Preaching (versus Singing) to the Choir?

This question has been answered · 6 replies
I've heard both "preaching to the choir" and "singing to the choir" used to mean that something is unnecessary. That doesn't make a lot of sense with the former, though. Why would preaching to the choir-or to anyone at church, for that matter-be useless?

"Preaching to the converted" is similar, but seems to implies knock-on-door-preaching (whereas "choir" suggests pulpit-preaching). I've also never heard anyone say it ... (archaeic?)

In some limited googling, I found:

On fine spring Sunday mornings, attendence at church has been known to be very sparse.
Whatever the rest of the faithful are doing, the preacher and the choir have a reason to attend. In fact, the choir may be the preacher's only audience.

This suggests an entirely different meaning, but sounds the most logical to me.

Anyway, can someone provide more information? What's the meaning behind these?
New Member02
Approved answer (verified by )
Welcome to English Forums!

I've never heard singing to the choir, but I'm sure it means the same thing as preaching to the choir. The saying assumes that the choir are in total agreement with what the preacher has to say. So the preacher really doesn't have to work very hard to make them believe what he has to say. They already believe it. So preaching to the choir means urging someone to believe what you say when they already do believe it. You can save the trouble of arguing strenuously for your point of view when you're "preaching to the choir". Your audience already agrees with you.

CJ
Veteran Member53,446
Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
ALL REPLIES
My first thought on what "singing to the choir" could mean -- trying to do something in front of someone who can do it a lot better.

(But then my singing is always out of tune. Emotion: embarrassed )
Senior Member3,933
Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
JulielaiMy first thought on what "singing to the choir" could mean -- trying to do something in front of someone who can do it a lot better.

(But then my singing is always out of tune. Emotion: embarrassed )
I've never heard the expression before, but your explanation certainly makes sense.
Veteran Member19,592
Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
Anonymous:
Common sense people.

Preaching to a group of people who don't need preaching to (the choir).

Don't read into it so much.
AnonymousCommon sense people.

Preaching to a group of people who don't need preaching to (the choir).

Don't read into it so much.

Don't read so much into it.

Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
Anonymous:
I have always heard it said "singing to the choir". It means basically that when you are trying to explain something to someone...if that person has the same feelings about your topic.. then it is like a choir member singing to another choir member. I had never heard "preaching to the choir" until recently.
Live chat
Registered users can join here