Say What You Mean!(Interpretation of Maxims)

Say What You Mean!(Interpretation of Maxims)





Students, working in cooperative groups, will select two to four familiar and unfamiliar maxims from the list provided. Students and/or teachers are encouraged to make additions to this list. This activity is an excellent avenue for addressing cultural diversity, as many of the maxims originate from various racial, religious, and cultural groups. This is an effective way to involve parents and grandparents. Have students ask their relatives to share some of their adages, old sayings, or proverbs. Have students be prepared to share information concerning the ancestry of their family and origin of these maxims.

Each group will discuss the possible meaning of their selections and write their interpretation of the maxim or adage, with an example of the interpretation. Students will then write about how the maxim does or can apply to their lives.

Maxims, Sayings, Phrases


Maxim: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Interpretation: If you don't do something right the first time, don't give up; keep trying until you succeed.

Example: If you didn't pass this week's math test, you should study hard all week and try to get a better grade next Friday.


Read the quote by G. W. E. Russell: "People think that I can teach them style. What stuff it all is! Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style."