Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of quotes and thoughts by E.B. White on writing, poetry, literature, children, humor, life, activism, pleasure, friends, love, books, solace and nature.

100 Mind-Blowing Quotes By E.B. White

Quick Facts

Born On: July 11, 1899

Died On: October 1, 1985

Born In: Mount Vernon, New York

Died At Age: 86

Elwyn Brooks White was an American author, poet, columnist, and essayist well-known for his works such as ‘Stuart Little’. He was a distinguished writer best known for writing books for children. White started his writing career in 1925 by publishing his maiden article in ‘The New Yorker’; he joined the magazine as a staff writer in 1927. In 1929, he published his collection of poetry ‘The Lady is Cold’. White published ‘Alice Through the Cellophane’ in 1933 and ‘Subtreasury Of American Humor’ in 1941. He published his column collection from Harper’s Magazine, where he served as a columnist for three years. In 1952, he published another best-selling children novel ‘Here Is New York Charlotte's Web’. He published ‘The Second Tree From The Corner’ in 1954 and co-authored, edited, and revised ‘The Elements of Style’ with William Strunk, Jr. in 1959. In 1973, White’s short story ‘The Family That Dwelt Apart’ was adapted into a Canadian animated short movie. In 1976, ‘Letters of E. B. White’ was published. In 1977, ‘Essays of E. B. White’ was published followed by ‘Poems and Sketches of E. B. White’ in 1981. Here is a compilation of quotations and sayings which have been extracted from writings, essays, poems, books, columns and thoughts. Following are few notable quotes and thoughts by E.B. White on faith, heart, space, sky, insidious, genius, encouragement and friendship which will surely inspire.
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Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.

E. B. White

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

E. B. White

It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.

E. B. White

All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.

E. B. White

After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die.

E. B. White

Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.

E. B. White

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.

E. B. White

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper.

E. B. White

Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one.

E. B. White

I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.

E. B. White

One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy.

E. B. White

Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.

E. B. White

Trust me, Wilbur. People are very gullible. They'll believe anything they see in print.

E. B. White

I am reminded of the advice of my neighbor. "Never worry about your heart till it stops beating.

E. B. White

Never hurry and never worry!

E. B. White

Writing is both mask and unveiling.

E. B. White

Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process.

E. B. White

The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind.

E. B. White

Be obscure clearly.

E. B. White

Semi-colons only prove that the author has been to college.

E. B. White

I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all.

E. B. White

I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel.

E. B. White

A writer's style reveals something of his spirit, his habits, his capacites, his bias...it is the Self escaping into the open.

E. B. White

I have yet to see a piece of writing, political or non-political, that does not have a slant. All writing slants the way a writer leans, and no man is born perpendicular.

E. B. White

Don't write about Man; write about a man.

E. B. White

There's no limit to how complicated things can get, on account of one thing always leading to another.

E. B. White

It is quite possible that an animal has spoken to me and that I didn't catch the remark because I wasn't paying attention.

E. B. White

Children almost always hang onto things tighter than their parents think they will.

E. B. White

Fern was up at daylight, trying to rid the world of injustice. As a result, she now has a pig. A small one to be sure, but nevertheless a pig. It just shows what can happen if a person gets out of bed promptly.

E. B. White

You're terrific as far as I am concerned.

E. B. White

Be obscure clearly! Be wild of tongue in a way we can understand.

E. B. White

Advice to young writers wo want to get ahead without any annoying delays: don't write about Man, write about a man.

E. B. White

Wilbur didn't want food, he wanted love.

E. B. White

Life is like writing with a pen. You can cross out your past but you can't erase it.

E. B. White

In every queen there's a touch of floozy.

E. B. White

Too many things on my mind, said Wilbur. Well, said the goose, that's not my trouble. I have nothing at all on my mind, but I've too many things under my behind.

E. B. White

The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a war.

E. B. White

Safety is all well and good: I prefer freedom.

E. B. White

If I can fool a bug... I can surely fool a man. People are not as smart as bugs.

E. B. White

I don't understand it, and I don't like what I don't understand.

E. B. White

To achieve style, begin by affecting none.

E. B. White

Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.

E. B. White

A mistake is simply another way of doing things.

E. B. White

The young writer should learn to spot them: words that at first glance seem freighted with delicious meaning, but that soon burst in the air, leaving nothing but a memory of bright sound.

E. B. White

I don’t know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens.

E. B. White

It is deeply satisfying to win a prize in front of a lot of people.

E. B. White

You have been my friend," replied Charlotte, "That in itself is a tremendous thing.

