Informant-Catherine Calhoun: My mother, 50-year-old woman from Indianapolis, Indiana. She heard this piece from her mother always as a child and passed it down later to me because she thought it was such an important saying. Was conducted via phone interview.


Proverb: If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all!


History: Some say that the quote comes from “If you can’t say something good about someone, sit right here by me” this was said by Dorothy Parker but some credit it to Alice Roosevelt Longworth who was Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter. The quote was apparently embroidered on one of Alice’s pillows that was described during an interview in 1965.

“Quote Investigator.” Quote Investigator. N.p., 9 Aug. 2014. Web. 27 Apr.

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Thoughts: This is a proverb my mother was told as a young child by her mother who often found her up to no good with her older brothers and sisters. This proverb was later repeated to me as I grew up by my mother whenever I would say a curse word or something that was not nice. It taught me to think before I spoke, just as it taught my mother and her siblings. I grew up hearing this from both of my parents so it makes sense that my mother was often told this as a child. This proverb is very common among children as many of my friends were often told this. It means a lot to my family just because of how often it was repeated and I still remember it to this day. Though no one knows for sure where it came from, I had never head that it came from Alice Roosevelt but was in another form, which is very interesting.