English as a Second Language/Idiom



I want to know if there is some idiom in English that can be considered as an opposite or conveys the opposite meaning of "where there's smoke, there's fire". As I understand the meaning of this idiom, it is that when there is an indication or sign of something bad, usually the indication is correct. So is there any fancy way, like an idiom, a famous saying or whatever, to suggest that its not always the case that if something gives an indication of being bad, it actually is bad. Off course I can explain it like this or even more elaborately but I was hoping for a one liner.


Hello Chankya,

A good, general opposite idiom may be "Don't cry before you are hurt."  I also think "Things aren't always what they seem" may fit the bill.

Other than that, nothing immediately comes to mind... but depending on the context I think there are several good comebacks to the idiom "where there's smoke, there's fire."

If the person is overreacting or making a great leap from "smoke" to "fire" you can say “when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.”  For example:

Jane: "You were late coming home again.  You are cheating on me, aren't you?"
John: "I am not cheating on you. Let's talk about this."
Jane: "I know better.  Where there is smoke, there is fire!"
John: "Well, when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me."

If the "smoke" is something that physically looks bad, you could say "don't judge a book by it's cover."  

If the smoke is a bad sign about a man, you could say "every man has his faults."

If the smoke is something risky, you could say "nothing ventured, nothing gained."

What about, "there are two sides to every story?"

Hope this helps!


English as a Second Language

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I can answer any question about the English language or US culture for non-native English speakers. I will not answer homework questions.


Native English speaker, experience teaching English to ELLs.

Bachelor's Degree, Seattle University

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.