E. B. White

If you don't know how to pronounce a word, say it loud!" (William Strunk) ... Why compound ignorance with inaudibility?

E. B. White

In a free country it is the duty of writers to pay no attention to duty. Only under a dictatorship is literature expected to exhibit an harmonious design or an inspirational tone.

E. B. White

I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it.

E. B. White

We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or doing laundry.

E. B. White

The best writing is rewriting.

E. B. White

English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street.

E. B. White

Well,” said Stuart, “a misspelled word is an abomination in the sight of everyone.

E. B. White

But real life is only one kind of life—there is also the life of the imagination.

E. B. White

The city is like poetry; it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines.

E. B. White

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.

E. B. White

Meetings bore me.

E. B. White

Have you ever found anything that gives you relief?"... "Yes. A drink

E. B. White

When an American family becomes separated from its toothbrushes and combs and pajamas for a few hours it considers that it has had quite an adventure.

E. B. White

Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.

E. B. White

Sometimes a writer, like an acrobat, must try a trick that is too much for him.

E. B. White

An editor is a person who knows more about writing than writers do but who has escaped the terrible desire to write.

E. B. White

A single overstatement, wherever or however it occurs, diminishes the whole, and a carefree superlative has the power to destroy, for the reader, the object of the writer's enthusiasm.

E. B. White

Once in everyone's life there is apt to be a period when he is fully awake, instead of half-asleep.

E. B. White

Everything in life is somewhere else and you get there in a car.

E. B. White

New york provides not only a continuing excitation but also a spectacle that is continuing.

E. B. White

I would really rather feel bad in Maine than feel good anywhere else

E. B. White

On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy.... No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.

E. B. White

Most people believe almost anything they see in print.

E. B. White

Good things come to those who find it and shove it in their mouth!

E. B. White

I am always humbled by the infite ingenuity of the Lord, who can make a red barn cast a blue shadow.

E. B. White

It is by all odds the loftiest of cities. It even managed to reach the highest point in the sky at the lowest moment of the depression.

E. B. White

The night seemed long. Wilbur's stomach was empty and his mind was full. And when your stomach is empty and your mind is full, it's always hard to sleep.

E. B. White

Remember that writing is translation, and the opus to be translated is yourself.

E. B. White

A poet dares be just so clear and no clearer... He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not remove it. A poet utterly clear is a trifle glaring.

E. B. White

A despot doesn't fear eloquent writers preaching freedom-he fears a drunken poet may crack a joke that will take hold.

E. B. White

The rat had no morals, no conscience, no scruples, no consideration, no decency, no milk of rodent kindness, no compunctions, no higher feeling, no friendliness, no anything

E. B. White

It can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.

E. B. White

Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.

E. B. White

Thus I, gone forth, as spiders do, In spider’s web a truth discerning, Attach one silken strand to you For my returning.

E. B. White

Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people-- people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.

E. B. White

To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult with every year. "The Distant Music of the Hounds," 1954

E. B. White

By comparison with other less hectic days, the city is uncomfortable and inconvenient; but New Yorkers temperamentally do not crave comfort and convenience- if they did they would live elsewhere.

E. B. White

I am working on a new book about a boa constrictor and a litter of hyenas. The boa constrictor swallows the babies one by one, and the mother hyena dies laughing.

E. B. White

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.

E. B. White

Life's accumulation is more discouraging than life itself, when stirred up.

E. B. White

I can only assume that your editorial writer tripped over the First Amendment and thought it was the office cat.

E. B. White

The critic leaves at curtain fall To find, in starting to review it, He scarcely saw the play at all For starting to review it.

E. B. White

He was sad because his new friend was so bloodthirsty.

E. B. White

Very fine law,” said Stuart. “When I am Chairman, anybody who is mean to anybody else is going to catch it.

E. B. White

I remember what it is like to be in love before any of love’s complexities or realities or disturbances has entered in, to dilute its splendor and challenge its perfection.

E. B. White

I discovered, though, that once having given a pig an enema, there is no turning back, no chance of resuming one of life's more stereotyped roles.

E. B. White

(Not every doctor can look into a mouse's ear without laughing)

E. B. White

She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writers. Charlotte was both.

E. B. White

As everyone knows, there is often a rather fine line between laughing and crying

E. B. White

[Writers] should tend to lift people up, not lower them down.

E. B. White

New York is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village - the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying the way is up

E. B. White

Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs. The adjective hasn't been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place.

E. B. White

When your stomach is empty and your mind is full, it’s always hard to sleep.

E. B. White