37 Mark Twain quotes that will help you see life differently

Mark Twain inspired many people with his mesmerizing passages about life.

108 years after his death, his words still find their way to souls who need to hear them.

From simple things like sports to grim topics such as death, Mark Twain always had something poignant to say.

No wonder he was declared as the lifeblood of American Literature, as stated by Hemingway.

He wrote books showing glimpses of the late 19th century America, which became classic, national treasures today.

His biography is riveting — he began life born prematurely and remained sickly and frail until he was 7 years old.

He was actually born as Samuel Langhorne Clemens but became “Mark Twain” (Mark Number Two) after dreaming the death of his brother.

The name symbolizes the 12 foot depth of water that is necessary for a steamboat’s safe departure.

His own death is also interesting as he quoted “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.”

Whether in life or death, Mark Twain never failed to display the brilliance of his mind using eloquent words that still inspires our generation today.

If you ever need motivating words to help you go through life, you can always look up to Mark Twain.

Read some of his quotes below and you will be in awe of his humor and intelligence.

He may have died more than a century ago. But his words still live on and will continue to be alive in every soul that needs inspiration.

Quotes that are sarcastic and funny

“I have been an author for 20 years and an ass for 55.” — fragment of a letter, 1891, to unknown person

“It’s a classic…something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” — Disappearance of Literature speech

“When you catch an adjective, kill it.” — Letter to D. W. Bowser, 3/20/1880

“An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency.” — Mark Twain in Eruption

“Arguments are unsafe with wives, because they examine them; but they do not examine compliments.” — Hellfire Hotchkiss, reprinted in Satires and Burlesques

“There are three things which I consider excellent advice. First, don’t smoke to excess. Second, don’t drink to excess. Third, don’t marry to excess.” — last public address, St. Timothy’s School for Girls, Catonsville, MY, 9 June 1909

“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live.” — Taming the Bicycle

“I am very glad to sign the petition but I am in terror lest I should be asked to do something, for I don’t do anything now, but rest after 73 years of activity.” — quoted in Mark Twain in the Company of Women, by Laura Skandera-Trombley, p. 121.

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

Quotes that make you think about love and life

“It is so unsatisfactory to read a noble passage and have no one you love at hand to share the happiness with you.” — My Father Mark Twain, Clara Clemens

“Marriage—yes, it is the supreme felicity of life. I concede it. And it is also the supreme tragedy of life. The deeper the love the surer the tragedy. And the more disconsolating when it comes.” — Letter to Father Fitz-Simon, 5 June 1908

“There is more real pleasure to be gotten out of a malicious act, where your heart is in it, than out of thirty acts of a nobler sort.” — Mark Twain in Eruption

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.” — Pudd’nhead Wilson

“That desire which is in us all to better other people’s condition by having them think as we think.” — What is Man

“If everybody was satisfied with himself there would be no heroes.” — Mark Twain’s Autobiography

“There is probably no pleasure equal to the pleasure of climbing a dangerous Alp; but it is a pleasure which is confined strictly to people who can find pleasure in it.” — A Tramp Abroad

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).” — Notebook, 1904

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

“Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.”

“When we remember that we are all mad the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.”

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

“Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that makes you smile.”

Quotes that parents can use

“Always obey your parents when they are present.” — Advice to Youth, 4/15/1882

“You ought never to “sass” old people—unless they “sass” you first.” — Advice for Good Little Girls

“You should never do anything wicked and lay it on your brother, when it is just as convenient to lay it on some other boy.” — Advice for Good Little Boys

“It is good to obey all the rules when you’re young, so you’ll have the strength to break them when you’re old.” — quoted by Dorothy Quick in Advance Magazine, 2/1940

“Twins amount to a permanent riot; and there ain’t any real difference between triplets and a insurrection.” — The Babies speech 1879

“If you wish to inflict a heartless and malignant punishment upon a young person, pledge him to keep a journal a year.” — The Innocents Abroad

Quotes that show his political and historical views

“Our Civil War was a blot on our history, but not as great a blot as the buying and selling of Negro souls.” — quoted by Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch in letter to New York Herald Tribune, November 19, 1941

“Stand back—you will be wanting to go to war next. We will let you teach school as much as you want to, and we will pay you half wages for it, too, but beware! we don’t want you to crowd us too much.” — Letter to St. Louis Missouri Democrat, March 1867

“As to the militant suffragettes, I have noted that many women believe in militant methods. You might advocate one way of securing the rights and I might advocate another, To win freedom always involves hard fighting. I believe in women doing what they deem necessary to secure their rights. they both might help to bring about the result desired.” — interview in Chicago Daily Tribune, December 21, 1909, p. 5

“An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere.” — A Tramp Abroad


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