If you can't lick 'em, join 'em or if you can´t beat ...

Discussion in 'English Only' started by igma, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. igma Banned


    who is the wise person that can give me some example examples using either of this proverbs which mean the same?
    Additionally, I
    thank you
  2. igma Banned


    who is the wise person that can give me some example examples using either of this proverbs which mean the same?
    Additionally, I would also be grateful if anyone could give me an explanation of the meaning of the expression.

    thank you
  3. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    It means that as you have no chance of winning, you may as well give in.

    It's often used ironically to explain a change of heart.

    Suppose there's a plan to build a motorway round your town and you join a citizens' group opposing it. When you see that there is no way that you are going to stop the project, you might philosophically say to someone that motorways aren't such a bid thing.

    If you can't lick 'em, join 'em, in other words, they might say in reply, meaning that you aren't really convinced but that you've persuaded yourself there is no future in continuing with the objection.
  4. envie de voyager Senior Member

    Niagara Falls, Canada
    These proverbs mean "If you can't stop someone from doing something, then go ahead and do the same thing as them."

    Pretend there is a law that says people must not wash their cars. But everyone ignores this law, and washes their cars every day. You obey the law, but you are the only one driving a dirty car. You complain to the police, but they say they don't care. After months of complaining and driving the only dirty car, you decide to join everyone else in breaking the law, and you wash your car. If you can't beat them, join them.
  5. igma Banned


    but still have problems to really learn to use it properly . i am trying to think of a situation

    thank you
  6. igma Banned

    trying to think of more situations in which is appropriate to use the proverb

    thank you anyway
  7. Miriam Kane

    Miriam Kane New Member

    English - American
    I've never heard the phrase "If you can't lick 'em, join 'em" used.

    It's usually used in situations where a speaker initially believed that his or her actions were helping to create a better society, but has come to realize that their actions weren't doing much to achieving that goal. It connotes an acknowledgement of the speaker's hypocrisy and/or that the speaker has lost faith in his or her beliefs.

    Here's one I heard yesterday:

    Me: Don't eat that! It has meat in it[, and you're a vegetarian].

    B.: Not anymore. If you can't beat them, join them.
  8. igma Banned

    thank you sir for the answer but still have trouble understanding it thoroughly

    Surprisingly, i have had trouble understanding your explanation. Could you do so using other words? I can just understand it partially. Sorry !

    Don´t lose your patience jejejeje

    thank you very much
  9. igma Banned


    then it means that you have lost faith in your beliefs and therefore you start thinking completely different about a situation

    thank you again
  10. Bevj

    Bevj Allegra Moderata

    Girona, Spain
    English (U.K.)
    I would say that it means that you know you are in a minority and therefore decide to go along with what other people do.
    This could infer a situation such as Miriam describes, but not necessarily so. For me, the phrase has no moral implications.

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