Quotations about   rules

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



Pedantry prides herself on being wrong by rules; while common sense is contented to be right without them.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon, #48 (1825)
    (Source)
Added on 11-Feb-22 | Last updated 11-Feb-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Colton, Charles Caleb

The other part of it is [the belief that] if we just totally opened our souls to one another, we would love one another and get along. This trivializes the fact that people have deep and legitimately-held differences. People think, mistakenly, that etiquette means you have to suppress your differences. On the contrary, etiquette is what enables you to deal with them; it gives you a set of rules. On the floor of the Congress, you don’t say, “You’re a jerk and a crook”; you say, “I’m afraid the distinguished gentleman is mistaken about so and so.” Those are the things that enable you to settle your differences, to bring them out in the open. Everything else just starts battles.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Polite Company: A Chat with Judith Martin About Etiquette,” interview with Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today (1 Mar 1998)
    (Source)
Added on 11-Feb-22 | Last updated 11-Feb-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Martin, Judith

Life, after we’d had a few millennia to observe it, turned out to be dreadfully unfair, so we invented sports.

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
(Attributed)
Added on 29-Dec-21 | Last updated 29-Dec-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Holland, Barbara

All religions are ultimately cargo cults. Adherents perform required rituals, follow specific rules, and expect to be supernaturally gifted with desired rewards — long life, honor, wisdom, children, good health, wealth, victory over opponents, immortality after death, any desired rewards.

Octavia Butler (1947-2006) American writer
Parable of the Talents, ch. 19, epigram (1998)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Oct-21 | Last updated 7-Oct-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Butler, Octavia

The most intelligent of the Nazis, the legal theorist Carl Schmitt, explained in clear language the essence of fascist governance. The way to destroy all rules, he explained, was to focus on the idea of the exception. A Nazi leader outmaneuvers his opponents by manufacturing a general conviction that the present moment is exceptional, and then transforming that state of exception into a permanent emergency. Citizens then trade real freedom for fake safety.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, ch. 17 (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 9-Jun-21 | Last updated 9-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

In a predatory economy, the rules imagined by the law and economics crowd don’t apply. There’s no market discipline. Predators compete not by following the rules but by breaking them. They take the business-school view of law: Rules are not designed to guide behavior but laid down to define the limits of unpunished conduct. Once one gets close to the line, stepping over it is easy. A predatory economy is criminogenic: It fosters and rewards criminal behavior.

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) Canadian-American economist, diplomat, author
“The Predator State,” Mother Jones (May/Jun 2006)
    (Source)
Added on 8-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Galbraith, John Kenneth

Coaches and headmasters praise sport as a preparation for the great game of life, but this is absurd. Nothing could be more different from life. For one thing sports, unlike life, are played according to rules. Indeed, the rules are the sport: life may behave bizarrely and still be life, but if the runner circles the bases clockwise it’s no longer baseball.

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
Endangered Pleasures (1995)
Added on 29-Sep-20 | Last updated 29-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Holland, Barbara

The truth is that many people set rules to keep from making decisions.

Mike Krzyzewski (b. 1947) American college basketball coach ["Coach K"]
Leading with the Heart, ch. 1 “Getting Organized” (2000) [with Donald Phillips]
    (Source)
Added on 20-May-20 | Last updated 20-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Krzyzewski, Mike

Good authors, too, who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
Writing prose.
Anything goes!

Cole Porter (1891-1964) American composer and songwriter
“Anything Goes” (1934)
Added on 30-Apr-20 | Last updated 30-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Porter, Cole

However, you do need rules. Driving on the left (or the right or, in parts of Europe, on the left and the right as the mood takes you) is a rule which works, since following it means you’re more likely to reach your intended rather than your final destination.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Post, alt.fan.pratchett (20 Jun 2002)
    (Source)
Added on 27-Mar-20 | Last updated 27-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

As long as you’re dancing, you can break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just extending the rules.

Sometimes there are no rules.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) American poet
“Three Things to Remember”
    (Source)
Added on 16-Aug-19 | Last updated 16-Aug-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Oliver, Mary

Maxims are to the intellect what laws are to actions; they do not enlighten, but they guide and direct; and although themselves blind, are protective. They are like the clue in the labyrinth, or the compass in the night.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées, # 138 (1838)
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "Maxims are to the intelligence what laws are to action: they do not illuminate, but they guide, they control, they rescue blindly. They are the clue in the labyrinth, the ship's compass in the night."
Added on 31-Jul-18 | Last updated 1-Aug-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Joubert, Joseph

Manners are of more importance than laws. Upon them, in a great measure, the laws depend. The law touches us but here and there, and now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, but a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. They give their whole form and color to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals, they supply them, or they totally destroy them.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Letters on a Regicide Peace, Letter 1 (1796)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Sep-17 | Last updated 7-Sep-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

If God didn’t want women to be looked at, he would have made ’em ugly — that’s reasonable, isn’t it? God isn’t a cheat; He set up the game Himself — He wouldn’t rig it so that the marks can’t win, like a flat joint wheel in a town with the fix on. He wouldn’t send anybody to Hell for losing in a crooked game.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Stranger in a Strange Land, ch. 27 [Patty] (1961)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Jul-17 | Last updated 21-Jul-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Heinlein, Robert A.

