Did you ever have a day at work or college where you came across some of the strangest things which people said around you? Did you ever heard your boss or teacher saying, “But it’s no use crying over spilled milk’? We can still make a lot of progress today.” If you will ask them that what it really means, then they will definitely laugh it off. Milk? Progress? Confused? Ah! What’s actually going on here man?
The answer is that they are using the PROVERBS. Before moving forward, we will talk in brief about what are proverbs and how we can use them while learning English?
Proverbs are the condensed, yet memorable sayings which are embodied with some important facts of experience which are acquired by the people as true sayings. In simple words, it is the collection of wise sayings which are offer people about the way to live life. Those sayings are known as Proverbs.
Proverbs- How we can use?
It is really important to know something about the proverbs because they often come up during a conversation and sometimes people even use the entire proverb while giving an advice to their friends or colleagues. There are few people who even use just a part of a proverb, for instance:
You know what they say: when the going gets tough…
(The rest part of the proverb you can find below in our list of the 50 most important English proverbs.)
Using and learning proverbs in English helps people in understanding the way English-speaking cultures think about the whole world. Proverbs even give good example sentences which people can easily memorize and use the same in building their own sentences.
The most important English Proverbs
Here we are with the most important English proverbs which are well-known and are explained in brief. Over the years, the meanings of these proverbs have shifted. So, it might be possible that the original meaning of the proverb might be different from the one which we will explain here.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Explanation- if someone has done something bad, then taking a revenge will only make things worse.
“The pen is mightier than the sword.”
Explanation- Convincing people by using one’s own thoughts or ideas or words which are considered to be more effective than forcing people to do something.
“When in Rome, do as the Romans.”
Explanation- Trying to mimic like people around. (It is more used when people travel to different places and notice people doing things differently)
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
Explanation- Complain about something to get the service done. Don’t wait patiently because no one will help you.
“No man is an island.”
Explanation- Every individual need help at one moment of their life and cannot live completely independently.
“Fortune favors the bold.”
Explanation- God gives everything to those people who bravely go after the things which they need rather than those people who prefer to live quietly and safely.
“People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
Explanation- If you are not perfect, don’t criticize other people.
“Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”
Explanation- You just have to keep yourself prepared because bad things can happen anytime.
“Better late than never.”
Explanation- It is the best thing to complete the tasks on time. But if you are unable to do the tasks on time, then do them later.
“Birds of a feather flock together.”
Explanation- People prefer spending their time with people who have similarities.
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
Explanation- Just pretend to be friends with your enemy and keep a close watch on them rather than fighting with them openly.
“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Explanation- Emotions and messages are better conveyed through the pictures rather than the spoken or written explanations.
“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Explanation- The things which are offered for free always have a hidden cost.
“There’s no place like home.”
Explanation- The most comfortable place in the world is our home.
“Discretion is the greater part of valor.”
Explanation- It is always to know the moment when you have to give up rather than always acting brave and getting hurt.
“The early bird catches the worm.”
Explanation- If you want to succeed in life, then you have to wake up and start your work early.
“Never look a gift horse in the mouth.”
Explanation- Don’t question a person who gifts you something.
“You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”
Explanation- The time when you try doing something new and people often gets angry. You just need to focus on the outcome rather than worrying about those people.
“God helps those who help themselves.”
Explanation- Do your hard work to achieve your goals rather than waiting for good things to happen.
“You can’t always get what you want.”
Explanation- Don’t complain or squeak about the things which you wanted but couldn’t able to get them.
“Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
Explanation- God like those people who keep themselves clean.
“A watched pot never boils.”
Explanation- If something takes the time to finish, don’t watch it too closely because it will seem like it’s taking forever.
“Beggars can’t be choosers.”
Explanation- If you’re asking for a favor from someone else, you have to take whatever they give you.
“Actions speak louder than words.”
Explanation- Do something meaningful and harder because just saying won’t do anything.
“If it ain’tbroke, don’t fix it.”
Explanation- If you will try to improve something which already works well, you might end up creating new problems.
“Practice makes perfect.”
Explanation- If you want to be perfect at a skill, then you have to do a lot of practice for it.
“Too many cooks spoil the broth.”
Explanation- When there are too many people trying to lead and give their opinions, it’s confusing and leads to bad results. Jobs and projects should have one or two strong leaders.
“Easy come, easy go.”
Explanation- When you get money quickly, like by winning it, it’s easy to spend it or lose it quickly as well.
“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”
Explanation- If someone’s paying you or helping you out, you have to be careful not to make them angry or say bad things about them.
“All good things must come to an end.”
Explanation-Good luck and fun don’t last forever, it stops eventually at once.
“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
Explanation- You have to change yourself if you try to change the other person and it doesn’t work. For instance, if your classmates love partying and you suggest them to study, but they want to party, maybe you should just party with them.
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Explanation- Different people have different ideas about what’s valuable.
“There’s no time like the present.”
Explanation- If you need to do something, don’t wait until later. Do it now.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Explanation- Different people have different ideas about what’s beautiful.
“Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Explanation- When you’re really in need, you think of creative solutions to your problems.
“A penny saved is a penny earned.”
Explanation- Save your money. Saving money is just like making money.
“Familiarity breeds contempt.”
Explanation- When you’re around someone for too long, you get tired of them and annoyed by them.
“You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
Explanation- Sometimes the things are different than they really are. For instance, the food stall which looks small and unhygienic might serve amazingly delicious food.
“Good things come to those who wait.”
Explanation- Just be patient because eventually something good will happen to you.
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
Explanation- Don’t risk all of your money or time in one plan. So, it is better to have a backup plan.
“Two heads are better than one.”
Explanation- Cooperation between two people brings out better ideas and results.
“The grass is always greener on the other side of the hill.”
Explanation- People tend to want whatever they don’t have.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Explanation- Don’t do mean things to people.
“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”
Explanation- The whole team fails in a task if one member doesn’t perform well.
“Honesty is the best policy.”
Explanation- Don’t lie.
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
Explanation- sometimes your absence makes your partner feel your worth in their life.
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
Explanation- Just give up when someone don’t even care to take your offer or advice because you can’t force anyone to take your help.
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
Explanation- Wait till the time you succeed in your venture before planning out your future plans because it is might be possible that your plans won’t work out perfectly.
“If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”
Explanation- don’t depend on or trust other people for doing things for you. If you really want the quality results, then do your things yourself.
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Isn’t it a great idea to use these proverbs in your daily conversations? By memorizing these proverbs will not only help you in learning some common sayings but even help you in creating perfect English sentences. So, it is better to learn these proverbs in order to understand the culture in a better way.