Proverbs Exercise (214)

Choose the proverb that best fills the blank in each of the following sentences.

  • When Sallie told me she was thinking of quitting her secure job to write full-time, I said that maybe she shouldn’t _______________.

  • When Sallie published a Facebook post about the quarrel she had with her husband, I told her that she shouldn’t ______________.

  • When Sallie threw out file folders that had been used only once, I told her, "_________________."

  • When Sallie refused to have her hair cut by a hairdresser with a ring in her nose, I told her she shouldn’t __________________.

  • Although Sallie frequently uses foul language in public, she punishes her daughter for doing it; I told her she should _________________.

Answers and Explanations

1. When Sallie told me she was thinking of quitting her secure job to write full-time, I said that maybe she shouldn’t burn her bridges behind her.

"Burn one’s bridges" means to cut off the way back; to make retreat impossible. "Put new wine into old bottles" means try to cut expenses by using old things for a new project.

2. When Sallie published a Facebook post about the quarrel she had with her husband, I told her that she shouldn’t wash her dirty linen in public.

"Wash one’s dirty linen in public" means to speak about personal matters to just anyone. "Upset the apple-cart" means to spoil an endeavor by introducing an unexpected variable.

3. When Sallie threw out file folders that had been used only once, I told her, "Waste not, want not."

"Waste not, want not means an admonition against waste; it means if you don’t waste things, you’ll never have to go without anything. "Don’t put the cart before the horse means don’t do things in the wrong order. For example, Don’t worry about selling your book until you have written it.

4. When Sallie refused to have her hair cut by a hairdresser with a ring in her nose, I told her she shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

"Judge a book by its cover" means to draw conclusions about the character or abilities of a person by how they look or dress. "Throw the baby out with the bathwater" means to get rid of the good along with the bad while trying to reform something.

5. Although Sallie frequently uses foul language in public, she punishes her daughter for doing it; I told her she should practice what she preaches.

"Practice what one preaches" means to do yourself what you advise others to do. "Let sleeping dogs lie" means to not cause trouble; don’t make an issue of something that will anger people; don’t bother someone who isn’t bothering you.

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