The 35 Most Useful Chinese Proverbs for Chinese Learners

Posted by Julia Song on 06/04/2016 10:28 PM 1188

Proverb inspires you when you are down. The ancient Chinese has the incomparable wisdom, and in this post I collected some touching and inspiring proverbs by some of the famous people.

1. jìn zhū zhě chì , jìn mò zhě hēi
近朱者赤近,近墨者黑。

One takes the behavior of one's company.

2. yī jiàn shuāng diāo
一箭双雕。

Kill two birds with one stone.

3. rén wǎng gāo chù zǒu shuǐ wǎng dī chù liú
人往高处走,水往低处流。

Man struggles upwards; water flows downwards.

4. shǎo zhuànɡ bù nǔ lì, lǎo dà tú shān bēi
少壮不努力,老大徒伤悲。

A young idler, an old beggar.

5. rén xīn qí tài shān yí
人心齐,泰山移。

When people work with one mind, they can even remove Mount Taishan.

6. fáng huàn yú wèi rán
防患于未然。

Prevention is better than cure.

7. chéng yě xiāo hé bài yě xiāo hé
成也萧何,败也萧何。
It is also the one who contributes to success the cause of failure.

8. chī yī qiàn,zhǎng yī zhì
吃一堑长一智。

Learn from one's mistakes

9. dé ráo rén chù qiě ráo rén
得饶人处且饶人。

Be lenient wherever it is possible

10. hǎo hàn bù chī yǎn qián kuī
好汉不吃眼前亏。

A wise man does not fight when the odds are against him.

11. háng háng chū zhuàng yuán
行行出状元。

Every profession produces its own leading authority.

12. jì lái zhī zé ān zhī
既来之则安之。

Take things as they come cross the bridge when one comes to it.

13. lǐ qīng qíng yì zhòng
礼轻情意重。

The gift itself may be small, but the goodwill is deep.

14. lù yáo zhī mǎ lì rì jiǔ jiàn rén xīn
路遥知马力,日久见人心。

Distance tests a horse's stamina;Time reveals a man's heart.

15. mó dāo bú wù kǎn chái gōng
磨刀不误砍柴工。

A beard well lathered is half shaved.

16. qián rén zāi shù hòu rén chéng liáng
前人栽树,后人乘凉。

One generation plants the trees in whose shade another generation rests.

17. qīng chū yú lán ér shèng yú lán
青出于蓝而胜于蓝。
The students surpass the teacher.

18. qiú rén bù rú qiú jǐ
求人不如求己。
Self-help is better than help from others.

19. rú rén yǐn shuǐ lěng nuǎn zì zhī
如人饮水冷暖自知。
Only the wearer knows where the shoes pain.

20. shèng bù jiāo,bài bù něi
胜不骄败不馁。

Not to become dizzy with success, nor be discouraged by failure.

21. shì shàng wú nán shì,zhǐ pà yǒu xīn rén
世上无难事,只怕有心人。

It's dogged as does it.

22. tīng qí yán guān qí xíng
听其言观其行。

Listen to what a person says and watch he does.

23. xiān xià shǒu wéi qiáng
先下手为强。

Catch the ball before the bound

24. yī nián zhī jì zài yú chūn
一年之计在于春。

A year's plan starts with spring

25. zì zhù zhě tiān zhù zhī
自助者天助之。

God helps those who help themselves.

26. rù xiāng suí sú
入乡随俗。

Do as the Romans do.

27. qiān lǐ zhī xíng shǐ yú zú xià
千里之行,始于足下。

A thousand mile trip begins with one step.

28. liáng hǎo de kāi duān shì chéng gōng de yī bàn
良好的开端是成功的一半。

A good beginning is half done.

29. huó dào lǎo xué dào lǎo
活到老,学到老。

A man is never too old to learn.

30. yù sù zé bù dá
欲速则不达。

Fool's haste is no speed.

31. bú zài qí wèi,bù móu qí zhèng
不在其位,不谋其政。

Every man should confine himself to his own duties.

32. chéng rén bù zì zài,zì zài bù chéng rén
成人不自在,自在不成人。

You can't expect to be both grand and comfortable.

33. chū yū ní ér bù rǎn
出淤泥而不染。

Live in the silt but not imbrued

34. dǎ kāi tiān chuāng shuō liàng huà
打开天窗说亮话。

Let's not mince matters.

35. dú shū bǎi biàn qí yì zì jiàn
读书百遍,其义自见。

Read hundreds times, and you will find the meaning.

As you have read, the Chinese proverbs above not only inspire you when you down but also show you the way to success. Want to learn more wisdom of the ancient Chinese? I highly recommend this Chinese culture course for you, here to have a FREE trial!

About The Author

Julia Song

Julia’s cheerful attitude and close attention to her students’ progress make her an excellent Mandarin teacher for students of all levels. Holding a bachelor’s degree in language instruction and several years’ teaching experience, Julia excels at linguistic pedagogy and one-on-one instruction. Learn Chinese online with Julia Song >>

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