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Great English Quotes Can Give you Goosebumps

By Jon, published on 14/03/2019 Blog > Languages > ESOL (English) > The Most Famous English Quotes

By learning English, you will learn how to master the art of its grammar, syntax, vocabulary but you will also touch on its poetry and culture.

Whether you’re about to start an essay or a hard week in the office, there is nothing like a great quotation to help you get started.

Quotes help you to rediscover the English language and to better understand your English lessons!

There are many famous quotations about love or courage; they give us hope. When all things feel like they are tumbling down, turn to a famous quote to give you some strength. Learn how English allows you to interact with the world.

There are also plenty of quotes that address the mundane, force us to consider profound wisdom… and then, there are those that just make us laugh out loud!

We invite you now to come with us; discover some of the best and most memorable quotes floating around today.

The Best English Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”.

When there are days that you want to hide away from everyone and everything, turn to this quote from Confucius to feel hope.

The choices we make at 20 are not always in line with our needs at 40. Youngsters often start off in a boring old office job, but they could embark on a job related to their passion, for example being an English teacher.

Make your job a hobby; not a chore. At times, this can result in sacrifices, as Dalai Lama puts it: “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.”

“We all have two lives, the second begins when we realise we only have one.”

This quote is especially impactful when you may be diagnosed with an illness, or you lose someone close to your heart. Life changes.

It is similar to a Renaissance, which is experienced as a second and last chance. As Abraham Lincoln puts it: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

 

Albert Einstein was a genius scientist and philosopher Learn English from the best (Photo via Visualhunt)

“Logic will get you from A to Z; Imagination will get you everywhere.”

As we all know, Einstein was an eccentric and peculiar character possessed of an extraordinary intelligence. He called himself “passionately curious” and above all, his intelligence came from his heart.

If logic allows you to not get lost along the way, then imagination has no limits, no borders and it represents the absolute freedom that opens the doors to creativity. Take advantage of Einstein’s wisdom in your English classes!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

This quote from Albert Einstein shows that life is a constant motion and to continue learning and progressing, we must move forward. The ‘wheel’ is linked to the symbolism of time passing, which only goes in one direction.

We’ll be discover more Einstein quotes later in this article. He was imminently quotable! 

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”

Martin Luther King from the Civil Rights Movement was an outstanding speaker who made speeches about his vision of the world and peace in the 50s and 60s. This quote shows that a difficult situation reveals the strength and character of a person. It is therefore important to remain faithful to oneself.

Learn English through MLK's great speeches Martin Luther King was, and is, a hugely inspirational figure (Photo credit: Alachua County via Visualhunt / CC BY)

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

This is a famous quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson who was an American philosopher in the 19th century. When you look back at life, you may think that the past has left its marks and the future is left uncertain, which is unsettling.

Nevertheless, the venerable Mr Emerson encourages you to discover your mettle; your inner landscape. In his opinion, nothing was greater than one person could realise through self-actualisation.

Learn how English accents differ in the UK and US.

Underestimating is normal and may happen frequently, but we do all have a great inner strength. This quote reminds us that we all have personal abilities and capabilities, which we should never ignore or disregard.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

After 27 years of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela was the first president of the Republic of South Africa and received the Nobel Peace Prize. His words continue to inspire us.

Failure is often experienced as a fatality and a real disappointment, but we must find our inner strength to succeed and find a way to overcome our setbacks in life. The real victory is to find the courage to carry on despite the difficulties, as Gandhi once said: “You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.”

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”

Whether you are training for a sports competition, a fight, a race or an exam, this quote from Nelson Mandela is a great example of determination and pugnacity.

Truthfully, the feeling of victory is everyone’s ultimate goal in life. Perseverance and a good mental state of mind make it possible to reach our objectives. As Eleanor Roosevelt put it: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” For some, the “beauty” may be to become bilingual or to live abroad and learn English online or in person with either with ESOL courses.

“Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”

This quote from Franklin P. Jones, highlights the fact that love has a central dimension in the world. Without love, the world would continue to function, but life would no longer have an important meaning.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

Hellen Keller was a strong woman. In spite of her multiple disabilities, she became a political activist in the United States, championing causes of the disabled. Her quote is extremely inspiring as she was deaf and blind from birth. Later it was discovered that she couldn’t speak, either.

This quote shows that sensory communication is that of the heart and not visual or materialistic. She encourages us to see the real beauty of things with our heart.

You might embellish your English lessons with a quote like the one above, or this one:

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong”  

Internationally renowned, Mahatma Gandhi was a peacekeeper, a political leader and a spiritual man who led the Indian independence movement against the British in the 1940’s.

Only true wisdom allows you to set aside your resentment and grant forgiveness.

