Quotations about   conversation

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You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

Plato (c.428-347 BC) Greek philosopher
(Spurious)

Frequently attributed to Plato, starting in the 1950s, but not found in his works. Earliest citation is as a Portuguese proverb, in A Polyglot of Foreign Proverbs, tr. Henry G. Bohn (1857): "Mais descobre huma hora de jogo, que hum anno de conversação." For more see here.
Added on 28-Feb-19 | Last updated 28-Feb-19
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Ultimately, the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or friendship, is conversation.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
De Profundis, “Epistola: In Carcere et Vinculis” (1897)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Jan-19 | Last updated 1-Jan-19
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The young man appeared disconcerted at the vehemence of Phryne’s discourse, and she changed the subject. One did not wantonly disconcert young men on whom one might be having designs in future.

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
Murder on the Ballarat Train (1991)
Added on 3-Aug-17 | Last updated 4-Aug-17
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A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years’ study of books.

Other Authors and Sources
Chinese proverb

Given in translation in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion, ch. 7 (1839).
Added on 6-Jul-17 | Last updated 6-Jul-17
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The most influential of all educational factors is the conversation in a child’s home.

William Temple (1881-1944) English Anglican archbishop, teacher, preacher
The Hope of a New World (1940)
Added on 1-Mar-17 | Last updated 1-Mar-17
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The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries.

René Descartes (1596-1650) French philosopher, mathematician
Discourse on Method [Discours de la méthode] (1637)
Added on 16-Jun-16 | Last updated 16-Jun-16
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Notoriously insensitive to subtle shifts in mood, children will persist in discussing the color of a recently sighted cement mixer long after one’s interest in the topic has waned.

Fran Lebowitz (b. 1950) American journalist
Metropolitan Life (1978)
Added on 16-Mar-16 | Last updated 16-Mar-16
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Writing, when properly managed, (as you may be sure I think mine is) is but a different name for conversation.

Laurence Sterne (1713-1786) Anglo-Irish novelist, Anglican clergyman
Tristam Shandy, Book 2, ch. 11 (1760-1767)
Added on 10-Mar-16 | Last updated 10-Mar-16
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Don’t take up a man’s time talking about the smartness of your children; he wants to talk to you about the smartness of his children.

Edgar Watson "Ed" Howe (1853-1937) American journalist and author [E. W. Howe]
Country Town Sayings (1911)
Added on 23-Dec-15 | Last updated 23-Dec-15
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Silence is the unbearable repartee.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Illustrated London News (30 Sep 1933)
Added on 14-Dec-15 | Last updated 14-Dec-15
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There was much conversation, most of which sounded like the rest of it.

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) American novelist, playwright
Arrowsmith, ch. 14 (1925)
Added on 3-Nov-15 | Last updated 3-Nov-15
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To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Maxims] (1665-1678)
Added on 24-Nov-14 | Last updated 8-Apr-15
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Our companions please us less from the charms we find in their conversation than from those they find in ours.

Fulke Greville (1554-1628) 1st Baron Brooke; Elizabethan poet, dramatist, and statesman
Maxims, Characters and Reflections, 98 (1757 ed.)
Added on 20-Oct-14 | Last updated 20-Oct-14
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There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees.

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Jan-16
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People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

Dave Barry (b. 1947) American humorist
“25 Things I Have Learned In 50 Years,” #12 (1997)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Oct-14
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“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”

Sig Lines
~

Attributed to many people, most prominently Eleanor Roosevelt and Hyman Rickover, but the origin appears to be a recollection of a statement by Henry Thomas Buckle: "Men and women range themselves into three classes or orders of intelligence; you can tell the lowest class by their habit of always talking about persons; the next by the fact that their habit is always to converse about things; the highest by their preference for the discussion of ideas." -- Charles Stewart, Haud Immemor: Reminiscences of Legal and Social Life in Edinburgh and London 1850-1900 (1901). More information here.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Nov-14
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