The Quote Verifier

Who Said What, Where, and When

Ralph Keyes

St. Martin's Griffin

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Our language is full of hundreds of quotations that are often cited but seldom confirmed. Ralph Keyes’s The Quote Verifier considers not only classic misquotes such as “Nice guys finish last,” and “Play it again, Sam,” but more surprising ones such as “Ain’t I a woman?” and “Golf is a good walk spoiled,” as well as the origins of popular sayings such as “The opera ain’t over till the fat lady sings,” “No one washes a rented car,” and “Make my day.”

Keyes’s in-depth research routinely confounds widespread assumptions about who said what, where, and when. Organized in easy-to-access dictionary form, The Quote Verifier also contains special sections highlighting commonly misquoted people and genres, such as Yogi Berra and Oscar Wilde, famous last words, and misremembered movie lines.

An invaluable resource for not just those with a professional need to quote accurately, but anyone at all who is interested in the roots of words and phrases, The Quote Verifier is not only a fascinating piece of literary sleuthing, but also a great read.

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Book Excerpts

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"ACADEMIC politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small" This observation is routinely attributed to former Harvard professor Henry Kissinger. Well before Kissinger got credit for that thought in the mid-1970s, however, Harvard political scientist Richard Neustadt told a reporter, "Academic politics is much more vicious than real politics. We think it's because the stakes are so small." Others believe this quip originated with political scientist Wallace Sayre, Neustadt's onetime colleague at Columbia University. A 1973 book gave as "Sayre's Law," "In any dispute the intensity

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Reviews

Praise for The Quote Verifier

"The research in Ralph Keyes' The Quote Verifier is impressive, and each conclusion is like the solution to a real-life historical mystery. Who knew a reference book could be so entertaining?"
--Will Shortz, Crossword Puzzle Editor of The New York Times

"Ralph Keyes has made it his mission to hunt down and expose false quotations, and in The Quote Verifier he does that brilliantly. The Quote Verifier is a much needed corrective to the countless 'quotations' that are misquoted, falsely attributed, or downright wrong. Keyes takes apart with surgical precision every dubious quotation, old and new. In the process, he tells engagingly the stories behind the quotes, stories that are often surprisingly funny and always interesting."
--Sol Steinmetz, co-author of The Life of Language

Nice Guys Finish Seventh established Ralph Keyes as one of our leading quote sleuthers. With The Quote Verifier, he's become our verifier-in-chief. If you want to know who actually said what, this book is indispensable.”
--Rosalie Maggio, author of The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women

"Quotations are powerful tools. Michel de Montaigne, the father of all essayists, observed, 'I quote others only to better express myself.' Intrepid quotations detective Ralph Keyes helps us to discover the clear truth about exactly what was said and who exactly said it."
--Richard Lederer, author of Word Wizard

“Quotation tracers will find this an excellent book to consult. It provides all the known details about authorship and wording of a large number of quotes, maxims, observations, slogans, comments, and catch phrases. But this is not simply a reference work. Reading it is a real pleasure. The book is easy to use. Quotes are arranged alphabetically by key word and source references are provided in meticulous detail. As a valuable new scholarly resource, The Quote Verifier will take its place alongside standard books of quotations.”
--Anthony Shipps, author of The Quote Sleuth

"'I never said half the things I said,' Yogi Berra said. Or did he? Ralph Keyes' The Quote Verifier is an invaluable and irresistible resource for determining the provenance of dubious quotations. These have always been around, but with the rise of the internet, on which anyone can attribute anything to anybody, they're spreading at a terrifying pace. Thanks, Keyes, we needed that."
--Ben Yagoda, author of About Town

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About the Author

Ralph Keyes

Ralph Keyes’s books include The Post-Truth Era, The Courage to Write, and Is There Life After High School? He lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Ralph Keyes

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Ralph Keyes

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Quote Verifier
Who Said What, Where, and When
Ralph Keyes

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
May 2006
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312340049
ISBN10: 0312340044
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 416 pages, Includes one black-and-white frontispiece
$20.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
April 2007
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429906173
ISBN10: 1429906170
416 pages
$7.99
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