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The Phantom Tollbooth book cover

The Phantom Tollbooth Quotes

So many things are possible just as long as you don't know they're impossible.
Expect everything, I always say, and the unexpected never happens.
Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.
The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what's in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.
You must never feel badly about making mistakes ... as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.
Time is a gift, given to you, given to give you the time you need, the time you need to have the time of your life.
The only thing you can do easily is be wrong, and that's hardly worth the effort.
Whether or not you find your own way, you're bound to find some way. If you happen to find my way, please return it, as it was lost years ago. I imagine by now it's quite rusty.
if something is there, you can only see it with your eyes open, but if it isn't there, you can see it just as well with your eyes closed. That's why imaginary things are often easier to see than real ones.
You can swim all day in the Sea of Knowledge and not get wet.
But just because you can never reach it, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth looking for.
The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what's in between.
It has been a long trip," said Milo, climbing onto the couch where the princesses sat; "but we would have been here much sooner if I hadn't made so many mistakes. I'm afraid it's all my fault." "You must never feel badly about making mistakes," explained Reason quietly, "as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.
... what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.
Just because you have a choice, it doesn't mean that any of them 'has' to be right.
There are no wrong roads to anywhere.
Let me try once more," Milo said in an effort to explain. "In other words--" "You mean you have other words?" cried the bird happily. "Well, by all means, use them. You're certainly not doing very well with the ones you have now.
For instance," said the boy again, "if Christmas trees were people and people were Christmas trees, we'd all be chopped down, put up in the living room, and covered in tinsel, while the trees opened our presents." "What does that have to do with it?" asked Milo. "Nothing at all," he answered, "but it's an interesting possibility, don't you think?.
Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where you're going.
A slavish concern for the composition of words is the sign of a bankrupt intellect. Be gone, odious wasp! You smell of decayed syllables.
...it's very much like your trying to reach infinity. You know that it's there, you just don't know where-but just because you can never reach it doesn't mean that it's not worth looking for.
Things which are equally bad are also equally good. Try to look at the bright side of things. - Humbug.
And remember, also," added the Princess of Sweet Rhyme, "that many places you would like to see are just off the map and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But someday you'll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.
What you can do is often simply a matter of what you will do.
...I'll continue to see things as a child. It's not so far to fall.
In this box are all the words I know…Most of them you will never need, some you will use constantly, but with them you may ask all the questions which have never been answered and answer all the questions which have never been asked. All the great books of the past and all the ones yet to come are made with these words. With them there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. All you must learn to do is to use them well and in the right places.
Since you got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable to expect that, in order to get out, you must start thinking.
I never knew words could be so confusing," Milo said to Tock as he bent down to scratch the dog's ear. "Only when you use a lot to say a little," answered Tock. Milo thought this was quite the wisest thing he'd heard all day.
Expect everything so that nothing comes unexpected.
But why do only unimportant things?" asked Milo, who suddenly remembered how much time he spent each day doing them. "Think of all the trouble it saves," the man explained, and his face looked as if he'd be grinning an evil grin--if he could grin at all. "If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you'll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. You just won't have the time. For there's always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing, and if it weren't for that dreadful magic staff, you'd never know how much time you were wasting.
Ah, this is fine," he cried triumphantly, holding up a small medallion on a chain. He dusted it off, and engraved on one side were the words "WHY NOT?" "That's a good reason for almost anything - a bit used perhaps, but still quite serviceable.
And now," he continued, speaking to Milo, "where were you on the night of July 27?" "What does that have to do with it?" asked Milo. "It's my birthday, that's what," said the policeman as he entered "Forgot my birthday" in his little book. "Boys always forget other people's birthdays.
You see, to tall men I'm a midget, and to short men I'm a giant; to the skinny ones I'm a fat man, and to the fat ones I'm a thin man.
You can't improve sound by having only silence. The problem is to use each at the proper time.
I don't know of any wrong road to Dictionopolis, so if this road goes to Dictionopolis at all it must be the right road, and if it doesn't it must be the right road to somewhere else, because there are no wrong roads to anywhere. Do you think it will rain?.
We never choose which words to use, for as long as they mean what they mean to mean, we don’t care if they make sense or nonsense.
But I suppose there's a lot to see everywhere, if only you keep your eyes open.
I know one thing for certain; it is much harder to tell whether you are lost than whether you were lost, for, on many occasions, where you are going is exactly where you are. On the other hand, if you often find that where you've been is not at all where you should have gone, and, since it's much more difficult to find your way back from someplace you've never left, I suggest you go there immediately and then decide.
For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.
Infinity is a dreadfully poor place. They can never manage to make ends meet.
So many things are possible as long as you don't know they're impossible.
Does everyone grow the way you do?" puffed Milo when he had caught up. "Almost everyone," replied Alec, and then he stopped a moment and thought. "Now and then, though, someone does begin to grow differently. Instead of down, his feet grow up towards the sky. But we do our best to discourage awkward things like that." "What happens to them?" insisted Milo. "Oddly enough, they often grow ten times the size of everyone else," said Alec thoughtfully, "and I've heard that they walk among the stars." And with that he skipped off once again toward the waiting woods.
