since 1997, the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English


A "quote" or "quotation" is usually a short text - perhaps one or two sentences - written or spoken by one (usually famous) person and often repeated or at least known by others. Every language has its famous quotations, and they range from highly amusing to deadly serious. Often they express a deep truth in a short, clever way - even the amusing ones.

Here are 7 of my favourite quotations, arranged (very loosely) from humorous to serious. Have a look at them and try to understand them. Do you agree with them? You can find explanations of some of the more difficult words in Wordchecker at the end.

"It is a secret in the Oxford sense. You may tell it to only one person at a time."
Lord Franks

"The head cannot take in more than the seat can endure."
Winston Churchill on long speeches

"Only the insane take themselves seriously."
Max Beerbohm

"To be uncertain is uncomfortable; but to be certain is ridiculous."

"Say what you have to say in the fewest possible words."
Sir Arthur Bryant

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

"When words lose their meaning, people lose their freedom."

More famous quotations

condemned (past participle): sentenced as a punishment; forced to suffer
endure (verb): suffer patiently; tolerate
insane (adjective): seriously mentally ill
seat (noun): a person's buttocks

This entry is in the following categories:

Contributor: Josef Essberger