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

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

To can give someone an advantage or provide them with an opportunity, but you can't force them to do something if they don't want to. A: "I just don't understand. We've given him the very best education and introduced him to the right people, but he just won't pursue a meaningful career." B: "Well, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."
See also: but, can, drink, horse, lead, make

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

Prov. You can present someone with an opportunity, but you cannot force him or her to take advantage of it. Jill: I told Katy about all the jobs that are available at our company, but she hasn't applied for any of them. Jane: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
See also: but, can, drink, horse, lead, make

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

Even favorable circumstances won't force one to do something one doesn't want to, as in We've gotten all the college catalogs but he still hasn't applied-you can lead a horse to water . This metaphoric term dates from the 12th century and was in John Heywood's proverb collection of 1546. It is so well known that it is often shortened, as in the example.
See also: but, can, drink, horse, lead, make, water

you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink

or

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

If you say you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink or make it drink, you mean that you can give someone the opportunity to do something, but you cannot force them to do it if they do not want to. A lot of lives could be saved by using the right equipment. However, as the following data show, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink: Hard hats were worn by only 16 percent of those workers who sustained head injuries, although 40 percent were required to wear them. Note: This expression is often varied. You can lead a boy to books, but can you make him read?
See also: but, can, drink, horse, lead, make, water

you can ˌtake/ˌlead a horse to ˌwater, but you ˌcan’t make it ˈdrink

(saying) you can give somebody the opportunity to do something, but you cannot force them to do it if they do not want to
See also: but, can, drink, horse, lead, make, take
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You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
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