Sometimes it’s crazy how missing one word can change an entire sentence’s meaning. Forgetting part of a quote can have the same effect. And sometimes, we change things because we don’t recall how they even began.
Here’s a few examples:
“Money is the root of all evil.” is actually “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” from the bible, Timothy 6:10.
“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” is actually “In every chain of reasoning, the evidence of the last conclusion can be no greater than that of the weakest link of the chain, whatever may be the strength of the rest.” from Thomas Reid’s Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, 1786.
“A diamond in the rough” was originally “She is very honest, and will be as hard to cut as a rough diamond.” The “rough” meant the original, raw version of a diamond before it was cut and polished to be beautiful and perfect. This came from John Fletcher’s A Wife for a Month, 1624.
“All things come to he who waits” was used in Violet Fane’s poem Tout vient ß qui sait attendre. as:
“‘Ah, all things come to those who wait,’
(I say these words to make me glad),
But something answers soft and sad,
‘They come, but often come too late.’
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” was originally “Eat an apple on going to bed, And you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” wasn’t actually what Ghandi said. Instead he said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
“The end justifies the means” was actually “and in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, where there is no impartial arbiter, one must consider the final result.” from Chapter 18 of Machiavelli’s The Prince.