15 Common English Proverbs Examples

Common English Proverbs

Common English Proverbs with Explanation: Here we present you a list of very common & well-known proverbs, detail explain with examples, easily grasped.  Illustration of important proverbs + common saying is useful for students, children and all!!

No Pains No Gains

To gain a good result in the examination, one has to work hard. To reach the top of the hill is an uphill task, but if one wants to stand at the peak, one must be prepared to undergo the arduous and laborious task of sealing the height.

No pains, no gains – well saying. If Columbus had not braved the storms of the sea, America would have remained a continent unknown to the world.

Explorers, whose name is recorded in the history of the world, would not have obtained so coveted an honour, they had not risked their lives in the adventure they undertook. They say that a closed mouth catches no fly. Nothing ventured, nothing has. Hard work is the key to success.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

The proverb “The cleanliness is next to godliness” deserve to be given a good deal of thought and practised by each and everybody.

Cleanliness of clothes is necessary for success in social life, of the body for a healthy life and mind for spiritual uplift. Your clothes don’t need to be costly, but they must be clean.

A bath cost almost nothing but it is a productive way of getting good results. A sound mind can be lodged only in a sound body. Cleanliness of mind leads to clean thoughts and actions. Good thoughts lead to good action and noble deeds to God.

It is thus that cleanliness leads us to the purity of thoughts and action and ultimately to godliness. If you want to live a healthy life, we should keep our clothes, body and house clean.

As You Sow, so Shall You Reap

If you sow barley and expect to reap wheat, you will find that you are sadly mistaken. To reap what you must sow wheat. Do good and you will have in return good done to you.

As love begets love so evil begets evil. Do as you wish to be done by. He who digs a pit for other himself falls into it.

The wicked rover who cut the bell tied to the buoy put into the sea by the Abbot to warn ships of hidden rock himself fell a victim to his evil action. One’s principle in life should be to do good to all.

Rome  was not built in a day

It is a well-known proverb denoting that great thing cannot be accomplished in a short time. As a Rome big city of Italy took many centuries to come to its present form, similarly worth-while projects demand patient and proper planning.

It is not like producing an apple tree with ripe fruit by magician in the twinkling of an eye. Time plays an important role in growth. An Elephant takes a long time to come to its full stature, so do a tree and a human being.

If you sow today, you can’t reap today; if you plant a tree today, you can’t get its fruit today; you have to wait.

In short, perfection and prosperity need time for their attainment.

A man is known by the company he keeps

“A man is known by the company he keeps”, a well-known saying, the truth of which has been recognised through the ages. We generally form an opinion about a man from his company.

“Tell me whom he associates with, “said a wise man, “and I will tell you what sort of person he is.” A thorough gentleman, who has never tasted the liquor, if you found in the company of drunkards, will be labelled as a drunkard.

Undoubtedly, our companions have a great influence on our life. It will not be beside the mark if one were to say that it is the company that makes or mars one’s character and life.

We should, therefore, always keep good company, wherever we are, whether at school or in the street.

A Friend Is Need Is a friend Indeed

Friendship is natural to every human being. No man can live alone and be happy. Sorrow shared is sorrow halved and joy shared is joy double. We feel the need of a friend at every step of life.

But true friendship is very rare. A true friend is the balm of life. He consoles us in grief and shares our joy. A true friend will not hesitate to sacrifices even his life to save that of his friend.

False friends pretended to be friends as long as they are in hope to gain some advantage from us, but leave us in the lurch when, they find, that we are of no use to them. A true friend never proves false, he always helps his friend in need and never desert him in his difficulties.

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Nip the evil in the bud

Just as a freshly planted plant can be pulled out easily, so can an evil when it’s just lifting its head, be crushed. Do not let evil take root. Do not let it become a habit. Once it does, there is no undoing it.

A large number of children’s get spoiled, as their parents do not take proper care of them in the beginning. An ordinary fever if neglected in the beginning may develop into tuberculosis which may cost one’s life.

Similarly, crops in the field do not thrive if weeds and thorns are not removed timely. It is advisable to nip the evil in the bud. If it allowed to grow and flourish, it will become strong enough to resist all efforts to crush it.

Cut your coat according to your clothes

One must keep one’s expenditure within one’s income if one wants to live a happy life. Those who let their expenses exceed their income soon become to grief.

The prodigal son soon ran through his share of the property and had to come back to his father and ask him to let him be his slave, as he was not worthy of being his son.

Those who spend their money lavishly without paying any regard to their earning shall share the fate of the prodigal son.

One should never spend beyond one’s means if one does not want to go insolvent.  Cut your coat according to your cloth’s is a wise policy and should be rigorously practised.

Make hay while sunshine

England is a country, which remains snow-bound in winters. Summer is of short duration. It is only in summer that the sun shines brightly in the sky.

Farmers in countries having a climate similar to that of England makes hay during the bright days of summer; and if they let slip this opportunity, they cannot lay by a store of hay for use in winter.

The proverb, therefore, means that we should avail ourselves of opportunities while they are within our grasp and use them to the fullest i.e. take full advantage. Such an opportunity may not come our way again.