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Meaningful English quotes A meaningful quote to lift your morale Photo via Visual Hunt

Quotes on Being True to Yourself

“I don’t want to be the next Bruce Lee, I want to be the first Jackie Chan”

Today, the lovable action/comedy star of American and Chinese cinema is known all over the world but, ironically enough, he first garnered international attention for performing a kung fu stunt in a Bruce Lee movie.

This stunt was reportedly so dangerous that nobody, including Bruce Lee himself, would execute it.

In the deluge of interviews that followed, invariably the question of Mr Chan following in the kung fu master’s footsteps cropped up. That is when he uttered that remarkable phrase.

Its meaning is clear: being someone or something that you’re not is less valuable than being yourself, even at the cost of fame and fortune.

Along with it comes the implication that, if you’re only ever going to be you, be the best you possible.

Obviously, his declaration was effective: the comparisons to Bruce Lee stopped and, from then on, Jackie Chan was judged on his quite considerable merits.

Not only is he a kung fu master in his own right but, in China is a favourite recording artist with a string of hits to his name. His Dragon Heart foundation sponsors several education initiatives as well as care for the elderly.

In a similar vein, Oscar Wilde offered up this gem: “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”

If anyone has the right to give such counsel, Mr Wilde certainly qualifies. Living life on his terms, refusing to relinquish, retract or reverse any facet of himself, he served two years in prison for his proclivities and lived the rest of his life in exile.

Holding Oscar Wilde’s life up for examination, one can’t help but conclude that not only should one be true to oneself but one must have the courage, fortitude and strength of character to do so.

Surely that must be sage advice as William Shakespeare incorporated it in the play many academics think was dearest to his heart, Hamlet.

“To thine own self be true!” proclaims Polonius, the king’s advisor.

Generally thought to be a bumbling fool who never gets anything right, this one line, uttered by Polonius’ character is today one of the English speaking world’s best-known truisms.

People wear medallions and other jewellery with that inscription as well as T-shirts and other articles. Some even have that quote tattooed on!

On Being Stupid

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

Brilliant as the man was, no one would attribute that quote to arrogance. In appearance and demeanour, Mr Einstein was nothing if not ordinary – albeit possessed of an amazing capacity for understanding the underpinnings of the cosmos.

Einstein’s unprepossessing character was best highlighted by renown Gestalt therapist, Frederick Perls: “I spent one afternoon with Albert Einstein… I soon lost my self-consciousness”

In fact, it was Perls who alleged the eminent physicist had uttered that phrase: “As Albert Einstein once said to me…”.

While there is some dispute as to whether Albert Einstein did speak those very words, the only dispute about this quote’s veracity is the ongoing discussion over whether the universe is or is not finite.

The sentiment expressed in that saying is echoed in a quote from French author Alexandre Dumas. Translated into English, it states:

“Something I find profoundly humbling is to note that human genius is limited while human stupidity is not.”

It is not known whether it was Father or Son Dumas (Dumas Pere or Dumas Fils) that made that proclamation. They were both well-known authors of their time and their careers and fame overlapped so it is quite possible that their sensibilities did, too.

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

George Carlin was an American stand-up comedian and was, among other things, a rabid social critic who made the lack of intelligent thought and action a central theme to his comedy shows. He often attacked American society in general and the country’s leaders specifically.

One of his routines, about profane words that are censored, was the basis of a Supreme Court case that dictated the American government’s power to regulate indecent material in broadcasting – either on television or on the radio.

That might have been the very last consequence this outspoken critic might have hoped for because the routine that instigated that court action was about inconsistencies in censorship guidelines!

The grey kitty should watch out for the green-eyed one envious of his box. “Careful, Grey Kitty! There is a green-eye monster that is jealous of your box!” Source: Pixabay Credit: Dom Alberts

Quotes About Jealousy

“Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.”

Although best known for being one of the fathers of Science Fiction (the other two are Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback), H.G. Wells was a prolific author of many genres.

This quote is from his 1914 novel, The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman. It details a loveless marriage in which Lady Harman cannot reconcile herself with her husband’s emotional distance and workaholic personality.

As he grows ever richer and more accomplished, she grows ever lonelier but, as a moral and ethical woman, would not accept Mr Brumley’s advances.

A domineering man, Sir Isaac speaks that line amidst his wife’s uprising in support of suffrage in an attempt to denigrate her fight for women’s right to the vote.

Who was he alleging Lady Isaac to be jealous of? Do you think that quote still rings true today?

“Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?”

The son of Stephen Covey is not far off the mark with this quote: how does demeaning others make one a good and worthy person?

Unlike his father, who wrote the most famous self-help book – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Sean Covey turned his focus on youths. He penned a series of books aimed to guide children through adolescence.

