala, India

"There are only two things you can be certain about in life. Death and taxes" - anon.
Junior, UK

"I can resist everything except temptation" - Oscar Wilde.
Paul Middlemas, UK

Einstein said:
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe."
Melanie Deans, UK

"Always borrow money from a pessimist, because they never expect to get it back!"
Graham Frost, UK


Caution: Cape does not enable user to fly

Batman Costume warning label
"Caution: Cape does not enable user to fly."
- Batman Costume warning label
Jon Hannaford, UK

"You know how it is, you put things off for a day and next thing you know it's a hundred years later" - Peter Davidson as Doctor Who.
Iain Hughes, UK

Murphy's Law - amended. If you drop a piece of toast and jam on the floor it always lands jam side down ... except when attempting to prove Murphy's Law. Anon.
Colin J Hatton, UK

"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity." Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Tharg Thargson, UK

'There is nothing to fear but fear itself.'
Patrick Seurre, UK

Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Rich Maples, England

The words of our elders are words of wisdom, the wise man hears and gets wiser. - Yoruba proverb
Ola Oyewole, Nigeria/USA

Red Sky in the Morning - Shepherds Warning.
Red Sky at night - Shepherds Delight.
Mashed Potato and Mince meat - Shepherds Pie.
Mark Watkins, England

Never eat yellow snow.
Rhys Jones, England

"Never drink because another man is thirsty." (My grandfather's advice as I went off to university.)
A R Cummings, Netherlands

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
Rob Debbage, The Netherlands


A woman drove me to drink and I never had the courtesy of thanking her

WC Fields
"A woman drove me to drink and I never had the courtesy of thanking her." WC Fields

"Sir, If I was your wife, I would poison your brandy."
"Madam, If I was your husband, I would drink it." Winston Churchill
Ciaran McCaffrey, Belfast

'To err is human, but it takes a computer to really foul things up'!
Ken Beach, Germany

"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you " - Anon
Sara Jasso, UK

"All you need is love." - John Lennon
James O'Brien, UK

"90% of statistics are made up on the spot" - Guinness
Sara Jasso, UK


In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king

Kipling
"In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king." Kipling
Bubba, UK

It is not age or even death one fears as much as loneliness and lack of affection. - Audrey Hepbern
D. Sima, UK

If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something. (Steven Wright)
Sarah Rands, UK

Unknown actor: "Why do people take an instant dislike to me?" Spike Milligan: "It saves time."
Mike Farley, UK

"Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it" - can't remember who.
Adam, UK

"The only death you die is the death you die every day by not living."
Norman Vaughan, Antarctic mountaineer on reaching the 10,300 ft. summit of Mt Vaughan aged 89.
Jennifer Lorenzi, France

"An eternity with Beelzebub and all his hellish minions is nothing compared to five minutes with me and this pencil" - Blackadder
Michael, Ireland

"These people are so mega-conglomerate, one small withdrawal and Switzerland goes Third World, darling." - Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders), Absolutely Fabulous.
Juan Carlos Panagiotakes, Greece


Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses

Henry Louis Mencken
Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses. Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)
Sinan, USA

Copulation equals Population equals Pollution. - Spike Milligan
Roy Marsh, Singapore

Being humble is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. -Anonymous
Evelynn Jou, Taiwan

It is unfortunate that the people who know best how to run the country are too busy cutting hair and driving cabs. - George Burns
Reg Swinnerton, Australia

Indestructible to the last and from the days before politics was plastic:
"To those who say 'U-turn' I say, you turn if you want to, The lady's NOT for turning" - Mrs Thatcher at her best...
Michael Street, England

"A week is a long time in politics" President Truman
Charles Kohnen, USA

"It is with the best of intentions that the worst work is done." Oscar Wilde
Jacqui Sakowski, UK in US

"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination."
John Lennon 1940 -1980
D McCarthy, Australia

If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion. - George Bernard Shaw
P. Martin, USA

