You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

Meaning:

You can give someone the opportunity to learn or to do something, but you can never force him to accept that opportunity.

This proverb is often shortened to you can lead a horse to water. . . .

 

Example:

Hannah and Jack are married and have a twelve year old daughter named Nicole. Hannah is trying to help Nicole with her English homework. Nicole doesn't care about school. She just wants to go play soccer with her friends. Hannah becomes angry and finally lets Nicole go.

"Nicole just doesn't understand how important school is. She just wants to play," Hannah tells Jack.

"She'll understand someday. But right now, you have to remember that you can lead a horse to water, but you can make it drink. When she wants to do better, she will ask for your help. You can't force her to learn."

"I guess you're right, but I don't like it."

 

Picture:

 

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Last modified on April 20, 1999