Players: 2+

Materials: A list of common proverbs (click the image below)

Time: 10+ minutes

Targets: vocabulary and expressions, cultural awareness

Basic Idea: Students act proverbs from a list while other students try to guess what the proverb is.

common proverbsInstructions

1.  Divide players into two groups. Group 1 goes first.

2.  A player from Group 1 is chosen to be the actor.

3.  The actor is given a proverb and tries to get his/her team to guess what it is.

4.  The actor’s team must guess properly within a set period of time (usually 1 or 2 minutes)

5.  If the actor’s team cannot guess correctly within the time limit, the opposing team gets 1 guess.

6.  Show the answer if it has not been guessed and ensure players know the meaning.

7.  Correct answers get 1 point. There are no penalties for incorrect answers.

8.  Repeat steps 2-7 with Group 2.



a.  Let players think of their own proverbs or use the list provided?

b.  Let actors choose proverbs to act or cut proverbs into strips for a lottery?

c.  Discuss the list before playing or let players guess without cues?

Select Proverbs

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  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
  • When in Rome, do as the Romans do
  • The squeaky wheel gets the grease
  • Beggars can’t be choosers
  • You reap what you sow
  • A chain is only as strong as its weakest link
  • People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones
  • Better late than never
  • To err is human; to forgive is divine
  • Birds of a feather flock together
  • A picture is worth a thousand words
  • An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure
  • A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step
  • It’s no use crying over spilled milk
  • Don’t bite the hand that feeds you


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  • Actions speak louder than word
  • A watched pot never boils
  • Don’t count your chickens until they hatch
  • Two wrongs don’t make a right
  • Necessity is the mother of invention
  • The pen is mightier than the sword
  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
  • Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst
  • The early bird catches the worm
  • You can’t judge a book by its cover
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
  • The grass is always greener on the other side
  • There’s no such thing as a free lunch
  • Fortune favors the bold
  • Two heads are better than one


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