Writing Prompts on Mark Twain Quotes

These entertaining writing prompts on Mark Twain quotes are guaranteed to get your high school and middle school students engaged. Mark Twain was not only one of the greatest and most influential American writers, but also a celebrated humorist known for his sharp wit and amusing observations. Watch how quickly your students get energized and inspired with these writing prompts on Mark Twain quotes.   


Writing Prompt 1: It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
Was there ever a time when you opened your mouth and said something that you shouldn’t have? Looking back on it now, do you feel foolish for having said it?

→ Writing Prompt 2:  If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.
Obviously, eating a frog is a metaphor in Twain’s quote. But what do you think his point is in this saying? Can you give an example of when it’s better to “eat the biggest frog first” or at least “eat it the first thing in the morning?”

→ Writing Prompt 3: If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
Did you ever tell a story that wasn’t totally true so many times that you practically convinced yourself that the way you told it, is how it really happened? When you think of it now, does the truth of what happened seem a little blurry? Write about the incident.

→ Writing Prompt 4: The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.
Write about a time when you were feeling sad and you cheered someone else up. What did you do to make them happy? Did your good deed make you forget your own troubles for a while?

→ Writing Prompt 5: It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
What does Mark Twain suggest about being prepared in this quote? Can you think of something that you do where you prepare so much that when you do the task, you make it look easy?

→ Writing Prompt 6: The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
Do you procrastinate? Have you ever procrastinated on a homework assignment or studying for a test, only to realize that once you did get started, it wasn’t as difficult as you had feared? Write about it.

→ Writing Prompt 7: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
Mark Twain is not talking about an actual dog fight in this quote. He is alluding to our confidence level. Give an example of a time where you “won a fight” because you were confident in what you were doing or saying.

→ Writing Prompt 8: A full belly is little worth where the mind is starved.
Are all the riches of the world a good substitute for ignorance? Write an essay on your point of view.

→ Writing Prompt 9: A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
What do you think Mark Twain meant by this?  

→ Writing Prompt 10: Travel is fatal to prejudice. 
It is often said that traveling makes you a more open-minded person. Traveling produces encounters between strangers and exposes you to new cultures. It’s conducive to experiences you would have otherwise not had. Write an essay about how traveling could enrich your life. 

→ Writing Prompt 11: Honor is a harder master than law.
Can a lawful person be dishonorable? Can a dishonorable person be unlawful? What’s your opinion? 

→ Writing Prompt 12: A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
Why do you think it is that lies, or rumors, spread so quickly? Why does it take so long for the truth to come out after a damaging lie and be accepted as the truth?