Can you identify the sources of these 10 famous quotations?

A pithy epigram can add gravitas and authority to your argument; however, failing to properly attribute the aphorism can undercut your credibility. Getting the words wrong might be worse.

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Some of the quotes in our most famous memes are wrong.

Wrongly attributed. Wrongly stated. Wrongly shortened. Wrongly turned into sound bites.

As journalists, PR specialists, or corporate communicators, we know the importance of capturing quotes from our sources correctly. The same goes for quotes made famous online, especially on social media—the quotes you’ve heard again and again. Before you incorporate them into your work, confirm who said the words, as well as what was actually said.

Below are a few of these famous false quotes, along with their corrections.

(Sources: Quote Investigator, The Phrase Finder and Wikiquote.)

1. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”—Oscar Wilde

What Oscar Wilde actually wrote in De Profundis, his emotional letter from prison, is better:

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”

2. “Well-behaved women rarely make history.”—Marilyn Monroe

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