One can’t have one’s cake and eats it too 鱼与熊掌不可兼得


One can’t have one’s cake and eats it too is a popular English idiomatic proverb or figure of speech. It means an individual can’t use a thing and still attempts to own it (such as eating a piece of cake and yet still possessing that piece for future use) It may also indicate having or wanting more than one can handle or deserve, or trying to have two incompatible things. The proverb’s meaning is similar to the phrases, “you can’t have it both ways” and “you can’t have the best of both worlds.

There is a Chinese proverbs which bears similar meaning. It is 鱼与熊掌不可兼得, which literally means “one cannot get fish and bear’s paw at the same time”. Back in the old days, both were considered culinary rarities. I was told the closest Spanish phrase to this is.“no puedes tener simpre lo que quieras”

以上应语谚语表示不能同时做两件互不相容的事而双收其利,即两者不可兼得或不能两全其美,可译为:不能什么都随你;不能两全其美;事难两全;两者不可兼得.

Examples

  • He can’t make up his mind whether to go to college or get a full-time job. You can’t have your cake and eat it. 上大学还是找个全日工作的职业,他还拿不定主意,两者不可兼得啊。
  • You spend all your money on beer and then complain about being poor, but you can’t have your cake and eat it, you know. 你把所有的钱都喝啤酒喝完了,然后又抱怨没钱用,你知道,这不能两全其美啊。
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