Chinese Idioms - 鱼与熊掌不可兼得 - You can't have your cake and eat it too

by Wendy

鱼与熊掌不可兼得(yú yǔ xiónɡ zhǎnɡ bù kě jiān dé) literally means : “One cannot get fish and bear's paw at the same time.”
 
It is a golden sentence from Mencius. Mencius said, "I like fish, and I also like bear's paws. If I cannot have the two together, I will let the fish go, and take the bear's paws. So, I like life, and I also like righteousness. If I cannot keep the two together, I will let life go, and choose righteousness."
 
Nowadays people use it to express:
You can not have both at the same time.
You must choose one or the other.
You can't have your cake and eat it too.
 
 
For example: 
 
A:我想要一个好工作:既是我自己喜欢的又赚钱多。
B:这样的工作可不好找,鱼与熊掌不可兼得,还是选择对你最重要的那个吧。
 
 
“鱼与熊掌不可兼得”出自《孟子》一书:“鱼,我所欲也,熊掌亦我所欲也;二者不可得兼,舍鱼而取熊掌者也。生亦我所欲也,义亦我所欲也;二者不可得兼,舍生而取义者也。”

Print   Email