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  • But let the wise be warned against too great readiness to explanation: it multiplies the sources of mistake, lengthening the sum for reckoners sure to go wrong.

  • The simplest explanation is always the most likely.

  • ... a great man always knows better than to explain unless an explanation is demanded. To rush into explanations and excuses is always a sign of weakness.

  • When you're counting alibis and not apples, one plus one equals none.

  • It is far easier to explain to a three-year-old how babies are made than to explain the processes whereby bread or sugar appear on the table.

  • ... Holly conducted herself like a bird of paradise that had flown through the window of a house in Des Moines and settled down; she explained very little.

  • ... there are things you mustn't even try to explain. They either become trite or they tie you down to something that's only half true.

  • To demand sense is the hallmark of nonsense. Nature does not make sense. Nothing makes sense.

  • ... when driven to the necessity of explaining, I found that I did not myself understand what I meant.

  • Who is not apt, on occasion, to assign a multitude of reasons when one will do? This is a sure sign of weakness in argument.

  • I warned you / Don't ask for explanations / When you walk with me ...

    • Lami'a Abbas al-'Imarah,
    • "The Path of Silence," in Elizabeth Warnock Fernea, Women and the Family in the Middle East ()
  • Nothing important is completely explicable.

  • Once more I am overcome by my own amazing sloth and unmannerliness. Can you please forgive me and believe that it is really because I want to do something well that I don't do it at all?

  • I have always had this failing — that I cannot explain myself, as I have said, except at the cost of many words.

  • She would of been a good woman, if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.

  • Never complain, never explain.

  • Explain yourself without gestures. The moment you gesticulate, you look common.

  • There was always a real reason for everything — why spoons tarnished, and jam furred, and people declined into God, or drink, or card games.

    • Edna O'Brien,
    • "A Woman by the Seaside," Mrs. Reinhardt ()
  • Never retract, never explain, never apologize — get the thing done and let them howl.

    • Nellie McClung,
    • personal motto, in Merna Forster, 100 Canadian Heroines ()
  • A multiplicity of explanations undermine their own credibility.

  • The less explaining you do the less people speculate.

  • In 1903 my father was born in San Francisco, where my grandmother had come disguised as a man. Or, Chinese women once magical, she gave birth at a distance, she in China, my grandfather and father in San Francisco. She was good at sending. Or, the men of those days had the power to have babies. If my grandparents did no such wonders, my father nevertheless turned up in San Francisco an American citizen.

  • The three little sentences that will get you through life. Number 1: Cover for me. Number 2: Oh, good idea, boss! Number 3: It was like that when I got here.

  • I do everything for a reason ... Most of the time the reason is money.

  • There are always two reasons for anything. There is always the good reason, and there is always the real reason.

    • Michèle Bernstein,
    • 1957, in Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century ()
  • Experience is not explanation.