July 02, 2015 00:55 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

  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, July 1, 2015.

    Audio U.S. and Cuba to Reopen Embassies

    Sec. of State John Kerry will travel to Havana to raise the U.S. flag over the first American embassy there in 50 years. Also in the news, Islamic State group claims attacks in Egypt’s Sinai; Liberian president calls new Ebola case “disturbing”; U.S. advances to Women's World Cup final. More

  • Audio Clash Reported at Border of Vietnam, Cambodia

    Cambodian and Vietnamese social media have been reporting on a clash along the border between the two countries. The fighting happened Sunday. Hundreds of Cambodians and Vietnamese were involved. At least 10 people were reported injured. More

  • A doctor points to an x-ray showing a pair of lungs infected with TB (tuberculosis) in Ladbroke Grove in London, England, Jan. 27, 2014.

    Audio Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Less Likely to Spread

    The number of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis cases is rising. Multi-drug-resistant TB results from a bacterium – a group of small living things that can cause disease. The bacterium is hard to kill because it has become resistant to two or more common antibiotics. More

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry - flanked by National Security Council Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf States Robert Malley, U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, and Eu

    Audio Iran Nuclear Talks Deadline Extended

    Also Tuesday, leaders of the US and Brazil promised to reduce carbon emissions and increase renewable energy use; China made a simiilar announcement; and another politician entered the US presidential race. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he will seek the Republican Party nomination. More

  • Audio Is There a ‘Skills Gap’ in US Job Market?

    8.7 million Americans are unemployed and 6.7 million are doing part-time work. But, many jobs remain vacant. Employers say many of those jobs are vacant because they cannot find people with the right skills to do the work. Some experts look at why that is the case and what to do about it. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Sweet Potatoes as Medicine

    Researchers have helped to reduce a major health problem with a simple food – the orange sweet potato. A program created to help farmers grow the crop has unexpected and healthy results. Some reports say this is the first time an agricultural program has had a major effect on health. More

  • Video Robots Ready to Work in Restaurants

    For many years, machines have been doing work that people once did, including some difficult jobs. Search and rescue operations employ high technology robots. But there is another area that may soon take jobs traditionally held by human beings: the restaurant industry. More

  • Audio More American Fathers Stay Home to Raise Kids

    More and more fathers in the United States are trading in the traditional role of breadwinner -- the person earning money -- for the role of stay-at-home dad. Meet two fathers who have been on this road for the past decade. You can also learn some great words such as "clique" and "masculinity." More

  • Audio Don't Be Caught With Your Pants Down

    Are you too big for your boots? Do you often fly by the seat of your pants? Learn what these clothing expressions mean and so many others. You may be excited to get started but keep your shirt on! Be patient. All you have to do is click on this episode of Words and Their Stories. More

  • Video Everyday Grammar: Words Come and Go in English

    Part of the reason that English has grown as a world language is that it adjusts easily to change. Why do some words and phrases stay the same while others change? VOA guest editor David Sullivan shares his ideas on the changes he has seen in today's English. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs