Is there an idiom for "I know you have good intention, but we need to stick to the rule"?

  • I don't think this is quite what you mean, but "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". Nov 3, 2020 at 17:25
  • What it actually nets down to is You mean well, but you're stupid (cleverer people than you devised the rules that we need to stick to). Nov 3, 2020 at 17:29
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica Won't that be rude? Calling someone stupid right on their face? Nov 3, 2020 at 17:35
  • 1
    Well yes. But the fact of the matter is the speaker doesn't think whatever the addressee wants to do is a good idea, or he wouldn't be reminding him that we need to stick to the rules (presumably the addressee doesn't want to stick to the rules). However you dress it up, Yes, you mean well. But you're wrong! Nov 3, 2020 at 17:43
  • "Don't wear your heart on your sleeve"
    – Tyler M
    Nov 3, 2020 at 21:31

2 Answers 2


“The ends don’t justify the means”. Whether or not you agree with the sentiment philosophically/morally, the meaning of the phrase is that you shouldn’t do something wrong in order to accomplish something good.

  • 1
    That works for an ethical rule, but not for a safety rule. Nov 4, 2020 at 3:59

There is an idiom given by Farlex

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

There are several slants on its meaning

  • You can makes matters worse by interfering and good intentions alone are not enough.

  • There might be unforseen collateral damage unrelated to the situation.

  • People often intend to do good things but do not, because they are lazy or weak.

  • You can get yourself in trouble if you think the ends justify the means – @Alex.

Whether any of these fit the actual question

I know you have good intention, but we need to stick to the rule

might depend on the context, but the idiom could be used to put someone off an idea that is unrealistic – @FumbleFingers.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .