September 30, 2014 18:10 UTC

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories: Proverbs, Part 1


Or download MP3 (Right-click or option-click and save link)

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.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Protesters block a street near government headquarters in Hong Kong September 30, 2014. Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters extended a blockade of Hong Kong streets on Tuesday, stockpiling supplies and erecting makeshift barricades ahead of what

    Audio Hong Kong Protesters, Officials Dig In

    The Occupy Central protest group has said it will announce plans for the group’s next action on Wednesday if Hong Kong’s leader does not resign by October 1st. It also said the official, Leung Chun-ying, must meet demands for fair elections by that day. More

  • UN General Assembly Vietnam

    Audio Vietnam Calling for End to US Arms Ban

    Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh spoke last week in New York City during his visit to the United Nations General Assembly. | As It Is More

  • Riot police use pepper spray against protesters after thousands of people block a main road to the financial central district outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, Sept. 28, 2014.

    Audio Chinese Media React to Hong Kong Protests

    Protesters are demanding that China permit public nominations for the territory’s chief executive. Police used tear gas and pepper spray to force protesters off the streets. But many protesters refused to leave. More

  • Pro-democracy protesters flood the central financial district in Hong Kong, Sept. 29, 2014.

    Audio Pro-Democracy Protest Grows in Hong Kong

    Thousands of Hong Kong protesters have ignored government calls to leave the streets to permit the return of public transport services. Police clashed with the protestors overnight when they tried to end the unrest that had spread over the weekend. | In the News More

  • Bathing Cop

    Photogallery Great Photographs from the US Library of Congress

    iBook pictures come from “world’s greatest collection of photographs.” We talk with the editor who spent months looking at tens of thousands of photographs from which she had to choose just 730 to include in the book. | As It Is More

Featured Stories

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs