25 EB White Quotes from the Literary Icon

Check out our EB White quotes and learn more about one of the twentieth century’s most talented and gentle writers. 

EB White is an iconic American author who wrote classic stories.

He also encouraged everyone to apply themselves to being the best writer they could be. 

Some of EB White’s most popular stories are:

  • Stuart Little
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • The Trumpet of the Swan

Who is EB White?

Elwyn Brooks, or EB White, wrote children’s novels that influenced generations of people. 

He was born in 1899 in Mount Vernon, NY. 

After graduating from Cornell University, he worked as a writer and journalist for various newspapers and magazines nationwide. 

White is remembered as the writer who brought classic characters to life in his novels. 

He also was influential as a co-author of The Elements of Style

White loved nature

If you have ever read Stuart Little or Charlotte’s Web, you find the main characters are animals. 

White loved nature and often spent time around water, animals, forests, and mountains. 

White was a master at using personification to capture the reader’s heart.

He used a mouse, a pig, and a spider to deliver some of the most powerful life lessons about love, loss, death, life, rebirth, and legacy. 

His work is truly genius. 

Was EB White really that shy?

White disliked publicity and avoided fame at all costs.

EB White made being unrecognized famous. 

Cartoonist James Thurber was a good friend of his. 

He wrote, “He is the only writer of prominence I know of who could walk through the Algonquin lobby or between the tables at Jack and Charlie’s and be recognized only by his friends.”

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It is said that White refused jobs early in his career because he was shy around people and preferred to work alone. 

He is known for avoiding meetings, the press, photographers, or paparazzi. 

When people would come to try to visit him at his office at work, White would literally make his way to the fire escape and leave work for a while until any visitors had left. 

To learn more, check out our EB White quotes below. 

Short EB White quotes about literacy

Let’s start with these short and sweet EB White quotes about literacy. 

1. “The best writing is rewriting.” — EB White

2. “I rewrite a good deal to make it clear.” — EB White

3. “I have the greatest respect for the reader.” — EB White

4. “Writing is hard work and bad for the health.” — EB White

5. “The main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can.” — EB White

The best EB White quotes about his disdain for essayists

White was not a fan of writers who wrote essays.

Below is a collection of stinging quotes and observations EB made about his writer peers who called themselves essayists. 

6. “The main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can. I rewrite a good deal to make it clear.” — EB White

7. “Only a person who is congenitally self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write essays.” — EB White

8. “[The essayist] is a fellow who thoroughly enjoys his work, just as people who enjoy bird walks enjoys theirs.” — EB White

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9. “The essayist is a self-liberated man, sustained by the childish belief that everything he thinks about, everything that happens to him, is of general interest.” — EB White

10. “Each new excursion of the essayist, each new ‘attempt,’ differs from the last and takes him into new country. This delights him.” — EB White

The best EB White rules for writing quotes

Here, EB gives practical advice on which conventions to follow for effective writing. 

11. “Work from a suitable design; write with nouns and verbs.” — EB White

12. “Place yourself in the background; write in a way that comes naturally.” — EB White

13. “Do not overwrite; do not overstate; avoid the use of qualifiers; do not affect a breezy style.” — EB White

14. “Use orthodox spelling; do not explain too much; avoid fancy words; do not take shortcuts as the cost of clarity.” — EB White

15. “Prefer the standard to the offbeat; make sure the reader knows who is speaking; do not use dialect; revise and rewrite.” — EB White

EB White quotes and sayings about children

White respected, admired, and loved the hearts of children. 

16. “Children are game for anything.” — EB White

17. “I throw them hard words, and they backhand them across the net.” — EB White

18. “Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. ” — EB White

19. “No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader’s intelligence or whose attitude is patronizing.” — EB White

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20. “Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth.” — EB White

Famous EB White quotes about life and living your dreams

Let’s close out with some beautiful EB White quotes. 

21. “No one can write knowingly of the weather who walks bent over on wet days.” — EB White

22. “Life is like writing with a pen. You can cross out your past, but you can’t erase it.” — EB White

23. “Although there is no substitute for merit in writing, clarity comes closest to being one.” — EB White

24. “All we need is a meteorologist who has once been soaked to the skin without ill effect.” — EB White

25. “A schoolchild should be taught grammar for the same reason that a medical student should study anatomy.” — EB White

EB White is an American literature icon

Celebrating those who made outstanding contributions to society through art or achievements is fun. 

EB White stands tall as a literary giant. 

What is your favorite EB White quote?

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