A selection of important English quotes to know

By Famworld
A selection of important English quotes to know

By definition, proverbs sum up folk wisdom in one sentence. Knowing them in English allows you to express your point of view in the blink of an eye or even to be witty in English. In any case, it allows you to show your level of English and natives are always pleasantly surprised when you know their proverbs.

It is possible to learn the English language in a fun way with the most famous English proverbs and quotes. Speaking English fluently presupposes knowing some of these cult quotes. These will add weight to your sentences and make you look good to native speakers.

A famous quote helps you learn Shakespeare's language better, thus improving your level of English. Effective for strengthening your vocabulary, it can relate to different areas. If you are interested in the human personality, you can for example progress in English with the following quotes:

  1. Don't put the cart before the horse.

(Do not put the cart before the horse.)

  1. A picture is worth a thousand words.

(A picture is worth a thousand words.)

  1. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

(Don't put all your eggs in one basket.)

  1. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

(You can't have butter and butter money.)

  1. Better safe than sorry.

(Two precautions are better than one.)

  1. Don't judge a book by its cover.

(Don't judge a book by its cover.)

  1. Old clothes die hard.

(Habits die hard.)

  1. Whatever you are, be a good one

(Whatever you are, be a good one.)

This is one of the English sayings spoken by Abraham Lincoln. These few English words represent for him a way of being on good terms with everyone. A quality required if you are on a language trip with the aim of speaking English quickly with English speakers.

  1. If you are going through hell, keep going

“When you're going through hell, mostly keep moving forward.”

This beautiful quote from Winston Churchill boosts self-esteem and applies to the study of the English language. Learning English requires patience and perseverance. We must move forward despite the difficulties encountered.

The translation is rarely the same word for word. To translate a proverb well, it is a question of knowing the original in each language and of making the bridge between the two. (If in doubt, you can also use a dictionary of proverbs).

Note also that this slight difference in point of view from French to English is what makes learning foreign languages enriching. We think differently in English and in French.

Untranslatable proverbs

What is also interesting is that there are a multitude of untranslatable English proverbs. In this case, they express an idea, often in a very colorful way, which does not exist in French. (Often, one will find a similar but not identical idea).

There is a real pleasure in discovering such proverbs because they allow us to see the way we think in English. Their meaning is often opaque the first time you see the expression, then unforgettable once you know it.

These proverbs are often a challenge for translators, who will have to struggle to find a French equivalent or invent a turn of phrase specifically to convey the idea.

As a learner, on the other hand, we are not forced to know how to translate everything. We just need to understand and know how to use the expression!

Some English proverbs of this type:

  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

The idea that apples are good for health. There is a variant of the proverb: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away… an onion a day keeps everyone away!"

  • Two wrongs don't make a right.

If someone wrongs you, wronging them back won't make the situation any better…and doesn't make you morally better than them.

  • Money talks.

Money gives power and influence.

  • Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Having too many people responsible for a project is likely to ruin it. (Broth is a kind of soup).

  • A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

The success of a team depends on its members and is limited by its less competent members. To our knowledge, we do not use this proverb in French. On the other hand, it inspired the name of a famous game show, the weak link.

  • If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Trying to improve something that is already working well risks creating new problems. Note in passing, as often in proverbs and idiomatic expressions, the use of a construction which is not perfectly correct in terms of grammar: ain't.

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