Lola's English Page "Proverbs"


Can you complete the following English proverbs?

  • Birds of a feather ...
  • A new broom ...
  • Don't count your chickens ...
  • Too many cooks ...
  • Fools rush in ...
  • When in Rome ...

For further guidance, you can consult the new Collins Cobuild Dictionary of Idioms.  

Now, read this document to learn about English Proverbs.

  • Birds of a feather flock together.
  • (Los pájaros que tienen el mismo tipo de plumas se congregan)
  • A new broom sweeps clean.
  • (Una escoba nueva barre limpio / mejor)
  • Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.
  • (No cuentes tus pollitos antes de que salgan del huevo)
  • Too many cooks spoil the broth.
  • (Demasiados cocineros estropean el guiso)
  • Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
  • (Los locos se lanzan donde los angeles no se atreverian ni a pisar)
  • When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
  • (Cuando estes en Roma, haz lo mismo que los romanos)

Looking at the evidence in The Bank of English, the striking thing is that the initial phrases are used rather more frequently than the full proverbs. It is as if our knowledge of the full proverb acts as a kind of shared cultural background which doesn't need to be expressed in communications between native speakers. The initial phrase is enough to trigger the full meaning. Here are some examples:  

  • She and my mother were birds of a feather. You felt something special between them that left you out. (NB: There is also the popular BBC comedy series, `Birds of a Feather'.)
  • Thirty-four year old Barrie is the new broom in the cosy council corridors.
  • Mr Clinton wants to show that his new broom reaches into diplomacy too.
  • Although you should find that everything begins to fall into place, don't count your chickens too soon.
  • ...adopting the fools-rush-in approach.
  • I'd seen ads for it, you see, and I thought, `when in Rome', and it seemed so much more the thing to do.



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