100+ English Proverbs, Sayings and Examples

A proverb is a wise saying or phrase.

A phrase that gives you advice on what to do and how to be.

All languages have their own proverbs, but today, you will learn 100+ English proverbs and sayings.

But first…

How to Learn with Proverbs?

Proverbs are used in conversations all the time.

So, it’s good to  know them if you’re learning English.

If you can use proverbs at the right time, you will be considered a high-level English speaker.

By learning proverbs, you will understand what English-speakers find important and how the culture is like. After all, culture and language are interconnected.

You can’t learn without the other. So, proverbs will help you do both – learn the language and culture at the same time.

How to Learn These English Proverbs

Below, you get 100 English sayings and proverbs. You can…

  • Read through the proverbs and explanations
  • Read the example sentences
  • Print this page out
  • Practice writing them out
  • Try to use them in conversations
  • Or, download the FREE PDF for the 100 proverbs at the bottom. That way, you can keep these proverbs and keep the file.

Now, having said that… let’s move on.

The Top 100 English Proverbs

1. “When in doubt, do without.”

This proverb tells us that when we’re not sure what to do, it’s better to wait and think carefully before making a decision. In other words, if you’re not sure, don’t do anything yet.

  • Person 1: I don’t know how to use this machine.
  • Person 2: I don’t either. But let me press some buttons.
  • Person 1: Wait… When in doubt, do without.

2. “Practice what you preach.”

This proverb means that if you tell others to do something or give them advice, you should also do it yourself.

  • Person 1: You should eat less cake, you will be healthier.
  • Person 2: I should…But so should you. Practice what you preach.

3. “All good things must come to an end.”

This proverb reminds us that good times don’t last forever. It tells us to enjoy and value the happy moments and successes because they won’t go on forever.

  • Person 1: I want to keep playing video games.
  • Person 2: It’s 2AM. Give it a rest. All good things must come to an end.

4. “The more, the merrier.”

This proverb means that when more people or things come together, it can make things more fun and exciting. It shows that doing things together with others can make them even better.

  • Person 1: Can I invite my friends to your party?
  • Person 2: Sure! The more, the merrier.

5. “A penny for your thoughts.”

This proverb is an expression used to ask someone for their thoughts or opinions.

  • Person 1: Hey, Person 2! A penny for your thoughts. I have this new cool blue shirt here.
  • Person 2: “Well, Person 1, it looks nice. But mine is even cooler.

6. “Don’t burn bridges.”

This proverb is means that we shouldn’t do things that harm our relationships or push people away because it can cause problems later on. It’s like saying that we should be careful not to burn bridges with others because we might need their help or friendship in the future.

  • Person 1: I don’t want to see that person anymore.
  • Person 2: That’s fine. But, don’t burn bridges.

7. “The truth will set you free.”

This English proverb teaches us that when we tell the truth and are honest, it can make us feel free and relieved. Keeping secrets or being dishonest can make us feel guilty or burdened. So, when we choose to be honest, we feel freedom and no more heavy feelings.

  • Person 1: I have an important secret… but I don’t know if I should say it. I’m so stressed out. What do I do?
  • Person 2: Say it. The truth will set you free.

8. “A watched pot never boils.”

This proverb means that when you’re waiting for something, time can feel like it’s going by really slowly. Like if you keep watching the clock or thinking too much about it, it will feel like it’s taking forever. So, it’s better to be patient and let time pass naturally.

  • Person 1: What are you doing?
  • Person 2: I am waiting for my game to finish downloading. It’s so slow.
  • Person 1: Why don’t you go do something else? A watched pot never boils.

9. “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

This saying tells us not to get too excited or confident about something before it actually happens. It reminds us to be careful and wait until we finish what we’re doing before expecting good results. We need to be patient and make sure things are done before we can be sure of what will happen.

  • Person 1: I am going to win this game!
  • Person 2: We just started… Don’t count your chickens before they hatch…

10. “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

This proverb means that you can’t have two things that are opposite or don’t go together at the same time. It tells us that when we have to make choices, we sometimes have to give up or let go of one thing to have another.

  • Person 1: I’m going to eat LOTS of CAKE… and I will lose weight!
  • Person 2: Uh… you can’t have your cake and eat it too. It doesn’t work that way.

11. “All’s fair in love and war.”

This proverb means that in situations of intense emotion or conflict, people are often willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. It suggests that rules or fairness may be disregarded in such circumstances.

  • Person 1: Hey, you cheated! You didn’t win the game!
  • Person 2: All’s fair in love and war!

12. “Curiosity killed the cat.”

