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What are proverbs?

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Cambridge

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Bank holidays in Britan

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Edinburg

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Glimpses of the history of America

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Tower of London

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Smoking

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Media ownership and freedom of expression

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The battle for readers

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Radio and television broadcasting

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National newspapers

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Television and satellite broadcasting

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Radio

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News vs. news people

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Pocahontas

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The causes of crime

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The lost colony

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Old Hickory

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The war of 1812

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A long time ago

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George Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion

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The definition of a proverb is: a popular short saying, with words of advice or warning. Yet it is far from enabling us to identify a proverb with any certainty. Is any widely used short saying a proverb? The important word seems to be 'popular'. But how popular must a saying be to become a proverb? It will usually be an old saying, since it is unlikely to become part of the popular consciousness in a short period of time.

Wisdom is another main ingredient of the proverb. To become popular it must at least appear outstandingly wise; to remain popular it must in truth contain enduring wisdom. That having been said, however, the fact remains that some wise sayings have become proverbs, while others equally wise have not; they have been lost.

By its very nature a proverb is memorable. The devices used in their expression to support this memorable quality are worth noting. Rhyme is one such device, for example: 'Little strokes fell great oaks'.

A simple balanced form is perhaps the commonest device of all, for example: 'More haste, less speed'. Brevity is of course an important aspect of memorable sayings. There are very few proverbs that are at all long, and many of the most popular ones are very short indeed, for example: 'Boys will be boys'. 'Dead men tell no tales'.

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  1. What synonyms for the word unlikely do you know?
  2. What is the difference between to seem and to appear?
  3. What is the difference between few and a few? Few and little?
  4. What part of speech is the word enabling in: Yet it is far from enabling us to identify...; saying in a proverb is a popular short saying; enduring in it must in truth contain enduring wisdom?
  5. Find the predicate in the following contexts and define what kind of predicate it is.

    l) The important word seems to be popular.

    2) How popular must a saying be to become a proverb?

    3) Is any widely used short saying a proverb?

    4) They have been lost.

  6. What is the difference in the function of the verb 'to remain' in: To remain popular it must contain..., the fact remains that...?
  7. Explain the use of the article with the word proverb in the following contexts:

    l) The definition of a proverb is...

    2) Wisdom is another main ingredient of the proverb.

  8. Give the morphological analysis of the word commonest. Are there any other examples of the superlative degree of adjectives in the text?
  9. What is the morphological structure of the word unlikely? What other prefixes with the same meaning do you know? Give examples.
  10. Give examples of Russian and English proverbs which have all the main ingredients of the proverb.

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  1. Impossible, hardly possible.
  2. When both to seem and to appear are used as link-verbs in Compound Nominal Predicates their meaning is the same - , , but the difference is in the degree of certainty which is higher in appear. In seem there is less certainty and more doubt than in appear.
  3. few has negative connotations: not enough, lacking, a few has positive connotations there are some, which is enough, though not many. -few and little mean the same (not enough) but few is used with countable nouns (few books) while little - with uncountable nouns (little time).
  4. enabling- a verbal, Gerund, saying- a verb noun; enduring - a verb, Present Participle.
  5. 1) Seems to be popular - Compound Verbal Predicate.

    2) must be - Compound Verbal Predicate.

    3) is a proverb - Compound Nominal Predicate.

    4) have been lost - Simple Predicate; Present Perfect, Passive Voice of the verb to lose.

  6. to remain popular - a link-verb, the fact remains- the main verb.

  7. a proverb- the indefinite article, meaning, any proverb, any representative of the class of the proverb.the proverb - Generic singular, when one object represents the whole class.
  8. Common is the root, -est - the productive suffix forming the superlative degree of adjectives, Most popular.
  9. Likely is the root, un- - a productive prefix with the meaning of negation: Other prefixes with the same meaning: in- (ineffective), im- (impossible), ir- (irrelevant), il- (illiterate), mis- Misfortune), dis- (disobey).