I'm trying to find a way to express a french sentence in English "Suffit-il de prêcher la tolérance pour la vivre ?" Which literally means "is it enough to preach tolerance to live it?"

Is it correct in English to "live tolerance" -(or any quality)?

I was tempted to use "to practice tolerance" but it sound not enough. "Practicing" could mean "being sometime tolerant" (and sometime not), in the french expression it means something strong like "doing it always" or "to incarnate it". Any idea of an English equivalent of it?

  • Note there is a spelling error. The verb is spelt "practise". So you should "practise tolerance". However, if I am to practise what I preach I should note that the spelling error is very common, even among educated britons, and will be tolerated even if it is noticed.
    – James K
    Jul 28, 2016 at 12:49

1 Answer 1


Several options come to mind:

  • Strongly adhere to the principle of tolerance

A bit high-hat, suited perhaps in a news report or in a politician's statement

This is way more personal, but could be too emphatic

  • Stick to tolerance

This is probably the best option of the three mentioned, but there surely exist others.

By the way, practice might be a good idea, since there's a well-known expression practice what you preach.

We also could reframe another stock saying and say "Tolerant is as tolerant does", although that may baffle non-native speakers.

Update: the result of my tolerant reworking of Eric's idea:

  • Be tolerant and your tolerance will preach for itself.
  • 3
    I think the most common one I'd say or hear is, "be tolerant." How to fit that in with the OP's original sentence, though, I'm a bit unsure of.
    – Cat
    Jul 4, 2014 at 17:49
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    I have one idea: "Be tolerant and your (or the, or zero article) tolerance will preach for itself". Jul 4, 2014 at 17:51
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    Yes, I think something like that is perfect. Flows very nicely. (Best with your, I think.)
    – Cat
    Jul 4, 2014 at 17:52
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    @CopperKettle thanks a lot for all those explanation I did not know about that "practice what you preach". Yes indeed "Tolerant is as tolerant does" baffles me!
    – JinSnow
    Jul 5, 2014 at 18:28

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