You're Saying It Wrong: The Misquote Quiz


By: Staff

6 Min Quiz

Image: Warner Bros. – First National Pictures

About This Quiz

A mondegreen is a "word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung, " according the Merriam-Webster dictionary. So clearly, mishearing quotes (and the resultant misuse of quotes that never were said) is a pretty common phenomenon. 

From famous speeches to song lyrics, there's no shortage of well-known quotes. There is, however, a shortage of people who actually get them right. How well do you know these famous quotations? Take this quiz to find out!

Perhaps you've spent your entire life thinking that Humphrey Bogart said, "Play it again, Sam," in "Casablanca." Or maybe you were absolutely certain that Captain Kirk said, "Beam me up, Scotty." You're sure it's a god-given fact that Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake!" 

Unfortunately, these are all misquotes. Luckily, we know what these people actually said, and we're happy to share it with you! 

Find out how well you know the real versions of these famous movie lines, poetic quotes and lines from plays by taking this misquote quiz!

In the classic black-and-white film, "Casablanca," what was Sam famously asked to do?

In the 1942 film "Casablanca," actress Ingrid Bergman said, "Play it once, Sam, for old times' sake, play 'As Time Goes By.'" Actor Humphrey Bogart also said, "If she can stand to listen to it, I can. Play it." Most of us, however, remember the quote as "Play it again, Sam," which no one said.


Which famous quote once uttered by a "Star Trek" character is correct?

The 1968 "Gamesters of Triskelion" episode of the television series, "Star Trek," was the closest the character James T. Kirk came to saying, "Beam me up, Scotty!" What he said was "Beam us up, Mr. Scott!" This hasn't stopped pop culture from referencing the former quote as correct, though.


Which line did 1930s silver screen star, James Cagney, actually say in a movie?

Cagney is often misquoted as quipping, "Ya dirty rat!" However, he actually said, "Mmm, that dirty, double-crossin' rat!" in the 1931 film "Blonde Crazy."


"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" translates from French into which famous quote?

"Let them eat cake" is a quote used to exemplify the divide between peasants and aristocracy during the French Revolution, but the literal translation doesn't refer to cake at all. It means, "Let them eat brioche," which is a bread made with eggs and butter, which is richer than the typical peasant bread.


Which of the following versions of this quote is correct?

In "The Merchant of Venice" Shakespeare wrote, "All that glisters is not gold." Modern misquotes substituting "glistens" or "glitters" for "glisters" are common, but incorrect, versions.


Did Vice Presidential-hopeful, Sarah Palin, really say, "I can see Russia from my house?"

On a "Saturday Night Live" skit, comedian, Tina Fey, impersonated Sarah Palin (and uttering that line.) The basis of the skit came from an interview where Palin was asked what she'd learned from her state being so close to Russia. She responded, "They're our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."


Which of the following quotes about nice guys is correct?

In 1946 Leo Durocher, then-manager of the New York Giants baseball team, said about his team's shortcomings: "Take a look at them. All nice guys. They’ll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last." He wasn't making a comment that nice people never succeed in life, but that's how it's taken now.


What was Mae West's famous movie line?

It's a case of "close, but not close enough," when it comes to one famous Mae West misquote. You'll hear West quoted as saying, "Come up and see me sometime." However, what she actually said in the 1933 film, "She Done Him Wrong," is, "Why don't you come up sometime 'n see me?"


The wicked queen in the 1937 animated Disney film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" looked into her mirror and said:

When the wicked queen peered into the mirror, her words were: "Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?"


Which one of these is missing two words?

Lord Acton, a 19th-century English historian, actually used a modifier in his original quote: "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." The misquote, "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely," has become more popular.


Which famous quote from Shakespeare's "Hamlet" is correct?

The next time you hear (or read) a "Hamlet" quote bandied about, perk up your ears. The saying, "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well," is nothing but an incorrect substitute for the real thing: "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."


Which quote attributed to Niccolo Machiavelli is one he actually said?

In the 15th century, Italian politician Niccolo Machiavelli said, "One judges by the final result." It's a far different meaning than the popular misquote, "The ends justify the means."


Which famous misquote has one word changed, which makes a distinct difference?

From poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson's, "Charge of the Light Brigade," stems the misquote, "Theirs but to do or die." The correct quote requires us to swap out one important word: "Theirs but to do and die." Changing "or" to the original "and" changes the meaning of this quote, too.


Which quote is a shortened, although incorrect, version of the original?

Victorian-era Scottish philosopher, Thomas Carlyle, once penned, "The good plan itself, this comes not of its own accord; it is the fruit of genius (which means transcendent capacity of taking trouble, first of all.)" Although not exactly correct, the shorter version, "Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains," is certainly easier to remember.


In the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams" leading man, Kevin Costner, heard a voice say which of the following?

Kevin Costner, leading man in the 1989 movie, "Field of Dreams," heard a disembodied voice say, "If you build it, he will come." At the end of the flick, the "he" is revealed to be the father of Costner's character.


Peering over their cauldrons, the witches in "Macbeth" say which line?

Most often quoted as "bubble, bubble," the witches in "Macbeth" actually say, "Double, double, toil and trouble."


"Apollo 13" got this quote wrong. Which is the correct version?

"Houston, we have a problem," is what Tom Hanks said in "Apollo 13." But he was misquoting the astronaut who in real life said, "Houston, we've had a problem." Filmmakers changed the quote because they felt the original made it seem like the problem was in the past.


Which movie character, in 1931, quipped, "I want to suck your blood?"

In the 1931 movie, "Dracula," the main character is often quoted as having said, "I want to suck your blood!" The truth is, the line was never said in the movie.


This oft-quoted Bible passage about a future world of peace, says:

Although the phrase, "The lion shall lie down with the lamb," is often quoted, the Bible passage reads a bit differently. In Isaiah 11:6 it says, "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them" (New International Version.)


Which of the following quotes is correct?

When William Congreve, author of "The Mourning Bride," observed music's appeal, he penned, "Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast." For many, though, the quote's ending has gone from "breast" to "beast."


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