This proverb warns against excessive curiosity or meddling in others’ affairs, as it can lead to negative consequences. It advises being cautious and respectful of boundaries.

  • Person 1: Hey, look, the neighbors are fighting. I’m going to go look.
  • Person 2: Be careful… Curiosity killed the cat.

13. “Good things come to those who wait.”

This proverb suggests that patience and perseverance are rewarded in the long run. It emphasizes the value of waiting for the right time or opportunity.

  • Person 1: I can’t wait anymore. This restaurant is slow.
  • Person 2: We ordered a minute ago and our food will come in 5 minutes. Good things come to those who wait…

14. “To each his own.”

This proverb means that people have different preferences or opinions, and it is best to respect and accept these differences. It emphasizes individuality and the freedom to make personal choices.

  • Person 1: Why are you wearing a toga?
  • Person 2: I like the style.
  • Person 1: Okay… To each his own, I guess.

15. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

This proverb suggests that when you are in a different culture or environment, it is best to what the local people there do. It highlights the importance of respecting local traditions and practices.

  • Person 1: Why are you wearing a toga?
  • Person 2: We’re in Rome.
  • Person 1: So?
  • Person 2: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
  • Person 1: They wore that maybe 2,000 years ago. Not now.
  • Person 2: How do you know? Have you ever met a Roman?
  • Person 1: No…

16. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

This proverb means that the perception of beauty is subjective and varies from person to person. It suggests that what one finds beautiful may not be the same for someone else.

  • Person 1: That girl is beautiful.
  • Person 2: Her?? I don’t think so.
  • Person 1: You don’t? I do. I love the wart on her nose.
  • Person 2: Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

17. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

This proverb means that responding to a wrongdoing with another wrongdoing does not solve the situation. It emphasizes the importance of seeking fair and just solutions.

  • Person 1: Hey, you ate my cake!
  • Person 2: Oh, I am sorry. I was wrong.
  • Person 1: Now, I am going to steal your money.
  • Person 2: Please don’t, two wrongs don’t make a right.

18. “The grass is always greener on the other side.”

This proverb implies that people tend to perceive others’ situations or circumstances as better or more desirable than their own. It reminds us to appreciate what we have rather than constantly longing for what others have.

  • Person 1: Your life seems so great. You live in a big house.
  • Person 2: The grass is always greener on the other side. My house may be big… but I spent a lot of money and can’t afford anything else.

19. “A leopard cannot change its spots.”

This proverb suggests that a person’s fundamental nature or character traits are unlikely to change. It implies that people are often set in their ways.

  • Person 1: Bob is mean. You think if I ask him to stop being mean, he will stop?
  • Person 2: Bob has been mean since he was a child. A leopard can’t change its spots.

20. “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”

This proverb advises against dwelling on past mistakes  and problems that cannot be fixed. It encourages acceptance of what has happened and focusing on finding solutions or moving forward.

  • Person 1: I failed the test! I am a failure! I will never be successful.
  • Person 2: Don’t cry over spilled milk. It’s just one test. You can do better next time.

21. “Actions speak louder than words.”

This proverb means that what a person does is more important than what they say. It emphasizes the importance of taking action rather than just making promises or talking about something.

  • Person 1: Tim says he cares about the environment.
  • Person 2: But does he recycle or do anything?
  • Person 1: No.
  • Person 2: Remember, “actions speak louder than words.”

22. “Every dog has its day.”

This proverb means that everyone will have a moment or period of success or recognition in their life. It implies that even those who are currently overlooked or underestimated will have their time to shine.

  • Person 1: Noone ever notices my music on YouTube.
  • Person 2: Patience, my friend. Keep at it. “Every dog has its day.” Someone will notice someday.

23. “A stitch in time saves nine.”

This proverb means that addressing a problem or taking action promptly can prevent it from becoming worse or more difficult to resolve. It emphasizes the importance of addressing issues early on.

  • Person 1: I noticed a small leak in the roof, but I think it can wait.
  • Person 2: You should fix it now. “A stitch in time saves nine.” It’ll prevent a bigger problem later.

24. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

This proverb advises against putting all your resources or trust in a single option or plan. It suggests diversifying and spreading risks to avoid potential loss or failure.

  • Person 1: I am going to spend all of my money on this stock.
  • Person 2: What if it goes down? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

25. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

This proverb means that significant achievements or progress take time and patience. It emphasizes the need for perseverance and gradual effort to accomplish great things.

  • Person 1: I try to exercise every day but I still have no muscle.
  • Person 2: Relax, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Keep going.

26. “Birds of a feather flock together.”