What you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.
Is everyone who lives in Ignorance like you?" asked Milo. "Much worse," he said longingly. "But I don't live here. I'm from a place very far away called Context.
that the only thing you can do easily is be wrong, and that’s hardly worth the effort.
Sometimes I find the best way of getting from one place to another is simply to erase everything and begin again.
When he was in school he longed to be out, and when he was out he longed to be in. On the way he thought about coming home, and coming home he thought about going. Wherever he was he wished he were somewhere else, and when he got there he wondered why he'd even bothered.
You see. . . it's really quite strenuous doing nothing all day, so once a week we take a holiday and go nowhere, which was just where we were going when you came along. Would you care to join us?.
Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn?" she inquired. "Or the quiet and calm just as the storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause in a roomful of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're all alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful, if you listen carefully.
We're right here on this very spot. Besides, being lost is never a matter of not knowing where you are; it's a matter of not knowing where you aren't - and I don't care at all about where I'm not.
...today people use as many words as they can and think themselves very wise for doing so. For always remember that while it is wrong to use too few, it is often far worse to use too many.
You can swim all day in the Sea of Knowledge and still come out completely dry. Most people do.
He paused again as a tear of longing rolled from cheek to lip with the sweet-salty taste of an old memory.
You may not see it now," said the Princess of Pure Reason, looking knowingly at Milo's puzzled face, "but whatever we learn has a purpose and whatever we do affects everything and everyone else, if even in the tiniest way.
So each one of you agrees to disagree with whatever the other one agrees with, but if you both disagree with the same thing, aren't you really in agreement?.
How can you see something that isn't there?" yawned the Humbug, who wasn't fully awake yet. "Sometimes, it's much simpler than seeing things that are,"he said. "For instance, if something is there, you can only see it with your eyes open, but if it isn't there, you can see it just as well with your eyes closed. That's why imaginary things are often easier to see than real ones." "Then where is Reality?" barked Tock. "Right here,"cried Alec, waving his arms.
AHA!" interrupted Officer Shrift, making another note in his little book. "Just as I thought: boys are the cause of everything.
Perhaps someday you can have one city as easy to see as Illusions and as hard to forget as Reality.
Now and then, though, someone does begin to grow differently. Instead of down, his feet grow up toward the sky. But we do our best to discourage awkward things like that." "What happens to them?" insisted Milo. "Oddly enough, they often grow ten times the size of everyone else," said Alec thoughtfully, "and I've heard that they walk among the stars.
And remember, also...that many places you would like to see are just off the map and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But someday you'll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.
You often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than right for the wrong reasons.
Why don't they live in Illusions?' suggested the Humbug. 'It's much prettier.' 'Many of them do,' he answered, walking in the direction of the forest once again, 'but it's just as bad to live in a place where what you do see isn't there as it is to live in one where what you don't see is.
Being lost is not a matter of knowing where you are. It's a matter of knowing where you aren't.
You weren't thinking and you weren't paying attention either. People who don't pay attention often get stuck in the Doldrums.
They walked for a while, all silent in their thoughts, until they reached the car and Alec drew a fine telescope from his shirt and handed it to Milo. "Carry this with you on your journey," he said softly, "for there is much worth noticing that often escapes the eye. Through it you can see everything from the tender moss in a sidewalk crack to the glow of the farthest star — and, most important of all, you can see things as they really are, not just as they seem to be. It's my gift to you.
Where is the sound?" someone hastily scribbled on the blackboard, and they all waited anxiously for the reply. Milo caught his breath, picked up the chalk, and explained simply, "It's on the tip of my tongue.
My goodness', thought Milo. 'Everybody is so terribly sensitive about the things they know best.
But I could never have done it," he objected, "without everyone else's help." "That may be true," said Reason gravely, "but you had the courage to try; and what you can do is often simply a matter of what you will do.
Do you think it will rain? Milo: But I thought you were the Weather Man? No, I'm the Whether man, for it is more important to know whether there will be weather, whether than what the weather will be.
As you can see, that leaves almost no time for brooding, lagging, plodding, or procrastinating, and if we stopped to think or laugh, we’d never get nothing done.
But that can never be," said Milo, jumping to his feet. "Don't be too sure," said the child patiently, "for one of the nicest things about mathematics, or anything else you might care to learn, is that many of the things which can never be, often are. You see," he went on, "it's very much like your trying to reach Infinity. You know that it's there, but you just don't know where — but just because you can never reach it doesn't mean that it's not worth looking for.
Why is it,' he said quietly, 'that quite often even the things which are correct just don't seem to be right?.
They all looked very much like the residents of any small valley to which you've never been.
Why, did you know that if a beaver two feet long with a tail a foot and a half long can build a dam twelve feet high and six feet wide in two days, all you would need to build Boulder Dam is a beaver sixty-eight feet long with a fifty-one-foot tail?" "Where would you find a beaver that big?" grumbled the Humbug as his pencil point snapped. "I'm sure I don't know," he replied, "but if you did, you'd certainly know what to do with him.