Chinese idiom: 半途而废 To give up halfway



To give up halfway

This idiom is particularly relevant for me right now because doing a PGCE is tough and, as much as I love teaching, sometimes it is difficult to maintain motivation when I get bogged down in the paperwork.
But, 我不要半途而废!I don’t want to give up (more than) halfway through or all the hard work I have put in up until now will be wasted. 加油!
凡事半途而廢 Never do things by halves.  
The story goes that a man went away to study. But after a year he missed his wife so much that he came back home. She asked him why he had come back, then took her scissors and put them against the silk brocade she had spent months weaving. ‘Studying is like weaving this brocade, everyday adding little by little. If you give up halfway it is like cutting this silk in half – all of your effort will be wasted.’
See the full story in both Mandarin and English below: (thanks to 天天学中文












During the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220AD), there was a man called Yue Yangzi. Encouraged by his wife, he left home to visit scholars and enrich his knowledge.

A year later, he came back home suddenly.

“Why have you returned?” asked his wife in surprise, “You’ve only spent one year studying with scholars.”

“I come back because I missed you very much,” Yue Yangzi replied.

Without saying anything, his wife took a pair of scissors and went to the loom at which she had worked. Pointing at the half-done brocade, she proclaimed, “This brocade is woven from the finest silk. I wove one strand after another to produce the brocade. Now if I cut it, all my previous work will be wasted. It’s the same with your studies. Now, you’ve stopped halfway. Isn’t it the same as cutting the brocade on the loom?”

Deeply moved by what she said, Yue Yangzi again left home to continue his studies.

Several years later, he finished his studies and became a learned man.

Click here to see a vocabulary list with audio


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.