Can you complete these great first lines?

Are you an aficionado of literature? See if you know these famous openings.

For this week’s post, I offer Ragan readers a distraction.

Take a break from writing that social media post, white paper or annual report message, and test your literary knowledge.

Fill in the blanks for these renowned first lines in literature:

1. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking ____________.”
“1984” by George Orwell

2. “In a hole in the ground there lived a ____________.”
“The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien

3. “It was a pleasure to ____________.”
“Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

4. “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous ____________.”
“The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka

5. “____________was dead: to begin with.”
“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens

6. “In my younger and more vulnerable years my ____________ gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.”
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

7. “You better not never tell nobody but ____________.”

“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker

8. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man of good fortune must be in want of a ____________.”

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

9. “I write this sitting in the kitchen ____________.”

“I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith

10. “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four Privet Drive were proud to say that they were perfectly ____________, thank you very much.”
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling

11. “____________ was spiteful.”

“Beloved” by Toni Morrison

12. “A ____________ has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”

“The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene

13. “When shall we ____________ meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?”
“Macbeth” by William Shakespeare


1. thirteen

2. hobbit

3. burn

4. vermin

5. Marley

6. father

7. God

8. wife

9. sink

10. normal

11. 124

12. story

13. three

Readers, how did you do? Any other memorable opening lines to add?

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. She is also the author of the writing/editing/random thoughts blog, Impertinent Remarks.

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