Quotations by Butcher, Jim


I let out a battle cry. Sure, a lot of people might have mistaken it for a sudden yelp of unmanly fear, but trust me. It was a battle cry.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
“Something Borrowed,” My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding (2006)
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Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it’s a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
(Attributed)

Often cited to the short story "Vignette" (also known as "Publicity and Advertising"), but not found there.
Added on 18-Nov-14 | Last updated 18-Nov-14
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Pain is a byproduct of life. That’s the truth. Life sometimes sucks. That’s true for everyone. But if you don’t face the pain and the suck, you don’t ever get the other things either. Laughter. Joy. Love. Pain passes, but those things are worth fighting for. Worth dying for.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
(Attributed)

Often cited to the short story "Vignette" (also known as "Publicity and Advertising"), but not found there.
Added on 9-Dec-14 | Last updated 9-Dec-14
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“Oh, what would you like on your vegetarian pizza?”
“Dead pigs and cows,” I said.
She glanced up at me and wrinkled her nose.
“They’re vegetarians,” I said defensively.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Blood Rites (2004)
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“Ack!” I said. Fearless master of the witty dialogue, that’s me.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Changes (2010)
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There’re things we keep hidden from one another. Things we hide from ourselves. Things that are kept hidden from us. And things no one knows. You always learn the damnedest things at the worst possible times.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Changes (2010)
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As a whole, people suck, but a person can be extraordinary.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Changes, ch. 18 (2010)
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But there were some things I believed in. Some things I had faith in. And faith isn’t about perfect attendance to services, or how much money you put on the little plate. It isn’t about going skyclad to the Holy Rites, or meditating each day upon the divine. Faith is about what you do. It’s about aspiring to be better and nobler and kinder than you are. It’s about making sacrifices for the good of others — even when there’s not going to be anyone telling you what a hero you are.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Changes, ch. 26 (2010)
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Laugh whenever you can. Keeps you from killing yourself when things are bad. That and vodka.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Changes, ch. 33 [Sanya] (2010)
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Susan smiled at me, giving Molly the Female Once-Over — a process by which one woman creates a detailed profile of another woman based upon about a million subtle details of clothing, jewelry, makeup, and body type, and then decides how much of a social threat she might be. Men have a parallel process, but it’s binary: Does he have beer? If yes, will he share with me?

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Changes, ch. 9 (2010)
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No one just starts giggling and wearing black and signs up to become a villainous monster. How the hell do you think it happens? It happens to people. Just people. They make questionable choices, for what might be very good reasons. They make choice after choice, and none of them is slaughtering roomfuls of saints, or murdering hundreds of baby seals, or rubber-room irrational. But it adds up. And then one day they look around and realized that they’re so far over the line that they can’t remember where it was.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Cold Days (2012)
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There’s always, always a choice. My options might really, truly suck, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a choice.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Cold Days (2012)
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See, that’s the tragedy of the human condition. No one wants to be corrupted by power when they set out to get it. They have good, even noble reasons for doing whatever it is they do. They don’t want to misuse it, they don’t want to abuse it, and they don’t want to become vicious monsters. Good people, decent people, set out to take the high road, to pick up power without letting it change them or push them away from their ideals. But it keeps happening anyway.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Cold Days (2012)
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As a rule, people aren’t good at handling power. And the second you start to think you’re better at controlling your power than anyone else, you’ve already taken the first step.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Cold Days (2012)
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The movie of my life must be really low budget.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Dead Beat (2003)
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Fear is a part of life. It’s a warning mechanism. That’s all. It tells you when there’s danger around. Its job is to help you survive. Not cripple you into being unable to do it.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Dead Beat (2005)
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Life is a journey. Time is a river. The door is ajar.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Dead Beat (2005)
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Life would be unbearably dull if we had answers to all our questions.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Death Masks (2003)
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There are things you can’t walk away from. Not if you want to live with yourself afterward.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Death Masks (2003)
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It isn’t good to hold on too hard to the past. You can’t spend your whole life looking back. Not even when you can’t see what lies ahead. All you can do is keep on keeping on, and try to believe that tomorrow will be what it should be — even if it isn’t what you expected.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Death Masks (2003)
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My faith protects me. My Kevlar helps.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Death Masks, ch. 33 [Michael Carpenter] (2003)
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There are some people who will never understand what loyalty means. They could tell you what it was, of course, but they will never know. They will never see it from the inside. They couldn’t imagine a world where something like that was real.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
First Lord’s Fury (2009)
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It isn’t enough to stand up and fight darkness. You’ve got to stand apart from it, too. You’ve got to be different from it.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Fool Moon (2001)
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There’s more magic in a baby’s first giggle than in any firestorm a wizard can conjure up, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Fool Moon (2001)
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“Star Trek?” I asked her. “Really?”
“What?” she demanded, bending unnaturally black eyebrows together.
“There are two kinds of people in the universe, Molly,” I said. “Star Trek fans and Star Wars fans. This is shocking.”
She sniffed. “This is the post-nerd-closet world, Harry. It’s okay to like both.”
“Blasphemy and lies,” I said.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Ghost Story (2011)
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I sometimes give myself excellent advice. Occasionally, I even listen to it.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Ghost Story (2011)
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Discussing a problem with yourself is almost never a good way to secure a divergent viewpoint.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Ghost Story, ch. 21 (2011)
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Boobs are near the center of the universe, until you turn twenty-five or so. Which is also when young men’s auto insurance rates go down. This is not a coincidence.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Ghost Story, ch. 9 (2011)
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“Holy shit,” I breathed. “Hellhounds.”
“Harry,” Michael said sternly. “You know I hate it when you swear.”
“You’re right. Sorry. Holy shit,” I breathed, “heckhounds.”

