Proverb and Riddle

I. Proverb

A. Definition

Let’s begin the lesson about proverb by reading some definitions that can enlighten your understanding about it.

1. A proverb (from Latin: proverbium) is a simple, concrete, traditional saying that expresses a perceived truth based on common sense or experience. (

2. A proverb is a short saying or piece of folk wisdom that emerges from the general culture rather than being written by a single, individual author. Proverbs often use metaphors or creative imagery to express a broader truth. “Adage” is another word for “proverb.” (

3. Proverbs are popular sayings that provide nuggets of wisdom. (

B. Function

In Indonesian language we call proverb pepatah. Proverb has been used since ancient times in various cultures in the world, including in Indonesia. Wise people use proverb to insinuate, teach, or advise other people. Proverb is also usually used to break interlocutors. instead of saying directly to people who talk too much but meaningless with the phrase “You are stupid!” we better say “Rippling water is not a deep sign”.

With proverb, people are expected to realize their mistakes and live even more wisely.


1. A bad workman always blames his tools.

It means someone who blames his/her equipment or other external factors when he/she performs a bad task.

2. Adversity and loss make a man wise.

It means someone will gain wisdom faster in hard times than in good times.

3. Haste makes waste.

It means, if someone does something in a hurry, it can lead to bad work results and can cause loss.

4. Empty vessels make the most noise.

It means someone who talks too much shows a lack of knowledge.

5. Practice makes perfect.

It means, to perform better and to be skillful, you need to practice a lot, continuously.

II. Riddle

A. Definition

Have you ever played guessing games with your friends? is that fun? No matter what your answer is, today we are going to study about riddle. Now let’s take a look at some definitions of riddle to make you build understanding first before exploring further about riddle.

  1. A riddle is a question, a puzzle, a phrase, or a statement devised to get unexpected or clever answers. (
  2. A riddle is a statement or question or phrase having a double or veiled meaning, put forth as a puzzle to be solved. (
  3. A riddle is a question or statement that offers a puzzle to be solved. (

B. Function

The followings are the benefits you can take from playing a riddle:

  1. a riddle can be a brain buster or conversation starter;
  2. riddle can help us to think critically and conceptually because we’ll have to learn to go beyond the obvious, push past our first thoughts, and think in the abstract to find the answer.
  3. riddle teaches the social and cultural environment, social norms, history, etc;
  4. riddle can help the memory training for children because they are expected and encourage to remember the correct answers of the riddle.


1.Riddle: What is black and white and red all over?

Answer: It’s an embarrassed zebra.

2. Riddle: Feed me and I live, yet give me a drink and I die.

Answer: It’s fire.

3. Riddle: I add lots of flavor and have many layers, but if you get too close I’ll make you cry. What am I?

Answer: I am an onion.

4. Riddle: I have cities, but no houses. I have mountains, but no trees. I have water, but no fish. What am I? 

Answer: I am a map.

5. Riddle: What has legs, but doesn’t walk?

Answer: It’s a table.

Test your mastery on the material above by taking the following quiz!

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