“Practice makes perfect.”

For as long as I have known Marie, she has used this proverb. She applies it to sports teams- both ones she plays for and ones she coaches- and school/homework. According to Marie, “in order to get what you want, you need to do it well; you need to practice. That repetition makes it sink in and translate.” One has to keep practicing and working hard if they want results. If they want to do well in school, if they want to be a good athlete who performs well in games, they need to work hard at all times. If one slacks off during practice, they are not going to perform well during a game. If one does not do their homework or study, they will not do well on the tests or get good grades. Marie learned this proverb from the coaches she has played for growing up. She says almost every single coach, regardless of the sport, has said it. She has played on soccer teams, softball teams, and lacrosse teams. Each coach has said it to make her and her teammates focus. They see it as a form of motivation. It gives the players a goal. They do not feel as if all of their hard work is going to waste if they see success waiting for them at the end of it all. Marie says she uses it while coaching for the same reasons. She wants to impress upon her players the importance of practicing hard. She wants them to understand that they will not get the results they want (the state championship, for instance) if they do not focus.

According to page 104 of 101 American English proverbs: understanding language and culture through commonly used sayings, “practice makes perfect” means “doing something many times improves one’s skill at it.” This definition is consistent with Marie’s interpretation of the proverb. I agree with these interpretations. Practice requires doing something diligently and repeatedly. Practicing hard at something helps one’s skills (in sports, schoolwork, etc.) heighten.

Proverbs tend to offer a philosophical outlook on life. This proverb is no different. This proverb encourages hard work in the name of eventual success. This proverb says that success will occur as a result of effort and perseverance. I personally hold this as one of my sayings to live by. I truly do believe that hard work is key to success. I think most people who attend USC agree that they would not have gotten here if they had not worked so hard to get good grades in high school.

Proverbs are embedded in a particular culture. “Practice makes perfect” is very much so embedded in American culture. In America, we value working hard now for future successes. We are very future-oriented. It is true that perhaps we would not work so hard if we did not see any bonus or good thing for us in the future. We would probably not work hard for the sake of working hard. This proverb shows that we are a very goal-oriented society; everything we do goes towards the end result.

Annotation: Collis, Harry, and Mario Risso. 101 American English Proverbs: Understanding Language and Culture Through Commonly Used Sayings. Lincolnwood, Ill: Passport Books, 1992.