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English Idioms

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover”

Don’t (Can’t) Judge a Book by Its Cover


  • You can’t know someone or something by looking at its appearance

Frequency of Use: Medium to High

Sample Sentences

  1. The new teacher doesn’t dress very professionally, but he knows the subject well. You can’t judge a book by its cover.
  2. I was afraid of eating her cooking, but it turned out great. You can’t judge a book by its cover.
  3. I know that you don’t like my boyfriend, but don’t judge a book by its cover. He is a wonderful person.

Conversation Questions

  1. When you meet new people, what do you do to get to know them better so you don’t judge a book by its cover?

Speaking Situation

You have a friend who is trying to find a partner through several dating Web sites. As he is preparing his online profile, you notice that he is using a much younger picture of himself, and he has touched up his picture to remove his gray hair and a few wrinkles. You tell him that he should just be himself, but he says that people tend to judge others by their looks. What can you say to him in this situation?

Possible Answer

“Hey. Everyone is unique, and you can’t judge a book by its cover, but if you want to color your hair, you could make it look more natural.”

Language Activity

Sometimes, learners know the meaning of an idiom, but they don’t know how to use it correctly in conversation or writing. Thus, this activity checks your grammatical accuracy with the idiom so you become more confident in using it. 

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