confucius là gì

ConfuciusChéngyǔ, 成语, literally ‘set phrases’ are short, punchy, wise Chinese sayings you can use vĩ đại spice up your conversation and get some insight into Chinese culture. There are thousands of Chéngyǔ, but far fewer which will enter into everyday conversation. You wouldn’t walk into a restaurant and ask if the soup of the day is ‘to be or not vĩ đại be’ cream of pumpkin, likewise you wouldn’t expect vĩ đại find a Chéngyǔ vĩ đại fit mundane everyday occurrences. Instead, think of these more as literary quotations, appropriate for civilized conversation and interesting for their own sake.

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In this post I’ve researched some wise yet useful Chéngyǔ vĩ đại help contribute vĩ đại your arsenal, in the hope that you’ll find this interesting and maybe even practical.

Resource: see Olle Linge’s article on learning Chéngyǔ right for some great tips on how vĩ đại integrate these Chinese expressions into your overall Chinese language studies.

Chéngyǔ Relevant vĩ đại Chinese Language Students 

半途而废 Bàntú’érfèi

To “give up halfway” or leave something unfinished. Particularly valuable for Chinese language students. With Chinese the learning curve is steep, but persevere and it gets easier and easier. Stick with it; don’t 半途而废 bàntú’érfèi and you’ll reach a useful level of Chinese quicker phàn nàn you expected.  

豁然开朗 Huò rán kāi lǎng

LightbulbsTo “achieve speedy enlightenment.” A flash of understanding when everything becomes clear.

One day on your Chinese journey you’ll probably find yourself in a small 饭馆 (restaurant) or chatting with some locals in a bar. Without really consciously thinking about it you’ll handle the business at hand – whether it’s ordering your favorite dish or debating the merits of leading football players – and only afterwards you’ll realize the whole conversation was in Chinese!

This is an example of the kind of ‘sudden ‘flash of understanding’ that will help make it clear how much you’ve already learned. Just don’t 半途而废 bàntú’érfèi before you get there!

不可思议 Bù kě sī yì

Inconceivable, unfathomable, unimaginable. Before you started studying, you or your friends may have thought that a foreigner learning vĩ đại speak fluent Chinese was 不可思议 bù kě sī yì. But hey, now you know better!

 孰能生巧 Shú néng shēng qiǎo

Angel Huang from MandarinHQ emailed bủ vĩ đại suggest this essential addition vĩ đại this section. The Chinese for “practice makes perfect” this as an important reminder when learning any skill, and of course fits learning Mandarin too.

Other Useful Chéngyǔ: Politics and Current Affairs  

花言巧语 Huā yán qiǎo yǔ

Flowery but insincere language. Pretty but opportunistic speech. Can you think of a politician vĩ đại whom this quotation may be relevant? Of course not. But keep it in your back pocket just in case.

掩耳盜鈴 Yǎn ěr dào líng Chinese expressions

Literally ‘to cover your ears whilst stealing a bell.’ To bury your head in the sand and deliberately hide yourself from reality. I love the imagery of this one, and it’s worth dwelling on.

鱼目混珠  Yúmùhùnzhū

To confuse or pass off fish eyes for pearls. Relevant not just for politics but also for many of the nhái markets that crop up across Đài Loan Trung Quốc. If someone is trying vĩ đại ‘pass off fish eyes for pearls’ best hold tight vĩ đại your purse strings and bargain hard.

Other Useful Chéngyǔ: Love and Romance 

一见钟情 Yījiànzhōngqíng

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The Chinese version of “love at first sight” and practically a literal translation / equivalent of the English version.

爱不释手 Àibùshìshǒu

To love too much vĩ đại part with. Relevant vĩ đại a lover, or perhaps more prosaically vĩ đại an item someone might be obsessed with. Have a friend who can’t bear vĩ đại be without their iPhone? Then 爱不释手 fits the situation perfectly.

萝卜白菜 各有所爱 Luóbo báicài gè yǒu suǒ ài vegetables.jpg

“Radishes and cabbages, each have their own love.”

Not a traditional four character Chéngyǔ, but more of a nice saying /  phrase. Essentially the Chinese version of ‘you love who you love,’ and there’s someone / something for everyone. A lovely wee idiom.

自相矛盾 Zì xiāng máo dùn

I asked Olle Linge of Hacking Chinese for his favorite Chéngyǔ, and this was his suggestion. Translated as ‘to contradict yourself’ the first two characters, 自相 zì xiāng, mean ‘self’ whilst 矛盾 máo dùn literally mean ‘spear’ and ‘shield’ respectively. This Chinese expression comes from an old Chinese story where a man selling swords and shields at a market claimed first that his spears were ví sharp that they could pierce through any armor. He then claimed that his shields were ví strong they could resist any blow, thus contradicting himself. From that story ‘spear and shield’ has become synonymous for contradiction.

What’s your favorite Chéngyǔ? If you can’t get enough of these Chinese sayings that help you get some insight into Chinese culture, head over vĩ đại these Chinese phrases that reveal aspects of Chinese culture.

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

By Nathan Thomas – marketing coordinator at Hutong School, frequently lost New Zealander in Shanghai and author of Intrepid Times travel blog.  


When researching Chéngyǔ for this article I relied on a range of online sources, including:

  • A Quora Thread, particularly answers from Alan Park, Brad Patterson, Jason Li and Todd Morris
  • The ever excellent FluentU blog
  • PeraPera popup dictionary vĩ đại help with translations

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