English Language Blog

Can you match these sayings in English? Posted by on Jul 19, 2022 in Culture, English Language, English Vocabulary

Hi to everyone! Every language and culture have their own sayings or proverbs. They are common expressions dating back from ancient times whose origins no one can really pinpoint, but most speakers of a certain language have heard. Usually in a metaphorical style, sayings describe situations or express general truths that are part of our everyday lives. You know, like “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Just off the top of your head, how many sayings in your language can you remember? And what about in English?

Plus they are a great way to learn a language and get some insight into a certain culture. So today we have got a fun little challenge for you. I rounded up five popular sayings that all English speakers are familiar with, and your task is to have a look at them and try to guess the ending of each one and then match them! And to make it even more interesting, you can also try to figure out what they mean!

How do you think these might end?

  • Don’t bite off . . .

  • Necessity is . . .

  • Never test . . .

  • The nail that sticks out . . .

  • An idle brain . . .

  • Don’t count the chickens . . .




Now see if you can match them:


Then, scroll down for the full sentence and meaning:



  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Used to warn someone that their undertaking might be harder to achieve than they are thinking.

– Are you sure you can take on a second job? Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew.

  • Necessity is the mother of invention.

It means that creativity and innovation are motivated by times of need or a demand for something.

– As a college student, I was so broke I had to use a frisbee as a plate. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.

  • Never test the depth of water with both feet.

Act with caution so you don’t end up in an unfavorable situation, evaluate the risk you are taking before taking a step.

– Listen, I know this investment opportunity sounds promising, but you should never test the depth of water with both feet. Ask around first and don’t give away all of your savings.

  • The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.

Whoever is too different or draws too much attention to him or herself is likely to be punished until they start behaving like the others.

– My high school called my parents once because I dyed my hair blue. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down, am I right?

  • An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.

Keeping oneself busy and active is the best way to avoid getting into trouble.

– I really think Frank should get a summer job instead of just sitting around all day. You know an idle brain is the devil’s workshop.

  • Don’t count the chickens before they hatch.

Wait for something more concrete to happen before making definite plans, as you don’t what the future might bring.

– I feel confident about my job interview, but I’d better not count the chickens before they hatch.

So what was your score? Could you guess any of them? If you know any other proverbs in English, tell us in the comment box below! Have a nice week and keep on learning! After all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Speaking of which, here are some more interesting sayings and proverbs from our previous posts:

English Phrases and Idioms About Dogs

English Sayings and Idioms About Cats

Saint Patrick’s Day and Irish sayings

Southerner sayings: American expression you might hear in the South


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