Sometime ago, I did a post on Amaze-ing Words Wednesday about wordsmith Mark Twain that included 25 favorite quotes from him. I titled it If Twain Tweeted because wouldn’t it be awesome if some of these brilliant minds had been on Twitter way back when? Moreover, I think we can learn a lot about the effective use of language from those who do it so well.
Another favorite of mine is Winston Churchill, who was the master of The Perfect Comeback, and whose brilliance and wit has long been noted — whether or not one agreed with his politics. So today, let’s imagine that the British prime minister is sitting at his desk with a smart phone in hand and sending out a little word wisdom to the rest of us. Here’s my collection for If Churchill Tweeted, with 23 quotes of 140 characters or less:
- Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities…because it is the quality which guarantees all others.
- He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
- A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
- All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
- Although personally I am quite content with existing explosives, I feel we must not stand in the path of improvement.
- Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.
- Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. (This one is considered apocraphyl by the Churchill Centre and Museum.)
- History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
- However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
- I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
- I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
- I’m just preparing my impromptu remarks.
- If you’re going through hell, keep going.
- “No comment” is a splendid expression. I am using it again and again.
- Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
- We are all worms. But I believe that I am a glow-worm.
- The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
- This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.
- You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
- Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then…a mistress, and then…a master, and then a tyrant.
- My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.
- It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.
Note: It has been debated whether some quotes attributed to Prime Minister Churchill were his own. I tried to find more than one source for the quotes; however, it’s possible that something here was not his statement after all or that a word or two is out of place.
Who are your favorite wordsmiths? Which Churchill quote did you most enjoy? Do you know of others I should have included?