October 05, 2015 10:10 UTC


Words and Their Stories: Proverbs, Part 1

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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."


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.

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Comments page of 3
04/06/2012 7:45 AM
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

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

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