Maybe due to Brazil's Christian colonization, we have a sentence that some people use to reply when nothing can be done to solve a problem: "complain to the pope".

Is there any equivalent in English? Examples of sentences that can be replied with it:

  • I was over taxed by the government this year, what should I do?
  • I was fined for parking my car in the wrong place, I don't even have a car!
  • The government delayed the payment of our salaries this month.

It is like a dead-end situation where you can't do anything.

  • 5
    One common idiom that may apply; you can't fight city hall. – Elliott Frisch Aug 9 '16 at 2:03
  • 1
    There's "Tell it to the judge", but that's got a slightly different meaning from what you seek. – Hot Licks Aug 9 '16 at 2:50
  • Tell it to the judge seems similar but it is a layer above when not even judges can do anything. – André Dias Aug 9 '16 at 4:52
  • My favorite is the advice that Job's wife gives Job: "Curse God and die." This, in turn, raises a point that James Weldon Johnson made in 1912 in Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man: "Your arm's too short to box with God!" – Sven Yargs Aug 9 '16 at 5:43

"Don't hold your breath" comes to mind immediately. It's pretty common, at least in American English.

E.g.— I can't believe this happened. It should be fixed.

Don't hold your breath.

Also, "blue in the face", as in: "You can complain until you're blue in the face, but it isn't going to change".

The inherent meaning in both are similar.

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    I believe this is the closest so I'm taking it as answer, thanks =) – André Dias Sep 13 '16 at 22:14

The "obvious" answer (which might not actually be what you want) is talk to the hand, which is used as a contemptuous way of dismissing what someone has said.

  • 2
    In my experience, talk to the hand is about the listener choosing to ignore a comment or complaint— you might as well talk to the hand, because the ears ain't listenin'. It isn't about faceless bureaucracies, untouchable dignitaries, or insoluble problems. – choster Aug 9 '16 at 2:04
  • Yeah, we also have the "talk to the batman" here in Brazil with index finger and little finger pointing up while doing the hand mouth. But I agree that his is when the listener doesn't care, which is not the case in "complain to the pope" which is more empathic. – André Dias Aug 10 '16 at 17:18

I have one

what are you going to do?

used to say that there is nothing you can do to make a situation better


but it sounds the best delivered with a New Jersey accent:

Eh, whaddya gonna do? <- not work safe.

And can be used in many ways

whatcha gonna do

  1. when something surprising happens, and u know u cant stop it.

  2. or when someone gets all up in ur space and u say "whatcha gonna do"they automadicly step back

  3. me and lilys saying that solves everything

  4. "yesterday my boyfriend broke up with me"the girl said "well whatcha gonna do" the uncareing boy said

  5. "ouch i just stubbed my toe" lily said "watcha gonna do"rachel said "yeah i guess"lily said

  6. "yo mama" the small boy screamed. "WAT" the big boy screamed "u talking about ma mama" the big boy towers over the small boy. "yeah whatcha gonna do" the small boy said. then the big boy took a step bakward.

see it solves everything


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