"One man's life touches so many others, when he's not there it leaves an awfully big hole."
Clarence - It's A Wonderful Life
R. Robinson, South Korea


Man is the only animal that blushes - or needs to

Mark Twain
"Man is the only animal that blushes - or needs to." - Mark Twain
P. Martin, USA

"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation..." Robert Kennedy
Pat, US

"If we don't succeed then we run the risk of failure" - Former Vice President of the US Dan Quayle
Kyle, MA

"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Rani, Canada

"Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy."
F. Scott Fitzgerald
John Darsnek, US

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will be fed for life." - Unknown.
Ross Marnie, Scotland

"Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings...they did it by killing all those who opposed them."
Bet mulligan, USA


There she was, just a-walkin' down the street, singing doo-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-doo

Paul Jones, Manfred Mann
"There she was, just a-walkin' down the street, singing doo-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-doo" - Paul Jones, Manfred Mann
Michael Cronshaw, UK

There is a line in the Led Zeppelin song "Stairway to Heaven" that reads: "There's a feeling I get when I look to the west, and my spirit is crying for leaving". The most poignant words I have ever seen sprayed on the Berlin Wall.
Ed Bayley, USA (English)

"It is indeed a strange illusion that beauty suggests goodness." - Tolstoy
Mark, New Zealand


We are a small island but we are not a small people

Edward Heath
"We are a small island but we are not a small people." - Edward Heath, KG, MP (Old Bexley and Sidcup) This plucky little saying reminds me every time I think of it how much we Britons have to be proud of, from our language to HM Queen Elizabeth II.
Timothy Thomas, America

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between a man and a dog." - Mark Twain
Larry Ellis, USA

"Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought." - Henri Bergson.
Tom Butler, UK

"Tuck in your shirt, Franek, we're in Europe now." - my mother
Franek, USA

It is better to be on the ground wishing you were flying, rather than up in the air wishing you were on the ground. - Aviation proverb.
Aaron Milton-Eldridge, UK

My favourite words of the past sixty years are probably Kurt Cobain's lyrics in the song IN BLOOM - "Sell the kids for food. Weather changes moods."
I also think that Mr Garrison from South Park made an immortal statement when he suggested - "There are no stupid questions, only stupid people."
Another corker was a comment that John Lydon made when asked what his music was contributing in the face of all of the disasters and corruption across the world. He replied - "I wanna make it worse." Johnny, you did just that. (Anarchy!)
Tom Read, UK

Homer Simpson truly is the god of quotations. Who could forget:
"Marge, old people don't need companionship, they need to be isolated and studied to see what useful nutrients can be obtained from them."
Alan Scholefield, UK

Wise words from MegaDeth Frontman Dave Mustane a few years ago. "...Success is having what you want - Happiness is wanting what you have..." So much for all that loud music rotting your brain!?
Chris While, UK

There are so many. I think when Churchill was told "Sir, you're drunk" in the Commons and replied "Madam you're ugly, but I'll be sober in the morning" has to be one of the best. Even if he didn't really say it!
John B, UK


I can't even make my dog lie down, do I look like someone who could overthrow the government?

Dorothy Parker
Dorothy Parker when being interrogated by the FBI on suspicion of being a communist: "Please, I can't even make my dog lie down, do I look like someone who could overthrow the government?"
Chris Hoare, UK

I feel this is one quote that shouldn't be omitted from this debate:
'I hate quotation. Tell me what you know.' Ralph Waldo Emerson
Benj'min Mossop, UK

This one is topical, considering previous talking points:
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable. " Louis D. Brandeis
Dan Peters, UK


Don't squash that fly, darling, I'm a Buddhist, I could come back as one

Edina Monsoon, Absolutely Fabulous
"Don't squash that fly, darling, I'm a Buddhist, I could come back as one." - Edina Monsoon, Absolutely Fabulous
Jose Fernandez, Netherlands

