August 01, 2015 16:12 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 China’s Stock Market Hit with Turmoil in July

    After a year of increases, stock prices in China had a correction, a sudden drop in price. The Chinese government has put in place a number of measures to support prices including lending money for stock purchases. But some question how much the stock market will affect the economy. More

  • A health worker prepares to inject a man with an Ebola vaccine in Conakry, Guinea, March 7, 2015.

    Audio ‘Highly Effective’ Ebola Vaccine Developed in Guinea

    Researchers say they have developed a vaccine that highly effective at preventing the disease Ebola. The World Health Organization says the vaccine has so far been 100 percent effective in tests in Guinea. Norway’s foreign minister called it “the silver bullet." More

  • Audio In Africa, Obama Praises Progress, Calls for Change

    During his visit to Kenya and Ethiopia, the first African-American president said “the world must recognize Africa’s extraordinary progress.” But he also called for a change in the continent’s cultures of corruption and discrimination. More

  • Audio China Holding Military Exercises in South China Sea

    China’s state media say the exercises took place Tuesday and more are to begin Saturday. Some U.S. and international security experts think China may be preparing to establish an air defense identification area in the South China Sea. | As It Is More

  • Video Wreckage Could Be From Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight

    An airplane part about two meters long was on Reunion Island, 3,500 kilometers from where the flight was last heard from. Now, investigators are trying to find out if it really is part of the plane that went missing in March 2014. The piece is about two meters long. It appears to be a flaperon. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Study Shows How Poverty Could Limit Learning

    Studies have shown that children from poor families have more difficulty in school than other boys and girls. Children with higher socioeconomic roots seem better prepared and perform better on school tests. Now, American researchers may have found a biological reason for that difference. More

  • Audio Study: Smoking May Increase Risk of Schizophrenia

    Researchers reviewed 61 studies from around the world; they discovered cigarette smoking is three times more common among those with schizophrenia who were receiving medical care for the illness for the first time compared to people who did not have the mental disorder. More

  • Audio Folk to Rock: When Dylan Went Electric

    Fifty years ago, folk music legend Bob Dylan rocked out at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island on an electric guitar. He was widely booed. The audience may have been unhappy with Dylan’s performance that day, but it changed the direction of music and culture in the United States. More

  • Audio Why Do Mosquitoes Choose to Bite You?

    Mosquitoes need blood to survive and their favorite target is humans. They are completely driven by smell. How do they find their victims and why do they prefer some people more than others? New research now shows how mosquitoes choose who to bite. More

  • 'You're Giving Me the Creeps!'

    "You're giving me the ...!" The jitters, the creeps, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, goose bumps, butterflies, and a heart attack ... you can give all these things to other people. Are they good or bad? Read on to find out! More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs