English Tidbits





What is the difference between a proverb and an idiom?

Proverb is a short famous saying that holds a truth and gives advice or suggests how people should behave.
Idiom is a combination of words that has a certain meaning.
Individually, the words have no meaning, but together they create one.



Proverbs Found in Both English and Japanese

No pain, no gain.  

If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.

Good things come to those who wait.

Proverbs Only Found in English

1)Beggars can’t be choosers.
Meaning: When in need, you can’t choose what kind of help you receive; you should take what you can get
Example: When I ran out of money for the month, my dad let me borrow 2000 yen. I was hoping for more, but beggars can’t be choosers.

例: その月に使うお金が尽きた時、父親が2000円貸してくれた。私はもっともらえると思ったが、私には選択肢がなかった。

2)Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Meaning: Trying to hurt someone who hurt you will only make things worse; equivalent to the idiom “an eye for an eye.”
Example: When my boyfriend was an hour late for our date, I wanted to punish him on the next date and make him wait 2 hours! But I guess two wrongs don’t make a right.

意味: 自分のことを傷つける人に仕返しすることは自体を悪化させるだけである。「目には目を」のイディオムに等しい。
例: 彼氏がデートに1時間遅刻した為、罰を与えたく、次のデートで彼氏を2時間待たせた。けど結局はお互い傷つけて終わってしまい、何も生まなかった。

3)Laughter is the best medicine.
Meaning: When you’re in a bad situation, laughing can make it easier to get through that situation
Example: When I embarrassed myself in front of my crush, we turned it into a joke and laughed together. This helped me relax. I guess laughter is the best medicine!

例: 好きな人の前で恥ずかしい時、心配するよりも、笑ったほうがいい。

4)You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
Meaning: You can give someone advice, but you can’t make them take the advice
Example: My friend is always complaining about her boyfriend. I always tell her to just break up with him, but she just doesn’t listen. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

例: 友達がいつも彼氏のことについて文句を言う。私が何回も別れたほうがいいと言っても彼女は言うことを聞かないので、仕方がない。

5)You can’t always get what you want.
Meaning: Don′t complain if you don’t get what you want
Example: When I was a child, I would always cry when my mom wouldn’t buy the toy I wanted. She would always tell me, “you can’t always get what you want”.


That’s all for proverbs from me! I hope you find these proverbs useful! Try your best to use them when you can!