Chinese four character idiom 入乡随俗 (Rù xiāng suí sú)

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” Occasionally there is a Chinese phrase which translates very neatly into English through an equivalent phrase, this is one of those cases, you already know what “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” (or just “when in Rome” for short!) This is how you say that ...

“Yes” and “No” in Mandarin Chinese

It’s a simple question right? How do you say “yes” or “no” in Mandarin Chinese? Unfortunately sometimes simple questions have complex answers, and in this case something as simple as “yes” and “no” has a relatively intricate answer — that’s what...

Shawn Powrie
3 min read
Chinese four character idiom 守株待兔 (Shǒu zhū dài tù)

“To guard a tree-stump waiting for rabbits” One of the nicest and most meaningful four character phrases in Mandarin Chinese is the phrase 守株待兔 (Shǒu zhū dài tù), — because it’s about the need to go out to seek opportunities....

Shawn Powrie
1 min read
Chinese Four Character Idiom: 忠言逆耳 (Zhōng yán nì ěr)

“Loyal advice jars on the ears” Another great four character phrase in Mandarin Chinese is 忠言逆耳 (Zhōng yán nì ěr) which could be translated to “Loyal advice jars on the ears” It’s referring to a situation where correction is given...

Shawn Powrie
43 sec read
Chinese Four Character Idiom: 死灰复燃 (Sǐ huī fù rán)

“Resurgence” A very nice four character phrase in Chinese is 死灰复燃 (Sǐ huī fù rán), which is roughly translated to describe a “resurgence”, it describes a situation where something that previously “died” or “disappeared” has for whatever reason come back....

Shawn Powrie
56 sec read
The Chinese counterfactual

The “counterfactual” is a mood or inflection of language that signals a departure from reality and an entry into the realm of hypothesis — instead of speaking about what is we speak about what might be or non-real statements.   The Chinese...

Shawn Powrie
7 min read