21 Best Proverbs for Essay Writing (with Meaning) for Students

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Proverbs for Essay Writing

Do you know what makes the English-speaking skills of a native speaker so fluent? It is their proficiency in using English grammar tools such as idioms, phrases, and proverbs effortlessly. Although the three are often confused with each other, especially idioms and proverbs, upgrading your knowledge of proverbial phrases not only advances your vocabulary but also comes in handy while doing essay writing in any language proficiency test or competitive examination. Therefore, in this blog, you will get to learn powerful sayings packed with meaning for crafting impactful essays at par with a journalist. 

Must Read: 100+ Common Proverbs with Meaning and Examples

Why Proverbs for Essay Writing is Important?

There is no denying that proverbs for essays can be your ticket to academic excellence. These wise sayings or proverbs go beyond decoration; they bolster arguments with historical weight and add depth to analysis, making you shine in both high school essays and the GRE exam. Infact, if you plan to appear for the prestigious Indian qualifying exam, UPSC, using proverbs will showcase your cultural awareness and critical thinking skills. 

7 Most Commonly Used Proverbs for Essay Writing in English

Since proverbs are infamous for conveying complex ideas succinctly and memorably, here are the seven most common proverbs to use in essays, showcasing your profound knowledge of the English language.

Most Common Essay Writing ProverbsMeaning/Explanation
Actions speak louder than wordsActions are a true reflection of one’s intentions and character, whereas words can be empty or deceptive.
The pen is mightier than the swordIt suggests that communication and intellectual influence are more effective and lasting than brute force.
A picture is worth a thousand wordsThis proverb conveys that a single image can be more effective in conveying a message or idea than a large amount of descriptive text.
Rome wasn’t built in a dayIt reminds us that significant achievements and projects take time and effort. Patience and perseverance are crucial for achieving long-term goals.
The early bird catches the wormThis proverb suggests that those who act promptly or start early are more likely to succeed.
Don’t judge a book by its coverIt suggests that one should look deeper to understand the true nature or value of something or someone.
All that glitters is not goldIt warns that not everything that looks valuable or attractive on the outside is valuable.

7 Quotes and Proverbs for Essay – UPSC 

UPSC essays demand clear thinking, strong arguments, and insightful analysis. Here are 7 quotes and proverbs to elevate your writing and impress examiners:

“The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Gandhi 

Meaning: This quote emphasises the importance of action and taking responsibility for shaping the future. It can be used to discuss topics like social change, environmental sustainability, or individual agency.

Proverbs for essay writing

“A single conversation with a wise man is worth a month’s study of books.” – Confucius

Meaning: This proverb highlights the value of learning from experienced individuals. It can be used to discuss the importance of mentorship, cultural exchange, or traditional knowledge systems.

Proverbs for essay writing

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela 

Meaning: This quote emphasises the transformative power of education. It can be used to discuss topics like poverty alleviation, women’s empowerment, or educational reforms.


“Justice is what love looks like in public.” – Cornel West 

Meaning: This quote connects justice with compassion and empathy. It can be used in essays about social justice, ethical leadership, or the role of government.

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” – Voltaire 

Meaning: This quote highlights the importance of critical thinking and staying open to new information. It can be used to discuss scientific progress, philosophical inquiry, or the need for evidence-based policymaking.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela

Meaning: This quote highlights the importance of resilience and overcoming challenges. It can be used to discuss individual perseverance, national development, or overcoming historical injustices.

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” – Peter Marshall 

Meaning: This proverb emphasises the importance of taking action, even if the steps are small. It can be used to discuss topics like entrepreneurship, community development, or individual initiative.

Quick Read: 9 Best English Proverbs on Education

Useful Proverbs for GRE Essay Writing

Just like UPSC essays, crafting a compelling GRE essay requires strong arguments and insightful analysis. Proverbs, those timeless nuggets of wisdom, can be powerful tools in your GRE essay arsenal. Here are some impactful proverbs to elevate your writing:

Proverbs for GRE Essay WritingMeaning/Explanation
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single stepIt promotes the importance of starting small and taking consistent action to achieve long-term goals. 
Two heads are better than oneThis proverb highlights the value of collaboration and teamwork. Use it to discuss innovation, problem-solving, or the importance of diverse perspectives.
Where there’s a will, there’s a wayIt means determination and the ability to overcome obstacles. Use it to discuss resilience, overcoming challenges, or the power of the human spirit.
Slow and steady wins the raceThis proverb suggests the value of consistent effort over quick bursts of activity.
Haste makes wasteIt warns against rushing into decisions or actions.
Look before you leapThis proverb emphasizes the importance of careful planning and consideration before taking action.
All good things must come to an endIn simpler words, even good times do not last for eternity. 
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This was all about proverbs for essay writing and their meaning. Hope you understand the concept and know how to proceed. You can also follow the Learn English page of Leverage Edu for more exciting and informative blogs related to grammar.

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