English Proverbs

English Proverbs – Good words cost nothing but are worth much

Jose John August 2, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion The proverb stresses the importance of saying good words which cost us nothing, but may be of help to others. We can help others in many ways. We can give financial help to others; help others to do their work, and so on. But we can also help others through our good words. It costs us nothing but only our good will and sincerity. A word of encouragement, a word of sympathy or even a word of advice will be of great help. It may do more good than a financial help. Our good words are of great value to others. Many people have profited from the words of encouragement someone has said. If a teacher encourages a student who solves a mathematical problem in a different way, it may inspire that student to become a mathematician later on. A person who is in utter misery may find great relief when someone tells him a word of sympathy. Our good words about a person may inspire him to attain greater heights in life. As good words are worth a lot, bad words can harm and destroy others. Wounds may heal. But the wounds made by bad words will not heal. If our good words cost us nothing...
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English Proverbs

English Proverbs – God helps those who help themselves

Jose John August 2, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion Nothing can be achieved in life by sitting still. If one wants to achieve anything in life, he has to strive for it. There are people who believe that if they pray to God, everything will be given to them. But we must remember that without steady hard work, prayer is ineffective. God will help only those who are willing to help themselves. When we get into a dangerous situation and do nothing to come out of it, believing that God will help us to come out of it, we are mistaken. Some people believe in fate. They believe that what a person is destined to get, he will always get, whether he works for it or not. But achievements in life depend on our hard work. Gandhiji had strong faith in God. Still he worked hard throughout his life. God has given us certain abilities and talents. We should make use of them. If we remain lazy, without making the proper efforts, we will not succeed in life. Even God will not help us. If we do not work hard, we have no right to pray to God for help. Try our best and leave the rest to God. Success often comes to those who work...
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English Proverbs

English Proverbs – Friendship is seldom lasting but between equals

Jose John August 2, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion All of us like to have good friends. A true friend helps us in our difficulty. But true friendship can last only between equals. Usually a person cultivates friendship with another person of the same status, profession, wealth, interest and aptitude. It is not possible to cultivate a true friendship between a scientist and a farmer. A friendship between a rich and a poor man will not last. It is because friendship can last only if there is mutual help-help in thinking, ideas and financial and intellectual help. Friendship demands mutual understandings and mutual adjustments. There is a policy of give and take in friendship. If there is inequality with regard to profession, wealth, status or intelligence, adjustment is not possible. Individual contributions will not be equal too. Inequality gives rise to inferiority and superiority complexes and this is not a good condition for friendship to last. If there is inequality, it creates suspicion in the mind of one person about the motives of his friend. Man is by nature selfish. Friendship is the result of the reconciliation of the interests of the two. Friendship is a continuous process to be renewed often and this renewal is possible only if there is mutual understanding and mutual help...
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English Proverbs

English Proverbs – Forgiveness is the best revenge

Jose John August 2, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion The proverb stresses the importance of forgiveness. It tells us that if a person wants to take revenge upon another person, he should forgive him because forgiveness is the best form of taking revenge. When someone harms us, it is natural that we want to take revenge upon him. When we take revenge upon him, we harm him in a more severe manner than he has harmed us. In other words, we are in a way doing more harm to him. On the other hand, if we have the good intention to pardon the wrong-doer, the latter is put to shame. The wrong-doer suffers from a sort of humiliation when we forgive him. This is clear from the story of ‘The Bishop and the Convict”. The Bishop provided the convict with food and shelter. But the convict stole all the silver from the Bishop. He was caught and brought to the Bishop. The Bishop understood why the poor convict and done such a thing. He pardoned him and instead of taking revenge. The convict felt humiliated and he promised that he would never steal. It is divine to forgive. When we forgive a person who has harmed us, we defeat the evil in him. This will be...
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English proverbs

English Proverbs – Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

Jose John August 2, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion The proverb warns us against hasty and thoughtless action. It is unwise to be hasty. Prudent people are always very careful in their dealings with others. They think twice before they act. They think of the consequences of their actions and will act only if they can succeed. Such people won’t jump to hasty conclusions and so they normally succeed in what they do. But foolish people act hastily without proper thought. They won’t think of the consequences of their actions. They will jump to hasty conclusions and so they fail in their endeavours. When foolish people lose the game by acting hastily, wise men win it by playing it with patience. So it is said that fools enter into critical situations without much thought where even angels fear to go. A person should think twice before he undertakes a project. If he takes any step rashly and recklessly, it can prove to be dangerous. Work done recklessly is not at all profitable. If a small country decides to fight against a big powerful country, the former will surely meet with failure; such a thoughtless decision will destroy that country. When a person decides to start a business, he should think twice. Foolish people always take rash...
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English proverbs

