Tag Archives: idioms

A Comprehensive Guide to Euphemisms in Chinese and English

I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of euphemisms in language – that is, words and expressions which allow you to express something without doing so in a direct way. In Chinese they are known as 婉辞, though in daily conversation it is more common to hear them described as 委婉语 or 委婉的说法. Here are […]

33 Proverbs that Translate Well Between English and Mandarin

Following on from 23 Actually Useful Proverbs (谚语), I have come up with a list of proverbs that have some kind of equivalence between Chinese and English. I look forward to reading your comments, additions and criticisms! 1. There’s no use crying over spilt milk. 覆水难收 fù shuǐ nán shōu (“Spilt water is hard to […]

10 Chinese Love Idioms

I’ve been looking through some old notes I had written a few years ago and was inspired to come up with a love/relationships theme for my next blog entry. Here’s a list I’ve come up with some (native-speaker-checked) example sentences to help you express more eloquently your past, present and future experiences with the lovers […]

Bragging and Showing Off

This week’s Chinese semantic field is all about showing off – that is, to proudly demonstrate one’s skill, talent, possessions, achievements, etc before others – and bragging – the expression of these characteristics in spoken form. There are a truckload of translations here, so forgive me for not providing example sentences. (At least I tried […]

20 Actually Useful Chengyu (成语)

Most advanced learners, I think, have a love-hate relationship with chengyu (成语), those pesky, mostly four-character idioms taken from classical China. Sure, you get learners who are obsessed with them and endeavour to memorise one hundred a month only to find their practical usage is hazy to say the least. (It’s also very difficult at […]