Table of Contents
- What is a Proverb?
- 1. The forbidden fruit is always the sweetest.
- 2. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
- 3. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
- 4. Strike while the iron is hot.
- 5. Too many cooks spoil the broth.
- 6. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
- 7. Many hands make light work.
- 8. When in Rome, do as Romans do.
- 9. Cross that bridge when one comes to it.
- 10. A rolling stone gathers no moss.
- 11. Beggars can’t be choosers.
- 12. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
- 13. The cat is out of the bag.
- 14. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- 15. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
- Key takeaways
English is a universal language in the 21st century for many reasons. It is also the language for most professional and business communications around the world. This is one of the reasons why so many people strive to achieve excellence in spoken English. If you wish to enhance your English-speaking skills, then you can try including some proverbs in your speech.
Here is a list of proverbs that you can include in your speech. If you are wondering what is a proverb, read further. You will know it all.
What is a Proverb?
A proverb is a short, crisp, and witty phrase or even sentence with deep significance. These phrases are usually not arbitrary and have a story behind how they became popular. Each country usually has its own set of good proverbs that the locals use in their language.
However, since English is a universal language, it is best to learn some of these phrases that are popular with English speakers. Moreover, using proverbs might also help you ace the English proficiency tests and get you into your dream university.
So, read this list of proverbs if you want to learn some of the best ones and use them in your speech.
1. The forbidden fruit is always the sweetest.
This proverb has Biblical roots as it refers to the forbidden fruit of Eden that Adam and Eve ate despite the instructions from God. However, this saying reflects on the psychology of the human mind as well. People always tend to be inclined to do things they are prohibited from doing. This is a well-known psychological paradox, and you can use this proverb in situations where you find people breaking rules.
2. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
The road to achieving your goals requires a lot of passion and endurance. This is one of the best proverbs in English for students since it discusses the difficulties that come with establishing a good profession. It may be necessary to go through something painful in order to attain something beautiful, but the effort will be worthwhile if the end result helps you grow.
3. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
This proverb connects people’s shortcomings to glasshouses. Throwing stones is associated with pointing out the weaknesses of others in this context. It, therefore, points out that people who have flaws themselves should not point out the same in others.
4. Strike while the iron is hot.
This is one of the best proverbs for students. Striking the iron is a mundane task for blacksmiths, and it could seem meaningless as a proverb. But this one, like most other famous proverbs, has an implied meaning. The iron in this proverb is associated with opportunities. You should actively grab good opportunities as they come your way. Do not wait much, or you might lose a great opportunity to step up the ladder of success. So, never be afraid to try something new if you get a chance.
5. Too many cooks spoil the broth.
Some would argue that this proverb goes against the common notion of teamwork. But, it emphasizes the importance of delegating tasks efficiently. If one person can do a task, then you are better off not involving more people in it as it could lead to unnecessary confusion.
6. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
This is one of those proverbs that use witty wordplay to point out inappropriately greedy actions. It means you cannot have two good things that are conflicting, so you need to choose one. For example, you cannot eat a cake and still posses it. You can use this proverb on several occasions to politely reprimand someone who is acting out of greed.
7. Many hands make light work.
This proverb highlights the importance of teamwork. It emphasizes the fact that many hands can often reduce the workload of one person. As a result, you can accomplish tasks with ease and accuracy. Therefore, believe in group effort wherever needed to meet the set targets.
8. When in Rome, do as Romans do.
Following the norms (whether religious or cultural) of a place is polite and can even lead to learning experiences. You should be open to learning about new cultures while visiting new places and following the same. This shows that you respect the people and culture of that place. Therefore, this is considered one of the many good proverbs to encourage a broad mindset.
9. Cross that bridge when one comes to it.
Because it speaks the obvious, this proverb is easier to comprehend than the rest. It means you can’t cross a bridge until you’ve arrived at it. It refers to instances in which someone is too concerned before starting a task. As a result, you might use this proverb in your conversation with them to convey that fretting about an issue we haven’t yet met is pointless.
10. A rolling stone gathers no moss.
A stone that is always moving (perhaps rolling down a hill or tumbling down a draining river) will not collect moss, whereas a stone that is stationary will develop moss all over it. You may miss out on learning from those around you if you keep moving from place to place. Sure, you won’t have any responsibilities if you’re constantly on the move, but it could stifle your development.
11. Beggars can’t be choosers.
It is a popular proverb that highlights the lack of choices. Since beggars have nothing to choose from, they are usually grateful for whatever they get from others. If you wish to use this proverb in your speech, then you can do so in a situation where you have a dearth of choices.
12. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
This proverb uses the comparative sizes of a mountain and a molehill to convey a simple message in an illustrative manner. Out of all the proverbs on this list, this one is the most appropriate for formal and informal conversations. Making a mountain out of a molehill means exaggerating an issue that is quite trivial.
13. The cat is out of the bag.
This proverb has its roots in the Middle Ages when sellers in the meat market used to trick buyers by putting a cat instead of meat inside their bags. Today, this commonly used proverb means to let out someone’s well-guarded secret. You can use this proverb in informal situations when someone lets out a secret unintentionally. However, you should avoid using this proverb in formal conversations.
14. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Rome is one of the oldest civilizations with a plethora of iconic architectural feats. These monuments took several years to construct, and today they are the glory of the ancient Roman civilization. Just like these monuments, all good things take time. This proverb conveys the importance of patience and perseverance on the road to success. It is a popular proverb that is often used by teachers while motivate their students to perform better. Therefore, do not get discouraged if your efforts aren’t leading to positive outcomes. Keep working hard, and one day all your hard work will be recognized.
15. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
If you want an example of proverbs that is both witty and enlightening, then read this one. Although this proverb talks about the maintenance of the wheels of a bicycle or motorbike, it, in fact, associates the squeaking with humans talking about problems. This means that if you do not complain about the issues you are facing, then nobody will solve them for you. Therefore, speak up if you need help with resolving an issue. Talk about your problems so that people can help you get out of them.
- Armed with thoughtful and witty proverbs like these, you can now speak English with more elegance and fluency.
- Proverbs help you communicate a great deal without saying too much.
- Using such phrases in your daily speech can also portray a certain level of mastery over the English language.
- There are so many more proverbs you can discover and read about to make your language more creative and fluent.
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As always, if you need us to add any more popular proverbs, drop a comment below or reach out to us.
Till then, keep learning!
Q1. Which is the best proverb from this list?
Answer- Each of these proverbs has different meanings and greatly depends on your personal choice. However, if you wish to use the best proverb on a daily basis, then you can try using “the forbidden fruit is the sweetest” since this proverb can be applied anywhere.
Q2. Are there any non-English proverbs I could use on a daily basis?
Answer- Yes, there are several other non-English proverbs. In fact, each country has its own set of such phrases that are used quite often.
Q3. Which of these is the most commonly used proverb on this list?
Answer- “Strike while the iron is still hot” is one of the most commonly used proverbs. However, there are several more popular phrases in the English language that you might want to look into.