A proverb is a well-known saying that conveys a general truth or that offers advice on life and behaviour.
- All that glitters is not gold
- Honesty is the best policy
Proverbs are simple in form, yet packed with meaning. Though they consist of short sentences, they contain a lot of wisdom. Proverbs often make use of metaphors to convey their meaning. Metaphors are comparisons made between two dissimilar things without using the words like or as to show that one of them has some quality of the other. Another feature of proverbial sayings is irony, or the use of words to convey meanings that are the opposite of what they usually mean.
Oftentimes, proverbs are used to illustrate a point. Stylistically, they differ from regular forms of speech because they are metaphorical or symbolic. Some proverbs can be reflective of a specific culture or locale, though the majority transcend regional barriers and are widely embraced and often passed down through generations.
Proverbs v/s Idioms
Proverbs and idioms are similar and easily confused with one another. Both are forms of expression that are natural to groups of people and are short and pithy, and both are very challenging for English language learners to understand because they include innate meaning that isn’t always discernible just by reading the words. But they do have a few key differences.
Idioms contain a group of words whose meaning is established by usage but isn’t apparent as a phrase, such as under the weather, spill the beans, and once in a blue moon. They express an idea or thought and are phrases that contain a group of words that typically wouldn’t make sense together. They are also frequently used in poetry.
- It’s raining cats and dogs
- Pulling someone’s leg
- By the skin of your teeth
Proverbs are short phrases with a literal meaning that taps into a shared truth or imparts advice, such as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. They have a literal meaning and tend to express a truth or dispense advice such as actions speak louder than words
- All’s well that end’s well
- A leopard never changes its spots
Expansion of Proverbs
Expansion of proverbs is a meaningful writing task. It involves understanding the meaning of a proverb, what it implies and how it relates to the present time. To expand a proverb, one will have to explain its meaning and elaborate on its significance by using reasoning and giving examples from real life to convey its truth and wisdom clearly to the reader.
A good paragraph written for expansion must have
- unity of thought
Steps in Proverb Expansion
The expansion of an idea or the expansion of a proverb is straightforward. It involves 5 easy steps.
- Step 1: Understand the symbol of the words in the proverb
- Step 2: Substitute the meaning in the idea or the proverb
- Step 3: Look for a story or anecdote or example or illustration
- Step 4: Look for similar proverbs or ideas
- Step 5: Sum up the paragraph
Most proverbs or ideas are symbolic. The name of a place or animal or thing or person stands as a symbol of some quality. We have to try to understand that in the context of the proverb.
For example, take the proverb, Rome was not built in a day. Here the noun Rome is the name of a place. We also should know that Rome was a great city. So what does Rome stand for? It stands for Greatness or success.
Or take the example of All that glitters is not gold. Here we have the noun gold. It is the name of a thing. We know that gold is a precious metal. So what does gold stand for? It stands for precious.
Take the two examples Rome was not built in a day and All that glitters is not gold. Now substitute the symbols we found out earlier in the sentences. What do we have?
- Greatness or success was not built in a day.
- All that glitters is not precious.
The proverb is now decoded and ready for understanding.
Now that we have understood what the proverb stands for or what the proverb means, we should look for a suitable example to illustrate it.
Where do we get these stories? There are plenty of them. Aesop’s fables are ideal. So are the tales of India, the Panchatantra.
We can also look for examples from today’s world. We could, for example, the proverb Rome was not built in a day, talks about the effort put in by A P J Abdul Kalam to achieve greatness, and that it took many years to build it, that it did not happen overnight.
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success” by Napoleon Hill is similar to Rome was not built in a day; so is the proverb Do not judge the book by its cover similar to All that glitters is not precious.
Use summing-up words or phrases to indicate that you have finished the expansion and intend to sum it up. You could use Thus or in fine or So or The proverb advises that and let the readers know that you are signing off.
English proverbs can be used for many reasons, such as to offer advice, reinforce morals, impart knowledge, relieve interpersonal tensions, aid in understanding, or console someone. Proverbs are used best when illustrating a specific point, giving greater potency to what is being said.
