I want a synonym for "nobody's perfect" in a more idiomatic way. Maybe some rare old phrase to mean that every side has good and bad.

I'm talking about a meaning that will convey that in every faction, religion, group or whatever there are both bad and good people. Not that a person has good and bad within him.

  • 1
    I was in a taxi in Bethlehem and the driver was talking about how Palestinians are not terrorists, despite the propaganda. He stretched out his hand and held up four fingers. "These are the good people," he said. Then he held up just his pinkie. "This is one bad person. Everywhere. Not just in Palestine." The image stuck. Not sure how to turn it into a nice portable phrase, though... Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 5:01

3 Answers 3


You may want to use "Every rose has its thorn":

  • There is rarely a good or positive thing, event, or circumstance that is not accompanied by something negative or unpleasant

As an example:

Mike: My bride is lovely and gracious, but I'm discovering that she has a terrible temper. Bill: There's no rose without a thorn.

Here is another one:

A: "I can't believe the amount of taxes I have to pay on my lottery winnings!"

B: "No rose without a thorn, eh?"

  1. For something that has both bad and good sides, you may want to use "There are two sides to every coin" which means you can't have the good part of something without its bad.

  2. Another phrase can be "mixed blessing":

  • something that is good in some ways and bad in other ways

  • an event, situation, etc, having both advantages and disadvantages

  • For something that has both positive and negative effects, you may want to use "double-edged sword":
  • If you say that something is a double-edged sword or a two-edged sword, you mean that it has negative effects as well as positive effects.
  • Elegant, but I think I'll edit my question to clarify. Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 16:36

... in every faction, religion, group or whatever there are both bad and good people.

There's always a few bad apples.


I've got two similar expressions for you. They both describe the nature of human imperfection this way: no matter how good you are at something, you still have flaws.

even Homer nods (the legendary Greek writer Homer is considered one of the most important and influential authors in the history of European literature):

Not even the most vigilant and expert are immune to error.

Although originally a Japanese expression, the phrase even monkeys fall from trees (monkeys are supposed to be experts when it comes to tree climbing) seems to have become very popular in the English-speaking world:

It suggests that even the most skilled, can make a mistake in something they should be a master of. Or, to put it simply, "Anyone can make a mistake."

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