English Proverbs – Flattery brings friends, truth enemies

Jose John August 2, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion When someone praises us, we become happy. But when someone criticizes or speaks the truth about our mistakes, we become unhappy and irritated. We like the person who praises us and he becomes our friend. But we do not like the person who speaks the truth about us and he becomes our enemy. The aim of a flatterer is to please someone by excessive praise of his virtues and achievements. It is natural to like someone who praises of his virtues and achievements. It is natural to like someone who praises and pleases us. The flatterer satisfies our ego by his praises and so we like him. But if someone points out our mistakes, we feel annoyed. The criticism raise about us may be correct and we too know that it is just. But we only consider the man who criticised us as our enemy. This is true of modern political leaders. They like to be flattered, but do not like to be criticised. Truth is often unpleasant. It creates feelings of enmity and hatred. So it is said that flattery brings friends, truth enemies.
English Proverbs

English Proverbs – Familiarity breeds contempt

Jose John August 2, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion It is the fact that if we are too familiar with some object or some person, we develop dislike or contempt for the object or the person concerned. Close acquaintance with someone or something causes us to have contempt for him or it. When we do something so many times, we may become so familiar with it that we will be careless about doing it. Things and persons usually look more attractive when looked at from a distance. Once they are near us, they may not look as attractive as before. People who live in the vicinity of the Taj Mahal may be indifferent to its glories. But those who live at great distance and who heard of its magnificence may travel long distance to see it. So it is natural for people to be fascinated by something which is not within their easy reach. This proverb is more applicable to human relationships. It is always better to keep a limit to our mingling with other people. Too much mingling and unnecessary interference in other people’s affairs can create contempt. When we see a person daily, we will start to lose interest in him. But if he is an occasional visitor, he will continue to remain an...
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English Proverbs

English proverbs – Failure is the stepping stone to success

Jose John August 2, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion Life is a long journey. One has to face many ups and downs while going through the journey of life. One can meet several obstacles on the way, but one should not be disheartened. All of us experience failures in life in one way or the other. Pupils fail in examination. Great leaders, statesmen, generals, scientists, writers and soldiers all have to drink the bitter cup of failure. One should not lose heart when failure comes. Failures in our lives are very important because they teach us new lessons every time. These failures make us bold and encourage us to get success. There are some people who give way to despair when failure comes. They lose faith in themselves and sit and sigh. There are others who rebound like the rubber ball after each fall, one should find out the real cause for his failure and be ready to fight again and win. If he is confident and optimistic, he can make his failures may turn success. Failure produces in man zeal and zest. Without failure, man becomes easy-going and self-satisfied. He gives up effort and becomes stagnant. Greatness is achieved only by meeting failures. Robert Bruce failed to free his country in spite of the several...
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English Proverbs

English Proverbs – Experience is the best teacher

Jose John August 2, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion Experience is the best agency through which one can learn almost anything under the sun. An ounce of practise equals tons of theory. Practise makes a man perfect. The way to perfection lies in the path of practise. It is said that book knowledge should be corroborated by practical knowledge. But if it is said the other way round, it is better if the practical knowledge is corroborated by a good knowledge of theory also. The absence of theoretical knowledge is not so great a handicap as the absence of practical knowledge. We may warn a child a dozen times a day against playing with fire. But he does not believe you until he scorches his hand. Experience is a stern school mistress. She sets us hard lessons and severely punishes inattention. But what she teaches, she teaches thoroughly. We never forget her lessons. Very often we learn her lessons too late. The man who breaks all rules of health in his youth learns at last when his health is in danger. It is by suffering that we learn patience, by facing danger we learn courage, by sorrow we learn sympathy and by mistake we reach perfection.
English Proverbs

English Proverbs – Example is better than precept

Jose John August 2, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion Examples here means a model deed or an action for others to follow, precept means a rule or a command, people advice others on any issue that comes up. But before we give advice, we should ask ourselves whether we practise what we preach. It is natural that young people look up to the old for guidance. Very often we find parents, teachers, preachers and political leaders speak on useful precepts, but themselves not living in accordance with those precepts. As a result, their advice goes unpractised. If we smoke and tell our children not to smoke, it won’t have any impression on the boys. They may not smoke in front of us, but will surely make an experiment when a chance comes. If a person advises others to be honest and sincere, but does not he practise these virtues, his words will have no effect on others. Today social workers and political leaders speak endlessly on principles. But they themselves do not set an example. They ask others not to give bribe when they themselves accept bribe. Modern political leaders exhort the youth to be patriotic when they themselves indulge in anti-national activities. A person should be extremely honest to set an example before he begins...
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English Proverbs