"If you live by the sword you die by the sword", Nasty Nick. It has to be the classic quote of the year!
Michael L Smith, UK

Dolly Parton:
"It cost me millions to look this cheap"
Wonderful, just wonderful.
Chris, Germany

"Political correction is the language of cowardice."
Billy Connolly
Phil Moorhouse, UK

"For NASA, space is still a high priority." - Vice President Al Gore, 9/5/93
Neil Berryman, UK

My favourite comes from Tom Peters: "Some people enjoy corporate life; then again some people enjoy nipple clamps"
Ann, UK

Refering to the human race "We're just a virus with shoes" - Bill Hicks
Martin Bentley, UK


Bigamy: Only crime where two rites make a wrong

Bob Hope
"Bigamy: Only crime where two rites make a wrong."
Bob Hope.
Mick Wright, Thailand

I think ET had the best advice of all: BE GOOD!
Michael Tropp, USA

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." - The Who.
Adam, UK

It has to be 'One small step for man; one vast leap for mankind'
Gerry, Scotland

"Ich bin ein Berliner."
JFK
Gus Symons, UK

"Houston, we have a problem"
Dave, UK


Don't worry, there isn't a hurricane on it's way...

Michael Fish, BBC weather presenter
"Don't worry, there isn't a hurricane on it's way . . ." Michael Fish, BBC weather presenter. Approx eight hours before a hurricane struck southern England.
Nick Hing, England

"It is a brave thing to have courage to be an individual; it is also, perhaps, a lonely thing. But it is better than not being an individual, which is to be nobody at all." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Renee L. Simkowitz, USA

"Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
Kathleen Miller, USA


If there is light in the soul, there is beauty in the person

Cathy, USA
"If there is light in the soul, there is beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person, there is harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house, there is order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world".

Unknown.
Cathy, USA

"If you want to know God's opinion of money, look at who he gave it to" - Brendan Behan, I think.
Stuart Jameson, Ireland

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds" - Albert Einstein.
Marcus, UK


One who cannot say better can do better

Liang Yuejin, Finland
My favourite quotation: One who cannot say better can do better. One who can say better cannot do better.

Unknown.
Liang Yuejin, Finland

"The party on the left is the party on the right ... Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" - We Won't Get Fooled Again, Pete Townsend.
Allison Rich, USA

'90% of people...drink and gamble. I've done my best to give them decent liquor and square games'. Al Capone, 1928 (note: booze was illegal in the US during the 1920's).
John Elwaie, England

"I've got a great idea for a gameshow" - Roger Mellie.
Vernon Bigg, UK


In Prosperity your friends know you

Patricia Seneviratne, USA
In Prosperity your friends know you,
In Adversity, you know your friends - Papa.
Patricia Seneviratne, USA

Failure to prepare is preparation for failure. Robert E. Lee
Peter Haney, Canada

Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana - Groucho Marx.
Do you believe in incarnation? "Good God no, I might come back as me" - Kenneth Williams.
David Harvey, UK

"Nothing wrong with shooting as long as the right people get shot". Clint Eastwood in Magnum Force, 1973
Omar, Iceland

"The gates of paradise are at the feet of your mother". A Muslim saying.
Adam, UK


Nothing worth having ever came easy

Ian Nicholson Howard, Japan
"Nothing worth having ever came easy". Anon
Ian Nicholson Howard, Japan

"Ah... God, my favourite fictional character" - Homer J. Simpson
Russell K. Bulmer, UK

"Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines". Unknown.
Tim Morgan, UK/ USA

"Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment." - Mahatma Gandhi
Guru Shenoy, United States

The Wisdom of Homer J Simpson:
"I want to share something with you -- the three sentences that will get you through life. Number one, 'Cover for me.' Number two, 'Oh, good idea, boss.' Number three, 'It was like that when I got here.'"
Francis Woodroffe, UK

Murphy's Law: "What can go wrong will go wrong" (Murphy was an optimist.)
T.J. Cassidy, USA

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