This proverb suggests that people with similar interests, characteristics, or backgrounds tend to associate or group together. It implies that individuals are often drawn to others who are similar to them.

  • Person 1: Do all of your friends like rock music?
  • Person 2: Yes, they do. Birds of a feather flock together.

27. “A rolling stone gathers no moss.”

This proverb suggests that a person who is constantly on the move or changing jobs, places, or interests avoids accumulating responsibilities or attachments. It implies that stability and commitment bring benefits over time.

  • Person 1: I feel like I’m doing too much.
  • Person 2: That’s not necessarily bad. Remember, “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” It means progress prevents stagnation.

28. “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

This proverb advises against procrastination and encourages taking immediate action instead of delaying tasks or responsibilities. It emphasizes the importance of being proactive.

  • Person 1: I will take out the garbage tomorrow. It doesn’t smell too bad.
  • Person 2: Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

29. “The early bird gets the worm.”

This proverb encourages promptness and taking action early. It implies that those who start their day or tasks early are more likely to succeed or get ahead of others.

  • Person 1: I like that girl but he asked her out and now they are together.
  • Person 2: You should’ve asked her sooner. The early bird gets the worm.

30. “Haste makes waste.”

This proverb means that rushing or acting hastily often leads to mistakes, inefficiency, or poor results. It advises against impatience and encourages taking the necessary time to do things properly.

  • Person 1: I’ve got so much work to do, I need to do it all really fast.
  • Person 2: No, take your time, “haste makes waste.” Do it right so you don’t make mistakes.

31. “A problem shared is a problem halved.”

This proverb suggests that discussing or sharing a problem with someone else can make it easier to handle or solve. It highlights the benefits of seeking support or advice from others.

  • Person 1: I’ve been really worried about this upcoming exam.
  • Person 2: I am taking the exam too. Let’s study together. “A problem shared is a problem halved.”

32. “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

This proverb suggests that saving money is as valuable as earning it. It highlights the importance of frugality and wise financial management.

  • Person 1: I don’t see the point in saving a few dollars.
  • Person 2: Well, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Those small savings can add up over time.

33. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

This proverb suggests that when there are indications or rumors of a problem or wrongdoing, there is usually some truth to it. It implies that there is likely a basis for the suspicions or speculations.

  • Person 1: I noticed a roach in the kitchen.
  • Person: Hmm, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. There could be more.

34. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”

This proverb advises against taking on more responsibilities or tasks than one can handle. It encourages realistic and manageable goal-setting.

  • Person 1: I am going to learn English, Spanish, French, Japanese… and Chinese!
  • Person 2: Be careful not to overwhelm yourself. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

35. “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

This proverb means that a true friend is someone who shows support and loyalty during times of difficulty or adversity. It emphasizes the value of genuine friendship and reliable companionship.

  • Person 1: I had a bad day today.
  • Person 2: Don’t worry, I’m here for you. “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” I’ll stand by your side.

36. “Beauty is only skin deep.”

This proverb means that physical attractiveness is not the most important quality of a person. It suggests that true beauty lies in one’s character and actions.

  • Person 1: She’s stunning! I think I am in love.
  • Person 2:  Have you talked to her yet?
  • Person 1: No….
  • Person 2: Remember, “beauty is only skin deep.” Who knows what her personality is like. Talk to her first.

37. “All that glitters is not gold.”

This proverb suggests that things that appear attractive or valuable may not always be as good as they seem. It reminds us to look beyond outward appearances and consider the true worth or quality of something.

  • Person 1: That new luxury car looks amazing. I wish I could afford one.
  • Person 2: Don’t be so sure. “All that glitters is not gold.” The car might look impressive, but it breaks down easily.

38. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

This proverb advises against forming opinions or making assumptions based solely on external appearances. It encourages people to look beyond surface-level impressions and seek a deeper understanding.

  • Person 1: There’s a new kid in my class. They seem quiet and weird.
  • Person 2: Remember, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Give them a chance and get to know them better before making any assumptions.

39. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

This proverb means that children often inherit or display characteristics or qualities similar to their parents or family. It suggests that traits and behaviors can be passed down through generations.

  • Person 1: You’re as crazy as your father.
  • Person 2: Well, you can say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

40. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

This proverb suggests that it is challenging to change established habits or teach new skills to someone who is set in their ways. It implies that people become less open to learning as they grow older.

  • Person 2: I am even crazier than my father. He is crazy, but I am even crazier!!  I should teach him to be like me.
  • Person 1; I don’t think you can… You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

41. “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.”

This proverb means that people tend to misbehave or take advantage of a situation when they are not being watched or supervised. It implies that without supervision, others may engage in mischief.

