April showers bring May flowers Posted by Gabriele on May 6, 2012 in Culture, English Language
We have a saying in English that goes like this: “April showers bring May flowers.” This is a simple saying, a rhyme, and a proverb that most English speakers know well. Since we have now entered the month of May and it is the time of year (in the northern hemisphere) that we start to see flowers coming out all around us, I thought this would be a great time to explain this saying in today’s post. Then in the next few days I’ll write a few more posts about gardening and flower vocabulary in English to go along with this great spring weather we are having…here we go!
Most native English speakers likely don’t remember the first time they heard the rhyme, “April showers, bring May flowers”, as they were probably very young at the time. Adults, usually parents and teachers, often say this sentence to children in springtime to introduce them to the life cycle of the seasons and months. This rhyme is a way of encapsulating* the fact that the month of April is traditionally a rainy time of year, but that this time of rainy weather gives way to May, when flowers will bloom because of the water provided to them by the April rains. This is a saying used not only to teach children about the seasons though. This rhyme is also a proverb** that is used to consul or comfort people during difficult times. It is a reminder that even unpleasant things, like the heavy rains of April, can bring about very enjoyable things, like the abundance of flowers in May. In this sense this saying reminds people that a period of discomfort can provide the basis for a period of happiness. “April showers bring May flowers” is also a lesson in patience, reminding us that we often have to wait for good tinges to happen.
Luckily for us, May is now here and we don’t have to wait any longer for all those beautiful flowers that this rhyme talks about. Tomorrow I will introduce you to the English names of many common flowers you are likely to see this time of year. Remember if you are looking for other resources to learn more English you can find a lot of help at www.transparent.com.
*encapsulating = expressing in a brief summary
**proverb = a short, popular saying that expresses some practical truth or thought about everyday life
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