136 Famous Ernest Hemingway Quotes

Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American novelist, short-story writer, journalist, and sportsman. His economical and understated style—which he termed the iceberg theory—had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and his public image brought him admiration from later generations. Here are some Ernest Hemingway quotes, phrases, and wise words.

Short Biography of Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway, born July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois, is the author of novels such as Who Sings for and The Old Man and the Sea. 

Hemingway was a great storyteller, a man with a great sense of humor, and an extraordinary knowledge base on a subject he was interested in, Hemingway had a hard time talking about writing, not because he had little knowledge of the subject Thought, but because he felt so strong. These thoughts should remain self-evident, and being asked about them would make him “scared” (using one of his favorite expressions) to the point of leaving them almost speechless. He prefers to write many of the answers from this interview on the blackboard. His straightforward prose, sparse dialogue, and penchant for understatement are particularly effective in his stories, some of which are collected in Men Without Women (1927) and Fifth Column and The First Forty-Nine Stories (1938). Open Ernest Hemingway’s story “My Old Man” and learn about the author’s time as an expat in Paris. Author, professor, and editor Blake Neves examines Ernest Hemingway’s My Old Man in the 1970 edition of the British Educational Corporation Encyclopedia. 

In 1951, Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea, which became perhaps his most famous book and finally won him the Pulitzer Prize, which he had refused for so long. During this period, Hemingway completed his famous novel about the First World War “A Farewell to Arms”, securing a firm place in the literary canon. Writing books occupied Hemingway for most of the post-war years. Upon his return to the United States, he became a journalist for Canadian and American newspapers and was soon sent back to Europe to cover events such as the Greek Revolution.

In 1923, many of Hemingway’s poems and stories were accepted for publication by two American literary magazines, Poetry, and Little Review. In the summer of the same year, Hemingway’s first book, Three Stories and Ten Poems was published by an American publishing house in Paris. He provided Hemingway with letters of recommendation from the American diaspora poet Ezra Pound and the modernist writer Gertrude Stein.

He was fascinated by the bullfighters who died in the arena, and his Death in the Afternoon, published in 1932, was a tale of the arena and matadors. The perpetrator himself once broke several ribs during a rehearsal for a bullfight. At the time, he said he was “too old, too heavy and too clumsy” for the sport.

He has published seven novels, six storybooks and two popular science work. He wrote his colorful prose style in a pattern, followed by dozens of writers. He was the son of Dr. Clarence E. Hemingway, a physician, and former singer Grace Hall. 

Hemingway noticed that he learned to write not only from artists but also from other writers. Baker believes that starting with the story, Hemingway learned “to get the most out of the minimum, how to shorten the language, how to increase the intensity, and how to say nothing but the truth so that he can say more than necessary.” truth.”

Famous Ernest Hemingway quotes

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”

“Courage is grace under pressure.”

Courage is grace under pressure ernest hemingway quotes

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

“Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports… all the others are games.”

“Never mistake motion for action.”

“To hell with them. Nothing hurts if you don’t let it.”

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”

Short Quotes by Ernest Hemingway

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

“I drink to make other people more interesting.”

“we would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright.”

“About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”

“Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

“After writing a story I was always empty and both sad and happy, as though I had made love.”

“Hesitation increases in relation to risk in equal proportion to age.”

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.”

“An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.”

“The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.”

“I hate a cramp, he thought. It is a treachery of one’s own body.”

“I’ve seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.”

“I am thee and thou art me and all of one is the other.”

“I have a rotten habit of picturing the bedroom scenes of my friends.”

“You can write any time people will leave you alone and not interrupt you. Or rather you can if you will be ruthless enough about it. But the best writing is certainly when you are in love.”

“You won’t do our things with another girl, or say the same things, will you?”

“I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a method of settling international disputes.”

“The hardest thing to do is to write straight honest prose on human beings. First you have to know the subject; then you have to know how to write. Both take a lifetime to learn, and anybody is cheating who takes politics as a way out. All the outs are too easy, and the thing itself is too hard to do.”

“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

“Don’t get discouraged because there’s a lot of mechanical work to writing. I rewrote the first part of Farewell to Arms at least fifty times.”

“Wine … offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than possibly any other purely sensory thing which may be purchased.”

“Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter’s honor.”

“They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.”

“A bottle of wine was good company.”

“His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred.”

“There are events which are so great that if a writer has participated in them his obligation is to write truly rather than assume the presumption of altering them with invention.”

“A girl came in the cafe and sat by herself at a table near the window. She was very pretty with a face fresh as a newly minted coin if they minted coins in smooth flesh with rain-freshened skin, and her hair black as a crow’s wing and cut sharply and diagonally across her cheek.”

“All thinking men are atheists.”

“The sinews of war are five – men, money, materials, maintenance (food) and morale.”

“I know the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started.”

“As long as you can start, you are all right. The juice will come.”

“The first draft of anything is sh*t.”

“You see I’m trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across, not just to depict life, or criticize it, but to actually make it alive.”

“For a true writer each book should be a new beginning, where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment.”

“Dying is a very simple thing. I’ve looked at death and really I know. If I should have died it would have been very easy for me. Quite the easiest thing I ever did. But the people at home do not realize that. They suffer a thousand times more.”

“No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure.”

“A beautiful vacuum filled with wealthy monogamists, all powerful and members of the best families all drinking themselves to death.”

“The first and final thing you have to do in this world is to last it and not be smashed by it.”

“They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure.”

Life quotes by Ernest Hemingway

“You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering.”

“The best writing is certainly when you are in love”

“If a writer stops observing, he is finished.”

