Conversation Quotes


  • The pith of conversation does not consist in exhibiting your own superior knowledge on matters of small consequence, but in enlarging, improving and correcting the information you possess by the authority of others.
    o Sir Walter Scott

  • There are three things in speech that ought to be considered before some things are spoken—the manner, the place and the time.
    o Southey

  • The secret of tiring is to say everything that can be said on the subject.
    o Voltaire
    o The original text may be in French.

  • Speak little and well if you wish to be considered as possessing merit. (original: French)
    o French proverb

  • The less men think, the more they talk.
    o Charles de Montesquieu

  • He who sedulously attends, pointedly asks, calmly speaks, coolly answers, and ceases when he has no more to say, is in possession of some of the best requisites of man.
    o Johann Kaspar Lavater
    o The original text may be in German.

  • Amongst such as out of cunning hear all and talk little, be sure to talk less; or if you must talk, say little.
    o Jean de La Bruyère
    o The original text may be in French.

  • Not only to say the right thing in the right place, but, far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
    o G. A. Sala

  • When we are in the company of sensible men, we ought to be doubly cautious of talking too much, lest we lose two good things, their good opinion and our own improvement; for what we have to say we know, but what they have to say we know not.
    o Colton

  • Never hold any one by the button or the hand in order to be heard out; for if people are unwilling to hear you, you had better hold your tongue than them.
    o Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

  • There is speaking well, speaking easily, speaking justly and speaking seasonably: It is offending against the last, to speak of entertainments before the indigent; of sound limbs and health before the infirm; of houses and lands before one who has not so much as a dwelling; in a word, to speak of your prosperity before the miserable; this conversation is cruel, and the comparison which naturally arises in them betwixt their condition and yours is excruciating.
    o Jean de La Bruyère
    o The original text may be in French.

  • Egotists cannot converse, they talk to themselves only.
    o A. Bronson Alcott

  • The extreme pleasure we take in talking of ourselves should make us fear that we give very little to those who listen to us.
    o François de La Rochefoucauld
    o The original text may be in French.

  • “Many can argue, not many converse.”
    o A. Bronson Alcott

  • One thing which makes us find so few people who appear reasonable and agreeable in conversation is, that there is scarcely any one who does not think more of what he is about to say than of answering precisely what is said to him.
    o François de La Rochefoucauld
    o The original text may be in French.

  • The first ingredient in conversation is truth, the next good sense, the third good humor, and the fourth wit.
    o Anonymous

  • It is a secret known but to few, yet of no small use in the conduct of life, that when you fall into a man’s conversation, the first thing you should consider is, whether he has a greater inclination to hear you, or that you should hear him.
    o Steele

  • In my whole life I have only known ten or twelve persons with whom it was pleasant to speak—i.e., who keep to the subject, do not repeat themselves, and do not talk of themselves; men who do not listen to their own voice, who are cultivated enough not to lose themselves in commonplaces, and, lastly, who possess tact and good taste enough not to elevate their own persons above their subjects.
    o Prince Clemens Wenzel of Metternich

  • Verbal ability is a highly overrated thing in a guy, and it’s our pathetic need for it that gets us into so much trouble.
    o Nora Ephron

  • The conversational overachiever is someone whose grasp exceeds his reach. This is possible but not attractive.
    o Fran Lebowitz

  • Writing, when properly managed (as you may be sure I think mine is) is but a different name of conversation.
    o Laurence Sterne

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