Speakers tend to use proverbs to comment on a situation, often at the end of a true story some has told, or in response to some event.

Warnings / advice / morals



Don't count your chickens before they're hatched. (hatched = salir del cascarón) Don't anticipate the future too much.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket Don't invest all your efforts or attention in just one thing.
Never judge a book by its cover. Don't judge poeple/things by their outward appearance.
Nerver look a gifted horse in the mouth. Never refuse good fortune when it is there in front of you.
Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves. Take care of small sums of money and they will become large sums.

B) Key elements

Proverbs can also be grouped by some key elements, for example, animals and birds.

- When the cat's away, the mice will play. ( = people will take adavantage of someone else's absence to behave more freely).

- You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. ( = you can try to persuade someone, but you can't force them) (lead = conducir, llevar)

- One swallow doesn't make a summer. ( = one positive sign does not mean all will be well). (swallow = golondrina).


There is no smoke without fire. (= rumours are usually based on some degree of truth). (smoke = humo)

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. ( = don't criticise others' faults if you suffer from them yourself). (glass houses = casas de cristal)

Many hands make a light work. ( = a lot of people helping makes a job easier).

Too many cooks spoil the broth. ( = too many people interfering is a bad way of doing things). (cooks = cocineros; spoil = hechar a perder; broth = caldo)

C) Equivalence between some English and Spanish proverbs:

1.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. ( Más vale pájaro en mano que cientos volando).

2.  All that glitters is not gold. ( No todo lo que brilla es oro )

3.  There is no smoke without fire. (Cuándo el rio suena agua lleva).

4.  Never look a gifted horse in the mouth. (A caballo regalado no le mires los dientes).