Check out our impressive collection of English quotes.
English is one of the most popular languages on our planet, and our quotes about English give us a glimpse into that history.
How did the English language start?
The history of the English language goes back to the fifth century A.D.
Three Germanic tribes invaded Britain during the fifth century.
The names of these tribes were the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes.
Before we continue, check out these fascinating facts about the English language:
- The most common letter in English is e.
- More English words begin with the letter s than any other letter.
- A pangram is a sentence that contains all 26 letters of the alphabet.
The Germanic tribes crossed the North Sea from modern-day northern Germany and Denmark.
Most of the people in Britain spoke a form of the Celtic language.
The Germanic tribes invaded and pushed these Celtic speakers further west and north into modern-day Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.
Many of these invaders, specifically the Angles, came from a place called Englaland, and their language was called English.
The words “England” and “English” come from the Angles
Old English vs. Modern English
The language spoken by the invading Germanic tribes would develop in Britain into what we now call Old English.
Old English sounds very different from modern English.
A current native English speaker would have difficulty understanding a person speaking Old English.
However, about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots.
Old English was popular and spoken up until 1100 A.D.
Check out our English quotes below for more insights.
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Insightful English quotes
Below is a solid selection of English quotes.
1. “I don’t speak English or French, but that doesn’t mean anything.” — Paulo Dybala
2. “We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.” — Winston Churchill
3. “The English may not like music, but they absolutely love the noise it makes.” — Thomas Beecham
4. “A feature of English that makes it different compared with all other languages is its global spread.” — David Crystal
5. “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” — Ronald Reagan
6. “I admire people who dare to take the language, English, and understand it and understand the melody.” — Maya Angelou
7. “If one could only teach the English how to talk, and the Irish how to listen, society here would be quite civilized.” — Oscar Wilde
8. “Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country.” — Theodore Roosevelt
9. “I am reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that I do is the longest sentence?” — George Carlin
English quotes that will make your day
For English language lovers, these quotes hit the spot.
10. “Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me, those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” — Henry James
11. “For us Indians, I don’t think English can ever exude that magic of emotions which our mother tongue can.” — Kailash Kher
12. “The English language has 112 words for deception, according to one count, each with a different shade of meaning: collusion, fakery, malingering, self-deception, confabulation, prevarication, exaggeration, denial.” — Robin Marantz Henig
13. “The English have all the material requisites for the revolution. What they lack is the spirit of generalization and revolutionary ardor.” — Karl Marx
14. “I was a chemistry major, but I’m always winding up as a teacher in English departments, so I’ve brought scientific thinking to literature. There’s been very little gratitude for this.” — Kurt Vonnegut
15. “We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything.” — William Golding
16. “Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. The English reading public explains the reason why.” — James Joyce
17. “Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all.” — Walt Whitman
18. “English language is the most universal language in history, way more than the Latin of Julius Caesar. It’s the most powerful language because its vocabulary has a certain critical mass that makes a lingo good for punning.” — Richard Lederer
19. “At last, in 1611, was made, under the auspices of King James, the famous King James version; and this is the great literary monument of the English language.” — Lafcadio Hearn
20. “English is necessary as at present original works of science are in English. I believe that in two decades times original works of science will start coming out in our languages. Then we can move over like the Japanese.” — A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
English quotes for students
Learning English can be difficult for some and easy for others.
21. “The English think they are free. They are free only during the election of members of parliament.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau
22. “When you lose a spouse, you’re a widow or widower; when you lose your parents, you’re an orphan. When you lose a child, there’s no word in the English language for that position, that place that you’ve left.” — Frances McDormand
23. “My favorite subject probably was math. I love math. Figures just intrigue me. I was really good at math. English probably was my worst subject. But I used to write a lot of poetry. I used to write poetry all the time.” — Herschel Walker
24. “I grew up in a physical world and speak English. The next generation is growing up in a digital world, and they speak social.” — Angela Ahrendts
25. “The English language is nobody’s special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.” — Derek Walcott
26. “When I’m in Brazil, I’m not Brazilian at all; I am a gringo. And then when I’m in England, I’m not really English, but when I lived in Canada, I was considered too English. So I never really felt like I clicked somewhere or that I belonged to one place.” — Mia Goth
27. “I flunked my exam for university two times before I was accepted by what was considered my city’s worst university, Hangzhou Teachers University. I was studying to be a high school English teacher. In my university, I was elected student chairman and later became chairman of the city’s Students Federation.” — Jack Ma
28. “In English, my name means hope. In Spanish, it means too many letters. It means sadness. It means waiting. It is like the number nine, a muddy color.” — Sandra Cisneros
29. “The air of the English is down-to-earth. They care about details; there’s a tradition, but there’s also a counter-culture: the younger generation versus the older generation and so on. But then that’s well blended into a happy balance and crystallized into common sense.” — Tadashi Yanai
30. “I was never ignorant, as far as being experienced in classrooms and learning about different subjects and actually soaking it up, so I checked into college for a little bit. I took classes at a community college in West L.A. I took psychology, English, and philosophy.” — Nipsey Hussle
English quotes about life
Some of life’s valuable lessons come from the English language.
