Team English -
Created by: Team English -, Last Updated: June 14, 2024


Proverbs are short, commonly known phrases that offer wisdom or advice. They reflect cultural values and beliefs, often using metaphor in Literature. Used in everyday speech, proverbs convey deeper meanings and life lessons in a succinct way, making them an essential part of linguistic and cultural heritage.

What is Proverb?

A proverb is a short, well-known saying that expresses a general truth or piece of advice. These expressions are an integral part of language and culture, often passed down through generations. Proverbs encapsulate collective wisdom in a concise form, making them easy to remember and share. Proverbs are closely related to other forms of expressions such as aphorisms and idioms. For instance, the famous alliteration “A stitch in time saves nine” advises timely action to prevent larger problems.


50 Proverb Examples with Answers

  1. A stitch in time saves nine: Taking care of problems early prevents them from becoming bigger issues.
  2. Actions speak louder than words: What people do is more significant than what they say.
  3. A penny saved is a penny earned: Saving money is just as important as earning it.
  4. All that glitters is not gold: Not everything that looks valuable is actually valuable.
  5. An apple a day keeps the doctor away: Eating healthily can prevent illness.
  6. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: Different people have different opinions about what is beautiful.
  7. Better late than never: It’s better to do something late than not do it at all.
  8. Birds of a feather flock together: People with similar interests or characteristics tend to associate with each other.
  9. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you: Don’t harm someone who helps you.
  10. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch: Don’t assume you’ll get something before it actually happens.
  11. Don’t judge a book by its cover: Don’t judge people or things by their outward appearance.
  12. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise: Going to bed early and waking up early contributes to good health and success.
  13. Every cloud has a silver lining: Every difficult situation has a positive side.
  14. Fortune favors the brave: Bold actions are often rewarded.
  15. Haste makes waste: Acting too quickly can result in mistakes.
  16. Honesty is the best policy: Telling the truth is always the best course of action.
  17. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: Don’t try to improve something that already works well.
  18. Ignorance is bliss: Sometimes it’s better not to know certain things.
  19. It’s better to give than to receive: Giving to others is more fulfilling than receiving from them.
  20. It’s no use crying over spilled milk: Don’t waste time worrying about things that have already happened and cannot be changed.
  21. Jack of all trades, master of none: A person who tries to do everything often doesn’t excel at anything.
  22. Laughter is the best medicine: Laughter can improve your mood and health.
  23. Let sleeping dogs lie: Don’t disturb a situation that is peaceful.
  24. Look before you leap: Think carefully before taking action.
  25. Money doesn’t grow on trees: Money is hard to earn and should be spent wisely.
  26. Necessity is the mother of invention: When people really need something, they will find a way to get it.
  27. No pain, no gain: Hard work is often required to achieve something worthwhile.
  28. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: Something that one person considers worthless may be valuable to someone else.
  29. Practice makes perfect: Consistent practice leads to improvement.
  30. Rome wasn’t built in a day: Great things take time to achieve.
  31. Still waters run deep: Quiet people often have deep, complex thoughts.
  32. Strike while the iron is hot: Take advantage of an opportunity while it’s available.
  33. The early bird catches the worm: Those who start early are more likely to succeed.
  34. The grass is always greener on the other side: People tend to think others have it better than they do.
  35. The pen is mightier than the sword: Words and ideas are more powerful than physical force.
  36. Time is money: Time is valuable and should be used wisely.
  37. Too many cooks spoil the broth: Too many people involved in a task can ruin it.
  38. Two heads are better than one: Working together produces better results.
  39. When in Rome, do as the Romans do: Adapt to the customs of the place you are visiting.
  40. When the cat’s away, the mice will play: People often misbehave when their authority figure is not present.
  41. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire: There’s usually some truth to a rumor.
  42. You can’t have your cake and eat it too: You can’t enjoy both of two desirable but mutually exclusive options.
  43. You can’t judge a book by its cover: Appearances can be deceiving.
  44. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks: It’s difficult to change someone’s habits or beliefs.
  45. You reap what you sow: Your actions determine your outcomes.
  46. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: It’s better to have a lesser but certain advantage than the possibility of a greater one that may come to nothing.
  47. A watched pot never boils: Time feels longer when you’re waiting for something to happen.
  48. Beggars can’t be choosers: People with no other options must be content with what is offered.
  49. Curiosity killed the cat: Being too inquisitive can lead to trouble.
  50. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: Children often resemble their parents in behavior or appearance.

Proverb Sentences Examples

  1. A stitch in time saves nine: I fixed the small leak in the roof as soon as I noticed it; a stitch in time saves nine.
  2. Actions speak louder than words: She keeps saying she cares about the project, but she never contributes. Actions speak louder than words.
  3. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch: He was already planning how to spend his bonus before it was announced. I told him, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
  4. Every cloud has a silver lining: Losing my job was tough, but it led me to start my own business. Every cloud has a silver lining.
  5. Practice makes perfect: You might not get it right the first time, but keep trying. Practice makes perfect.

Proverb Examples for Kids

  1. The early bird catches the worm: If you start your homework right after school, you’ll have more time to play later. Remember, the early bird catches the worm.
  2. A penny saved is a penny earned: Instead of buying candy every day, save your allowance. A penny saved is a penny earned.
  3. Honesty is the best policy: Even if you’re afraid of getting in trouble, always tell the truth. Honesty is the best policy.
  4. Don’t judge a book by its cover: Just because someone looks different doesn’t mean they can’t be a great friend. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
  5. Two heads are better than one: Working on this puzzle alone is hard. Let’s do it together because two heads are better than one.

