In my native language we have an ironic saying: "It is hard to convince a fish to jump into water", which is used when we convince for example an alcoholic to take a drink or an athlete to go jogging. The act itself doesn't have to be easy for the individual, only natural or expected.

Is there a similar saying in English?

  • In English, it has been my experience that such ironic/sarcastic statements about the [lack of] difficulty of getting something/somebody to do something (like your fish idiom) would usually include “It’s/that’s about as hard as …” to signal the irony/sarcasm. With “about as hard as” added, you can easily create your own phrases, or use some that I’ve heard (“That’s about as hard as convincing/getting a dog to eat meat/chase his tail/chase cats” or “That’s about as hard as convincing/getting a cat to ignore you/chase mice.”) – Papa Poule Sep 9 '15 at 17:40

Preaching to the choir means trying to persuade an already convinced audience. The idiom is based on the idea of a pastor of a church delivering his sermon to the people in the choir, who are presumably already believers. Generally it's used to mean "you don't have to convince me," as in "Hey buddy, you're preaching to the choir here, I'm already voting Democratic this year" (or whatever).

(idiomatic) Speaking as if to convince a person or group of something which that person or group already believes. Often used to imply that a speaker is addressing the wrong audience or is deliberately addressing a compliant, non-challenging audience.



Preach to the converted:

  • to try to persuade people to believe things they already believe (usually in continuous tenses).

    • There's no need to tell us about the benefits of recycling. You're preaching to the converted.

The Free Dictionary

  • 2
    This sounds like the opposite of what the OP is seeking. He suggests that it is not hard to persuade the subject to take the action. Your phrase suggests that it is hard to get an Eskimo to pay for ice. – bib Sep 8 '15 at 13:10
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    This isn't an edit of your answer, this is a completely new and different answer. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Sep 8 '15 at 13:51
  • I had misunderstood the question. – user66974 Sep 8 '15 at 13:52

The idiom "pushing at an open door" has that meaning:

Definition of push at or against an open door in English:

Have no difficulty in accomplishing a task: ‘if the management were to tackle this issue, it might find that it was pushing at an open door’


For example, "trying to persuade that alcoholic to have a drink was pushing at an open door"...

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