Deliberate Misquotation

This week’s prompt requires you to revise the past.  Many of you will recognize the following as the butchering of a quote by John F. Kennedy:


The original quote reversed the two ideas: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”  Needless to say, the revised version casts a strikingly different tone and would have been received as such.  We can’t precisely know how history would have been different if Kennedy had used the misquotation instead, but we can always speculate.

Speculation is the name of this week’s game.

Take an important quote and modify it.  Then, do one of the following:

1- Describe the possible historical implications of that quote being different.

2- If you choose a literary quote, you could rewrite the poem or create a new plot for the novel or play that would fit the modified quote.

3- If you choose an important quote from your own life (such as a marriage proposal or a medical diagnosis), discuss how your life would be different or rewrite the moment in which the original statement took place.  If you go this route, please inform us of what the original statement was.

4- If the quote has no context that lends itself to one of the preceding options, use your modified version as the title of a post on a topic of your choice.

Compose and publish your response to this prompt on your own blog.  Be sure to include a link to this post so that a pingback will appear here, thereby allowing other participants to discover your work.  Please be patient if your pingback does not appear immediately; I am not at my computer 24/7 and I have to approve all pingbacks.  For this reason, using the bcandelabra tag may be advisable.


  1. A common misquote is that the Constitution has a law that promises Americans “Life, liberty and happiness.” This misquote was common among students I taught from Germany. “Ja well America is the only country that has a law promising Americans happiness. That’s why Americans are so superficial.” When I attempted to enlighten them that it was not in the Constitution AND the actual word is “pursuit of happiness” the response was always, “Ja so what’s the difference?”

    I’m afraid, Bumblepuppies, I have to pass on this week’s prompt, other than this comment.

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