Although initially mirroring his father’s work by drafting a volume titled the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers, he later found his own voice and style, going on to write several children’s books and a couple for adults.

He has not gotten away from the self-improvement theme and, central to his philosophy, he advocates that people should take responsibility for themselves.

In these times of cyberbullying and mudslinging, not just by children but by adults and politicians, this quote seems especially pertinent.

We’ll round out the topic of jealousy with our favourite bard, Shakespeare, for whom jealousy was a central theme in many of his works.

“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” – Othello

Was this line, spoken by the treacherous Iago, actually a clue that Othello should have heeded?

“So full of artless jealousy is guilt, it spills itself in fearing to be spilt.” – Hamlet

Hamlet is largely thought to have been the Bard’s catharsis from his son’s death. If that is the case, what was he feeling guilty over? Could this have been Shakespeare’s most prophetic line?

“How many fond fools serve mad jealousy?” – The Comedy of Errors

A lamentation between two sisters ends with that speculation but the best line is the one that Luciana speaks:

“Self-harming jealousy! Fie, beat it hence!”

You might save that one for the next time your mates turn green with envy over something someone else has…

Humourous Quotes

“You only live once but, if you do it right, once is enough.”

This is arguably one of Mae West’s least controversial comments – she was known for her bawdiness and recklessness, especially in the face of censorship.

However, there is a profound truth underlying her words: live the best life you can and you’ll not suffer a day of your sunset years regretting not having done or said something you know was right for you.

She might have meant something quite different but we can interpret this wisdom any way we wish, right?

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.” Groucho Marx

Profound yet funny for the visual the second sentence calls up, this quote spells out for us the loneliness the man felt.

Obviously, he could not have foreseen the advent of backlit devices like phones and tablets that make it possible to enjoy printed material inside of a dog… should you ever want to crawl up inside of one and have a good read.

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” Terry Pratchett

From a man who, for decades, has caused freshets of laughter to spontaneously erupt all over the world comes this quote that, once again, tickles the funny bone with the visual it incurs.

“Oh, say! You have nothing by your left temporal lobe. Let me just place this right there…” as you run away, adamantly insisting your lobes have the right to remain unadorned.

However, as with all comic turns, there is an underlying seriousness to Sir Terry’s claim. Think about it: adverts, politicians; everyone from salespeople to friends attempting to sway you.

Maybe that’s why everyone has gotten more opinionated over the years: it must be downright dangerous, being chased about by all and sundry who wish to put things in your mind!

Learn English by reading English quotes Read a quote a day to inspire you! (Photo via Visual Hunt)

Using English Quotes Correctly

English quotes are a great way to start off an essay as it draws in the reader.

You might consider introducing your dissertation with an English quote or tasking your students to do so. There is nothing better than starting an essay with the value of a quote from Oscar Wilde, Nelson Mandela or Albert Einstein.

Remember: when quoting someone, you must place quotation marks! To forget them could result in your being accused of plagiarism.

Generally, quotes can allow you to express a range of emotions from love and happiness to sadness and regret.

Internet users are most interested in the following types of quotes:

  • Life
  • Love,
  • Happiness,
  • Jealousy,
  • Courage,
  • Craziness,
  • Sadness,
  • Family life,
  • Inspiration,
  • Solitude,
  • Marriage,
  • Trust,
  • Work

What is a Quote?

A “quote” is a thought, phrase or saying that originated with someone besides you. Placing quotation marks,  as we’ve done for each of the quotes above, is the way of showing your readers that phrase in question comes from a different source.

If you are writing a formal paper, your quotes should also give your readers the required information to find this source in a book or online, as well as the author, the title of the book/article, the page number, the location of the company who published the quote and the date it was published.

Why Must we Cite our Sources?

Giving credit to the original author by citing the source is the only way to avoid an accusation of plagiarism. Besides, you should always cite your sources because it is rthe right thing to do!

Citing your sources shows how much research you’ve done and also strengthens your work by bringing outside support to your ideas.

English newspapers are a great source to find quotations. So, get reading! Or try learning English through the wonderful language of Shakespeare.

English quotes are always the best quotes! An oldie but a goldie english idiom! Photo via Visual Hunt

When Must we Cite our Sources?

Every time we borrow an idea from someone, we must disclose the source.

The following situations nearly always require a quote:

  • Every time you use quotation marks
  • Every time you paraphrase
  • Every time you use someone else’s idea
  • Every time you reference someone’s work
  • Every time that someone else’s work has played an important role in influencing your own ideas

English Quotes to Help Inspire

A quote is rather a lot more than just a phrase in italics

A quote allows you to dive into the thoughts of an author, to inspire you. “Think yourself” as Steve Jobs once said.

You must, therefore, be able to master the English language and be sure you have a good English dictionary.

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