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Year 2 Language and Literature

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Familiar Sayings

let the cat out of the bag

Every culture has phrases and proverbs that make no sense when carried over literally into another culture. To say, for example, 'the early bird gets the worm' does not mean you are actually talking about real birds and real worms. Nor - thank goodness - does it literally 'rain cats and dogs'! These familiar sayings were covered in What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know. Review a few more fun sayings with your child.

Let the cat out of the bag.

If you 'let the cat out of the bag,' you tell something that was meant to be a secret.

'Jack let the cat out of the bag: he told Hannah about her surprise party.'

the more the merrier

The more the merrier.

People use this saying to welcome newcomers to a group. They say this because it means: the more people who take part, the more fun it can be.

The house was full of children playing. Still, when the doorbell rang, Mr. DeNiro opened the door and waved in more children, saying: 'Come in, come in, the more the merrier.'


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

People use this saying to mean: don't give up; keep trying.

Robert the Bruce became King of Scotland after driving out the English. He fought the English army seven times and lost, so he felt like giving up. Hiding in a cave, he watched a spider spinning its web, trying again and again to spin the thread from one part of the cave's roof to another. Eventually the spider did it. 'If at first you don't succeed,' said Robert to himself, 'try, try, try again.'

try try again


This activity has been adapted from pages 118 - 121 of What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.

This activity has connections: click below to see the related activity.

language and literature owl