15 Great Sourced Mark Twain Quotes

The best funny, witty, and wise Mark Twain quotes

Mark Twain often gets the credit for all sorts of witty lines, but it turns out that he didn’t say many of them. So we set ourselves the task of tracking down the lines that Mark Twain actually did say – and this post is the result. We hope you enjoy reading these 15 of the very best Mark Twain quotes as much as we enjoyed compiling them.

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning. – Letter to George Bainton, 15 October 1888

I haven’t a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices whatsoever. – ‘Answers to Correspondents’, The Californian, 17 June 1865

I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough. – Speech, 23 September 1907

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. More Maxims of Mark, 1927

When angry, count four; when very angry, swear. – Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894

What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before. Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1935

Be respectful to your superiors, if you have any. – ‘Advice to Youth’, speech to The Saturday Morning Club, Boston, 15 April 1882

Familiarity breeds contempt – and children. – Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1935

Mark Twain Shirtless

Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education. – Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894

The funniest things are the forbidden. – Notebook entry, 1879

If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything. – Notebook entry, 1894

Honesty is the best policy – when there is money in it. – Speech to Eastman College, 1901

Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person. – Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1935

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example. – Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894

Classic’. A book which people praise and don’t read. – Following the Equator, 1897

Sources: Wikiquote; Oxford ReferenceThe Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

If you enjoyed these Mark Twain lines, check out Twain’s rules for good writing.

Image: Mark Twain Shirtless, c. 1883, author unknown; Wikimedia Commons; public domain.

9 thoughts on “15 Great Sourced Mark Twain Quotes”

  1. Lots of genuine chuckles, splutters and guffaws in there.

    I particularly liked:

    Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

    I spluttered, hooted, guffawed and roared simulatneously. Good job I wasn’t eating at the time.


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