Understand Common Expressions and Sayings
Idioms, adages, and proverbs are types of common expressions and sayings that have meanings beyond what can be understood by their individual words.
An idiom is an expression common to a particular culture that does not mean what it literally says. You have to learn the meanings of idioms, just like you learn the meanings of words. For example, the idiom Break a leg! means “Good luck!” People often say this to performers before a show.
A proverb is a statement of practical wisdom expressed in a simple way. An example of a proverb is “A stitch in time saves nine,” which means that doing something in a timely way saves you from having to do more work later. An adage is a well-known proverb that has been used for a long time. An example of an adage would be “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” which means that if there is evidence that something is happening, it probably is actually happening. Adages and proverbs are so closely related that the terms are often used interchangeably.
Click each of the links below to learn more about these common expressions and sayings.