10 Famous Phrases You've Been Misquoting Without Realizing It

10 Famous Phrases You've Been Misquoting Without Realizing It

You've probably been saying these common phrases and iconic movie lines wrong your entire life.
4629
views

There are countless quotes and phrases used on a daily basis that have become part of our cultural vocabulary. Some iconic movie quotes are well-known even if you haven’t seen the film they are from, and some phrases are collectively-recognized expressions. What if I told you that there are many such quotes and phrases that you never realized you have been saying wrong your entire life? When a phrase becomes popular enough, its misquote is eventually accepted as the real thing. Here are 10 quotes and phrases that are commonly misquoted, misattributed, or just plain false.


1. “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

Sherlock Holmes never actually said this to John Watson. One of his most well-known catchphrases, it first appeared in an early film adaptation. In the original books, the closest Sherlock gets to this quote is the line, “'Elementary,' said he.”

2. Could care less vs. couldn’t care less

The confusion over these two statements is continually one of the most frustrating aspects of an argument. If you could care less, it implies that you care to begin with and could simply decrease how much you care. If you couldn’t care less, you don’t care at all — this is the phrase you are looking for.

3. “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down the cherry tree.”

While we may learn in elementary school what a stand-up guy young George Washington was for admitting to cutting down his father’s cherry tree, this entire story is a myth. It is just another way that history has falsely memorialized Washington, in line with the fictitious claims that he neither had slaves nor opposed freeing the ones who worked on his estate.

4. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

This quote, which begins Charles Dickens’ classic "A Tale of Two Cities," is far longer than this commonly-quoted phrase. The sentence is actually 119 words long, continuing with “it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity ...” You get the idea.

5. “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well.”

One of Hamlet's most-quoted lines, only the first part of his utterance to the gravedigger appears in the play. While Hamlet did know the court jester well, what he actually says is, “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.”

6. “Well-behaved women rarely make history.”

This popular feminist slogan actually reads, “Well-behaved women seldom make history,” an albeit small change to the misquote. The real error is the quote’s attribution. It was not often-accredited Marilyn Monroe who coined the phrase, but rather historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in her eponymous book.

7. Nip it in the bud vs. nip it in the butt

Yet another phrase often butchered in day-to-day interactions. If you nip something in the bud, you are stopping it before it has the chance to begin, much like killing a flower bud before it can open. It you nip it in the butt, you are pinching someone’s butt.

8. “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

“The Wizard of Oz” is my favorite movie, so I am particularly keen of this common slight misquoting: Dorothy actually says, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

9. “Now is the winter of our discontent.”

A line you may hear your English-major friends remark between sips of coffee on a cold winter’s day, it is an abridged version of a line from Shakespeare’s "Richard III."

The line actually reads, “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York,” in fact implying that something good happened, not that the characters are stuck in a gloomy winter.

10. “Luke, I am your father.”

Probably the most recognizable quote in the “Star Wars” empire, it is widely known even amongst people who have not seen the films. However, Darth Vader never says this exact line. Instead, his reply to Luke is, “No. I am your father.”


Now go forth and cease misquoting!

Cover Image Credit: Screen Rant

Popular Right Now

8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
69003
views

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

1064
views

Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

Related Content

Facebook Comments