English Topic 38 - Proverbs and colloquialisms

Proverbs and colloquialisms in English are commonly tested in 11 plus exams.

Proverbs are short well-known sayings stating the truth or a piece of advice.

Colloquialisms are informal ways of saying something and may include slang words.


Proverb: The early bird catches the worm. (This means that if you do a task early you will be successful.)

Proverb: Too many cooks spoil the broth. (This means that if too many people are involved in something the task may be spoilt.)

Proverb: A stitch in time saves nine. (This means that if you attend to a problem soon it will save you more work in the future.)

Proverb: All that glitters is not gold. (This means that not everything that appears precious is actually valuable.)

Colloquialism: Pass the buck. (‘pass the buck’ means to take responsibility, don’t pass the problem on to others)

Colloquialism: That’s chocablock. (‘chockablock’ means that something is completely full)

Colloquialism: You made a dog’s dinner of that. (‘dog’s dinner’ means that a mess was made of something)

Colloquialism: He told me a lot of tosh. (‘tosh’ means rubbish or untruth)

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