Blog Study Do you know English proverbs?

Do you know English proverbs?

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Proverbs are often borrowed from similar languages and cultures, and sometimes come down to the present through more than one language. Both the Bible and medieval Latin have played a considerable role in distributing proverbs across Europe. Mieder has concluded that cultures that treat the Bible as their “major spiritual book contain between three hundred and five hundred proverbs that stem from the Bible.” However, almost every culture has examples of its own unique proverbs.

A small quiz first

  1. What should you do before you leap?
  2. What shouldn’t you judge a book by?
  3. What can’t a leopard  do?
  4. What do too many cooks do?
  5. What can things that don’t kill you do?

Now let’s have a look at some proverbs

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

If you spend time away from someone you love, you will love them even more. In other words, you realize how much you love something when you are spend time away from it.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

You should not depend on just one thing for success. Instead, you should diversify your risks. For example, don’t invest all your money in one thing because you might lose everything if it fails.

There is more than one way to skin a catThere is more than one way to solve a problem. In other words, if one solution doesn’t work, try to find another way to solve the problem.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink

You can tell somebody what the best thing to do is, but you can’t make them do it. In other words, even if you give somebody good advice, they might not follow it.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

People become tougher and wiser by facing hardships. For example, if someone cheats you out of money, the experience will make you wiser.

Necessity is the mother of invention

If you really need to do something you will find a way. In other words, people can be very creative when they have to be.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Children grow up to be similar to their parents. For example, if the parents are bad then the child will be bad as well.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch

Don’t rely on something that hasn’t happened yet. For example, you shouldn’t spend money that you haven’t earned yet.

That’s the pot calling the kettle black

You shouldn’t criticize other people’s faults if you have those same faults. For example, if you are lazy you shouldn’t complain when other people are lazy.

Every cloud has a silver lining

There is a positive side to every bad situation. In other words, bad things also produce some good.

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover

Outward appearances can be deceiving. In other words, you should look at something closely before deciding if it is good or bad.

Look before you leap

You should carefully plan things before you do anything. In other words, don’t be hasty because If you act rashly, you might get hurt.

Too many cooks spoil the broth

If too many people are managing something, it will fail. In other words, it’s better to have one person directing a project than many people.

When it rains, it pours

When bad* things happen, they happen all at once. In other words, if you have some bad luck, more bad luck will follow shortly. (*It is also sometimes used for good things as well.)

A leopard cannot change its spots

People cannot change their personality or nature. For example, if someone is bad then they will always be bad (so don’t believe people who say they’ve changed).


Now you can easily answer these questions

  1. What does every cloud have?
  2. What shouldn’t you count?
  3. What does the pot call the kettle?
  4. What doesn’t fall far from the tree?
  5. Where shouldn’t you put all of your eggs?
  6. What do many hands do?
  7. What animal can be skinned in many ways?
  8. What is the mother of invention?
  9. What does absence do?
  10.  What can’t you make a horse do?
Od děství mám zájem o jazyky. Vystudovala jsem Filosofickou fakultu v Brně. Působila jsem jako lektorka ve Francii a v Anglii. Nyní vyučuji cizí jazyky v České republice. Mám malou jazykovou školu Belingua v Brně. Kromě výuky evropských jazyků se škola věnuje výuce češtiny pro cizince a činštiny pro Čechy.

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