Who Said That First?


We are surrounded by quotes in everyday speech and author Max Cryer, with Who Said That First? identifies (as far as it is possible to do so) the originators of many freely used expressions in English language.

Some of our favourite and most frequently used expressions date back to ancient civilisations. The statement ‘Be Afraid’ appears in the King James Bible, Romans 13:4. During a key moment in a 1986 horror movie, a character (played by Geena Davis) expanded the line to:

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The line – written by David Cronenberg, George Langelaan and Charles Edward Pogue – quickly moved into common use. The movie’s name?

Often, someone other than the originator introduces an existing term to a wider public.

Che sera sera, what shall we be?

Is included in Marlowe’s Faustus in 1588, with a slight linguistic confusion (the French term would be que sera sera: in Italian che sara sara). In 1956 Jay Livingston and Ray Evans wrote the song ‘Que Sera Sera’ for the movie The Man Who Knew Too Much, sending the title into vernacular use. You must know the singer’s name?

An impressive number of expressions have travelled to us via literary luminaries. The line:

Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Appeared in 1891 in which Oscar Wilde novel?

Satisfying curiosity with fascinating entries and often surprising answers, Who Said That First? is a wonderful book by Max Cryer, valued by people who love a combination of language and history.



The size of Who Said That First? is 210 x 135 x 25 mm or 8 x 5 x 1 inches.

Who Said That First? is a paperback with 320 pages.

ISBN 978 0 908988 91 4