31. “I speak two languages, Body and English.” — Mae West
32. “The English contribution to world cuisine – the chip.” — John Cleese
33. “I learned English in a pub. I didn’t learn it in school.” — Guenther Steiner
34. “When the English language gets in my way, I walk over it.” — Billy Sunday
35. “Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.” — Robert Benchley
36. “I found that I was just hopeless at school. It was just a total bore. First, I passed in art and English, and then just art. Then I passed out.” — Joe Strummer
37. “My sole recreations consist in dancing English hornpipes and cutting capers. Italy is a land of sleep; I am always drowsy here.” — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
38. “The English language has a deceptive air of simplicity; so have some little frocks, but they are both not the kind of thing you can run up in half an hour with a machine.” — Dorothy L. Sayers
39. “My father spoke with something very similar to a 1920s newscaster type of English, and I learned that accent of power in post-colonial Zimbabwe. So I learned that, and I learned how to copy it, and I learned how to shift in and out of it, but also talk like my mother’s relatives in the village.” — Rege-Jean Page
40. “I’m into books – I love literature, so I toyed with the idea of being an English teacher.” — Taron Egerton
English quotes about learning the language
These quotes remind us how we all learn differently.
41. “I had a fantastic English teacher at school. I think great English teachers make the world go round.” — Taron Egerton
42. “Homework’s hard. Especially math. My kids joke with me. They tell me they have homework. I say, ‘Okay.’ And then I sit down, and they say, ‘It’s math.’ ‘No! Not math! English, history, anything!’” — Angelina Jolie
43. “The most powerful words in English are ‘Tell me a story,’ words that are intimately related to the complexity of history, the origins of language, the continuity of the species, the taproot of our humanity, our singularity, and art itself.” — Pat Conroy
“Hindi has never been trouble. In fact, Hindi is the only language I can speak and write apart from Malayalam and English.” — Prithviraj Sukumaran
44. “In France, we have a saying, ‘Joie de vivre,’ which actually doesn’t exist in the English language. It means looking at your life as something that is to be taken with great pleasure and enjoy it.” — Mireille Guiliano
45. “I grew up speaking Spanish and English. My mother can speak Spanish, English, French, and Italian, and she’s pretty good at faking Portuguese. I wish that I spoke more languages than I do.” — Sebastian Arcelus
46. “There’s a melody in everything. And once you find the melody, then you connect immediately with the heart. Because sometimes English or Spanish, Swahili, or any language gets in the way. But nothing penetrates the heart faster than the melody.” — Carlos Santana
47. “Like, what is the least often heard sentence in the English language? That would be: Say, isn’t that the banjo player’s Porsche parked outside?” — Jackson Browne
48. “My accent does slip. When I arrived in England in 1978 at 18, I was shocked to find myself ‘the American’ at RADA. The English and the Americans have an intense relationship. They helped us out in the Second World War.” — Mark Rylance
49. “My dad’s French, and I spent my summers in France growing up. So I speak French fluently, and obviously, I speak English because I was raised in New York, and I grew up here.” — Timothee Chalamet
50. “I have been learning English on the road since I started when I was 15, so it is a slow process but making some progress. Now I think I am much more comfortable with my English. However, it is difficult, still, when I speak about something that is not tennis.” — Rafael Nadal
English is an expressive language
English may not be one of the world’s oldest languages, but today it is one of the most popular.
About 1.35 billion people speak English.
There is no uniform way to speak English, and depending on where you go in the world, accents will change, and words will take on different meanings.
This means that an English-speaking person who lives in Alabama, USA, may speak very different English than someone who lives in Melbourn, Australia, or Montreal, Canada.
Adults even sometimes struggle to understand the English spoken by children.
American author Annie Dillard once joked, “There is a certain age at which a child looks at you in all earnestness and delivers a long, pleased speech in all the true inflections of spoken English, but with not one recognizable syllable.”
English remains a popular language and is even dubbed the “language of business” by some because of its prevalence across the globe.
Which of these English quotes and sayings is your favorite?
Please be sure to let us know in the comments below.