50 Meaningful Proverbs to Wow Your Teacher
Parents and teachers are always telling you “honesty is the best policy” and “practice makes perfect”. But what are these phrases and how do all the adults know them?
These phrases are called proverbs. They are short statements of universal truths. Proverbs are pearls of wisdom and by using them, you can show that your characters have really learned their lessons. They give variation to dialogue, and they can be used in the introduction or conclusion of your compositions.
But before you read on, you might want to download this Free-Ebook on 88 meaningful proverbs that your child can use to wow the teacher!
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Here are 50 proverbs to help you!
1.A bad workman always blames his tools
Someone who fails at a task and blames his tools does not have the ability to carry out the task in the first place.
Example: Frustrated, Ting Ting threw her bike to the ground and insisted, “I can’t ride it because it is broken!” Her father shook his head. “A bad workman always blames his tools,” he said. “Let’s try that again.”
2. A barking dog never bites
Someone who acts intimidating by being loud is not actually a dangerous person.
Example: The vegetable seller shrank in fear when the customer raised her voice. She demanded, “Don’t be stingy. Give me a discount!” Shaking my head in disapproval, I encouraged the seller. “A barking dog never bites. Don’t be afraid of her.”
3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Being separated from someone or something for a long time makes you appreciate them even more.
Example: My mother had been in Thailand for two weeks now. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I missed her and her cooking.
4. Actions speak louder than words
A better way of showing your sincerity is doing what you promise rather than just saying you promise to do it.
Example: Jack promised he would not push Tom around again. But actions speak louder than words, we had to wait and see if Jack would keep his promise.
5. A friend in need is a friend indeed
This proverb is used to explain that the people who help you when you are in need are your true friends.
Example: After I lost the race, Mary continued to support me even though everyone else called me names. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
6. A leopard never changes its spots
It is not possible for a person to change their habits or personality.
Example: Even after being reprimanded for bullying Tom, Jack simply switched his target to Walter. A leopard never changes its spots.
7. All good things must come to an end
Everything will come to an end, even good things do not last forever.
Example: I had the time of my life at the birthday party. But all good things must come to an end, and it was time for us to go home.
8. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
If all someone does is work, they will grow bored and become boring.
Example: Jenny was a very hard-working girl, but all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, she would soon grow tired of studying all the time.
9. All’s well that ends well
As long as there is a good ending, the problems encountered along the way are not important.
Example: Finishing this mural was tough, but all’s well that ends well.
10. A penny saved is a penny earned
This proverb is commonly used when advising people to save their money.
Example: On the way home from school, I found a dollar on the floor. I picked it up happily and said to myself, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
11. A picture is worth a thousand words
A picture or image expresses meaning more effectively than words.
Example: Johnny did not need to explain how grateful he was for his parents. From the painting he did of his family, we could tell just how much he loves them. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
12. An empty vessel makes the most noise
The person who is the most foolish is also the noisiest.
Example: Harry is the most talkative student in the class, but you know what they say: “An empty vessel makes the most noise.” He is also known for his poor grades.
13. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
A person who has harmed another person should receive a punishment that is equal to the harm the victim has suffered. This proverb is commonly used as an excuse for revenge or to teach people to treat others like how they want to be treated.
Example: I accidentally hit Jack with my elbow. I wanted to apologise but Jack was fuming. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. You hit me, so I am going to hit you back!”
14. An idle brain is the devil’s workshop
A lazy person who wastes their time being unproductive is more likely to think of bad things.
Example: “Can you stop lazing around and start on your homework?” my mother nagged. “An idle brain is the devil’s workshop!”
15. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
If you want to finish a task, you must start on it first.
Example: It would take me an extremely long time to complete my project, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
16. A stitch in time saves nine
It is better to fix a problem now than later so that the problem will not worsen.
Example: I wanted to fix the shaky ladder later but I remembered the saying “a stitch in time saves nine”. I should deal it with now, or someone might get hurt if they used it.
17. Beggars can’t be choosers
You should not complain when something you need is given to you, even when the thing given is not what you wanted.
Example: “Just eat your chicken rice without the chilli,” my mother snapped. “Beggars can’t be choosers!”
18. The best-laid plans go astray
Even if you have prepared everything, plans might not go the way you want them to.
Example: Soon, we realised we were lost despite following the map. The best-laid plans go astray, we needed to adapt if we wanted to survive the night.
19. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
People have different definitions of what is beautiful or attractive.
Example: I did not find the puppy very cute, but Sarah kept cooing over it. I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
20. Beauty is only skin-deep
Someone who is good-looking is not necessarily good-natured too.
Example: I learned that beauty is only skin-deep. I was overweight, but I was also hard-working and respectful to my elders, and those qualities are more important than looks.
21. Better late than never
It is better for someone or something to be overdue instead of never turning up.
Example: Jessica had a bad habit of being late, and she would always give the excuse “better late than never”.
22. The best things in life are free
The things that are truly important usually do not cost any money.
Example: I realised that the best things in life are free. Even though we cannot afford to have a fancy lifestyle, my family is still happy because we have one another.
23. Birds of a feather flock together
Similar people are drawn to each other.
Example: Judy and Sam are both big bullies and they are best friends. Indeed, birds of a feather flock together.
24. Clothes do not make the man
Similar to “beauty is only skin-deep”, “clothes do not make the man” is used to explain that what we wear or look like do not determine who we are as a person.
