Quotes, Quotations

Many people doing the IELTS exam like to quote famous people.


Avoid quotes. As a famous person somewhere said, sometime, “Don’t use them.” Really. You don’t need them. If you want to use a quote, work it into the sentence as reported speech.

  • My grandfather always told me to fight for what was right.
  • The UAE’s Sheikh Zayed often said that a country without a history was a country without a present.
  • An old proverb says that instead of giving a man a fish we should teach him how to fish.
  • It’s true that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: sometimes we should just be happy with what we have, instead of looking for more.
  • A well-known Russian saying is that a wife should be as humble as a lamb, a busy as a bee, as beautiful as a bird of paradise and faithful as a turtle dove. *

Don’t use quotes about coins having two sides, swords having two edges, or time cutting you. Everybody else uses them, and it makes your writing look very tired and unoriginal.

Don’t have quotes about eating apples every day. Don’t quote your friend or “a famous psychologist.” Don’t invent quotes. Don’t quote from ‘recent scientific research’, because nobody will believe you anyway. Don’t use quotes unless you have the exact wording from a book or website in front of you, and this won’t happen in IELTS.

Of course, if you are not writing for the IELTS test, and you have a reference in front of you with the exact quote, the name of the writer or speaker, and the date, then go ahead. That’s different.