“Writing and travel broaden your * if not your mind and I like to write standing up.”

“Man is not made for defeat.”

“Never confuse movement with action.”

“War is not won by victory.”

“Develop a built-in bullshit detector.”

“Don’t you like to write letters? I do because it’s such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you’ve done something.”

“I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently.”

“And how much better to die in all the happy period of undisillusioned youth, to go out in a blaze of light, than to have your body worn out and old and illusions shattered.”

“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”

“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”

“I read my own books sometimes to cheer me when it is hard to write, and then I remember that it was always difficult, and how nearly impossible it was sometimes.”

“But life isn’t hard to manage when you’ve nothing to lose.”

“The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea.”

“Before you react, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you criticize, wait. Before you quit, try.”

“That is what we are supposed to do when we are at our best – make it all up – but make it up so truly that later it will happen that way.”

“Let those who want to save the world if you can get to see it clear and as a whole. Then any part you make will represent the whole if it’s made truly. The thing to do is work and learn to make it.”

“The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.”

“Easy writing makes hard reading.”

“There isn’t any me. I’m you. Don’t make up a separate me.”

“For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.”

“Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors.”

“The shortest answer is doing the thing.”

“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”

“i believe that basically you write for two people; yourself to try and make it absolutely perfect; or if not that then wonderful. then you write for who you love whether they can read or write or not and whether they are alive or dead.”

“Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be.”

“In the morning there was a big wind blowing and the waves were running high up on the beach and he was awake a long time before he remembered that his heart was broken.”

“Go all the way with it. Do not back off. For once, go all the * way with what matters.”

“When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.”

“The things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist.”

“that every day should be a fiesta seemed to me a marvelous discovery”

“What is moral is what you feel good after.”

“Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the Romance of the unusual.”

“Worry destroys the ability to write.”

“If the others heard me talking out loud they would think that I am crazy. But since I am not, I do not care.”

“You must be prepared to work always without applause.”

“We’re stronger in the places that we’ve been broken.”

“I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day.”

“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.”

“The best ammunition against lies is the truth, there is no ammunition against gossip. It is like a fog and the clear wind blows it away and the sun burns it off.”

“Humility is not disgraceful, and carries no loss of true pride.”

“Remember everything is right until it’s wrong. You’ll know when it’s wrong.”

“My life used to be full of everything. Now if you aren’t with me I haven’t a thing in the world.”

“There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man’s life to know them the little that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave.”

“There is seven-eights of it under water for every part that shows. Anything you know you can eliminate and it only strengthens your iceberg. It is the part that doesn’t show. If a writer omits something because he does not know it then there is a hole in the story.”

“All bad writers are in love with the epic.”

“I loved you when I saw you today and I loved you always but I never saw you before.”

“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they really happened and after you are finished reading one you feel that it all happened to you and after which it all belongs to you.”

Amazing quotes by Ernest Hemingway

“Survival, with honor, that outmoded and all-important word, is as difficult as ever and as all-important to a writer. Those who do not last are always more beloved since no one has to see them in their long, dull, unrelenting, no-quarter-given-and-no-quarter-received, fights that they make to do something as they believe it should be done before they die. Those who die or quit early and easy and with every good reason are preferred because they are understandable and human. Failure and well-disguised cowardice are more human and more beloved.”

“you can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.”

“Most people never listen.”

“If you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life. A good life is not measured by any biblical span.”

“Since I had started to break down all my writing and get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe, writing had been wonderful to do.”

“Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?”

“You never kill anyone you want to kill in a war, he said to himself.”

“Show the readers everything, tell them nothing.”

“Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing…. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.”

“He rested sitting on the un-stepped mast and sail and tried not to think but only to endure.”

“You may talk. And I may listen. And miracles might happen.”

“The bicycle riders drank much wine, and were burned and browned by the sun. They did not take the race seriously except among themselves.”

“I know now that there is no one thing that is true – it is all true.”

“But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

“Being against evil doesn’t make you good.”

Deep Ernest Hemingway quotes

“Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it.”

“As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.”

“No, that is the great fallacy: the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful.”

“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.”

“As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.”

“To be a successful father… there’s one absolute rule: when you have a kid, don’t look at it for the first two years.”

“Some other places were not so good but maybe we were not so good when we were in them.”

“If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it.”

“I can’t stand it to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it.”

“Nobody climbs on skis now and almost everybody breaks their legs but maybe it is easier in the end to break your legs than to break your heart although they say that everything breaks now and that sometimes, afterwards, many are stronger at the broken places.”

“A man’s got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.”

“When you start to live outside yourself, it’s all dangerous.”

“Fear of death increases in exact proportion to increase in wealth.”

“It’s harder to write in the third person but the advantage is you move around better.”

“You can wipe out your opponents. But if you do it unjustly you become eligible for being wiped out yourself.”

“Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over.”

“And who understands? Not me, because if I did I would forgive it all.”

“I am glad we do not have to try to kill the stars.”

“Cowardice, as distinguished from panic, is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination. Learning to suspend your imagination and live completely in the very second of the present with no before and no after is the greatest gift a soldier can acquire.”

“You don’t have to destroy me. Do you? I’m only a woman who loves you and wants to do what you want to do. I’ve been destroyed two or three times already. You wouldn’t want to destroy me again, would you?”

“I wish I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.”

“He could beat anything, he thought, because no thing could hurt him if he did not care.”

“I have noticed that doctors who fail in the practice of medicine have a tendency to seek one another’s company and aid in consultation.”

“The only thing that can spoil a day is people and if you can keep from making engagements, every day has no limits.”

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