American Writer, Humorist
Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens
American Writer, Humorist
I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English - it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.
I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.
I was dead for millions of years before I was born and it never inconvenienced me a bit.
I would rather have my ignorance than another man's knowledge, because I have so much more of it.
I know all those people. I have friendly, social, and criminal relations with the whole lot of them.
I once heard a grouty northern invalid say that a coconut tree might be poetical, possibly it was; but it looked like a feather-duster struck by lightning.
I take my only exercise acting as a pallbearer at the funerals of my friends who exercise regularly.
I was gradually coming to have a mysterious and shuddery reverence for this girl; nowadays whenever she pulled out from the station and got her train fairly started on one of those horizonless transcontinental sentences of hers, it was borne in upon me that I was standing in the awful presence of the Mother of the German Language. I was so impressed with this, that sometimes when she began to empty one of these sentences on me I unconsciously took the very attitude of reverence, and stood uncovered; and if words had been water, I had been drowned, sure. She had exactly the German way; whatever was in her mind to be delivered, whether a mere remark, or a sermon, or a cyclopedia, or the history of a war, she would get it into a single sentence or die. Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.
I`ve had a very difficult life. Fortunately, most of it didn`t happen.
I am pushing sixty. That is enough exercise for me.
I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious -- except he purposely shut the eyes of his mind and keep them shut by force.
I do not wish any reward but to know I have done the right thing.
I freighted a leaf with a mental message for the friends at home, and dropped it in the stream. But I put no stamp on it and it was held for postage somewhere.
I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting.
I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
I can't do literary work for the rest of this year because I'm meditating another lawsuit and looking around for a defendant.
I don?t like to commit myself about heaven and hell ? you see, I have friends in both places.
I had been to school most all the time, and could spell, and read, and write just a little, and could say the multiplication table up to six times seven is thirty-five, and I don't reckon I could ever get any further than that if I was to live forever. I don't take no stock in mathematics, anyway.
I have never tried, in even one single little instance, to help cultivate the cultivated classes. I was not equipped for it either by native gifts or training. And I never had any ambition in that direction, but always hunted for bigger game--the masses.
I am quite sure... I have no race prejudice, and I think I have no color prejudices, nor caste prejudices. Indeed, I know it. I can stand any society. All I care to know is that a man is a human being?this is enough for me; he can?t be any worse.
I conceive that the right way to write a story for boys is to write so that it will not only interest boys but strongly interest any man who has ever been a boy. That immensely enlarges the audience.
I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.
I hain't ever seen her since that time that I see her go out of that door; no, I hain't ever seen her since, but I reckon I've thought of her a many and a many a million times, and of her saying she would pray for me; and if ever I'd a thought it would do any good for me to pray for HER, blamed if I wouldn't a done it or bust.
I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. All I care to know is that a man is a human being, and that is enough for me; he can't be any worse.
I am the entire human race compacted together. I have found that there is no ingredient of the race which I do not possess in either a small way or a large way.