What words can I use for 'restrict yourself to' or 'limit yourself to' or 'go for the worse choice because the better one is unavailable',

as in 'you can't use this simpler method, so you'll have to __ using a more difficult one'.

What came to mind was 'stick to', but I want to make it clear that the other method is more difficult.

Or you can say 'you can't use this simpler method, so you'll have to refrain from using it', but it doesn't mention anything about the limitation to using the specific harder one and only says you can't use the simple one.

edit: "resort to" (suggested by Jason Patterson's comment) is just what I need.

  • 3
    In your example, "continue" or "resort to" would work. Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 19:20
  • @JasonPatterson "continue" doesn't work, because, as I said, I want to make it clear that the method you'll have to stick to is more difficult. "resort to" works great though. thanks.
    – user26486
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 19:21
  • I think I will simply say, "you can't use this (simple/simpler) method; you have to use ...". Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 19:27
  • I think you have to try harder, using a more difficult one could work too. Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 20:04

3 Answers 3


In cases where there is a better choice and a worse choice, but for whatever reason the better choice is not actually available, the most common thing I can think of is that you have to settle for the worse choice. The Free Dictionary gives the following definition:

to agree to accept something (even though something else would be better). We wanted a red one, but settled for a blue one.


In the sentence provided, I would fill in the blank with 'resort to', which, as the idiom dictionary informs us, means 'to turn to something that is not the first choice'.

  • This is perfect, but we'll see if anyone has other suggestions. If not, I'll just accept this.
    – user26486
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 21:09

You asked about:

going for a worse choice because a better one is unavailable

One rather common English idiom for this is:

the lesser of two evils

The UE dictionary defines this as:

an unpleasant option, but not as bad as the other [option]

Here's an example usage of that phrase, taken from a book:

Howard and his friends presented their eagerness to enlist as the lesser of two evils, the alternative to being drafted.
from The Truth of the Matter by Robb Forman Dew, 2008

I've often heard this expression used at election time, when voters aren't very happy with any of the candidates. For example, here is a quote from a recent news story:

So if we want to make real change, you're not going to do that by choosing the lesser of two evils.

Or this one:

For too long, Bennett argued, the first-past-the-post electoral system had given voters a choice of the lesser of two evils with Labour and the Conservatives.

  • Though not the answer to my question (because it is asking for a way to express you, e.g., resorting to using a difficult method given a great alternative that doesn't work in the case), this has taught me a new idiom.
    – user26486
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 1:25

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