|The Most Common Words in English Proverbs|
A great story can be incredibly short. Just one sentence can say it all.
James Geary in his great book about metaphors, I Is An Other says the proverb, and its close relation the aphorism, are the world’s oldest written art forms. In 3500 BC, proverb collections were used as textbooks. Sumerian students copied out proverbs as school spelling assignments and exercises in moral education.
Proverbs are quite simply metaphors, with layers of depth. They are the most compressed form of story, and are common to countries and cultures across the world. They are universal and good ones are understood by everyone and make people stop and think.
The funny thing is we use them frequently without stopping to think about it. I often say it’s great to ‘kill two birds with one stone.’
Many proverbs actually boil down to the same key principles.
Geary gives several examples such as the Dutch with Fill The Well After the Calf Has Drowned, for Shut the Barn Door After the Horse Has Bolted.
If you want to make a clear point, have jour communication land powerfully with others, especially if it is a complex message, Google a Proverb.