Computer scientists have analysed thousands of memorable movie quotes to work out why we remember certain phrases and not others. (…)
They then asked individuals who had not seen the films to guess which of the two lines was the memorable one. On average, people chose correctly about 75 per cent of the time, confirming the idea that the memorable features are inherent in the lines themselves and not the result of some other factor, such as the length of the lines or their location in the film. (…)
They then compared the memorable phrases with a standard corpus of common language phrases taken from 1967, making it unlikely to contain phrases from modern films. (…)
The phrases themselves turn out to be significantly distinctive, meaning they’re made up of combinations of words that are unlikely to appear in the corpus. By contrast, memorable phrases tend to use very ordinary grammatical structures that are highly likely to turn up in the corpus.