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Your New Favorite Chinese Idiom

YANGYANG CHENG

As a student of Chinese, you have probably already learned some Chinese idioms (or at least heard about how many there are)! Chinese people use idioms all the time so it's important to have a few under your belt that you can use in conversation.


Luckily, Chinese people have a great sense of humor and our idioms tend to reflect that. This makes Chinese idioms easy to remember and fun to use.


Today I want to tell you about a very common Chinese idiom that will want to use all the time. Also it's one that will probably make you and your friends laugh every time you use it, not to mention it will make you sound like a true Chinese.


Taking off your pants to fart
tuō kù zi fàng pì
脱裤子放屁  



Let's go through it word by word.


tuō 脱 - "to take off"


kùzi 裤子 - "pants"


fàngpì 放屁 - "to fart" 


Well that was pretty simple, right? Now that you've memorized the phrase, let's consider the meaning. 


Why would someone take off their pants in order to fart? That seems like a pretty useless, unnecessary step since people fart all the time with their pants on and have no problem, right? 


Well, therein lies the true meaning of this idiom. Tuō kù zi fàng pì means doing something that is absolutely unnecessary, or making things more complicated than they need to be.


My favorite personal example of this is a friend of mine that I used to work with. He used to get up from his desk seemingly every 5 minutes and head over to the printer. So one day I asked him why he needed to print out so many things. After all, we had the same job and I haven't used the printer once! Then, he showed me a huge stack of papers and told me he prints out all the emails he receives in order to keep a hard copy on file. Literally, every email. I think this example goes beyond "always be prepared" and definitely enters into the realm of "tuō kù zi fàng pì"


What do you think? Do you have any stories of something that is tuō kù zi fàng pì?  Share your favorite idiom in the comments below!

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YANGYANG CHENG is the founder of Yoyo Chinese and a TV personality. She taught Chinese to MBA students at Pepperdine University. Before that, Yangyang was the host of the popular entertainment TV show "Hello Hollywood!, bringing Western culture to tens of millions of viewers in China. Currently, she teaches Mandarin through video lessons on Yoyo Chinese, and can also be found hosting educational shows on popular channels like the Discovery Channel.

Thu, 05 Sep 2013 10:00:00 GMT

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