I am translating a novel, and have reached a point where I am in doubt of how to translate it.

The main character stands in a situation, where she has to make a tough decision. Which phrases could be used in English to express this? If, rather than a figure of speech, it could be a physical action, that would be preferred, but anything will do.

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    A crossroads? A moment of truth? A fork in the road? Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 15:07
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    You could be more specific. By "tough decision" do you mean one that's difficult to make because of the amount of data, research, etc or because the two options are very similar (you might say "that's a tough decision" when faced with a menu full of things you like); a decision that will have very serious consequences (e.g. life or death consequences); or one where both options are bad ("caught between a rock and a hard place", etc)?
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


Here are a couple of metaphors that would fit a "do or do-not" situation requiring drastic action. I'm not sure if that's the kind of situation you're trying to describe:

  • Standing before the Rubicon

  • Standing before a Gordian Knot

Note that these are not standard expressions. They're my attempt at taking existing idioms for drastic actions ("Crossing the Rubicon" and "Cutting the Gordian Knot") and trying to rework them into more pensive meanings.

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    I think this answer should explain it’s taking 2 idiomatic expressions and reworking or modifying them to create new custom expressions.
    – k1eran
    Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 11:49
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    Thanks, @k1eran, I added a paragraph, hopefully in that sense.
    – Mihai B
    Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 14:09
  • looks good. +1 from me.
    – k1eran
    Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 14:11

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