to have the heart to take someone’s advice


Senior Member
Arlene Kelly had been a slender vision in white lace when Father Brixton’s predecessor married them. She had still been slender and beautiful after giving birth to Ollie, but that had been seventeen years ago. She had begun to put on weight after giving birth to Frank, and now she was on the verge of obesity … although she was still beautiful to Fred, who hadn’t the heart to take Dr Connolly’s advice, at his last physical: You’re good to go for another fifty years, Fred, as long as you don’t fall off a building or step in front of a truck, but your wife has type two diabetes, and needs to lose fifty pounds if she’s going to stay healthy.
Source: Outsider by Stephen King

If if do not have the heart to take your advise, I do not have the courage or the grit to act on your advise, right?

Thank you.
  • 'To take to heart' means to be affected and act as advised (presumably to encourage the wife to diet)

    ADDED: to have the heart to [take the advice]. is a slightly different expression, as Velisarius points out, below.

    It means to be emotionally inclined to take the advice. The passage says he is NOT so inclined.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Thank you. Are you suggesting ‘to have the heart to take’ and “take to heart” mean the same?


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    But it isn't " take to heart".

    If you don't have the heart to do something, you can't do it because you don't want to (emotionally) hurt the other person. He won't pass on the doctor's advice, for fear of making his wife unhappy.

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