Idioms are expressions used in everyday speech. Many idioms do not make sense if you translate them literally. Instead, it is better to learn what they mean figuratively. When you do, you will learn more about the English language and how English speakers see the world.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
A great example of an idiom is: “Actions speak louder than words.” At first glance, this may be confusing because actions can’t actually speak. Actions don’t have mouths, therefore they can’t say anything. So what does this really mean?
In this expression, actions are more important than words. Or rather, what someone does has more value than what someone says. For example, a husband can say to his wife, “I love you,” over and over again, but if he never does anything to show her he loves her, then his words become empty or less meaningful. However, when the husband helps his wife clean the kitchen or take care of the kids, then he is actively demonstrating his love for her.
This expression can be used anytime someone’s actions don’t match their words. Other situations where this idiom may be used include parenting, friendship, education, business, and leadership. It’s definitely a good reminder for everyone to be intentional and to do what you say you will do.
Try It Yourself!
Your turn! This idiom can be used alone or as a part of a sentence. Try to include it in a conversation today. Here are some examples to help you:
- He keeps saying he loves me, but actions speak louder than words.
- She keeps promising that she’ll finish the project next week. It’s been three weeks already and, well, actions speak louder than words.
- I’ve emailed our boss several times over the past several weeks, but he still hasn’t fulfilled his promise. Well, you know what they say? Actions speak louder than words.
If you enjoyed this lesson, find out how you can study English at the English Language Institute at Missouri State University!