[Ads-l] Saying: It ain ’t what you don’t know that gets you into tr =?UTF-8?Q?ouble._It=E2=80=99s_?=what you know for sure that just ain t so. (UNCLASSIFIED)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 20 18:39:24 EST 2018

Bill Mullins wrote:
> Antedating before the version on your Billings page ( https://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/05/30/better-know/ )
> _Harrisburg [PA] Telegraph_ 7 May 1869 p 1 col 5
> By Josh Billings
>  . . . . .
> I honestly believe it is better tew know nothing than tew knew what ain't so."

Great. Many thanks for reading the companion article and searching for
early instances of Josh Billings's quotation.

It's very nice to see that the instance you found is one of the
"Sollum Thoughts" under the Billings byline. Interestingly, the
newspapers in May 1869 employed variable spellings for the quotation
even when it was under the Billings byline.

May 7, 1869
I honestly beleave it iz better tew know nothing than tew knew what ain't so.

May 21, 1869
I honestly believe it iz better tew know nothing than tew know what ain't so.

I will add your citation to this QI entry soon:

I will probably continue to use the 1874 Billings compendium citation
on the following webpage. It is not the earliest, but Billings may
have had greater control over the quotation instances given in his own
book. I will also point to the QI article above for readers who want
greater depth.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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