Prim did seem in some distress. Poor thing, she genuinely felt that she should do what was expected of her. What a horrible way to go through life.

Gail Carriger (b. 1976) American archaeologist, author [pen name of Tofa Borregaard]
Imprudence (2016)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Apr-17 | Last updated 20-Apr-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Carriger, Gail

That conception is written large over the history of the nineteenth century, both in England and in America. The doctrine which it inherited was that property was held by an absolute right on an individual basis, and to this fundamental it added another, which can be traced in principle far back into history, but which grew to its full stature only after the rise of capitalist industry, that societies act both unfairly and unwisely when they limit opportunities of economic enterprise. Hence every attempt to impose obligations as a condition of the tenure of property or of the exercise of economic activity has been met by uncompromising resistance. The story of the struggle between humanitarian sentiment and the theory of property transmitted from the eighteenth century is familiar. No one has forgotten the opposition offered in the name of the rights of property to factory legislation, to housing reform, to interference with the adulteration of goods, even to the compulsory sanitation of private houses. “May I not do what I like with my own?” was the answer to the proposal to require a minimum standard of safety and sanitation from the owners of mills and houses.

R. H. Tawney (1880-1962) English writer, economist, historian, social critic [Richard Henry Tawney]
The Acquisitive Century, ch. 3 “The Acquisitive Society” (1920)
    (Source)
Added on 2-Feb-17 | Last updated 2-Feb-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Tawney, R. H.

Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.

Henry Adams (1838-1918) American journalist, historian, academic, novelist
The Education of Henry Adams, ch. 16 (1907)
Added on 3-Nov-16 | Last updated 3-Nov-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, Henry

Imposed virtues are not virtuous — they are conformist.

No picture available
Graham Ericsson (b. 1947) American writer, aphorist
Into a New Day (2008)
Added on 2-Nov-16 | Last updated 2-Nov-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Ericsson, Graham

“It’s not fair,” Cloud said eventually. “It’s not fair you have to mourn this child.”

Jared gave a small laugh. “We’re in the wrong universe for fair,” he said, simply.

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
The Ghost Brigades (2006)
Added on 13-Sep-16 | Last updated 13-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Scalzi, John

The rules are only barriers to keep children from falling.

[Ces règles ne sont que des barrières pour empêcher les enfants de tomber.]

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Germany [De l’Allemagne], Part 4, ch. 9 (1813)
Added on 8-Mar-16 | Last updated 8-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by De Stael, Germaine

One of the things that I noticed in war was how difficult it was for our soldiers, at first, to realize that there are no rules to war. Our men were raised in sports, where a referee runs a football game, or an umpire a baseball game, and so forth.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, Conference of the National Women’s Advisory Committee on Civil Defense (26 Oct 1954)
Added on 16-Feb-16 | Last updated 16-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Eisenhower, Dwight David

I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Mere Christianity, “Faith” (1952)
    (Source)
Added on 6-Jan-16 | Last updated 6-Jan-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lewis, C.S.

The dictionaries should get with it; in pronunciation and ultimately in usage, when enough of us are wrong, we’re right.

Safire - wrong right - wist_info quote

William Safire (1929-2009) American author, columnist, journalist, speechwriter
Language Maven Strikes Again, “Drudgery It Ain’t” (1990)
    (Source)

Often paraphrased: "The thing about language is that, when enough of us are wrong, we're right."
Added on 18-Dec-15 | Last updated 18-Dec-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Safire, William

What you cannot enforce,
Do not command!

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Oedipus at Colonus, l. 839 [tr. Fitzgerald (1941)]
Added on 31-Aug-15 | Last updated 31-Aug-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Sophocles

The road reaches every place, the short cut only one.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays, # 1 (2001)
Added on 14-Aug-15 | Last updated 14-Aug-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Richardson, James

Morals are your agreement with yourself to abide by your own rules. To thine own self be true or you spoil the game.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Time Enough For Love [Lazarus Long] (1973)
Added on 14-Jul-15 | Last updated 14-Jul-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Heinlein, Robert A.

She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don’t apply to you.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Equal Rites (1987)
Added on 29-Apr-15 | Last updated 29-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
In “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian (20 Feb 2010)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Aug-14 | Last updated 21-Aug-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Gaiman, Neil

The moral dilemma that is presented to the weak in a world governed by the strong: Break the rules or perish.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Such, Such Were the Joys” (1947)
Added on 12-Aug-14 | Last updated 12-Aug-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Orwell, George

Some men think that rules should be made of cast iron; I believe they should be made of rubber, so they can be stretched to fit any particular case and then spring back into shape again. The really important part of a rule is the exception to it.

