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Famously Misquoted Quotes

As we've conducted research on quotations for us to carve, many we thought to be of interest have turned out to be incorrect. What we found especially curious though was how many of these were already being sold by other makers and could be found imprinted on everything from mugs and t-shirts to vinyl wall applications and laser engraving.

After we expended so much time and effort in determining they were inaccurate, it seemed a good idea to start a running list. But first, here's some ready resources for misquoted quotes or to help you verify a quote:

Online Resources

Wikiquote -This is an excellent source of of quotations and their sources as well as well-known misquotes. Misquotes can be found near the bottom of any quotation page. Given that there are a great number of "fake" quotes, it can be difficult to confirm them one way or the other. This resource can happily and mercifully help to quickly end a confirmation search. We have expended significant time researching a number of interesting quotes we'd like to carve if correct, but which we cannot absolutely confirm as right - or wrong. If you find the source here, it is always best to confirm the quote by going to the original source itself. Also, beware when sources cited here are books of collected quotations. Again, it is best to reach all the way back to the original source.

Project Gutenberg, Hathi Trust Digital LibraryInternet Archive, Google Books - These sites are excellent for researching quotes from literature. As with all online sites, it is best to see a scan of the actual page rather than simply the converted text. (There can be errors!) Sometimes you can search a text version for your target quote and then find it on an actual scanned page - and sometimes the scanned pages themselves are searchable.

Please note that many of the above links are for non-profit organizations which offer invaluable services in both preserving and making literature available for free to everyone who can access the internet - and most very gratefully accept charitable contributions!

Famously Misquoted

Here, in no particular order, are some well-known quotes we have researched for which no reliable confirmation of their accuracy can be presently be determined:

Mahatma Gandhi

Unfortunately, no record of this quote in any of the reported variations below has been found in his collected works. Also, he died in 1948 and this quote first started appearing in the 1970's - which does not lend any credence to its accuracy.

  • We need to be the change we wish to see in the world.
  • Be the change you want to see happen.
  • You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
  • We must be the change we wish to see in the world.

Abraham Lincoln

So many have been caught misquoting Mr. Lincoln and yet the vast majority of his speeches and writings have been well documented. In fact, there are so many misquotations we'll simply refer you to a couple of places that have taken on the considerable task of documenting them:

  •  Wikiquote contains a nice listing of real Lincoln quotes with citations as well as a rather extensive listing of misquotes, or misattributions as they call them: (Note: When using quotes from Wikiquoute or anywhere else, we always recommend further confirmation of the quote by tracing it back to the source.)

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