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Grave Peril (2001)
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“So?” Bob said. “Hat up, go kill her. Problem solved.”
“Bob,” I said. “You can’t just go around killing people.”
“I know. That’s why you should do it.”
“No, no. I can’t go around killing people, either.”

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Grave Peril (2001)
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I don’t have anything against God. Far from it. But I don’t understand Him. And I don’t trust a lot of the people that go around claiming that they’re working in His best interests.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Grave Peril, ch. 24 (2008)
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All things pass in time. We are far less significant than we imagine ourselves to be. All that we are, all that we have wrought, is but a shadow, no matter how durable it may seem. One day, when the last man has breathed his last breath, the sun will shine, the mountains will stand, the rain will fall, the streams will whisper — and they will not miss him.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Princeps’ Fury (2008)
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All things pass in time. We are far less significant than we imagine ourselves to be. All that we are, all that we have wrought, is but a shadow, no matter how durable it may seem. One day, when the last man has breathed his last breath, the sun will shine, the mountains will stand, the rain will fall, the streams will whisper — and they will not miss him.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Princeps’ Fury, Epilogue [Gaius Sextus] (2008)
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I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Proven Guilty (2006)
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Most of the bad guys in the real world don’t know that they are bad guys. You don’t get a flashing warning sign that you’re about to damn yourself. It sneaks up on you when you aren’t looking.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Proven Guilty, ch. 41 (2006)
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     More to the point, nameless hideous monsters are freaking terrifying. You always fear what you don’t know, what you don’t understand, and the first step to having understanding of something is to know what to call it. It’s a habit of mine to give names to anything I wind up interacting with if it doesn’t have one readily available. Names have power — magically, sure, but far more important, they have psychological power. Something horrible with a name holds less power over you, less terror, than something horrible without one.
     “Octokongs,” I pronounced grimly. “Why did it have to be octokongs?”

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Skin Game (2014)
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The dead don’t need justice. That’s for those of us who are left looking down at the remains.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Skin Game (2014)
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Doesn’t matter how pretty you are. What’s important is how pretty you feel. No one feels pretty when they hear “no” often enough.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Skin Game (2014)
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Home is where, when you go there and tell people to get out, they have to leave.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Skin Game (2014)
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You can be as sincere as hell and still be wrong.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Small Favor (2008)
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Caring about someone isn’t complicated. It isn’t easy. But it isn’t complicated, either. Kinda like lifting the engine block out of a car.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Small Favor (2008)
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Body or mind, heart or soul, we’re all human, and we’re supposed to feel pain. You cut yourself off from it at your own risk.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Small Favor (2008)
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Maybe my values are outdated, but I come from an old school of thought. I think that men ought to treat women like something other than just shorter, weaker men with breasts. Try and convict me if I’m a bad person for thinking so. I enjoy treating a woman like a lady, opening doors for her, paying for shared meals, giving flowers — all that sort of thing.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Storm Front (2000)
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Kids. You gotta love them. I adore children. A little salt, a squeeze of lemon — perfect.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Storm Front (2000)
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Have you ever been approached by a grim-looking man, carrying a naked sword with a blade about ten miles long in his hand, in the middle of the night, beneath the stars on the shores of Lake Michigan? If you have, seek professional help. If you have not, then believe you me, it can scare the bejeezus out of you.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Storm Front (2000)
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Paranoid? Probably. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that there isn’t an invisible demon about to eat your face.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Storm Front, ch. 1 (2000)
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Rain was coming down in sheets. I could hear it, on the concrete outside and on the old building above me. It creaked and swayed in the spring thunderstorm and the wind, timbers gently flexing, wise enough with age to give a little, rather than put up stubborn resistance until they broke. I could probably stand to learn something from that.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Storm Front, ch. 17 (2000)
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Sometimes the most remarkable things seem commonplace. I mean, when you think about it, jet travel is pretty freaking remarkable. You get in a plane, it defies the gravity of an entire planet by exploiting a loophole with air pressure, and it flies across distances that would take months or years to cross by any means of travel that has been significant for more than a century or three. You hurtle above the earth at enough speed to kill you instantly should you bump into something, and you can only breathe because someone built you a really good tin can that seems tight enough to hold in a decent amount of air. Hundreds of millions of man-hours of work and struggle and research, blood, sweat, tears and lives have gone into the history of air travel, and it has totally revolutionized the face of our planet and societies. But get on any flight in the country, and I absolutely promise you that you will find someone who, in the face of all that incredible achievement, will be willing to complain about the drinks. The drinks, people.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Summer Knight, ch. 30 (2002)
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“In my experience, the worst madmen don’t seem odd at all,” Grimm said. “They appear to be quite calm and rational, in fact. Until the screaming starts.”

