A woman found out that her husband cheated on her. She was so sad that she didn't want to do any fun activities like she used to do before. Her friend asked her to go travelling, but she refused.

My mother tongue is Vietnamese.

If I translate from Vietnamese to English, it will be "I have no guts to go out with you".

However, "guts" in English is more about courage to do something. For example, "I have no guts to fight with that big guy".

Is it correct to say "I have no guts to go out with you" because you are so sad now and don't want to think about or do anything else?

1 Answer 1


The expression for not having the courage to do something daunting is I haven't the guts to... However, this isn't appropriate for the situation you describe. The woman might say I haven't the heart to go travelling with you. ('Go out' suggests going on a date or attending a social event rather than travelling.)

  • Language is strange. In Vietnamese, we say "I don't have liver to do something dangerous/daunting". Can I say "He hasn't the heart to do something" when she lost her job or grandpa passed away, not just about romantic relationship?
    – Tom
    Commented Nov 14, 2021 at 15:51
  • Even in British English, we're much more likely today to say I don't have the guts [to do that] rather than I haven't the guts. And this preference is much stronger in American English. Commented Nov 14, 2021 at 16:21
  • @Tom - although in English we do have the expression lily-livered which Mirriam-Webster defines as "having or showing a shameful lack of courage" Commented Nov 14, 2021 at 18:49
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    'Not having the heart to do something' doesn't refer to romantic situations, it means what you describe, that the person feels too sad to enjoy doing something that is usually enjoyable. Commented Nov 14, 2021 at 19:46
  • But according to the dictionary "not have the heart to do something" mean "to be unable to do something because it will make someone unhappy". If we say "Tom didn't have the heart to go to the cinema with Mary" could mean Tom didn't want to go to the cinema with Mary because he was afraid he would make Mary unhappy. My situation is a bit different, Tom didn't want to go with Mary because he had in bad mood
    – Tom
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 4:18

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