130+ Fantastic Ernest Hemingway Quotes

Ernest Hemingway was one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century. Over the years, I’ve read many of his novels and came to love them, especially The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

He was a deeply profound writer and person and has shared countless pieces of timeless wisdom with his readers, but also his peers.

Ernest Hemingway Photograph
Ernest Hemingway

In this article, I want to showcase some of my favorite Ernest Hemingway quotes. Many of them reflect on such topics as life, love, or other deeper topics. The ones I came to enjoy the most, however, are the Ernest Hemingway quotes on writing. If you’re interested in other, deep quotes, make sure to check out my article on deep Twitter quotes.

In my career as a writer, I’ve always looked up to Ernest Hemingway and his approach to the craft. You could say, he’s become a sort of role model for me.

And with that, I will present you my favorite Ernest Hemingway quotes.

Table of Contents

Best Ernest Hemingway Quotes

Best Ernest Hemingway Quotes


“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.“


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


“I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now.’”


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


“So far, 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.“


“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.“


“Writer hard and clear about what hurts.”


“When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.”


“Time is the least thing we have of.”


“The way to make people trust-worthy is to trust them.“

Deep Ernest Hemingway Quotes

Deep Ernest Hemingway Quotes

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


“The shortest answer is doing the thing.”


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


“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.“


“Going to another country doesn’t make any difference. I’ve tried all that. You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There’s nothing to that.“


“Being against evil doesn’t make you good. Tonight I was against it and then I was evil myself. I could feel it coming just like a tide… I just want to destroy them. But when you start taking pleasure in it you are awfully close to the thing you’re fighting.”


“We are all broken – that’s how the light gets in.”


“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.”


“We wait always for something that does not come.”


“Courage is grace under pressure.”


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


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


“No weapon has ever settled a moral problem. It can impose a solution but it cannot guarantee it to be a just one.”


“How little we know of what there is to know.”


“All things truly wicked start from innocence.”


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


“All thinking men are atheists.“


“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.“

Ernest Hemingway Quotes on Life

Ernest Hemingway Quotes Life

“The rain will stop, the night will end, the hurt will fade. Hope is never so lost that it can’t be found.”


“Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry: Worry never fixes anything.“


“The smallest coffins are the heaviest.”


“It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing.”


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


“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.”


“There are worse places to be than on your own.”


“You know what makes a good loser? Practice. ”


“Isn’t it pretty to think so.”


“Everything is your fault if you’re any damn good.”


“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.“


“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.“


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


“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.“


“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”


“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?”


“The man who has begun to live more seriously within begins to live more simply without.”


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


“Look at things and listen and feel.”


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


“The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.“


“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.“


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


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


“By then I knew that everything good and bad left an emptiness when it stopped. But if it was bad, the emptiness filled up by itself. If it was good you could only fill it by finding something better.”


“Night is always darker before the dawn and life is the same, the hard times will pass, everything will get better and sun will shine brighter than ever.”


“When people talk listen completely. Don’t be thinking what you’re going to say. Most people never listen.”


“I was always a lonely person when I was with everyone.”


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


“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.“

Ernest Hemingway Quotes on Love

Ernest Hemingway Quotes Love

“No one you love is ever truly lost.”


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


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


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


“The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.“


“I love you for all that you are, all that you have been, all that you’re yet to be.”


“You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.”


“Never to go on trips with anyone you do not love.”


“I am always in love.”

Ernest Hemingway Quotes on War

Ernest Hemingway Quotes War

“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.“


“When you go to war as a boy, you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed, not you… Then, when you are badly wounded the first time, you lose that illusion, and you know it can happen to you.”


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


“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.”

Ernest Hemingway Quotes on Books

Ernest Hemingway Quotes Books

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”


“You should only read what is truly good or what is frankly bad.“


“The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life and one is as good as the other.”


“All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”


“All good books have one thing in common – they are truer than if they had really happened.“

Ernest Hemingway Quotes on Writing

Ernest Hemingway Quotes Writing

“The first draft of anything is shit.”


“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. But it was very difficult, and I did not know how I would ever write anything as long as a novel. It often took me a full morning of work to write a paragraph.“


“Any man’s life told truly, is a novel.”


“All I must do now was stay sound and good in my head until morning when I would start to work again.“


“That terrible mood of depression of whether it’s any good or not is what is known as The Artist’s Reward.”


“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”


“Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to hurt like hell before you can write seriously.“


“Do you suffer when you write? I don’t at all. Suffer like a bastard when don’t write, or just before, and feel empty and fucked out afterwards. But never feel as good as while writing.”


“I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me.“


“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”


“Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.”


“I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast – talk them or write them down.”


“It was in that room too that I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything.“


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


“When I have an idea, I turn down the flame, as if it were a little alcohol stove, as low as it will go. Then it explodes and that is my idea.”


“Write the best story that you can and write it as straight as you can.”


“The hard part about writing a novel is finishing it.”


“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.”


“If a writer stops observing he is finished. Experience is communicated by small details intimately observed.”


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


“For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.”


“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.”


“When I am working on a book or a story, I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you, and it is cool or cold, and you come to your work and warm as you write.”


“I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”


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


“Up in that room I decided that I would write one story about each thing that I knew about. I was trying to do this all the time I was writing, and it was good and severe discipline.”


“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”


“Show the readers everything, tell them nothing.”


“All our words from loose using have lost their edge.”


“It was a very simple story called “Out of Season” and I had omitted the real end of it which was that the old man hanged himself. This was omitted on my new theory that you could omit anything if you knew that you omitted and the omitted part would strengthen the story and make people feel something more than they understood.“


“If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.“


“Never confuse movement with action.“


“Things may not be immediately discernible in what a man writes, and in this sometimes he is fortunate; but eventually they are quite clear, and by these and the degree of alchemy that he possesses, he will endure or be forgotten.”


“If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.”


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


“On the ‘Star,’ you were forced to learn to write a simple declarative sentence. This is useful to anyone. Newspaper work will not harm a young writer and could help him if he gets out of it in time.”


“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.”


“A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.”


“In order to write about life first you must live it.” 


“After writing a story I was always empty and both sad and happy, as though I had made love, and I was sure this was a very good story although I would not know truly how good until I read it over the next day.“


“A writer of fiction is really… a congenital liar who invents from his own knowledge or that of other men.”


“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.”


“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.“


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


“You see, I am trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across – not to just depict life – or criticize it – but to actually make it alive. So that when you have read something by me, you actually experience the thing. You can’t do this without putting in the bad and the ugly as well as what is beautiful.”


“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.”


“Decadence is a difficult word to use since it has become little more than a term of abuse applied by critics to anything they do not yet understand or which seems to differ from their moral concepts.”


“I was getting tired of the literary life, if this was the literary life that I was leading, and already I missed not working and I felt the death loneliness that comes at the end of every day that is wasted in your life.“


“You shouldn’t write if you can’t write.“


“When I was writing, it was necessary for me to read after I had written. If you kept thinking about it, you would lose the thing that you were writing before you could go on with it the next day.”


“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.”


“When I had to write it, then it would be the only thing to do and there would be no choice. Let the pressure build. In the meantime I would write a long story about whatever I knew best.“


“What did I know best that I had not written about and lost? What did I know about truly and care for the most? There was no choice at all.“


“After you finish a book, you know, you’re dead. But no one knows you’re dead. All they see is the irresponsibility that comes in after the terrible responsibility of writing.”


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


“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”


“From things that have happened and from things as they exist and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality.”

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