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10 English proverbs you should know

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A huge clock with a man sitting in its center. The man is sitting in an armchair, he is typing something in a notebook.

Do you know any proverbs in your native language? I guess that yes! And what about English proverbs? So, let us learn English proverbs together and see how they are different from idioms. 

And what is a proverb? In general, a proverb is a popular saying, which gives some sort of advice and embodies a commonplace truth based on some experience. Then what is the difference between proverbs and idioms in the English language? Very often we can not translate an idiom word by word. For example, the idiom “a piece of cake” is not connected with pastry, it means “very easy”, while a proverb “time is money” is connected with the price you pay for your time. Here is the list with the most popular and interesting English proverbs. 

1) Actions speak louder than words 

This proverb means that what you do values more than what you say. For example: “Stop talking and prove it! Actions speak louder than words!”.

2) A friend in need is a friend indeed 

Check the following example: “ - She didn’t support me, when I needed it the most. - A friend in need is a friend indeed!”. As you can see from the example, this proverb means that a real friend is a person, who is with you when you are in big troubles.

3) Better late than never 

This proverb is quite easy and it means that it is better to do something late, than to do nothing at all. For instance: “ - Sorry, for congratulating you just now! - It’s okay! Better late than never!”.

4) Curiosity killed a cat 

This proverb describes a situation when a curious person gets in troubles or faces some uncomfortable situation because of his or her curiosity. For example: “ - Oh, Sarah, did you know about John’s new girlfriend? - Jane, curiosity killed a cat!”. So, as Jane is gossiping, Sarah tells her not to talk about relationships of the other people, because it is not her business. 

5) Easy come, easy go 

Such a proverb means that what a person gets easily, will soon go from him/her or be lost. Let’s check this example: “Ha, he has lost all the fortune he inherited from his uncle he has never met! Well, easy come, easy go!”.

6) Haste makes waste

This proverb is indeed very popular and wise. It is kind of advice not to do or say something in a hurry, without thinking good: “Better think twice! Haste makes waste, Clare!”.

7) Love is blind

This adverb means that when a person is in love with another, he or she can forgive and endure everything, without seeing the real situation. For example: “ - She was prohibited to go out with someone else! How could she live like that! - Well, love is blind!”

8) Time is money

This proverb we have already met today. It is quite easy and it means that your time is precious, as far as when you work, you exchange time for money, so that money is a commodity. And if you do not hurry you have less time to earn money as time is limited. For instance: “Hurry up, time is money!”.

9) To each his own 

Such a proverb is basically about different hobbies and interests, because every person has his/her own interests, likes and dislikes. For example: “If I were you, I would not buy it, but to each his own”.

10) Work smart, not hard

This proverb describes a situation where the quality of work is better than the amount of resources spent, like in this example: “And let’s remember that here we work smarter, not harder, we value the quality. Take your time!”.

In conclusion, let us highlight the importance of being aware of such proverbs. It is also so interesting to learn them by searching for equivalents in your own mother tongue, so try it!

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Polina Kovalenko
Polina Kovalenko
What English proverbs do you know?

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