  • Person 1: Hey, the teacher left the room. Catch this ball!
  • Person 2: Nice throw! Now catch my book!
  • Perso 1: Oh no, she’s back, stop!
  • Teacher: I am back. I guess when the cat’s away, the mice will play, huh?

42. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

This proverb means that one should not harm or disrespect those who support or provide for them. It emphasizes the importance of gratitude and treating others with respect.

  • Person 1: I can’t believe Lisa was rude to her manager. Doesn’t she realize they pay her salary?
  • Person 2: Yeah, she shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds her.

43. “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

This proverb means that words and communication have more power and influence than violence or force. It highlights the effectiveness of diplomacy, persuasion, and writing in bringing about change.

  • Person 1: I don’t understand why books are important. They’re boring.
  • Person 2: That’s because, as the saying goes, ‘The pen is mightier than the sword.’ It means that the written word can shape minds, change opinions, and bring about significant transformations.
  • Person 1: But how can writing do that?
  • Person 2: Words have the ability to inspire, educate, and ignite emotions.

44. “You can’t have it both ways.”

This English proverb is like “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

This proverb implies that one cannot have or enjoy two mutually exclusive options or benefits simultaneously. It suggests making a choice between two conflicting things.

  • Person 1: I want to eat lots of candy and still stay healthy.
  • Person 2: Well, you can’t have it both ways

45. “Better late than never.”

This proverb suggests that it is better to do something or arrive late than to not do it at all. It highlights the value of completing a task or fulfilling a commitment, even if it is delayed.

  • Person 1: Hey teacher, here is my homework.
  • Person 2: Oh, this homework was due one month ago.
  • Person 1: Well, better late then never, right?
  • Person 2: One or two days is late. One month is too much!

46. “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

This proverb conveys the idea that even in difficult or challenging situations, there is always something positive or beneficial to be found. It encourages optimism and the ability to see the good in every situation.

  • Person 1: I failed my driving test again…
  • Person 2: Don’t feel bad. Remember, every cloud has a silver lining. This gives you more time to practice and become an even better driver before retaking the test.

47. “Honesty is the best policy.”

This proverb emphasizes the value of honesty and integrity. It suggests that being truthful and sincere is the most effective and morally right way to conduct oneself in various situations.

  • Person 1: I’m not sure if I should tell my friend the truth that I ate their cake.
  • Person 2: “Well, remember, honesty is the best policy. It’s important to be truthful and open with your friend, even if it might be difficult.

48. “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”

This proverb means that when too many people are involved in a task or decision, it can lead to confusion or a negative outcome. It highlights the importance of coordination and avoiding excessive interference.

  • Person 1: I have so many people trying to give me advice, I don’t know who to listen to.
  • Person 2: Yeah, too many people. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Just listen to one person.

49. “Two heads are better than one.”

This proverb means that working together or seeking advice from others can lead to better outcomes. It highlights the value of collaboration and shared knowledge.

  • Person 1: I can’t solve this math problem…. one plus one equals… uhh..
  • Person 2: Let me help, two heads are better than one. Okay, if I am one person… and you are one person…
  • Person 1: Yeah?
  • Person 2: So then there are one and one of us…
  • Person 1: Hold on, let me write one and one on the paper.
  • Person 2: So, one and one is… It looks like…
  • Person 1: There are two ones… it looks like eleven!
  • Person 2: That must be it! Eleven! Thank you for helping me!
  • Person 1: Glad I could help! It was a team effort.

50. “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”

This saying implies that the strength or effectiveness of a group or system relies on the performance of its weakest member. It highlights the importance of each individual’s contribution.

  • Person 1: My favorite sports team is strong… except for one guy. They keep losing because of him.
  • Person 2: Yeah, well a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Maybe they are not so strong.

51. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

This saying suggests that those who speak up or make their complaints or needs known are more likely to receive attention or assistance. It highlights the importance of being proactive and vocal.

  • Person 1: I feel like I’m always ignored…
  • Person 2: Well, you know what they say, ‘The squeaky wheel gets the grease.’ You should talk more.
  • Person 1: But I am shy!
  • Person 2: Well, you can’t have it both ways.

52. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

This saying encourages a positive attitude and resourcefulness in the face of adversity. It suggests finding opportunities or making the best out of challenging situations.

  • Person 1: It’s raining outside. I wanted to go to the park…
  • Person 2: Well, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Let’s stay in and play video games instead.

53. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

This saying suggests that being separated from loved ones or things we cherish can increase our appreciation and affection for them. It highlights the sentimental value of distance and longing.

