英語の諺の分類には，内容によるもの，形式によるもの，起源によるものなどがあるが，The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs の序文に掲げられている内容による3分法を紹介しよう (xi) ．
Proverbs fall readily into three main categories. Those of the first type take the form of abstract statements expressing general truths, such as Absence makes the heart grow fonder and Nature abhors a vacuum. Proverbs of the second type, which include many of the more colourful examples, use specific observations from everyday experience to make a point which is general; for instance, You can take a horse to water, but you can't make him drink and Don't put all your eggs in one basket. The third type of proverb comprises sayings from particular areas of traditional wisdom and folklore. In this category are found, for example, the health proverbs After dinner rest a while, after supper walk a mile and Feed a cold and starve a fever. These are frequently classical maxims rendered into the vernacular. In addition, there are traditional country proverbs which relate to husbandry, the seasons, and the weather, such as Red sky at night, shepherd's delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning and When the wind is in the east, 'tis neither good for man nor beast.
分類が微妙なケースはあるだろうが，例えば昨日の記事 ([2018-05-29-1]) で紹介した Handsome is as handsome does という諺は，第2のタイプに属するだろうか．
なお，同辞書による諺の定義は，"A proverb is a traditional saying which offers advice or presents a moral in a short and pithy manner." (xi) である．
・ Speake, Jennifer, ed. The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs. 6th ed. Oxford: OUP, 2015.
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