Difference between Motto and Quote

Key difference: The key difference between the two is that ‘a motto’ is a saying or an expression that a person lives by everyday, whereas ‘a quote’ is just a saying, or a statement or another person’s thoughts.

In linguistics, often the terms ‘Motto’ and ‘Quote’ are confused with each other. The similarity in their description and usage makes them analogous in nature. Though, such is not the case. A motto is defined as a guiding principle or expression of a person, or a family or an organization, whereas a quote is defined as a repeated text or expression or saying written or spoken by another person.

The term ‘motto’ is similar to a slogan and is a phrase that is used to provide an identity to the principle or ideals of a person or an organization. It is basically a concise statement of beliefs or ideals that may either be a sentence or a short phrase. Now, a motto has variety of uses, wherein an individual may have a personal motto, and an organization or business might have a motto that works as an advertising slogan.

It is a phrase that is formally meant to define and underline the intention of a person, group or social organization. Though, their sole purpose is to show the audience their foundational beliefs to highlight their effort. In short, it is called as ‘a mission statement’. This mission statement can be written in any language, and can be catchy as per the person or organizations requirement. It is usually inscribed on or attached to something. Therefore, it can also be described in music and then be referred to as a recurring phrase. Few examples of ‘motto’ are:

  • Time is gold
  • Books before boys
  • Learn today, lead tomorrow

The term ‘quote’, on the other hand, is a noun that is used to describe a group of words that someone else said or wrote, with credit typically given to the source. It is often referred as ‘quotation’. A quote may be a phrase, sentence, or passage; it may be from a book, a speech, a formal statement, or even an informal remark. Quotes are often selected and repeated for their profound nature or because they were uttered or written by a famous or highly regarded person. The phrase or the quote itself is typically set off with quotation marks to indicate that it contains someone’s exact words.

Quotes are mainly used to express meaning to a topic, or provide support to an argument, or provide direct information about the work being quoted or as a tribute to an author, poet, book, etc. They are commonly printed to inspire and invoke philosophical thoughts from the readers. Few examples of quotes are:

  •  “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Gandhi
  •  “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” -Aristotle
  • “The person who reads too much and uses his brain too little will fall into lazy habits of thinking” -Albert Einstein                                         

Comparison between Motto and Quote:





A motto is similar to a slogan and is a phrase selected to provide an identity for an organization.

It is described as the act of repeating or copying out a group of words from a text or speech, typically with an indication that one is not the original author or speaker.

It is

It is a phrase that people live by.

It is phrase that another person said.


It is a mission statement.

It is just a saying.

Used for

It is used to define intention, ethics and principles.

It can be used for inspiration, invoking thoughts, and tributes.

Image Courtesy: kate-all-great.blogspot.com, dailyfoolishness.com

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