George Horace Lorimer (1867-1937) American journalist, author, magazine editor
Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son (1901)
Added on 8-Jul-14 | Last updated 15-Oct-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Lorimer, George Horace

The rule of ideas is only powerful in a world that does not change. Ideas are inherently conservative. They yield not to the attack of other ideas but to the massive onslaught of circumstance with which they cannot contend.

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) Canadian-American economist, diplomat, author
The Affluent Society, ch. 2, sec. 6 (1958)
    (Source)
Added on 27-Apr-12 | Last updated 14-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Galbraith, John Kenneth

Respectfulness, without the rules of propriety, becomes laborious bustle; carefulness, without the rules of propriety, becomes timidity; boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes insubordination; straightforwardness, without the rules of propriety, becomes rudeness.

Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese philosopher [Ku'ng Ch'iu / King Qiu, Ku'ng Fu-tzu / Kong Fuzi]
The Analects [Lun Yü], 8.2 (6th C. BC) [ed. Lao-Tse, tr. Legge (1930)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • "Without ritual, courtesy is tiresome; without ritual, prudence is timid; without ritual, bravery is quarrelsome; without ritual, frankness is hurtful." [tr. Leys (1997)]
  • "Unless a man acts according to the spirit of the rites, in being respectful, he will tire himself out; in being cautious, he will become timid; in being brave, he will become unruly; in being forthright, he will become derisive." [tr. Chin (2014)]
  • "Respectfulness without the rituals becomes laboriousness; discretion without the rituals becomes apprehensiveness; courage without the rituals becomes rebelliousness; straightforwardness without the rituals becomes impetuosity." [tr. Huang (1997)]
  • "Courtesy uncontrolled by the laws of good taste becomes labored effort, caution uncontrolled becomes timidity, boldness uncontrolled becomes recklessness, and frankness uncontrolled become effrontery." [tr. Soothill (1910)]
Added on 13-Mar-12 | Last updated 22-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Confucius

My attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do it a good deal better than anyone else with the regular tools before you have a license to bring in your own improvements.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) American writer
Letter (15 May 1925)

In C. Baker (ed.), Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters, 1917-1961 (1981).
Added on 29-Jul-09 | Last updated 12-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Hemingway, Ernest

For it is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to apply it well. The greatest souls are capable of the greatest vices as well as the greatest virtues; and those who proceed but very slowly can make much greater progress, if they always follow the right path, than those who hurry and stray from it.

[Car ce n’est pas assez d’avoir l’esprit bon, mais le principal est de l’appliquer bien. Les plus grandes âmes sont capables des plus grands vices aussi bien que des plus grandes vertus; et ceux qui ne marchent que fort lentement peuvent avancer beaucoup davantage, s’ils suivent toujours le droit chemin, que ne font ceux qui courent et qui s’en éloignent.]

René Descartes (1596-1650) French philosopher, mathematician
Discourse on Method [Discours de la méthode], Part 1 (1637) [tr. Cottingham, Stoothoff (1985)]
    (Source)

Sometimes quoted "the main thing is to use it well." (Source (French)). Alternate translations:

For to be possessed of a vigorous mind is not enough; the prime requisite is rightly to apply it. The greatest minds, as they are capable of the highest excellences, are open likewise to the greatest aberrations; and those who travel very slowly may yet make far greater progress, provided they keep always to the straight road, than those who, while they run, forsake it.
[tr. Veitch (1901)

For to be possessed of good mental powers is not sufficient; the principal matter is to apply them well. The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as of the greatest virtues, and those who proceed very slowly may, provided they always follow the straight road, really advance much faster than those who, though they run, forsake it.
[tr. Haldane, Ross (1911)]

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Dec-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Descartes, René

Life is like music, it must be composed by ear, feeling and instinct, not by rule. Nevertheless one had better know the rules, for they sometimes guide in doubtful cases, though not often.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler, ch. 1, “Life” (1912)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Butler, Samuel

There are two great rules in life, the one general and the other particular. The first is that every one can in the end get what he wants if he only tries. This is the general rule. The particular rule is that every individual is more or less of an exception to the general rule.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Butler, Samuel

Hampden, on the other hand, was for vigorous and decisive measures. When he drew the sword, as Clarendon has well aid, he threw away the scabbard. He had shown that he knew better than any public man of his time how to value and how to practice moderation. He knew that the essence of war is violence, and that moderation in war is imbecility.

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) English writer and politician
“John Hampden,” Essays Contributed to the Edinburgh Review, Vol. 1 (1843)
    (Source)

Review of Lord Nugent, Some Memorials of John Hampden, His Party, and His Times (1831).
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 15-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Macaulay, Thomas Babington

If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Chinese proverb
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by ~Other

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 7:1-2 (KJV)

Alt. trans.:
  • "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get."(NRSV)
  • "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (NIV)
  • "Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others." (GNT)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Jun-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bible