Proverb Examples about Life

  1. Actions speak louder than words: Instead of just promising to help, she actually showed up and assisted us. Actions speak louder than words.
  2. You reap what you sow: He worked hard all year and got the best grades in his class. You reap what you sow.
  3. Life is what you make it: Even though she faced many challenges, she stayed positive and succeeded. Life is what you make it.
  4. What goes around comes around: He was always kind to everyone, and now people are helping him in his time of need. What goes around comes around.
  5. Every cloud has a silver lining: Losing his job was tough, but it pushed him to start his own successful business. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Proverb Examples in Literature

“To thine own self be true”William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”: Polonius advises his son Laertes, “To thine own self be true,” emphasizing the importance of integrity and authenticity.

“All’s well that ends well”William Shakespeare, “All’s Well That Ends Well”: The title of Shakespeare’s play reflects the idea that a positive outcome can justify any difficulties along the way.

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”Robert Burns, “To a Mouse”: In Burns’ poem, the speaker reflects on how even the most careful plans can fail, showing that life is unpredictable.

“Slow and steady wins the race”Aesop’s Fables, “The Tortoise and the Hare”: In Aesop’s fable, the slow-moving tortoise wins the race against the swift hare by being consistent and determined.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”George Eliot, “The Mill on the Floss”: Eliot’s novel reminds readers that people’s true worth often lies beneath their surface appearance, cautioning against superficial judgments.

Short Proverb Examples

  • “A stitch in time saves nine.”
  • “Actions speak louder than words.”
  • “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”
  • “Birds of a feather flock together.”
  • “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

The Difference between Proverbs and Idioms in English

DefinitionShort, commonly known sayings that offer advice or wisdomExpressions with meanings that are not deducible from the literal words
PurposeTo impart moral lessons or wisdomTo express ideas in a figurative, colorful manner
Examples“Actions speak louder than words”, “Honesty is the best policy”“Kick the bucket” (meaning to die), “Piece of cake” (meaning something easy)
Literal MeaningOften makes sense when taken literallyOften doesn’t make sense when taken literally
Cultural RelevanceReflect cultural values and common senseReflect specific cultural phrases and can be more colloquial
Usage in SentencesUsed to give advice or share universal truthsUsed to express a situation or feeling in a creative way
StructureComplete sentencesPhrases or parts of sentences
InterpretationDirect and easy to understandRequires interpretation to understand the figurative meaning
FrequencyLess frequent in everyday conversationMore frequent in everyday conversation
OriginOften ancient and passed down through generationsCan be more modern and may evolve over time

How to include English Proverbs in your Writing

Understand the Proverb

  • Know the Meaning: Ensure you fully understand the proverb’s meaning and context.
  • Appropriate Usage: Use proverbs that fit the theme and tone of your writing.

Placement in Writing

  • Introduction: Start with a proverb to set the tone.
  • Example: “As the saying goes, ‘A stitch in time saves nine.’ This highlights the importance of addressing issues promptly.”
  • Body: Use proverbs to emphasize points.
  • Example: “In the world of business, ‘Time is money.’ Efficient time management can lead to increased profits.”
  • Conclusion: End with a proverb to leave a lasting impression.
  • Example: “Remember, ‘Honesty is the best policy.’ Transparency will always foster trust.”

Adapt to Context

  • Formal Writing: Choose proverbs that are universally recognized and respected.
  • Example: “In academic pursuits, ‘Knowledge is power.’ The more you learn, the more equipped you are.”
  • Informal Writing: Feel free to use more casual or humorous proverbs.
  • Example: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ Adapt and thrive in any situation.”

Integrate Smoothly

  • Natural Flow: Make sure the proverb fits naturally within the sentence.
  • Example: “Facing challenges head-on is crucial, as ‘Fortune favors the bold.'”
  • Explanation: Sometimes a brief explanation helps the reader understand the context.
  • Example: “He believed in continuous improvement because ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day,’ meaning great things take time.”

Variety and Relevance

  • Variety: Avoid overusing proverbs. Sprinkle them throughout your writing.
  • Relevance: Ensure the proverb is relevant to your point.
  • Example: “In teamwork, ‘Two heads are better than one.’ Collaboration often leads to better results.”

Examples of Common Proverbs

  • Motivation: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
  • Caution: “Look before you leap.”
  • Wisdom: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Where do proverbs come from?

Proverbs originate from a wide range of cultures and languages, often reflecting the wisdom and values of the society from which they come.

How old are proverbs?

Proverbs have been used for thousands of years, with some dating back to ancient civilizations like those of Egypt, Greece, and China.

Why are proverbs important?

Proverbs are important because they convey cultural wisdom and moral lessons succinctly and memorably, making them easy to recall and apply.

What are some examples of common English proverbs?

“A stitch in time saves nine.”
“Actions speak louder than words.”
“The early bird catches the worm.”

How are proverbs used in daily conversation?

Proverbs are often used to offer advice, make a point, or reflect on a situation by drawing on familiar wisdom.

Can proverbs be translated into other languages?

Proverbs can be translated, but the translation may not always capture the exact meaning or cultural nuance of the original.

What role do proverbs play in education?

Proverbs are used in education to teach moral values, critical thinking, and linguistic skills.

Do proverbs always have a positive message?

Not always. Some proverbs can convey cautionary or negative messages to warn or advise against certain behaviors.

Are proverbs used in other forms of media?

Yes, proverbs are used in films, television, advertisements, and speeches to convey messages effectively.

What is the impact of proverbs on cultural identity?

Proverbs help preserve and transmit cultural values, beliefs, and traditions, reinforcing cultural identity.

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