Quotes About English Language

Quotes tagged as "english-language" (showing 1-21 of 21)
George Orwell
“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”
George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

John Keats
“Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

Glanzvoller Stern! wär ich so stet wie du,
Nicht hing ich nachts in einsam stolzer Pracht!
SchautŽ nicht mit ewigem Blick beiseite zu,
Einsiedler der Natur, auf hoher Wacht
Beim Priesterwerk der Reinigung, das die See,
Die wogende, vollbringt am Meeresstrand;
Noch starrt ich auf die Maske, die der Schnee
Sanft fallend frisch um Berg und Moore band.
Nein, doch unwandelbar und unentwegt
MöchtŽ ruhn ich an der Liebsten weicher Brust,
Zu fühlen, wie es wogend dort sich regt,
Zu wachen ewig in unruhiger Lust,
Zu lauschen auf des Atems sanftes Wehen -
So ewig leben - sonst im Tod vergehen!”
John Keats, Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne

Christopher Hitchens
“I have not been able to discover whether there exists a precise French equivalent for the common Anglo-American expression 'killing time.' It's a very crass and breezy expression, when you ponder it for a moment, considering that time, after all, is killing us.”
Christopher Hitchens, Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

Lynne Truss
“What the semicolon's anxious supporters fret about is the tendency of contemporary writers to use a dash instead of a semicolon and thus precipitate the end of the world. Are they being alarmist?”
Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

H. Beam Piper
“English is the product of a Saxon warrior trying to make a date with an Angle bar-maid, and as such is no more legitimate than any of the other products of that conversation.”
H. Beam Piper, Fuzzy Sapiens

Stephen Fry
“The worst of this sorry bunch of semi-educated losers are those who seem to glory in being irritated by nouns becoming verbs. How dense and deaf to language development do you have to be? If you don’t like nouns becoming verbs, then for heaven’s sake avoid Shakespeare who made a doing-word out of a thing-word every chance he got. He TABLED the motion and CHAIRED the meeting in which nouns were made verbs”
Stephen Fry

Robert A. Heinlein
“English is capable of defining sentiments that the human nervous system is quite incapable of experiencing.”
Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

John McWhorter
“Prescriptive grammar has spread linguistic insecurity like a plague among English speakers for centuries, numbs us to the aesthetic richness of non-standard speech, and distracts us from attending to genuine issues of linguistic style in writing.”
John McWhorter, Word On The Street: Debunking The Myth Of A Pure Standard English

Jared Diamond
“We know from our recent history that English did not come to replace U.S. Indian languages merely because English sounded musical to Indians' ears. Instead, the replacement entailed English-speaking immigrants' killing most Indians by war, murder, and introduced diseases, and the surviving Indians' being pressured into adopting English, the new majority language.”
Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Amy Tan
“I wanted to capture what language ability tests could never reveal: her intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech and the nature of her thoughts.”
Amy Tan, The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life

Henry Hitchings
“The history of prescriptions about English ... is in part a history of bogus rules, superstitions, half-baked logic, groaningly unhelpful lists, baffling abstract statements, false classifications, contemptuous insiderism and educational malfeasance. But it is also a history of attempts to make sense of the world and its bazaar of competing ideas and interests.”
Henry Hitchings

Mary Norris
“The English language is full of words that are just waiting to be misspelled, and the world is full of sticklers, ready to pounce.”
Mary Norris, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

George Bernard Shaw
“The British and Americans are two people separated by a common language.”
George Bernard Shaw

Christopher Morley
“There are only about 30,000 really important books in the world. I suppose about 5,000 of them were written in the English language, and 5,000 more have been translated. - Roger Mifflin”
Christopher Morley, The Haunted Bookshop

Alex Garland
“He spoke in english. Not flawlessly by any means. Not like a Nazi POW camp commandant who appreciates english poetry and says things like 'you know, we are much alike, you and I I'. But good enough”
Alex Garland, The Beach

Karen Elizabeth Gordon
“A pronoun, too, will aptly reflect the number of its antecedent: 'they' does not refer to one person, no matter how many personalities she or he has, or how eager you are to skirt the gender frays.”
Karen Elizabeth Gordon, The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed

C.S. Lewis
“By the way I also would say "I got a book." But your teacher and I are not "English teachers" in the same sense. She has to put across an idea of what the English language ought to be: I'm concerned entirely with what it is and however it came to be what it is. In fact she is a gardener distinguishing "flowers" from "weeds"; I am a botanist and am interested in both as vegetable organisms.”
C.S. Lewis, Letters to Children

Ana Claudia Antunes
“What happened when the Verb asked the noun to conjugate? She said "no-no!", forgot the "o" and decided to become a nun!”
Ana Claudia Antunes

Roberta Pearce
“[T]here are not many words in the English language more lacklustre and less sexy than ‘employer'.”
Roberta Pearce, Famous Penultimate Words

“I am reminded that while New Yorkers say "standing on line," the rest of the English-speaking world says "standing in line.”
Jeffrey Steingarten, It Must've Been Something I Ate: The Return of the Man Who Ate Everything

Joss Whedon
“The English Language is my bitch. Or I don't speak it very well. Whatever.”
Joss Whedon

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