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    10 English proverbs you should use in your speech

    From time to time I’m asked about good proverbs for students to learn, and I’m always happy to teach this topic because it’s a fun way for students to expand their vocabulary. Here are ten proverbs in English with meanings and explanations to help you add some variety to your speaking. 

     

    An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

    Meaning: If you eat healthily, you will be healthy!
    How to use it: Proverbs in English for students are best used in situations where they seem natural. Use this one if your classmate or colleague comments on how healthy your lunch is.

     

    It’s better to be safe than sorry.

    Meaning: You should always take any necessary precautions.
    How to use it: When you’re studying in the UK and your classmate asks you why you’re carrying an umbrella on a sunny day, say this phrase. It could rain at any time here!

     

    Better late than never.

    Meaning: Of course it’s better to do things on time, but doing something late is better than not doing it at all. It can also mean you are never too old to do something you want to do.
    How to use it: This is one of the most relevant proverbs in English for students who don’t do things on time. When you have done your homework, but a day after the teacher asked for it, you could try saying this to him/her (but only if you know them well enough that they won’t get angry!) This is also one of the best proverbs in English for students who are a little older and need some encouragement. If your parents tell you they are too old to learn English, say this phrase to them.

     

    Actions speak louder than words.

    Meaning: What you do shows how you actually feel more than what you say.
    How to use it: If you’re classmate who is constantly late to class tells you how much they want to improve their English, say this to them. They say they want to improve their English, but their actions don’t prove this to be true. 

     

    You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    Meaning: If you have a sweet disposition you will get more from people than if you are rude to them.
    How to use it: If your classmate is frustrated because they want to change class but when they speak to the teacher about this matter they act in an impolite way, tell them this expression. 

     

    Don’t judge a book by its cover.

    Meaning: Don’t judge people (or for that matter, places or things) solely on their appearance.
    How to use it: When you meet someone new and those around you make a comment on their personality based on how they look (like “He must be lazy and disorganised, look at his untidy clothes!” or “She’s probably really shallow, she cares too much about her make up”.) use this proverb to make them think twice about their preconceived ideas. 

     

    Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

    Meaning: It’s very important to be clean.
    How to use it: Good proverbs for students are often the most simple ones. Use this one whenever it’s time to clean up, wash your hands etc. 

     

    The early bird catches the worm.

    Meaning: People who act promptly will have more opportunities available to them, and will ultimately be more successful.
    How to use it: When your classmates ask you why you are so concerned about arriving on time for class or getting your homework done early, use this proverb to remind them of why you get good grades. 

     

    Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

    Meaning: If you are determined, you will find a way to achieve what you want.
    How to use it: Whenever you feel like you’re facing an impossible task, remind yourself of this saying. It’s one of the best proverbs in English for students who feel like giving up from time to time.

     

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Meaning: If something works well, there’s no point trying to change it.
    How to use it: When someone tries to convince you to improve something that you’ve perfected (whether it be a study method, a recipe, or your Friday night plans), use this proverb to let them know they won’t change your mind. 

     

    So there you have it; ten proverbs in English with meanings and explanations. Find out how you can learn to make your English sound more natural with our general English courses here at NCG Manchester, Liverpool and Dublin.