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COMM 101 - Quotes (Winters)

Image of Patrick Stewart with text that says "Use the Force, Luke" - Dumbledore

Is my quote accurate?

Some misattributed quotes, like the one above, are obviously false, but sometimes even a quote that looks legitimate can be false. Here are two well-known and widely cited quotes that have turned out to be completely fake, or attributed to the wrong person:

Here are some tips for making sure your quote is the real thing.

  • Look for the following information: the person who spoke the quote, where they said it, and when. For example: "No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." (Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have a Dream" speech, Aug. 28, 1963) Having a citation like this allows you to try and locate the original source to verify its accuracy.
  • If this information isn't available in the first place you find your quote, search for it in other places to see if they have more complete citations, such as the quotation sources listed on the "Finding Quotes" tab of this page.
  • Check to see if your quote appears on the Wikiquote List of Misquotations. If it does, it will usually tell you who to correctly attribute the quote to.

Many incorrect quotes are passed around widely for years before they're called out, so don't feel bad if you get duped at first. But do your research to make sure you're not focusing on one that's already been disproven!