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you just can't win

INFORMAL
This page is about the conversational phrase you just can't win

Meaning

You can say this if you feel you can't succeed, or can't please someone, no matter what you do.

For example

  • "You're always on time and you do a good job, and they still fire you. You just can't win!"

  • "If I tell them what to do, I'm a control freak. If I don't tell them what to to, I lack leadership. You just can't win, can you?"

Note:
For this use of the phrase, stress is on the word "can't".

Quick Quiz

Harry said, "You just can't win!" He was

a. frustrated by unfair demands

b. angry because you didn't win

c. excited because he beat you

Contributor: Matt Errey