If Twain Tweeted

Welcome (back) to Amaze-ing Words Wednesday! Here at Threading the Labyrinth, I take Wednesdays to head down a hedged path of the English language and discover something to share with you.

I recently read a great post from Lydia Sharp, Back to Basics: Writing is Hard. She included an inspirational quote from Mark Twain and then said: “I think it’s safe to assume that, were he alive today, Mark Twain would have had one of the best inspirational/motivational blogs for writers ever in existence. He’d also be crazy popular on Twitter with all his quick wit and humor.”

Indeed, Lydia! And thank you for inspiring me.

I started thinking about Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and all of the inspirational and witty things he said. Some writers are able to master language in such a way that informs or entertains with only a few words. Mark Twain had pithy, humorous, and poignant down pat. So what if you logged onto Twitter, found Mr. Twain, and clicked follow?

I’m sure there’s a Twitter moniker out there actually tweeting for Twain. I didn’t check. Instead, I give you the following tweets from Mr. Twain in one post. Here are 25 favorite quotes I found from him in 140 characters or less.


  1. A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
  2. A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.
  3. Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.
  4. All generalizations are false, including this one.
  5. Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
  6. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
  7. Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.
  8. Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.
  9. Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
  10. I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough.
  11. Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied.
  12. My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. (Fortunately) everybody drinks water.
  13. Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
  14. The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
  15. What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself.
  16. Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
  17. To be vested with enormous authority is a fine thing; but to have the on-looking world consent to it is finer.
  18. [A] full belly is little worth where the mind is starved.
  19. [I]n order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.
  20. It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
  21. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
  22. Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.
  23. It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.
  24. It is wiser to find out than suppose.
  25. What work I have done I have done because it has been play. If it had been work I shouldn’t have done it.

I may do this again sometime. I could have kept looking for hours and found many more succinct quotations from Mark Twain’s writings and speeches.

Would you follow Mark Twain on Twitter if he was alive today? Which quote was your favorite? Do you have other quotes from Mark Twain that you love?

Sources: BrainyQuote, LitQuotes, ThinkExist.com, TwainQuotes.com, AllMarkTwainQuotes

26 thoughts on “If Twain Tweeted

  1. What a great post, Julie! Twain was a genius, and the quotes your chose are excellent. Thanks so much for sharing them with us. Love the idea of Twain on Twitter!

  2. I love Mark Twain’s quotes. He had it right most of the time. I have never heard the cat by the tail quote. It made smile.

    I actually have a Wednesday Words idea for you. I need to email it to you.

  3. LOL gotta love these! I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite, though if I had to, it would probably be #6. Another good one is, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

  4. Very cool, Julie! He would have had a huge following. I love Twain. Here’s my favorite quote of his, but it would be too long for a tweet:

    “For the history of our race, and each individual’s experience, are sewn thick with evidences that a truth is not hard to kill, and that a lie well told is immortal.” (Advice to Youth)

    1. Now there’s another question: If he lived today, where would Twain be? Would he bother to blog? Tweet? Facebook? Pinterest? I’d follow him too, Alberta! Thanks.

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