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A Quote from George Bernard Shaw

Some people see things as they are and say why.

I see things that never were and say why not.


This GBS quote has resulted in many e-mail messages! I too originally attributed it to Robert F Kennedy, since that's who I heard say it. Someone e-mailed me a while back saying it was GBS. He explained the following anecdote.

RFK almost always ended his speeches with that quote, often attributing it "As George Bernard Shaw used to say: Some people see things as they are and say why. I see things that never were and say why not." He said, since most people knew the speech was over when RFK said "As George Bernard Shaw used to say," they would start packing up. One time RFK joked "And as George Bernard Shaw used to say... It's time to head for the busses." :)

Thus, I changed my attribution. I haven't read GBS, though want to and eventually will.


Hmm. A new email message says that I have the quote wrong. There's a slew of GBS quotes on this site and he has the quote as being:

You see things and say 'Why?';
but I dream things that never were and I say 'Why not?'

So, perhaps Shaw said this and then Kennedy transposed it into the quote I have above?

 


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Last updated: 7 April 1999