May 27, 2015 03:42 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

  • Audio US Military Searching for Boat People in Southeast Asia

    The U.S. military has begun flights off the west coast of Malaysia. Military aircraft are searching for thousands of people who are believed to be trapped on unsafe wooden boats. Last week, Indonesia and Malaysia announced they would temporarily permit the boat people to land. More

  • Audio Taiwan Offers Peace Plan for South China Sea

    It calls for cooperation among governments that claim all or part of the South China Sea, which is said to be rich in oil, natural gas and fisheries. But the plan is not likely to produce a reaction outside of Taiwan because country has no diplomatic ties with the countries that claim the waters. More

  • Audio Iraq Launches Operation to Recapture Anbar

    An Iraqi government television broadcast announced the move Tuesday. Also in the news, Al-Shabab attacks Kenya police near Somali border; Spy trial of Washington Post reporterJason Rezaian begins in Iran; Recovery efforts continue in Texas and Mexico after strong storms over the weekend. More

  • Audio Tensions Rise in Hong Kong Before Tiananmen Anniversary

    Every year people in Hong Kong gather to remember the June 4 anniversary of the Chinese government crackdown at Tiananmen Square. Usually they also give thanks for their freedoms. But this year, some say people in Hong Kong themselves are feeling increasing pressure from the Chinese government. More

  • This helicopter view shows how close the Statue of Liberty is to Ellis Island. Arriving immigrants would sail past "Lady Liberty" on their way to Ellis Island.

    Video Exploring America’s Immigration Story

    For years, the first stop for millions of immigrants to the United States was the Ellis Island immigration center in New York Harbor. A new museum exhibit tells about the people who entered the country before and after the center closed. | As It Is More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Brain Remembers Language Better If You Sing It

    If you have a long list of vocabulary words to learn, you might want to write them into a familiar song. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh studied the relationship between music and remembering a foreign language. After the tests were over, the singers came out on top. And it's more fun! More

  • Video New Tool Maps Buildings' Energy Efficiency

    Architects, engineers and building supervisors will soon be able to quickly collect information that once took weeks to measure and process. Scientists have developed a device to gather information about building interiors – the design and exact measurements of a building. More

  • Audio Guide to 2016 Campaign: Money and Super PAC

    Raising money is an important part of any election in America. Candidates for the 2016 race for the White House and Congress are busy lining up dollars to fund their elections. VOA Learning English helps explain how the campaign finance systems work in the U.S. More

  • Audio Hold Your Horses!

    Horses are part of the history and romance of the Old American West. These days, they are popular for sport and entertainment. So, it is easy to understand why we Americans use so many horse expressions. Learn some of the most common and try to answer our horse riddle! More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar - Introducing Conditionals

    In everyday conversation, English speakers often talk about things that are not true. Or, they talk about things that only happen if something else happens. Learn how to correctly use these conditional forms in English. If you write to us, we will let you know if it is correct. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs