Posted by Grace Feng on March 2, 2012
Before we start, can we do a quick quiz first? In today’s world, if you get a piece of important information from a stranger, what is your thought on the information? Believe it completely? Or don’t believe a single word of it? Or half-believe and half-doubt?
I believe most of you would choose the last one. So you want to tell your Chinese friend about a breaking news you overheard from a homeless man on your way home. You want to say you’re dubious about what you heard.
Can you describe it in a concise manner? Yes, you can, use Chinese idiom 半信半疑 (bàn xìn bàn yí). You can use it in the following sentence pattern:
wǒ duì tā shuō dehuà bànxìnbànyí.
I’m dubious about what he said.
Maybe you’ve notice the appearance of two “半 (bàn)” in the idiom. While you’re learning this idiom, it’s a good opportunity to introduce another “half half” idiom – 半推半就 (bàn tuī bàn jiù).
推 (tuī) means “decline”, 就 (jiù) means “compromise”. 半推半就 (bàn tuī bàn jiù) means “half-decline, half-accept”. It is actually a very “Chinese” word. I can’t find an equivalent word in English. It means to accept other people’s offer or wooing in a hidden way. A person that seemingly to decline, yet deep down wants to accept. Why this person would do this? To pretend he/she is decent or noble enough to not to accept the offer or wooing.
Phew! Hope I’ve made it easier for you to understand. Please don’t rely on google translater for this one! Google translator translates it into “half-hearted”, it’s just another joke.
The following example might help you to better understand this idiom:
nà wèi jīnglǐ duì kèhù sòng de lǐ bàn tuī bàn jiù dì shōu xià le.
The manager accepted the gift from the client after politely declined first.
Got it? If not, feel free to leave your question in the comment area, I will answer you in 24 hours.
Good night my friend, hope you had a wonderful day!
See you next time!
Category: Chinese idioms
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