Stop using the quote that says, Mark Twain didn’t have time to write shorter letter!
I am talking about the popular quotation:
“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”
Mark Twain did not say or write this quotation!
Interestingly, this quote is attributed to so many other people, including George Bernard Shaw, Voltaire, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Winston Churchill, Cato, Cicero, Bill Clinton, and Benjamin Franklin.
It is actually by Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, physicist, inventor and writer.
You can find this quote in the book “Lettres Provinciales” (Provincial Letters).
It is a compilation of a series of eighteen letters written by Pascal.
This quotation comes from the number 16th letter found this book. It was a letter he wrote to To The Reverend Fathers, The Jesuits, December 4, 1656.
The original line in French is:
“Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.”
It can be translated in English as: “I did this longer, because I did not have the time to make it shorter.”
This is another English translation of the quotation:
“The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter.” – Blaise Pascal
(The Provincial Letters Of Blaise Pascal, A New Translation with Historical Introduction And Notes By The Rev. Thomas M’Crie, Edited By O. W. Wright, A.M., Hurd And Houghton, 1866, Provincial Letters, Letter XVI; p.417)
(This quote in English is also found in: The Provincial Letters Of Blaise Pascal, A New Translation with Historical Introduction And Notes By The Rev. Thomas M’Crie, John Johnstone, 1847, Provincial Letters, Letter XVI; p.282)
Here is another quotation wrongly attributed to Mark Twain:
Check out this list of authentic Mark Twain quotations.