  • Person 1: I miss my best friend who moved away. I feel like our friendship has grown stronger since they left.
  • Person 2: That’s because, as they say, ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ When we’re apart from someone we care about, we realize how much they mean to us, and our feelings for them become even stronger.

54. “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

This saying means that a visual representation can convey a complex idea or message more effectively than a description in words alone. It emphasizes the power of imagery and visual communication.

  • Person 1: Did you see the photo I took?
  • Person 2: Yeah ,it’s incredible. So many things going on. The sunset. A bird. A cat. A fat man. A beautiful beach. I don’t have enough words to describe everything.
  • Person 1: Well, a picture is worth a thousand words.

55. “Fortune favors the bold.”

This saying means that those who take risks or are daring in their actions are more likely to be rewarded or achieve success. It emphasizes the importance of courage and initiative.

  • Person 1: I liked her first!
  • Person 2: Yeah, but I asked her out first, and now she’s my girlfriend.
  • Person 1: Noooooooo!
  • Person 2: Fortune favors the bold, my friend. You did nothing.

56. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”

This saying means that it is safer or more preferable to deal with a familiar problem or situation than to face an unknown or potentially worse alternative. It emphasizes the importance of familiarity and caution.

  • Person 1: I’m thinking of moving to a new country, but I’m scared about leaving.
  • Person 2: Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. Maybe it’s wiser to stay where you’re comfortable rather than taking a chance on the uncertainties of a new place.

57. “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

This saying means that if you face failure or setbacks, you should persevere and keep trying. It emphasizes the importance of resilience and determination in achieving success.

  • Person 1: I failed my math test again. I’m ready to give up.
  • Person 2: If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.

58. “Practice makes perfect.”

This saying emphasizes that regular and consistent practice leads to improvement and excellence. It encourages perseverance and dedication in mastering a skill or achieving a goal.

  • Person 1: I keep making mistakes…
  • Person 2: Keep trying. Practice makes perfect.

59. “The devil is in the details.”

This proverb suggests that small or overlooked details can cause significant problems or complications. It highlights the importance of paying attention to the finer points of a task or situation.

  • Person 1: I finished my math homework fast!
  • Person 2: Did you check everything?
  • Person 1: No.
  • Person 2: The devil is in the details with math. Double-check to see if your numbers are right.

60. “Still waters run deep.”

This proverb means that calm or quiet people often have profound thoughts, emotions, or qualities beneath their serene exterior. It implies that appearances can be deceiving.

  • Person 1: Lisa seems very quiet and shy in class.
  • Person 2: Yes, but her essays are always so thoughtful. Just goes to show “still waters run deep.”

61. “Better to be safe than sorry.”

This saying suggests that it is wiser to be cautious and take preventive measures than to regret not doing so later. It emphasizes the importance of being prepared and avoiding unnecessary risks.

  • Person 1: It’s such a pain to always wear a helmet when cycling.
  • Person 2: But remember, it’s “better to be safe than sorry.” Accidents can happen.

62. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

This saying means that it is better to hold onto what you have rather than risking it for something potentially better but uncertain. It emphasizes the value of appreciating and safeguarding what you already possess.

  • Person 1: I won $10 in the lottery. Should I take it or try for the $50 prize?
  • Person 2: Well, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” You might want to take the sure $10 instead of risking it all.

63. “Knowledge is power.”

This proverb emphasizes the value and strength that comes from acquiring knowledge. It suggests that having knowledge and information equips individuals with the ability to make informed decisions and navigate the world effectively.

  • Person 1: I don’t understand why people are so obsessed with reading books.
  • Person 2: Books are a source of knowledge, and remember, “knowledge is power.”

64. “A wise man learns more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.”

This proverb suggests that wise individuals can gain valuable insights and knowledge from their adversaries or critics, while foolish individuals fail to learn even from their well-meaning friends.

  • Person 1: John always attacks my ideas at the meetings.
  • Person 2: But his suggestions do make you rethink and improve, right?
  • Person 1: Yeah…
  • Person 2: So, don’t take it too hard. Remember, a wise man learns more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.

65. “The best way out is always through.”

This proverb means that the most effective way to overcome difficulties or challenges is to face them directly and persist until they are resolved. It encourages resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity.

  • Person 1: I’m overwhelmed with my homework. Maybe I should just give up.
  • Person 2: Remember, the best way out is always through. You’ll feel good once you finish it, no matter how tough it seems now.

66. “When one door closes, another opens.”

This proverb means that when one thing ends, a new thing or opportunity will appear. It emphasizes the idea of resilience and remaining open to change and new possibilities.