English Proverbs – Every cloud has a silver lining

Jose John August 2, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion Sometimes we see dark clouds in the sky. But if we look at them closely, we can see that their edges are sunlit white. This silver lining tells us that the sun is somewhere behind the clouds. Such clouds do not remain in the sky for a long time. They disappear quickly and the sky is clear again with the silver light of the sun. The proverb expresses the idea that sorrows and misfortunes are only temporary. Sorrows will be followed by happiness. Whenever there is shadow, light must be nearly. Whenever there is darkness, daylight is near. Behind every grief and pain, there is a silver thread of joy and happiness. Joys and sorrows are part of life. We should not lose hope in times of sorrow. The proverb teaches us to be optimistic in life. Sweet are the uses of adversity. The sorrows and calamities may be a blessing in disguise. They strengthen us to face the greater misfortunes in life boldly. Only when one goes through the difficulties of life, one becomes a complete man. Behind every calamity is hidden the message of hope. India learned a good lesson from the Indo-China war of 1962. Soon after the war, she gave more attention to...
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English Proverbs

English Proverbs – Empty vessels make the most sound

Jose John July 20, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion Empty vessels make a loud sound when struck with something. But filled vessels do not make much sound. The proverb has a hidden level of meaning. There are people around us who are like empty vessels or like filled vessels. Empty vessels refer to empty headed people who are the most talkative and noisy. These people go on speaking continuously, but their speeches are meaningless. They boast that they can do this and that. Such people are not to be taken seriously. They talk much and are short of action. Filled vessels refer to people who talk less and do more. Every word uttered by them will be meaningful and so they have to be taken seriously. They talk sensibly and their words carry weight. They won’t boast, but are capable of doing everything that they say. They talk only when it is necessary. These people believe more in action than in words. Serious people do not preach. A man who has only a little knowledge boasts that he is a scholar whereas a really profound scholar would not boast of his scholarship. His scholarship is made known to others through his sensible words and good deeds. So it is said that empty vessels make the most...
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English Proverbs

English Proverbs – East or west, home is the best

Jose John July 20, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion The statement reflects the longing of all persons for their native land, the native place or land is very precious to any person. A person’s close relatives and friends are in his native place. He is known and loved in his native place. Wherever he is, he longs to return to his native place to enjoy peace, love and friendship. People go to different corners of the earth in search of work and thus to earn a living. There, they are in the midst of strangers. Everything there is different from what they have lived with before. It is not easy to be comfortable and happy in such a situation. On all such occasions, they desire intensely to return to their homeland and to be one with their own people and to breathe the native air. They then realize how precious their native land is. The East including India was famous for its wealth, culture and civilization at a time. Then there was a flow of people from the West to the East. Today people from the east migrate to the western countries for better prospects. In spite of the comforts they enjoy in the new places, they are always haunted by the thoughts about their native...
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English Proverbs

English Proverbs – Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched

Jose John July 20, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion It is natural for people to imagine a good fortune, but it is not necessary that such imagination should become a reality because the future is uncertain. It is foolish to believe that all the eggs on which a hen is sitting will become chickens. Some of them may not hatch. It may even happen that all those eggs get spoiled. One who makes plans about those eggs will be disappointed. So we must not depend too much on something which is uncertain. We must wait till the uncertainty regarding the matter ends. This is a sign of wisdom and intelligence. Our policy should be to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. This proverb can be clearly explained with the story of the milkmaid. Once a milkmaid put a pot of milk on her head and went to market to sell it. On the way she began to imagine the good fortune she would be getting by selling the milk. In her imagination or dream, she became the owner of a large house with plenty of cattle and many servants. Her mind was dancing with joy. She mused over the plan and unknowingly tossed her head. The pot of milk fell down and that...
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English Proverbs – Curses, like chickens, come home to roost

Jose John July 20, 2012 No Comments
Proverb Expansion A curse is the utterance of an evil wish. Roost is the place where fowls rest at night, to roost means to settle down for the night’s sleep. Chickens and hens that leave the hen-house in search of food in the morning come back to it to roost. Similarly, birds that go out in search of food in the morning return to their nests by evenings. The proverb means that like birds and chickens that come to roost, the curses that go from a person finally come back to him. Curses recoil upon the person who utters them, if one wishes ill to befall another it will come true in the case of the curser himself. When a person wishes that some calamity should befall another person, he is really invoking evil to himself. When a person curses others, it will only recoil on him. Thus the proverb states that just as the chickens return to roost, evil dealings and curses will recoil on the doer himself in due course.