| | Re: Proverbs that contradict
Solid introduction to proverbs, and their flexibility. The beauty of proverbs is that they often make absolute claims, but are only appropriate to particular conditions.
I often use proverbs to introduce the idea of "hedging" language in writing classes. First, I ask students to write down five proverbs, sayings, or advertising slogans. (People know many more proverbs than they recognize, but seldom identify them as proverbs). Then we go back and make them more accurate by adding conditions, noting sources, and frequency adverbs. "The early bird gets the worm" becomes "According to a popular folktale, the early bird gets the worm" or "Sometimes the early bird gets the worm."
Studying proverbs, especially ones that contradict, can be a very powerful teaching tool.