Who Said It: The Wrong Quote Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Wasn't it P.T. Barnum who said, "There's a sucker born every minute?" Maybe, maybe not. Take our quiz to find out the real geniuses behind these well-known quotes -- and you won't be taken for a sucker!

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step" is incorrectly attributed to the following person:

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step" is usually attributed to Confucius, but it was actually said by Lao-Tzu, another Chinese philosopher.


Which entertainer said, "There's a sucker born every minute"?

P.T. Barnum, founder of the famous Barnum & Bailey Circus, is often given credit for the quote. But it actually came from his rival David Hannum. During the late 1860s, the two men each displayed a giant person who had fossilized and turned to stone. Barnum knew his was a fake, but Hannum -- who had paid a high price for his oddity -- believed his giant was real. Hannum said, "There's a sucker born every minute," in reference to those who paid to see Barnum's "fake" giant as opposed to his "real" one. Only later did Hannum learn he'd been duped, too.


Which president said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time"?

Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying these famous words in a September 1858 speech. However, a copy of the speech doesn't include this quote at all. Most likely, say historians, he said it during a public address.


From where did the quote "cleanliness is next to godliness" originate?

Although most people attribute "cleanliness is next to godliness" to the Bible, it was actually part of a sermon given by John Wesley.


Who should be attributed with the quote, "I cannot tell a lie. It was I who chopped down the cherry tree"?

Although used nearly synonymously with George Washington, this quote is not something he actually said. It was part of a story Washington's biographer Parson Weems told in the 1800s.


Who originally said "Let them eat cake"?

Although lambasted for this famous line, Marie-Antoinette never actually said, "Let them eat cake." Instead, the quote originated in "Confessions," a literary series written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau when the queen would only have been about 10 years old. According to the book, a "great princess" who remains unnamed said "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" which really means "Let them eat bread" -- a specially rich egg-based bread.


This quote, "I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars" made the social media rounds after Osama bin Laden's assassination and was wrongly attributed to:

Only the second part was said by King. The first part, "I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy," was a comment added by the original Facebook poster of the quote. The quote placement got mishandled as it got passed around on Facebook and Twitter.


Who came up with, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, your hands can't hit what eyes can't see"?

Drew "Bundini" Brown, who was boxer Muhammad Ali's friend, came up with the catchy rhyme. Ali used it to taunt Sonny Liston at a 1964 press conference before their boxing match (which Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, won).


Which of these "Bible verses" is actually in the Bible?

Mathew 7:6 (King James version) quotes Jesus as saying, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."


"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing," was first said by whom?

Red Sanders, UCLA football coach, was the first person to say, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." The quote is often attributed to the hard-charging Green Bay Packers coach Lombardi, who said it several times himself, probably after hearing Sanders say it.


True or false: Al Gore once said, "I invented the Internet."

In a 1999 interview, Gore actually said, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system."


Who is credited with the quote "survival of the fittest"?

You probably think Charles Darwin is the one who came up with it. (We did!) However, it was coined by Herbert Spencer in "Principles of Biology" while comparing his economic theories and Darwin's biological ones. Darwin used the phrase himself in a later edition of "On the Origin of Species" as a synonym for natural selection.


Baseball sage Yogi Berra supposedly said all but one of the following:

This quote "You can't compare me to my father. Our similarities are different" was actually said by Dale Berra about his father Yogi.


Who first wrote "Go west, young man"?

In an article for the Terre Haute Express in 1851, John Soule wrote, "Go west, young man." However, journalist Greeley popularized it when he used it in his own editorial in 1865.


Which of these Winston Churchill quotes was NOT actually said by Churchill?

After searching a digital archive of Winston Churchill's 15 million published words, and 35 millions words said about him, historians find no evidence Churchill ever said, "With integrity, nothing else counts; without integrity, nothing else counts." The real author remains a mystery.


Henry David Thoreau is incorrectly attributed with "What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us." Who should be credited?

The 1940 book "Meditations in Wall Street" included the sentence, "What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us." It was written by securities trader Henry Stanley Haskins long after Thoreau's time.


When did Mark Twain coin the phrase, "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it"?

Mark Twain's friend Charles Dudley Warner wrote the phrase in an editorial for the Hartford Courant that was published on Aug. 24, 1897. Twain did quote it in a later lecture.


"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us." To whom should this quote be attributed?

In her 1992 book, "A Return to Love," Marianne Williamson wrote these moving words. However, this quote is often incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela's 1994 inaugural address.


Who originally said: "God helps those who help themselves"?

It was Aesop (of Aesop's Fables fame) who first wrote, "The gods help them that help themselves." This sentence does not appear in the Bible.


Which quote is incorrectly attributed to actor W.C. Fields but was actually a quote about him?

While introducing W.C. Fields at a dinner in Fields' honor, Leo Rosten said, "Anybody who hates children and dogs can't be all bad." The quote, although incorrectly attributed, continues to follow Fields to this day.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!