Tips for Writing Quotes for UPSC Civil Services Mains

Tips for writing quotes for UPSC civil services mains

It is a part of a UPSC civil services aspirant’s armour to learn quotations to sprinkle in his/her answers, particularly in the essay, ethics and also the general studies papers. Quotes apart from being beautiful in its form offer depth and sometimes humour too. Many greats of the past and present have said some amazing words from which we can get inspiration and also embellish our own answers in the IAS exams. But before mugging up a hundred quotes to write in the IAS exam, learn the do’s and don’ts of using quotes in your answers.


  • Don’t pepper your answers unnecessarily with random quotes. Relying too much on other people’s words show a paucity of ideas in the writer.
  • Don’t change the words of a quotation. If you don’t remember the exact words, don’t write the quote. It would be factually wrong.
  • Don’t attribute a quote to the wrong person. It indicates stupidity if not anything else.
  • Don’t give irrelevant quotes. Just because you think a quote is beautiful and you know it doesn’t mean you have to use it. It should be applicable to your answer and the topic.
  • Avoid politically charged or controversial quotes by active politicians. It could show bias, unless the statement is neutral and general.
  • Generally, UPSC tends to like quotes by Gandhi, Nehru, Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, etc.

Given below is a list of useful quotes that you can use in your UPSC exams.

Topic wise quotes for UPSC


Democracy is the road to socialism. – Karl Marx

Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers. – Aristotle

Democracy is a faith in the spiritual possibilities of not a privileged few but of every human being. – Dr. S Radhakrishnan

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. – H .L .Mencken

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. – Winston Churchill

The rights of democracy are not reserved for a select group within society, they are the rights of all the people. –  Olof Palme

Advertising is the very essence of democracy. – Anton Chekhov


(Racism) is not about how you look, it’s about how people assign meaning to how you look. – Robin Kelley

I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved. – Ambedkar

The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. – Karl Marx

Revolutions are the locomotives of history – Karl Marx

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. – Karl Marx

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as a farce. – Karl Marx

Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse. – Winston Churchill


Fighting corruption is not just good governance. It’s self-defence. It’s patriotism. – Joe Biden

Democracy, good governance and modernity cannot be imported or imposed from outside a country. – Émile Jamil Lahoud

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. – George Bernard Shaw


We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment. – Margaret Mead

We don’t have to sacrifice a strong economy for a healthy environment. – Dennis Weaver

Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man. – Stewart Udall


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