Meanings of Proverbs
|Every house has its skeleton||Every family has to go through some crisis or problems|
|Many a little makes a mickle||Little drops make an ocean|
|A bird in the hand is worth two in the bushes||Our possession is better than an illusion|
|One swallow does not make a summer||Don’t form an opinion by listening to one|
|A burnt child dreads the fire||One suffering makes us cautious|
|Hit the iron while it is hot||Grab the opportunity when it knocks|
|A drowning man catches a straw||Little comfort helps the sufferer|
|God helps those who help themselves||God favours the hardworking|
|A fair face may hide a foul heart||Appearance may be deceptive|
|Of two evils choose less||Be wise to choose less risk|
|A friend in need is a friend indeed||A real friend is known in our suffering|
|Pour oil on troubled waters||Try to comfort other’s anger|
|Don’t make a pig of yourself||Avoid being greedy|
|Early to bed and early to rise to make a man healthy||Someone who gets enough sleep and starts work early in the day will have a successful life|
|A rolling stone gathers no moss||One who changes decisions regularly, can’t get success|
|Where there is smoke, there is fire||Behind every happening, surely there will be a reason|
|A stitch in time saves nine||Always try to do work on time|
|You can’t have a cake and eat it||We have always one choice|
|A thunderstorm often makes milk sour||Any bad happening may spoil our calmness or tranquillity|
|Heaven helps them who help themselves||God always helps the hardworking|
|A word is enough for the wise||Wise people always respect suggestions|
|Barking dogs seldom bite||Talkers are no doers|
|Actions speak louder than words||Our deeds speak more than our boasting|
|Blood is thicker than water||Blood relations are more important than our friends|
|It never rains but it pours||Problems always come in the company|
|Charity begins at home||We should begin good work for ourselves|
|Necessity is the mother of invention||When it is needed, we try to strive|
|Cleanliness is next to godliness||Always try to maintain cleanliness|
|Between the Devil and the deep sea||It is difficult to take a decision when many problems occur at once|
|Cut your coat according to your cloth||We should be always within our limits regarding any task|
|Strike while the iron is hot||Don’t miss the opportunity|
|Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched||Don’t expect fruits before the work gets finished|
|Jack of all trades and master of none||One who wants to be a master of all, may not be successful|
|Leave no stone unturned||Try to utilize every opportunity|
|All roads lead to Rome||All good work invites good returns|
|The industry is the mother of prosperity||Hard work is a must for every success|
|All that glitters is not gold||All that look alike have different prospects|
|Washing one’s dirty linen in public is not fair||Don’t discuss any private issues of others in public|
|All work and no play make Jack a dull boy||Without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring|
|Every dog has its day||Everyone gets an opportunity|
|An apple a day keeps the doctor away||Eat fruits for good health|
|Honesty is the best policy||Honest people always become successful|
|An early bird catches more worms||Early riser seeks good results|
|He who follows two hares catches neither||One who tries to get all may suffer|
|An empty vessel makes much noise||Talkers are no doers|
|Let bygones be bygones||We should forget past happenings|
|As you sow, so you reap||We get fruits according to our deeds|
|Pen is mightier than a sword||Writing is more powerful than any supremacy|
|At Rome, we must do as Romans||We should behave according to the conditions|
|Experience is the best teacher||Experience always makes us wise|
|Familiarity breeds contempt||Excess of every kind is bad|
|Beggars can’t be choosers||We should be within limits|
|Little strokes fell great oaks||Little efforts make great results|
|Better late than never||Believe in beginning|
|A bad workman quarrels with his tools||One who doesn’t want to work always gives excuses|
|The leopard can’t change its spots||Basic nature doesn’t change|
|Man proposes God disposes||Many things go against our expectations|
|Old is gold||Old things are always favourable|
|Birds of a feather flock together||Same natured always live together|
|Out of sight out of mind||We can’t judge sitting at a long distance|
|Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it||Always wait for an opportunity|
|Every cloud has a silver lining-||Every suffering has an end|
|Fools rush in where angels fear to tread||Foolish always make hurry for any task|
|Where there is a will, there is a way||Willpower is responsible for the success|
|Hunger is the best sauce||A hungry stomach always respects the food|
|Sweet are the uses of adversity||Sometimes bad condition makes us strong|
|Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones||We don’t have the right to blame if we are at fault|
|Money begets money||Many things come in our favour when we have money|
|One who follows two hares catches neither||One who is confused in taking decisions may take the wrong decision|
|No pains, no gains-||Hard work has no alternatives|
|Barking dogs seldom bite||Talkers are no doers|
|The weaver knows where the shoe pinches||Sufferer knows the suffering|
|A example is better than a precept||Good deeds are the best proof then only suggestions|
|The truth will be out||Truth can’t be hidden|
|Forbidden fruit is the sweetest||The thing which is not allowed to do invites great interest to do|
|It is never too late to mend||There is never a delay for any good work|
|Make hay while the sun shines||Always grab the opportunity|
|Union is strength||Unity always helps|
|One cannot pump the ocean out||It is impossible to do things beyond our capacity|
|Sin and sorrow go together||Bad work always invites bad for us|
|Too many cooks spoil the broth||Too many people’s suggestions may spoil our work|
|Slow and steady wins the race||Slow and constant work is always helpful|
|First come first served-||Try to grab the opportunity early|
|Half a loaf is better than none||Try to be satisfied always|
|Look before you leap||Always think before speaking|
|Might is right-||Power always helps to gain confidence|
|Handsome is what handsome does||Good work always invite good|
|Fortune favours the brave||God always helps the hardworking|
|Haste makes waste||Hurry makes worry|
|Health is wealth||Health is the greatest wealth|
|It is no use crying over spilt milk||There is no use of sorrow after a bad result|
|No man can serve two masters-||We cannot satisfy many people|
|Money makes the mare go-||Money is responsible for many things|
|No smoke without fire||There is compulsory some reason for any bad|
|When the cats are away, the mice will play||In the absence of supremacy, subordinates will enjoy|
|Prevention is better than cure||It’s good to take precautions|
|Rome was not built in a day||Great work takes a long time to get ready|
|Time and tide wait for none||Respect time, as time never forgives anyone|
|To err is human||Mistakes are a part and parcel of our life|
|One good turn deserves another||Good work invites good results|