Proverbs - Meanings
"The best things in life are free."
We don't have to pay for the things that are really valuable, like love, friendship and good health.
"A stitch in time saves nine."
Repair something as soon as it is damaged. That's a small repair job. If not, you will have a much bigger and more expensive repair job later. Do it now and you'll need one stitch. Do it later and you'll need 9 stitches! (Why nine and not eight or ten? Because "nine" rhymes,approximately. with "time".)
• stitch (noun) = a link made with thread in sewing
• in time = not late
"Still waters run deep."
Some rivers have rough surfaces with waves. That's usually because the water is shallow and there are rocks near the surface. But deep rivers have no rocks near the surface and the water is smooth and still. "Still waters run deep" means that people who are calm and tranquil on the outside, often have a strong, "deep" personality.
• still (adjective) = calm, motionless
• deep (adjective) = going far down
"He teaches ill, who teaches all."
The unusual structure of this proverb may make it difficult to understand. It becomes easier if we change the structure to "He who teaches all teaches ill." The word "ill" here means "badly". So it means that the teacher who teaches students everything, does not teach well. A good teacher lets students discover some things for themselves.
• ill (adverb) = badly
"You can't take it with you when you die."
When we die we leave everything on earth. We don't take anything with us. Even the richest people cannot take their money with them after death. This proverb reminds us that some material things are not really so valuable as we think.
"Better untaught than ill taught."
This proverb drops the verb "to be". But we understand: "It is better not to be taught at all than to be taught badly." It's better not to learn something than to learn it badly. This idea is echoed in Pope's famous line: "A little learning is a dang'rous thing;".
• taught = past participle of verb "teach" (here used in passive voice)
• ill taught = badly taught
"Don't cross your bridges before you come to them."
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