October 22, 2014 23:55 UTC

learningenglish

Words and Their Stories: Proverbs, Part 1



Download this story as a PDF

Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

Today we talk about proverbs. A proverb is a short, well known saying that expresses a common truth or belief. Proverbs are found in most cultures and are often very old.

In American history, Benjamin Franklin was famous for his proverbs. Franklin lived in the seventeen hundreds. He was a leader of the American Revolution against English rule. He was also a scientist, inventor and writer.

For many years, Franklin published a book called "Poor Richard's Almanac." He included many proverbs that he had heard or created. Some of them are still used today. Like this one: "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."

Franklin is also remembered for other proverbs like, "A penny saved is a penny earned." This means that money should not be wasted.

Here are other examples of proverbs that Americans use. The first ones are about love. Some people say, "All is fair in love and war." They mean that anything you do in a relationship or in battle is acceptable.

Another proverb about love is, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." This means you love someone even more when he or she is far away. But other people say, "Out of sight, out of mind." You may not even think about that person when he or she is not with you. Which of these proverbs do you think is most true?

Another proverb says "Love is blind." In other words, when you are in love with someone, you may refuse to see anything bad about that person.

Here is another popular saying about love: "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach." Some people believe that a woman can win a man's love if she prepares his favorite foods.

Some people are only interested in having a relationship with someone who is very good-looking. You might tell them that "Beauty is only skin deep." Your girlfriend may be lovely to look at, but she may also have some bad qualities. Or the opposite may be true. Your boyfriend is a wonderful person, but not good-looking. So what a person looks like is not really important.

Another proverb is true in love and war or other situations: "Actions speak louder than words." It means that what you do is more important than what you say.

Sadly, we have no more time for this program. So we must say, "All good things must come to an end."

(MUSIC)

This VOA Special English program was written by Shelley Gollust. I'm Barbara Klein. Tell us about your favorite proverb. You can send an e-mail to special@voanews.com. Include your name and where you live. And you can find more WORDS AND THEIR STORIES at voaspecialenglish.com.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
    Next 
by: DJABALLAH FADHIL
04/06/2012 7:45 AM
Hello
i am over the moon as i get to post my modest comment, i would like to say that i am 28 years old, i teaching both english and french at a middle school where i live, and this program ( i mean VOA special english) is givingme more and more things that help me in teaching especially THE SPOKEN AMERICAN ENGLISH. I also advice everyone among those i teach to check the link up
just thank you so much for your precious efforts


by: Medhat Mostafa
03/30/2012 10:05 AM
Very nice proverps, for those wanna welthy love life , i say "cut your coat according to your clothe" love is money!


by: Ricky Zhang
03/24/2012 12:05 AM
voa is a perfect programm, it's so amazing, thanks to all teachers


by: Sara
03/23/2012 12:29 AM
I like many proverbs but some are very interesting for example an apple a day keeps the doctor away, tit for tat, don't poke the bear.


by: M
03/19/2012 11:43 AM
good program


by: Lyuba
03/17/2012 3:38 AM
I love it. Great!!! Thanks alot


by: mrthieu
03/15/2012 11:24 AM
thanks so lesson.i think these proverds very trueth in the our's life.they very useful.we learn a lot of to proverbs,we know respect our's life and respect everyone.we known processing when we give problems in life.


by: polycarpe
03/15/2012 9:49 AM
very wonderfull


by: Hien
03/14/2012 8:32 PM
Amazing!


by: Jean
03/14/2012 7:12 PM
I enjoy proverbs very much. The words are simple, but the meanings are powerful. Thanks VOA. By the way, more is better!

Comments page of 3
    Next 

Learn with The News

  • Armed officers approach Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014.

    Video Deadly Attack Shocks Canada's Capital

    Also, Kurdish lawmakers in Iraq vote to send Kurdish forces to the Syrian town of Kobani. China said 43 people tested for possible Ebola infection do not have the virus. Russia and Ukraine are still working to reach an agreement on Ukraine's payments for natural Gas. More

  • Survivors of the Ebola virus pose for a picture outside a clinic near Tubmanburg, October 15, 2014. A total of 4,493 people have died from the world's worst Ebola outbreak on record as of Oct. 12, statistics released by the World Health Organization showe

    Audio Ebola Survivors Speak Out about Their Experience

    The number of Ebola cases continues rising. But there is some hope for those who survive the disease. Recently, a conference for Ebola survivors was held for the first time in eastern Sierra Leone. The goal was to offer advice to survivors and increase understanding of the disease. More

  • FBI Director James Comey speaks about the impact of technology on law enforcement, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, at Brookings Institution in Washington.

    Audio Apple, FBI Battle Over Privacy Rules

    Apple recently said it was increasing security settings on its latest operating system for the company’s wireless devices. Apple said its new encryption rules are designed to protect users from search and seizure of their iPhones. But the changes are of concern to federal investigators. More

  • Men convicted of drug related crimes hear the public announcement for their death sentences in Shenzhen, China, on August 15, 1996.  (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

    Audio Activists: China Executed 2,400 People in 2013

    The number of executions in China is lower than in earlier years. However, it is more than three times higher than the number of executions in the rest of the world combined. That information comes from Amnesty International. Death penalty numbers are a state secret in China. More

  • Ebola-CDC brief

    Audio  WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

    Also, student leaders in Hong Kong not satisfied with first talks with government officials. North Korea has releases one of three American prisoners. And South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison for the deadly shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Iron Ships Clash at Sea

    The American Civil War was fought not only on land, but at sea. In 1862, Confederate and Union forces fought a new kind of navy battle in waters off Hampton Roads, Virginia. It was the first battle between iron ships. On the Confederate side was a ship called the Virginia. | The Making of a Nation More

  • Audio San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Lorde's 'Royals'

    The California baseball team, San Francisco Giants, is playing the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 Major League Baseball championship, the World Series. Two radio stations in San Francisco banned the hit song "Royals." In return, another station in Kansas City chose to play the song once every hour. More

  • A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Vanderbilt University Photo/John Wikswo)

    Video Scientists Design Chips to Act Like Human Organs

    Testing new drugs for safety and effectiveness is a costly process in the United States. It also can take a lot of time. Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs. The scientists think they have found a way to make the process faster and more economical. More

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    Five million American children and teenagers have Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. ADHD makes it difficult - if not impossible - to stay with a duty until it is complete. Katherine Ellison knows the problem well. | Health Report More

  • Millions of years of history, which can be found on the ocean floor, are collected and analyzed at the Core Repository in New York.

    Video Scientists Create New Maps of Ocean Floor

    Until recently, scientists had mapped only about 20 percent of the sea floor. But our knowledge of the deep seas is changing because of information from satellites. Scientists have produced a new map that provides a detailed picture of the oceans. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs