Tục Ngữ English Proverbs - IELTS IDV

Tục Ngữ English Proverbs

Tương tự thành ngữ Idioms, tục ngữ là những cụm cố định bạn có thể dùng trong Ielts Speaking giúp bài nói trôi chảy, ấn tượng miễn là áp dụng đúng và không lạm dụng (một vài cái là đủ). Dưới đây là các câu tục ngữ thông dụng nhất, đa số đều có câu tương tự trong tiếng Việt các bạn tự suy ra nhé:

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  1. Actions speak louder than words

Actions are a better reflection of one’s character because it’s easy to say things, but difficult to act on them and follow through.

Example: Julie always says she’ll donate to the school, and she never does, so I doubt she will this year. Actions speak louder than words, after all.

  1. Adversity and loss make a man wise

e gain wisdom faster in difficult times than in prosperous times.

Example: After losing money in my investments, I know which investments to avoid. It is rightly said adversity and loss make a man wise.

  1. A fool and his money are soon parted

Foolish people do not know how to hold on to their money.

Example: She gave up her entire estate on the basis of a verbal promise. A fool and his money are indeed easily parted.

  1. A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step

Howsoever big a task is, it starts with a small step.

Example: I’m feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of completing 4,000-word paper by next week, but I guess I’ll start by writing 500 words every day. After all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

  1. All that glitters is not gold.

Things that look good outwardly may not be as valuable or good.

Example: X: I want to be a movie star when I grow up. Y: Film industry looks good from the distance, but it has its own problems. Remember, all that glitters is not gold.

  1. An empty vessel makes much noise.

Foolish or stupid people are the most talkative.

Example: The spokesperson of the ruling political party yesterday was shouting at the top of his voice on a TV debate, trying to defend the indefensible. Empty vessel makes much noise.

  1. An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.

If you’ve nothing to do, you’ll likely think of mischief.

Example: The kids should be kept busy during the summer break. Otherwise, you know an idle brain is devil’s workshop.

  1. A picture is worth a thousand words.

It is easier to show or explain something through a picture than through words.

Example: A picture is worth a thousand words. It is easier to learn biology through pictures than through reams of text.

  1. Appearances can be deceptive.

Outward appearance may not be what you believe them to be.

Example: X: He was well-mannered, suave, and good to talk to, but he turned out to be a cheater. Y: Well, appearances can be deceptive.

  1. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

A person who is always changing jobs and places has the advantage of less responsibilities, but also the disadvantage of no fixed place to live.

Example: He was a bit of rolling stone before he got the job and settled down.

  1. A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what a ship is for.

Get out of your comfort zone to grow and fulfill your potential.

Example: I think your fears are unfounded. You should travel to Italy for the Model UN. I’m sure you’ll learn a lot. Remember, a ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what a ship is for.

  1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

What may seem beautiful to one person may not seem to another.

Example: You may not like the curves of my new car, but then beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  1. Beauty is only skin deep.

A person’s character, intellect, and other inner qualities are more important than his/ her physical beauty.

Example: That gorgeous actress behaved so rudely with the driver – beauty is skin deep, after all.

  1. Best things in life are free.

The most valuable things are often free.

Example: I feel so rejuvenated in clean air, sparkling water, and beautiful nature of the mountains. Often times, the best things in life are free.

  1. Blood is thicker than water.

Relationships with family (or blood relatives) is stronger than other relationships.

Example: My friends invited me for the picnic on Sunday, but I have to go to my cousin’s birthday instead. Blood is thicker than water, isn’t it?

  1. Clothes do not make the man.

A person’s character can’t be judged by his/ her clothing and outward appearance.

Example: X: I can’t believe he has been charged for insider trading. He always seemed so professional and impeccable. Y: Well, clothes don’t make the man

  1. Cowards die many times before their deaths.

Cowards suffer the feared effects of death many times over in their lives.

Example: X: He is constantly worried about the security of his job, and I don’t think he’ll pursue his true interests. Y: He exemplifies the saying ‘cowards die many times before their deaths’.

  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Don’t take more responsibility than you can handle.

Example: I bit off more than I can chew when I said ‘yes’ to my boss for another project.

  1. Don’t blow your own trumpet.

You should avoid proudly talking of your achievements and success in front of others.

Example: Don’t blow your own trumpet by talking of who your clients are and how much money you make every month.

  1. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Just like you can’t form an opinion of a book just by looking at its cover, you can’t form an opinion about someone (or something) from their outward appearance.

Example: He seems a bit jerk to me, but, hey, you never know. He may be good. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

  1. Early bird catches the worm.

One who starts early on the work has higher chance of success.

Example: X: Why have you come so early for the season-ending sale? Y: So that I can choose from a wider selection and get a better piece. Early bird catches the worm, after all.

  1. Easy come, easy go.

You say this when you get something easily and then lose it as easily.

Example: I found fifty dollars while on my morning walk, but I frittered it away foolishly by the afternoon – easy come, easy go.

  1. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Every bad or negative situation can result in some benefit to you. (The presence of silver lining means that the sun is behind the cloud and will eventually emerge.)

Example: I know your business has suffered few setbacks this season. But remember, every cloud has a silver lining.

  1. Every man is the architect of his destiny.

Your own actions and decisions decide what you achieve (or don’t) in life.

Example: Don’t blame others for your current state of affairs. Every man is the architect of his destiny. You too are.

  1. Fortune favors the brave.

If you carry out your plans boldly, the luck is more likely to favor you.

Example: I know you’re hesitant to accept the overseas position in your Company because the ground realities there are different from what you’ve faced so far, but remember fortune favors the brave.

  1. Honesty is the best policy.

It’s always better to be truthful and honest, even if the opposite may get you the benefits.

Example: I think you should just explain what happened, rather than trying to cover your tracks. Honesty is the best policy, after all.

  1. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Be optimistic, but be prepared for a scenario where things can go wrong.

Example: We’re hoping to raise capital from investors, but it may not come so soon. Therefore, it’s imperative to look for alternatives as well. Let’s hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

  1. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

It’s better to be cautious than regret later.

Example: One shouldn’t complain about the inconvenience of security check each time you enter the building. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

  1. It’s no use crying over spilt milk.

There is no point in staying upset over a mistake because you can’t undo what has happened.

Example: X: He is feeling terrible for accidently elbowing the flower pot from the window. Y: It’s broken now. It’s no use crying over spilt milk.

  1. Laughter is the best medicine.

Thinking positively and laughing will help you to feel better.

Example: I think the best thing for you right now would be to spend some time with people you can joke around with. Laughter is the best medicine, after all.

  1. Money doesn’t grow on trees.

Spend money carefully because it’s limited. You can’t grow it on trees and replenish.

Example: I’m surprised that you spent your entire month’s salary on a frivolous gadget. Well, money doesn’t grow on trees.

  1. No gain without pain.

It is necessary to suffer or work hard in order to succeed or make progress.

Example: You’ve to drastically reduce the time you spend on video games and TV if you want to get admission in a good college. No gain without pain.

  1. Once bitten twice shy.

You say this proverb when someone won’t do something a second time because they had bad experience the first time.

Example: I won’t try this drink, because last time I had a burning sensation in my throat. Once bitten twice shy, I guess.

  1. Out of sight, out of mind.

If someone or something is not seen for a long time, it’ll be forgotten.

Example: Many celebrities find a way to appear in media because they know that out of sight is out of mind. 

  1. Persuasion is better than force.

You can achieve better results through persuasion than through coercion.

Example: After many futile attempts by the government, farmers finally agreed to acquisition of their land on the promise of economic development of the area. That’s why it is said persuasion is better than force.

  1. Practice makes perfect.

Doing something over and over makes one better at it.

Example: You can’t expect to master guitar in two months. You’ve to keep at it for several months, as practice makes perfect.

  1. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Important work takes time to complete.

Example: You can’t expect her to finish such a complex project in a week. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  1. Slow and steady wins the race.

Slow and consistent work leads to better chance of success than quick work in spurts.

Example: X: I’ve built a strong vocabulary by learning a word a day for the last three years. Y: Mine has been much less even though I’ve had days when I polished off ten words. I guess slow and steady wins the race.

  1. Still waters run deep.

If a person doesn’t speak much, it doesn’t mean they lack depth or are uninteresting.

Example: She is one of the smartest persons in the organization. She may not talk much, but still waters run deep.

  1. The harder you work, the luckier you get.

The harder you work, the more good ideas and chances you may make for yourself.

Example: Many think he got lucky in getting that fat contract, but few know he had been pursuing dozens of such contracts for several weeks – the harder you work, the luckier you get.

  1. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

People are never satisfied with their own situation; they always think others have it better.

Example: X: When I see him post all those travel pictures on Instagram, I feel he has the perfect life. Y: It’s usually not like that in real life. I’m sure he too has his share of problems. I see your thought as grass being greener on the other side of the fence.

  1. There is no time like the present.

The best time to do something is right now. So, act now.

Ex: Don’t wait until New Year to change your bad habits. There’s no time like the present.

  1. Time and tide wait for no man.

You’ve no control over passage of time; it’ll keep slipping. So don’t procrastinate, don’t delay things.

Example: We need to hurry up or else we’ll miss the flight. Time and tide wait for no man.

  1. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

When too many people work together on a project, the result is inferior.

Example: This proposal has received feedback from too many parliamentary committees, and that’s probably the reason why it lacks clear actionables. I’ve no doubt that too many cooks spoil the broth.

  1. Two heads are better than one.

Two persons have a better chance to solve a problem than one.

Example: More startups have two cofounders than one. That’s because they very well understand that two heads are better than one.

  1. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

You shouldn’t harm a person who has harmed you, even if you think that person deserves it.

Example: Just because he insulted you doesn’t mean it’s OK for you to start a rumor about him – two wrongs don’t make a right.

  1. Watch the doughnut, and not the hole.

Focus on what you have and not on what you don’t.

Example: X: I’ve to submit the assignment next Monday, but I don’t have a clue on the topic. Y: Consult your friends. Consult books. Understand the topic. Watch the doughnut, and not the hole.

  1. What goes around comes around.

If someone treats other people badly, he or she will eventually be treated badly by someone else.

Example: He tormented me back in high school, and now he has his own bully. What goes around comes around.

  1. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

When visiting a foreign land, follow the customs of local people.

Example: I don’t love cotton candy, but we are at a carnival. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?

  1. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

When conditions become difficult, strong people take action.

Example: I know you’re not used to climbing at such heights, but come on when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

  1. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

If you are determined enough, you can find a way to achieve what you want, even if it is difficult.

Example: He had little resources to start his business, but he eventually did through a small opening – blog. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  1. Where one door shuts, another opens.

When you lose an opportunity to do one thing, an opportunity to do something else appears.

Example: X: I failed to get into my dream college. Y: Don’t worry, this has happened with many. I’m sure something better is waiting for you. Where one door shuts, another opens.

  1. While the cat’s away, the mice will play.

Without supervision, people will do as they please, especially in disregarding or breaking rules.

Example: As soon as their parents left, the children invited all their friends over – when the cat’s away, you know.

  1. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.

If there are rumors or signs that something is true so it must be at least partly true.

Example: X: Do you believe those rumors about the mayor? Y: Well, you know what they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

  1. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

It’s easier to win people to your side by persuasion and politeness than by confrontation and threats.

Example: X: The courier service has taken more time to deliver than they had promised. I want to take the issue up with them and get a refund. Y: I would suggest you deal with them politely. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

  1. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

You can show people the way to do things, but you can’t force them to act.

Example: X: He has received all the resources one needs to start a business, but even after six months I don’t see anything happening. Y: Well, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

  1. You can’t always get what you want.

Sometimes you may face disappointments in your pursuits or your wishes may not be fulfilled.

Example: X: I want a bike on my birthday. Y: Sorry, you can’t always get what you want.

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

To have two things that one desires, but they’re normally impossible to get simultaneously.

Example: If you want more local services, you can’t expect to pay less tax. Well, you can’t have your cake and eat it.

  1. You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

It is hard to achieve something important without causing unpleasant effects.

Example: If I don’t slash people’s salaries, the company is going to go bankrupt. It’s unfortunate, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

  1. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

People who have long been used to doing things in a particular way will not abandon their habits.

Example: I bet you can’t get him to get up at 5 AM and go out for a walk. After all, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.



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