This is a biased piece of writing because I love quotations. It is amazing how a few words can pack such punch. They illuminate the meaning of a subject and help unravel the complex. Quotes are also witty, often self-deprecating and that makes them even more appealing.

People quote to share, incite, honor, compel, inform, and inspire. I am not talking about the self-improvement and motivational quotes that now punctuate the Internet. As Willis Goth Regier said, “Quotations calcify into clichés” and I believe many of those shared on Facebook and Tumblr are terribly clichéd.

I favor using quotes to support my ideas, arguments, and views. The content and context of a well-turned phrase coupled with the credibility of the author are powerful in communication. I don’t roll quotes out in conversations all that often but I do use them liberally in business presentations and reports to convey tone and direction.

Thankfully no one has called me pretentious for my proclivity in using quotes (nor has anyone called me pretentious for using the words ‘pretentious’ and ‘proclivity’).

What I love about quotes is that they take both sides of an argument. For any quote in favor of one view, you will find a contrary quote. There is no better way to illustrate this then to provide actual quotes for and against their very use… along with a few more because they make seem very well read.

Quotes That Support Quotes

“I quote others only better to express myself.” Michel de Montaigne

“The quote captures an idea or teaching in a few words – concisely and with impact.” J. Weiss

“When a thing has been said and well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.” Anatole France

“A fine quotation is a diamond in the hand of a man of wit and a pebble in the hand of a fool.” Joseph Roux

“A beautiful verse, an apt remark, or a well-turned phrase, appropriately quoted, is always effective and charming.” Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond du Deffand

“An apt quotation is like a lamp which flings its light over the whole sentence.” Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Quotes That Question Quotes

“A witty saying proves nothing.” Voltaire

“One is more apt to become wise by doing fool things than by reading wise sayings.” Robert Brault

“A quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business.” A.A. Milne

“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.” Ambrose Bierce

“A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.” Dorothy L. Sayers

What Quoting Says About Us

“Maybe our favourite quotations say more about us than the stories or people we’re quoting.” John Green

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” Oscar Wilde

“When one begins to live by habit and by quotation, one has begun to stop living.” James A. Baldwin

“Life itself is a quotation.” Jorge Luis Borges

“In quoting others, we cite ourselves.” Julio Cortázar

Last Two Quotes

If I were George Bernard Shaw I would have said this too, “I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.” Finally this quote from Marlene Dietrich sums up my view on the subject, “I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.”