  • Person 1: I heard your girlfriend left you, I’m sorry.
  • Person 2: Yes, it’s tough, but a model gave me her phone number today. I guess, when one door closes, another opens.

67. “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

This proverb implies that experiencing challenges or hardships is essential for personal growth and acquiring skills. It suggests that adversity provides an opportunity to develop resilience and expertise.

  • Person 1: Guitar class is hard. Every day is a challenge. Why can’t it be easy?
  • Person 2: Because a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.

68. “A closed mouth catches no flies.”

This proverb means that keeping quiet or not speaking up can help avoid trouble. It highlights the benefits of exercising caution and restraint in speech.

  • Person 1: She hates me
  • Person 2: Why what did you do?
  • Person 1: She asked me how her dress looked and I said it looked bad.
  • Person 2: ….Well, I can see why she hates you. Sometimes, you say too much. Remember, a closed mouth catches no flies.
  • Person 1: Thanks, you’re a great friend. But you should really lose some weight, I see some fat coming in. Oh, and did you hear about person 3? They’re looking weird lately.
  • Person 2: ….Stop talking!

69. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

This proverb suggests that opportunities for learning and growth present themselves when an individual is open and prepared to receive them. It highlights the importance of readiness and receptiveness.

  • Person 1: I want to be a great guitar player. Will you teach me?
  • Person 2: I told you to learn the chords first. Did you learn the chords yet?
  • Person 1: No. I just want to play cool songs right now.
  • Person 2: Come back when you do. I will teach you then.
  • Person 1: Why not now? Just teach me now!!
  • Person 2: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

70. “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

This proverb means that foolish or careless individuals tend to lose their money quickly or easily. It emphasizes the importance of wise financial management and decision-making.

  • Person 1: I want to buy the magic money making machine that I saw on the internet.
  • Person 2: Is that even real…?
  • Person 1: Yes, the guy said so! I want it. So I am buying it.
  • Person 2: A fool and his money are soon parted.

71. “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.”

This proverb means that achieving something worthwhile often requires sacrifice or encountering challenges along the way. It emphasizes that progress can come with temporary setbacks.

  • Person 1: Are you okay? Your boxing classes seem to hurt you.
  • Person 2: Yeah, I get hurt, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

72. “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”

This proverb suggests that sharing knowledge with others does not diminish one’s own understanding or wisdom. It encourages the act of imparting knowledge and helping others learn.

  • Person 1: You’re so smart in math, you should teach us too.
  • Person 2: Nah, then I won’t be as smart.
  • Person 1: A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.

73. “No pain, no gain.”

This proverb means that in order to achieve success or make progress, one must be willing to endure hardship and put in effort.

  • Person 1: Working out is too hard. My muscles hurt.
  • Person 2: No pain, no gain.

74. “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”

This proverb means that even someone or something that is often wrong or unreliable can occasionally be correct or accurate. It reminds us not to completely dismiss or discount ideas or individuals based on past mistakes.

  • Bob: Hey Brad, Bill broke your computer.
  • Bill: Don’t listen to him, Brad. Bob is a liar.
  • Brad: Bob may be a liar but even a broken clock is right twice a day. I saw you break my computer.

75. “Let sleeping dogs lie.”

This proverb advises against interfering with a situation or stirring up trouble unnecessarily. It suggests leaving things as they are to avoid potential conflict or problems.

  • Person 1: Hey, look, the neighbors are fighting. Let’s go yell at them.
  • Person 2: Let sleeping dogs lie… We don’t want more trouble.

76. “A wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

This proverb refers to someone who appears harmless or friendly but has malicious intentions. It warns about the dangers of deception and hidden motives.

  • Person 1: Bob is a nice guy, isn’t he?
  • Person 2: Bob… pretends to be nice with new people. He’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Eventually, you will see his true self.

77. “A fish out of water.”

This proverb describes someone who is in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation. It emphasizes the feeling of being out of place or not belonging.

  • Person 1: I feel so out of place in this new school. I don’t know anyone here.
  • Person 2: It’s normal to feel like “a fish out of water” in a new environment. Give yourself time.

78. “Monkey see, monkey do.”

This proverb means that people tend to imitate others, often without understanding the reasons behind those actions. It suggests the power of observational learning.

  • Mom: The baby is copying you!
  • Dad: Well, monkey see, monkey do!

79. “Slow and steady wins the race.”

This proverb comes from the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” where the slow-moving tortoise wins the race against the fast hare that got distracted. It emphasizes the value of perseverance and consistency.

