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Animal Proverbs: Can't get both fish and a bear's paw

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IN THIS LESSON
ID: 4265 Intermediate
Animal metaphors are prevalent in almost every language, but people from different cultures may regard the same animal differently. In Chinese proverbs, you will see a lot of animal metaphors to symbolize human actions. In this lesson, we're showing you three common proverbs related to fish. They can be directly translated to "You cannot get both the fish and a bear's paw", "Either the fish dies or the net breaks", and "Fish helps water, and water helps fish". Do you know what they actually mean? Check out these proverbs and learn how to apply them to daily life!
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SIMPLIFIED PINYIN ENGLISH  
靠...维生 kào...wéishēng to make a living (by)
鱼与熊掌不可兼得 yúyǔxióngzhǎngbùkějiāndé lit. the fish and the bear's paw, you can't have both at the same time (idiom, from Mencius); fig. you must choose one or the other; you can't always get everything you want
赶走 gǎnzǒu to drive out
同时 tóngshí at the same time
在古代的中国有很多人靠捕鱼维生,所以捕多一点的鱼代表多一点的财富。
zài gǔdài de Zhōngguó yǒu hěnduō rén kào bǔyú wéishēng ,suǒyǐ bǔ duō yìdiǎn de yú dàibiǎo duō yìdiǎn de cáifù 。
In ancient China, many people fish for a living. So, more fish represent more money.
鱼与熊掌不可兼得
yú yǔ xióng zhǎng bù kě jiān dé
You cannot have it both ways.
一只熊在河边吃鱼,猎人看到之后想要得到熊掌,也想要得到鱼。
yī zhī xióng zài hébiān chī yú ,lièrén kàndào zhīhòu xiǎngyào dédào xióngzhǎng ,yě xiǎngyào dédào yú 。
There’s a bear eating fish by the riverside. A hunter sees it. He wants both the bear’s paw and the fish.
可是抓熊的时候,要在熊吃鱼的时候攻击它。抓鱼的时候,却要把熊赶走才抓得到鱼。两件事情没办法同时做到。
kěshì zhuā xióng de shíhou ,yào zài xióng chī yú de shíhou gōngjī tā 。zhuā yú de shíhou ,què yào bǎ xióng gǎnzǒu cái zhuā de dào yú 。liǎng jiàn shìqing méi bànfǎ tóngshí zuòdào 。
When catching a bear, you should attack it when it’s eating a fish. But when catching a fish, you have to chase the bear away. These two things can’t be done at the same time. 
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