Chinese idiom 爱莫能助 – Love to help but can not

Posted by Grace Feng on March 6, 2012

Chinese idiom 爱莫能助Have you ever felt that however much you wanted to help someone, you just couldn’t due to all kinds of factors that were out of your control. In this situation, Chinese idiom 爱莫能助 (ài mò néng zhù) is just the right phrase that you could say.

Literally it means:”love to but can not help”. It not only expresses your strong will to help, but also honestly shows it’s beyond your power to help. It is a very useful expression that you can use in your Chinese facing social life.

Let’s see how to use it in the following example:

wǒ hěn yuànyì míngtiān kāichē sòng nǐ qù, kěxī wǒ de chē bèi dìdi jiè zǒu le. wǒ shì àimònéngzhù ā!

我很愿意明天开车送你去, 可惜我的车被弟弟借走了. 我是爱莫能助啊!

I’d love to give you a ride tomorrow. But my brother has borrowed my car. Sorry, I’d love to but I can’t.

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Try to use this idiom to make some sentence. Practice your sentences again and again until you can use this  idiom freely.

Winter is about to leave, spring is about to come, it is a good time of the year to go outside and practice your speaking Chinese. If you can find native speakers to talk to, that’ll be great. If not, why not bring some Chinese articles to read out loud in the nature?

Enjoy your early spring, and talk to you tomorrow!


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How to understand and use Chinese expression 顾左右而言它?
Easy and practical Chinese idiom 言过其实
Chinese idiom 出类拔萃 - The great expectation that Chinese parents have for their children


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