  • Person 1: Everyone around me is getting married, having kids, getting divorced… and here I am eating potato chips.
  • Person 2: So?
  • Person 1: So I feel like I am not moving fast enough in life.
  • Person 2: Well, slow and steady wins the race, so don’t worry too much. Here, here’s a slice of cake.

80. “Like trying to catch a greased pig.”

This proverb describes something that is hard to do. It compares the challenge to trying to catch a pig covered in grease, which will always escape from your hands because it’s slippery.

  • Person 1: Bob owes me $5.
  • Person 2: And he’s not paying you back?
  • Person 2: No, he keeps ignoring my calls and ran away when I saw him last. Getting in touch with Bob is like trying catch a greased pig.

81. “Let the cat out of the bag.”

This saying means to reveal a secret or disclose information that was meant to be kept confidential. It implies that the hidden truth or secret has been unintentionally revealed.

  • Person 1: I have a big secret.
  • Person 2: Well then, let the cat out of the bag.
  • Person 1: Okay, the secret is… I am getting a cat.
  • Person 2: Oh… that’s the big secret?

82. “A bull in a china shop.”

This English saying describes someone who is clumsy or careless in their actions, often causing damage or chaos. It compares them to a bull crashing into and smashing plates and cups in a delicate china shop because it’s just too big and not careful.

  • Person 1: Bob is like a bull in a china shop. He says the wrong things all the time.
  • Person 2: Yeah, he told me I am fat.

83. “When pigs fly.”

This saying means that something is highly unlikely or improbable to happen. It emphasizes the absurdity or impossibility of a particular scenario.

  • Person 1: Hey, will you help me with my math homework?
  • Person 2: Math? Ha, when pigs fly! You know I failed math.

84. “Like a moth to a flame.”

This saying means being irresistibly drawn to something or someone that is harmful or dangerous, despite knowing the risks involved. It suggests a strong attraction or temptation.

  • Person 1: I can’t stop eating candy… even though I know it’s not good for me.
  • Person 2: Yeah, you and candy…  like a moth to a flame.

85. “Barking up the wrong tree.”

This proverb is about going in the wrong direction or asking the wrong person for something. It emphasizes the importance of targeting the correct source or addressing the appropriate issue.

  • Person 1: I asked Bill to help me learn English.
  • Person 2: Why Bill? Bill doesn’t know English. You’re barking up the wrong tree.
  • Person 1: Oh.

86. “April showers bring May flowers.”

This proverb means that difficult or challenging times can lead to positive outcomes or rewards in the future. It highlights the idea that hardships often pave the way for growth and beauty. You can also say this if rains a lot in April.

  • Person 1: Why does it rain so much in April?
  • Person 2: Well, you know what they say, April showers bring May flowers.
  • Person 1: They do say that. I was just hoping for a better answer.
  • Person 2: Well, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Ask a scientist.

87. “As free as a bird.”

This proverb describes a feeling of freedom and unrestricted movement, often likened to the carefree nature of birds. It implies a sense of liberation and unrestricted existence.

  • Person 1: Hey, you free tomorrow?
  • Person 2: I am free as a bird.
  • Person 1: Great, I need you to help me with my math homework.
  • Person 2: Oh, hold on, I think I have plans…

88. “A breath of fresh air.”

This proverb refers to something or someone that brings a refreshing and positive change. It implies a renewal of energy or a revitalizing influence.

  • Person 1: After doing homework all day, going to the gym felt great!
  • Person 2: I know what you mean. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

89. “Like herding cats.”

This proverb describes a challenging or difficult task of trying to control or manage a group of independent-minded or unruly individuals. It implies that coordinating or directing such a group is inherently challenging.

  • Person 1: I can’t get my friends to come to the party on the same day.
  • Person 2: Why?
  • Person 1: Well, Bob is always late. Bill only attends parties on Mondays. Brad hates parties that don’t have balloons. And Jill will only attend tea parties. Everyone wants their own thing.
  • Person 2: Jeez, it’s like herding cats.

90. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

This proverb means that you can provide someone with an opportunity or the necessary resources, but you cannot force them to take advantage of it. It highlights the importance of individual willingness and motivation.

  • Person 1: I want to lose weight.
  • Person 2: Didn’t I tell you to stop eating cake?
  • Person 1: Yes.
  • Person 2: Did you take my advice?
  • Person 1: No.
  • Person 2: Well, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
  • Person 1: Did you just call me a horse!?
  • Person 2: I can’t. Horses are muscular and fit. You’re not.
  • Person 1: How dare you!

91. “Don’t put the cart before the horse.”

This proverb means to do things in the correct order or sequence. It suggests that tasks or actions should be done in a proper order.

