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Don’t let the grass grow under your feet

  • Don’t let the grass grow under your feet is a proverb that is very old. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase. These common sayings are language tools that particularly give advice or share a universal truth, or impart wisdom. Synonyms for proverb include adage, aphorism, sayings, and byword, which can also be someone or something that is the best example of a group. Often, a proverb is so familiar that a speaker will only quote half of it, relying on the listener to supply the ending of the written or spoken proverb himself. Speakers of English as a second language are sometimes confused by these pithy sayings as translations from English to other languages do not carry the impact that the English phrases carry. Some common proverbs are the wise sayings better late than never, early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, haste makes waste, blood is thicker than water, and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. One of the books of the Bible is the Book of Proverbs, which contains words and phrases that are still often quoted in the English language because they are wise. Many current proverbs are quotations taken from literature, particularly Shakespeare, as well as the Bible and other sacred writings. We will examine the meaning of the expression don’t let the grass grow under your feet, where it came, from and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    Don’t let the grass grow under your feet is an admonition not to hesitate, to take action immediately, to get busy, to act quickly, to be proactive. Someone who doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet is on the move, he grabs opportunity as it comes and uses it to his advantage. The idea is that if someone stands in one place for too long, the grass under his feet has time to grow. The proverb don’t let the grass grow under your feet has been in use in some form for almost four hundred years.

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    Examples

    When I took some time to get back to him on the concept of the book, he urged haste, telling me in an e-mail: ‘Don’t let the grass grow under your feet.’ (The Straits Times)

    Don’t let the grass grow under your feet this summer: Ireland is small, and life is short. (The Independent)

    “A visit to the fair is a must for all green-fingered folk and it’s only here for one day, so don’t let the grass grow under your feet!” (The Worthing Herald)

    “He didn’t let any grass grow under his feet,” observed Katherine Rinehart, manager of the history and genealogy department at the Sonoma County Library. (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)


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