Don’t you love those people who give you famous quotes so they sound smart….even though you know they’re misquoting it?
Well, if you’re a ‘Michael Scott’ and want to sound smarter, stop saying the following phrases:
Me Tarzan, you Jane. This line doesn’t appear in any of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ original books, nor in the films; it probably arose as a compacting of the dialogue exchange between Tarzan and Jane in the 1932 film Tarzan the Ape Man.
Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. This translation from Dante’s Inferno – the words are inscribed above the entrance to hell in the medieval poem – is a misquotation of H. F. Cary’s 1814 English translation, ‘All hope abandon ye who enter here.’ It was probably misquoted because the misquotation rolled off the tongue better.
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well. This is Hamlet’s exclamation when he is confronted with the skull of the jester who had entertained him when he was a young boy. That last word should be ‘Horatio’ rather than ‘well’ – but for one reason or another the name of Hamlet’s trusty friend is left out of the usual quotation when it is uttered by people (usually, and aptly, in jest) and the word ‘well’ is brought in to round off the phrase.
5. Pride goes before a fall. Another telescoping of a longer expression, this time from the Bible: ‘Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall’ (Proverbs 16:18). As with the previous example, this is probably because ‘pride goes before a fall’ provides a shorter and snappier variation on the original, longer phrase.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. This oft-used phrase originated in a couple of lines from William Congreve’s 1697 play The Mourning Bride: ‘Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.’
Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink. The actual line from Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is ‘nor any drop to drink’.
AND MY FAVORITE:
Elementary, my dear Watson. This expression doesn’t appear in the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and first turns up in literature in a novel by P. G. Wodehouse. Complimentary, my dear Wodehouse!
Did I miss one? Comment below!