Language Arts Mini Spark #74-Adages and Proverbs

It is helpful to be able to recognize and understand adages and proverbs in the stories you are reading.

Like idioms, proverbs and adages can be used in conversation or in writing. They are also unique to a particular language. Unlike idioms, however, proverbs and adages generally have more literal meanings. Their meanings match more closely to the meaning of the individual words that make up the expression.

It is helpful to review some of the more common adages to help you better understand the meaning of the text. Look over this information


  • Proverb is a short, well-known saying stating a piece of advice or the general truth.
  • It can be described as a statement of practical wisdom expressed in a simple way.
  • It is based on common sense or a person’s practical experience. Proverbs are typically metaphorical or alliterative in form.


  • Slow and steady wins the race. 
  • Birds of a feather flock together. 
  • Rolling stones gather no moss. 
  • It is better to be smarter than you appear than to appear smarter than you are. 
  • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. 
  • Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. 


  • It is a short, common saying or phrase that tends to be old, known for decades or centuries.
  • It refers to popular sayings that give advice.
  • It expresses a general truth about people or the world.
  • It could be based on facts. It can also come from a specific situation or job.
  • It is similar to a proverb and proverbs could be adages.


  • A penny saved is a penny earned .
  • Slow and steady wins the race. 
  • Better safe than sorry.
  • Nothing ventured; nothing gained.
  • You live, you learn.
  • Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Keep in mind

  • An adage is sometimes called proverb.
  • They are usually smaller than proverbs.
  • So don’t worry about mixing both up, as they have mostly similar qualities.

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