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
The Aeronaut’s Windlass (2015)
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There is the world that should be and the world that is. We live in one and must create the other.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Turn Coat (2009)
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There are bad things in the world. There’s no getting away from that. But that doesn’t mean nothing can be done about them. You can’t abandon life just because it’s scary, and just because sometimes you get hurt.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Turn Coat (2009)
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No one is an unjust villain in his own mind. Even — perhaps even especially — those who are the worst of us. Some of the cruelest tyrants in history were motivated by noble ideals, or made choices that they would call “hard but necessary steps” for the good of their nation. We’re all the hero of our own story.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Turn Coat (2009)
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Most people, given the choice to face a hideous or terrifying truth or to conveniently avoid it, choose the convenience and peace of normality. That doesn’t make them strong or weak people, or good or bad people. It just makes them people.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Turn Coat (2009)
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If you can’t stop the bad thoughts from coming to visit, at least you can make fun of them while they’re hanging around.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Turn Coat (2009)
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There’s a fine line between audacity and idiocy.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Turn Coat (2009)
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There’s power in the night. There’s terror in the darkness. Despite all our accumulated history, learning, and experience, we remember. We remember times when we were too small to reach the light switch on the wall, and when the darkness itself was enough to make us cry out in fear. Get a good ways out from civilization — say, miles and miles away on a lightless lake — and the darkness is there, waiting. Twilight means more than just time to call the children in from playing outside. Fading light means more than just the end of another day. Night is when terrible things emerge from their sleep and seek soft flesh and hot blood. Night is when unseen beings with no regard for what our people have built and no place in what we have deemed the natural order look in at our world from outside, and think dark and alien thoughts. And sometimes, just sometimes, they do things.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Turn Coat, ch. 40 (2009)
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Age is always advancing, and I’m fairly sure it’s up to no good.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night (2007)
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The wacky thing about those bad guys is that you can’t count on them to be obvious. They forget to wax their mustaches and goatees, leave their horns at home, send their black hats to the dry cleaners. They’re funny like that.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night (2007)
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“What’s up, boss?”
“Evil’s afoot.”
“Well, sure,” Bob said, “because it refuses to learn the metric system. Otherwise it’d be up to a meter by now.”

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night (2007)
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What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night (2008)
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“Anger is just anger. It isn’t good. It isn’t bad. It just is. What you do with it is what matters. It’s like anything else. You can use it to build or to destroy. You just have to make the choice.”
“Constructive anger,” the demon said, her voice dripping sarcasm.
“Also known as passion,” I said quietly. “Passion has overthrown tyrants and freed prisoners and slaves. Passion has brought justice where there was savagery. Passion has created freedom where there was nothing but fear. Passion has helped souls rise from the ashes of their horrible lives and build something better, stronger, more beautiful.”

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night (2008)
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Regardless of what I think about Islam or Wicca or any other religion, the fact is that it’s a group of people. Every faith has its ceremonies. And since it’s made up of people, every faith also has its assholes.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night (2008)
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Many things are not as they seem: The worst things in life never are.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night, ch. 1 (opening line) (2008)
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There is a primal reassurance in being touched, in knowing that someone else, someone close to you, wants to be touching you. There is a bone-deep security that goes with the brush of a human hand, a silent, reflex-level affirmation that someone is near, that someone cares.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night, ch. 24 (2008)
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We’re all human. We’re all of us equally naked before the jaws of pain.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night, ch. 26 (2008)
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We still hadn’t learned, though, that growing up is all about getting hurt. And then getting over it. You hurt. You recover. You move on. Odds are pretty good you’re just going to get hurt again. But each time, you learn something. Each time, you come out of it a little stronger, and at some point you realize that there are more flavors of pain than coffee. There’s the little empty pain of leaving something behind — graduating, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown. There’s the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expectations. There’s the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn’t give you what you thought they would. There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up. The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life as they grow and learn. There’s the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens. And if you’re very, very lucky, there are a very few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realized that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last — and yet will remain with you for life.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night, ch. 31 (2008)
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Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don’t feel it.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night, ch. 31 (2008)
Added on 3-Dec-13 | Last updated 3-Dec-13
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Pain is a part of life. Sometimes it’s a big part, and sometimes it isn’t, but either way, it’s part of the big puzzle, the deep music, the great game. Pain does two things: It teaches you, tells you that you’re alive. Then it passes away and leaves you changed. It leaves you wiser, sometimes. Sometimes it leaves you stronger. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you in life is going to involve it in one degree or another.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night, ch. 31 (2008)
Added on 17-Dec-13 | Last updated 17-Dec-13
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