The proverb has special significance for students. It behoves a student to work hard when he has ample time at his disposal so that when he takes the examination, he is not found wanting.

The proverb teaches us that we should strive to make the best use of opportunities which comes our way.

A stitch in time saves nine

If rent in a piece of cloth is overlooked for some time, in the beginning, it grows bigger and requires many stitches afterwards. So it is with our daily life.

If we do not take steps to fight diseases when it starts in our body, it may become chronic after some time and may prove incurable. A small fire can be put out easily, but if it is allowed to spread, it may cause heavy damage before it is brought under control.

Every evil should be nipped in the bud. A boy may become notorious if he is not looked after properly when he is about to take evil ways.

Much of the time, labour and money should be saved, if things are set right at the very outset. Time action is not only desirable but a necessity. The slightest negligence may result in serious loss or trouble.

Look before you leap Or Haste makes waste

“Look before you leap” contains a lot of wisdom in a nut-shell. It exhorts us to be thoughtful and considerate in our actions. It warns us against haste, which, later on, one may repent of.

Certainly, it is dangerous to jump into a well without knowing its depth and thinking before-hand of the means of coming out of it. One must consider, before taking a step, what its consequences will be, lest one should have to repent afterwards.

Those who take a plunge into the unknown are sure to come across risks that may endanger their reputation, honour and even life. “Think twice before you speak” and “Haste makes waste” convey the same meaning as “look before you leap” does. They do not probation, but they impress upon us that we should do nothing in haste but do things after mature consideration.

A rolling stone gathers no moss

There is no denying the facts that a stone that is constantly rolling cannot gather moss, while stone that remains lying in one place does so.

In the same way, a man who is constantly changing his occupation and pursuits and does not settle down long in some particular work cannot achieve any great success in life.

He will be merely wasting his energies and will get nowhere. The firmness of mind and perseverance can only lead a man to success. A man of wavering mind will not go far in life.

The proverb, “He who hunts two hares, loses both” very beautifully describes the condition in life of a person who does not choose his profession after mature consideration and give it up before giving it a fair trial and takes up another that catches his fancy.

Where there is a will there is a way

Napoleon Bonaparte, a great emperor of France, used to say that the words ‘impossible’ was to be found in the dictionary of fools and cowards. 

Nothing was difficult to achieve provided one had the will to do it.  If we are determined to do things, however difficult it may be, success will surely kiss our feet.

An iron-will enable us to conquer all difficulties that beset our path. Stalin, Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, and Kennedy attainted great heights simply they worked with a determined will.

In short, there is nothing which a man of iron-will and strong determination cannot achieve. He will find a way or make it.

Birds of a feather flocks together

It is natural phenomena that birds of same kind flock together. We see that pigeons flocks with pigeons and hawks with hawks. Neither Lamb will never mix with a wolf, nor goats with lions.

A wise man will not associate with fools and rich rarely mix with the poor. The idle does not make friends with the industrious and saints shun the company of sinners.

You will never find the moneylenders in the company of cobblers, nor scavengers in the company of engineers.

Labourers have their associations and politicians too, organize themselves into a body of their own. One very rarely comes across a person making friends with a person having different tastes and aptitudes.

Union is strength Or United we stand, divide we fall

Two bullocks by showing a united front are said to have set at nought the efforts of a lion to kill them. Small drops of water make the mighty ocean and small strings bound together make a strong rope to bind even an elephant.

So long as there is time sprit of among the workers, there are but few chances of their failure. Nations cannot progress if they do not work with the spirit of co-operation.

Similarly, a small united army can stand a big army whose officers are at loggerheads with one other. A single stick can be broken with ease, but a bundle of sticks defies your efforts to break it. Verily, ’United we stand, divide we fall’.

An idle brain is a devil’s workshop

Idleness is the root of all evils. An idle man can easily be led away from the right path. The devils find in him an easy catch.

Once a person yields to the intrigues of the devil, he is his slave forever. One must, therefore, keep oneself occupied with some sort of work; otherwise one will find time for evil pursuits. There is a saying, if the person has nothing else to do, he should undo his clothes and sew them up again.

An idle person is also looked down upon by all. He is not only a burden to himself but also society. Everyone hates him and nobody even likes to talk to or having any dealings with him. Our principle of life should be to keep ourselves busy or employed, preferably in some useful task.

Prevention is better than cure

The proverb poses a proposition. It is, which is better, to suffer and get well or not to suffer at all. The answer is simpler than even the proposition.

Nobody would like to writhe in pain or undergo sufferings if these can be avoided. It is always better to prevent evil from occurring than to set it right after it has occurred.

We should take every precaution to safeguard ourselves against disease. Avoid falling ill if you can. A man who does not take the necessary precautions when he should very likely come to grief.

The proverb teaches us to take preventive measures in time to save ourselves from falling prey to an illness or evil.

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J. Harshit specializes in content writing and storytelling. Writing compelling essays, Letters, & more that engage, inform, and inspire is something he enjoys.

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