Quotations about   pretense

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We do what we must, and call it by the best names we can, and would fain have the praise of having intended the result which ensues.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Experience,” Essays: Second Series (1844)
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Added on 2-Feb-19 | Last updated 2-Feb-19
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It had snowed in the night, and the world looked very clean, which I knew it not to be. But illusion is nice sometimes.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Painted Ladies, ch. 22 (2010)
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Added on 12-Jul-17 | Last updated 12-Jul-17
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It is just those books which a man possesses, but does not read, which constitute the most suspicious evidence against him.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
Toilers of the Sea, Book 1, ch. 4 (1866)
Added on 5-Jan-17 | Last updated 5-Jan-17
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Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.

sunday-church-christian-garage-automobile-wist_info-quote

William Ashley "Billy" Sunday (1862-1935) American athlete, evangelist, preacher
In William T. Ellis, “Billy” Sunday, The Man and his Message, ch. 12 (1914)
Added on 14-Oct-16 | Last updated 14-Oct-16
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A cheerful, easy countenance and behavior are very useful: they make fools think you a good-natured man, and they make designing men think you an undesigning one.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (15 Jan 1753)
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All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major (1916)
Added on 11-Jun-16 | Last updated 11-Jun-16
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To act with common sense according to the moment, is the best wisdom I know; and the best philosophy, to do one’s duties, take the world as it comes, submit respectfully to one’s lot; bless the Goodness that has given so much happiness with it, whatever it is; and despise affectation.

Horace Walpole (1717-1797) English novelist, letter writer
Letter to Horace Mann (27 May 1776)
Added on 5-Feb-16 | Last updated 5-Feb-16
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It must be a good thing to be good or ivrybody wudden’t be pretendin’ he was.

[It must be a good thing to be good, or everybody wouldn’t be pretending he was.]

Dunne - pretending to be good - wist_info

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
Observations by Mr. Dooley, “Hypocrisy” (1902)
Added on 27-Oct-15 | Last updated 27-Oct-15
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Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
Added on 21-Oct-15 | Last updated 21-Oct-15
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Pedantry is properly the over-rating of any kind of knowledge we pretend to.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding (1754)
Added on 17-Sep-15 | Last updated 17-Sep-15
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Man is the only animal that learns by being hypocritical. He pretends to be polite and then, eventually, he becomes polite.

Jean Kerr (1922-2003) American author and playwright [b. Bridget Jean Collins]
Finishing Touches, Act 1 (1973)
Added on 14-Sep-15 | Last updated 14-Sep-15
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Many talk like Philosophers and live like Fools.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia, #3358 (1732)
Added on 21-May-15 | Last updated 21-May-15
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If I try to be like him, who will be like me?

Other Authors and Sources
Yiddish proverb
Added on 21-Nov-14 | Last updated 21-Nov-14
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When capable, feign incapacity; when active, inactivity.

Sun-Tzu (fl. 6th C. AD) Chinese general and philosopher [a.k.a. Sun Wu]
The Art of War, “Estimates” (18) [tr. Griffith (1963)]
Added on 16-Oct-14 | Last updated 16-Oct-14
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Thousands upon thousands are yearly brought into a state of real poverty by their great anxiety not to be thought poor.

William Cobbett (1763-1835) English politician, agriculturist, journalist, pamphleteer
Advice to Young Men and (Incidentally) to Young Women, Letter 2, #58 (1829)
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Added on 4-Jan-13 | Last updated 6-Jul-17
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Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldome extinguished. Force maketh nature more violent in the return.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Nature in Men,” Essays, No. 38 (1625)
Added on 17-Nov-11 | Last updated 16-May-16
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Do not keep on with a mockery of friendship after the substance is gone — but part, while you can part friends. Bury the carcass of friendship: it is not worth embalming.

Hazlitt - mockery of friendship - wist_info quote

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On The Conduct of Life” (1822)
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Added on 9-Feb-10 | Last updated 19-Jan-16
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The chief difference between free capitalism and State socialism seems to be this: that under the former a man pursues his own advantage openly, frankly, and honestly, whereas under the latter he does so hypocritically and under false pretences.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
Minority Report: H.L. Mencken’s Notebooks, #397 (1956)
Added on 15-Jan-09 | Last updated 2-May-16
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Book lovers are thought by unbookish people to be gentle and unworldly, and perhaps a few of them are so. But there are others who will lie and scheme and steal to get books as wildly and unconscionably as the dope-taker in pursuit of his drug. They may not want the books to read immediately, or at all; they want them to possess, to range on their shelves, to have at command. They want books as a Turk is thought to want concubines — not to be hastily deflowered, but to be kept at their master’s call, and enjoyed more often in thought than in reality.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
Tempest-Tost, ch. 6 (1951)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Jun-16
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A man always has two reasons for what he does — a good one, and the real one.

John Pierpont "J. P." Morgan (1837-1913) American banker and financier
(Attributed)

Quoted in Owen Wister, Roosevelt: The Story of a Friendship, p. 280 (1930). There's no record in Morgan's writings, and versions of the quote from others can be found in the early 1800s. See here for more details.

Sometimes given as "A man generally has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good, and a real one."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-Aug-15
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