Daily Chinese Proverb: Choice

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Saturday, 8 August 2009
This proverb Literally means "One cannot get fish and bear's paw at the same time."


yú yǔ xióng zhǎng bù kě jiān dé
yu2 yu3 xiong2 zhang3 bu4 ke3 jian1 de2

Figuratively speaking, this can mean you must choose one or the other or you can't always get everything you want. However most commonly it is said as this common English idiom:

"You can't have your cake and eat it too."

This proverb is from Mencius (men-ci-us) (c380–289 b.c) A Chinese Confucian philosopher who taught that people are innately good and that one's nature can be enhanced or perverted by one's environment.

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