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Top sayings in English

“Proverbs” are wise sayings that can be attributed to a certain culture. Many of these exist in the English language. They are often used casually in conversation, especially among the older generation. It is useful to know these idioms and they often prove helpful when giving advice to others.

Here are some well known proverbs that have interesting meanings:

 

The early bird catches the worm

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ptasocial.com

Rising early leads to greater productivity. This saying provides a good incentive for getting out of bed early and implies that those who get to places first have more opportunities.

 

“It’s no use crying over spilt milk”

trampkl.from-az.net

trampkl.from-az.net

This saying has two meanings: to not cry over something unimportant (such as spilling milk), and that there is no point crying about something in the past.

 

A watched pot never boils

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Things always seem to take longer when you wait for them. When we focus on one thing, nothing seems to happen.

 

Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes

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sodahead.com

This is similar to a quote from the book To Kill a Mockingbird: “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”.

 

Two heads are better than one

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tricitypsychology.com

When two people work together they come up with better ideas. They can share opinions and get advice from each other.

 

Familiarity breeds contempt

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maxisms.wordpress.com

Too much familiarity leads to a loss of respect. People get on each other’s nerves and will start to annoy each other.

 

The pen is mightier than the sword

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englishbookgeorgia.com

The power of the voice and words is greater than that of violence or force. The sword is a weapon of violence and destruction while the pen can be used for resolution.

 

There’s no such thing as a free lunch

englishbookgeorgia.com

englishbookgeorgia.com

This quote was coined by the economist Milton Friedman and means that one can’t get something for free. Someone always pays for the lunch and if something appears free it will end up being paid for in some way.

 

Curiosity killed the cat

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lolsnaps.com

There are some things we don’t need to know. Being too curious is not good; rumors are nearly always false and to be too inquisitive can sometimes lead to our own harm.

 

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Image by © JIRO/Corbis

Image by © JIRO/Corbis

One shouldn’t invest all their energy into one venture. It helps to have a back up plan, otherwise a person risks losing everything if their one venture does not work out.

 

Every cloud has a silver lining

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pinterest.com

 

Something good is associated with every negative experience. This saying is useful to remember when a person can’t see any positive way forward at the present time.

 

 

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About Judith Brown

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I did an MA in English literature at Kings College London where I wrote a dissertation on representations of characters with learning difficulties. I am very imaginative and write on a range of topics. I like to read, listen to music and draw.

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