  • Person 1: I will marry her!
  • Person 2: Uh… don’t put the cart before the horse. You should probably talk to her first, she doesn’t know you.

92. “The forest for the trees.”

This proverb means that sometimes we get too focused on small details and don’t see the bigger picture. Instead of looking at the whole, big forest, you are looking at the small trees.

  • Person 1: Why do you need a calculator? Just do the math with a paper and pen.
  • Person 2: It’s much faster and I can finish my work much faster.
  • Person 1: Yeah but you will lose money.
  • Person 2: You’re missing the forest for the trees. If I do work faster, I can make more money.

93. “You reap what you sow.”

Your actions  determine what you experience. If you do good things, you will get good results. If you do bad things, bad things will come to you.

  • Person 1: Don’t look at me. I got fat!
  • Person 2: Well, you have been eating a lot of cake. You reap what you sow…
  • Person 1: It’s not fair! Why can’t I eat cake and be skinny?
  • Person 2: You can’t have your cake and eat it too…

94. “When it rains, it pours.”

You use this proverb when problems or difficulties come at the same time.

  • Person 1: I lost my wallet today.
  • Person 2: Oh?
  • Person 1: And then I couldn’t enter my school because my wallet had my ID. And I was hungry too because I couldn’t buy lunch. Just a lot of problems today.
  • Person 2: When it rains it pours, huh?

95. “Out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

Sometimes when we try to get away from a problem, we end up in another one that is just as bad or even worse. It’s like jumping from one hot pan to another.

  • Person 1: I lost my wallet today and while I was looking for it…
  • Person 2: Yeah?
  • Person 1: A bee stung me in the face!!!
  • Person 2: Oh, wow. Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire, huh?

96. “No man is an island.”

Humans are connected and rely on each other for support and companionship. We can’t live alone, and we are not like islands, which are separate and far away from other lands.

  • Person 1: I like being alone and playing video games.
  • Person 2:  You should come out… and meet people. No man is an island, you know?

97. “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

It is impossible to turn something of low quality or little value into something of high quality or great value. It implies that one cannot transform or improve something inherently inferior or unsuitable into something exceptional or desirable.

  • Person 1: I’m trying to fix up this old bicycle, but it just falling apart…
  • Person 2: Well, you know what they say, ‘You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.’ Buy a new one.

98. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

In tough situations, people must become tough to get through it. This is a very popular English proverb.

  • Person 1: One plus one… This math homework is more challenging than I expected
  • Person 2: Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Don’t give up.

99. “The proof is in the pudding.”

The true value or quality of something can only be determined by trying it. If you want to know if pudding is good, you have to eat it.

  • Person 1: I’ve heard that this new restaurant has amazing food.
  • Person 2: Well, let’s go try it ourselves. The proof is in the pudding.
  • Person 1: Oh, will there be pudding?
  • Person 2: I don’t know but that’s not what I meant.
  • Person 1: What did you mean??
  • Person 2: Go look up the meaning of the proverb, “The proof is in the pudding.”
  • Person 1: Why do you keep bossing me around!

100. “You are what you eat.”

Your physical and mental well-being is influenced by the food you consume.

  • Person 1: I feel so awful….
  • Person 2:  You eat a lot of cake. You are what you eat.
  • Person 1: What are you saying? That I am a cake?
  • Person 2: Uh…

101. “Love is blind.”

When someone is in love, they may overlook flaws or shortcomings in their beloved.

  • Person 1: I can’t understand why she’s still with him. All he does is eat cake.
  • Person 2: Well, you know what they say, ‘Love is blind.’

102. “The best things in life are free.”

This proverb reminds us that some of life’s most valuable experiences or joys do not require material wealth. It emphasizes the importance of appreciating simple pleasures and meaningful relationships.

  • Person 1: Hey, poor guy, look at me, I have a new car.
  • Person 2: Oh, that’s nice.
  • Person 1: Do you have one?
  • Person 2: No… but I have people that love me and care about me. The best things in life are free. Do you have that?
  • Person 1: Uhh….. I gotta go.

English Proverbs Conclusion

Now you know a whole LOT of English sayings and proverbs.

If you can use them at the right times, you will sound like a fluent, native speaker. So, be sure to review these and try saying them at the right times.

By the way, if you want some EXTRA free resources for these 100 proverbs, check the link below. These will help you learn the proverbs faster!

1. English Proverbs PDF Workbook – Click here to download. This contains all of the proverbs you learned above, but your job is to either 1) practice writing them or 2) write in the meanings to test that you know them.

Also, what is your favorite proverb?

Let me know and leave a comment.

– The Main Lingua Junkie

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