The sloppy way of doing and talking – Chinese expression 拖泥带水

Posted by Grace Feng on August 2, 2013

The sloppy way of doing and talking - Chinese expression 拖泥带水Chinese expression 拖泥带水 tuōnídàishuǐ is used to describe sloppy attitude while doing things or talking. The original expression of this expression is used to describe the messy way one is wading forward in the mud.

Imagine your car got broken in a wild place. The rain was pouring down, but you still had to get out of the car and sought for help since there’s no wireless signal in that area to make a phone call possible. Totally soaked, you were trudging forward in the Pool of mud. Could you have walked as fast as you usually do? Of course not. Were you distracted from time to time by all the discomforts you have? Yes, you were. Therefore, you couldn’t concentrate enough on searching for help, you had to slow down to attend to all other discomforts and hardships.

The way you were searching for help is exactly the way 拖泥带水 tuōnídàishuǐ is all about. To apply that expression in a broader life, it can be used to describe messy, sloppy, slovenly and carelessly slow ways of handling things or talking.

It’s a negative word and is always used to give negative comments. I’ll show you two examples,


tā zuò shìqing zǒngshì tuōnídàishuǐ de, kuài bù qilai。


The way she handles things is always sloppy and slow.



shuōhuà qǐng bùyào tuōnídàishuǐ, zhíjiē jiǎng zhòngdiǎn。


Please don’t beat about the bush, cut to the point.


Now, could you use 拖泥带水 tuōnídàishuǐ to make two sentences as well? You can leave your sentences in the comment area, thanks!


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Category: Chinese vocabulary

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