Example: Finn, the homeless man, wore the same tattered shirt everyday but clothes do not make the man. He was kind and friendly to everyone, even animals.
25. Curiosity killed the cat
Being too curious may be harmful. This proverb is usually used to advise people to mind their own business.
Example: Curiosity killed the cat, I should not have eavesdropped on my parents’ conversation. Now they were going to punish me for it.
26. Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Do not take on responsibilities that are too difficult for you.
Example: I learnt that we should not bite off more than we can chew. I should have given up some of my commitments.
27. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
You should not be ungrateful towards the person who has given you something.
Example: I decided to accept the cake even though I did not like chocolate. After all, we should not bite the hand that feeds us.
28. Don’t judge a book by its cover
We should not decide what someone’s character is like by how they look. This proverb can be applied to things as well.
Example: The cake was misshapen, but do not judge a book by its cover! It was actually delicious.
29. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
This proverb is used to discourage people from putting all their efforts and resources into one thing, as they might lose everything if it turns out to be unsuccessful.
Example: We should always have a back-up plan and never put all our eggs in one basket.
30. The early bird catches the worm
It is good to be earlier than everyone else as you will have an advantage.
Example: As I was the first to come down for breakfast, my mother gave me the biggest portion. Indeed, the early bird catches the worm.
31. Every dog has his day
Even the most unfortunate person will find success one day. This proverb can be used to comfort someone who had a bad day.
Example: Nothing went right today, but I did not let it get me down. Every dog has his day, and tomorrow would be better.
32. Every cloud has a silver lining
Even misfortune can lead to good things. This proverb is normally used to encourage people who are going through a hard time or experienced failure.
Example: Even though I did not win the writing competition, one of the judges liked my story so much, he wanted to publish it. Every cloud has a silver lining.
33. Fortune favours the brave/bold
People who take risks are more likely to be rewarded than people who stick to what is safe.
Example: Fortune favours the bold, we should not be afraid to try new things.
34. Good things come to those who wait
Patience is often rewarded.
Example: The food took a long time to arrive, but it was one of the most delicious meals I ever had. Good things come to those who wait.
35. Honesty is the best policy
You should always tell the truth.
Example: I learnt that honesty is the best policy. If I had told my parents the truth at the beginning, nobody would have gotten hurt.
36. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again
You should never give up.
Example: Even after falling off the bike a hundred times, I would pick myself up. If at first you do not succeed, try and try again.
37. If you can’t beat them, join them
If you cannot be better than someone else no matter how hard you try, then you should befriend or work with them instead.
Example: After weeks of training, I still could not surpass Owen’s speed. Well, if you cannot beat them, join them. Eventually, I decided the best way to improve my stamina was to ask Owen for help.
38. If you play with fire, you will get burned
If you do something dangerous, you will get hurt. This proverb is usually used to discourage people from doing things that will put them in danger.
Example: “Farah, get down from there! If you play with fire, you will get burned!” my mother warned.
39. It’s better to be safe than sorry
It is better to avoid taking risks than lose everything or get hurt after.
Example: I knew the ladder was shaky, so I decided to find another way to reach the top shelf. It is better to be safe than sorry.
40. It takes two to tango / It takes two hands to clap
Because two things or people were required for something to happen, both people should be at fault if it went wrong.
Example: Ben might have started the fight, but Jeffrey fought back. It takes two hands to clap, and both boys should be punished.
41. Knowledge is power
This proverb is used to encourage people to keep learning.
Example: Learning taekwondo might seem useless, but knowledge is power. One day, I could use it to protect someone in need.
42. Laughter is the best medicine
Laughing helps us get through sad times.
Example: I was feeling down because I failed my Maths test, but my friends cheered me up with their silly jokes. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
43. Lightning never strikes the same place twice
An unusual event rarely happens twice.
Example: Lightning never strikes the same place twice. If a wonderful opportunity opened up for you, you should take it.
44. Look before you leap
You should consider all the possible results before doing something.
Example: I wanted to climb over the fence to retrieve our frisbee but Joe stopped me. He advised, “You should look before you leap. Are you sure you want to trespass?”
45. Many hands make light work
Work is easier to complete if more people are working together.
Example: After putting our differences aside, we realised that many hands make light work.
46. Money doesn’t grow on trees
Money is not easily acquired. This proverb can be used to advise people to be careful with how they spend their money.
Example: I begged my mother to buy the remote-control car for me. She scolded, “Do you think money grows on trees? It’s too expensive!”
47. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today
You should finish your tasks as soon as you can, rather than leave it to later.
Example: I decided to finish my homework instead of playing soccer with the boys. After all, we should never put off until tomorrow what we can do today.
48. No man is an island
People cannot survive on their own, we need to rely on one another in order to live.
Example: No man is an island, we should rely on others in times of need.
49. No pain, no gain
To achieve something, we need to work hard.
Example: Just as I felt like giving up, my coach encouraged me, “No pain, no gain.”
50. No use crying over spilt milk
There is no point in dwelling over things that have already happened.
Example: My baby cousin had broken all the plates! But there is no use crying over spilt milk, I had to think of a way to fix this before my parents came home.
Want to learn more proverbs to boost your vocabulary?
Check out our Free Ebook of 88 Meaningful Proverbs to Wow Your Teacher!
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- Simple & Easy-to-use
- Minimal Memory Work
- Examples provided
- Learn the meaning of these proverbs!