In my native language, when we hear someone ask if it's a good idea to do something good for the sake of others, we say, "need one ask to do a good act?". It means doing a good thing for others, or being kind to them, needs no conditions or any questions to be answered - just go ahead and do it.

Sometimes it's used humorously to accept an offer when someone offers you something, e.g. your friend offers you some cookies and says, "Want some?" And you respond, "Need one ask to do a good act?"

Is there any English equivalent of this proverb for both contexts that I described above?

  • 1
    Usually we'd just say "Do you (really) have to ask?" though that's more common when the act is beneficial to the person answering as well. – John Clifford Mar 11 '16 at 10:18
  • And, though it's not directly germane to your question, the normal phrase for what you call "a good act" is "a good deed". (The word 'deed' is rather old fashioned, but still used in that idiom). – Colin Fine Mar 11 '16 at 10:56
  • What's your language? Urdu? HIndi? Tell me the idiom you are talking about. I may try answering this. Do you mean नेकी और पुछ पुछ? – Maulik V Mar 11 '16 at 11:50
  • 1
    It's not exactly the same, but a related saying might be A good deed is its own reward. – stangdon Mar 11 '16 at 13:23
  • @Malik V: None, I'm a Persian Speaker. – Yuri Mar 11 '16 at 16:36

I can't think of anything equivalent in English except something like "No good deed goes unpunished" which is a humorous way of conveying the idea that often well meaning, good actions are misinterpreted and not appreciated or people become outright angry about them. A simple common equivalent response but with different meaning might be "Do you really have to ask?" Or something to the effect of stating the obvious, "Is the pope Catholic?" or "Does a bear shit in the woods?". The implication being, of course!

  • Yea, I think the humorous part quite serves my purpose, especially for the second context that I described. Thanks – Yuri Mar 13 '16 at 17:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.