Chinese idiom: 半途而废 To give up halfway

14-Halfway_ZhichingChen_ET1-676x450半途而废

bàntúérfèi

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

 

idiom_121103

半途而废

东汉时,有个名叫乐羊子的人,在妻子的鼓励下,出远门拜师求学。

一年后,乐羊子突然回到家中。

他的妻子很惊讶地问:”你怎么回来了?你才和那些学者学了一年呀!”

乐羊子说:”我太想你了,所以回来看看。”

他的妻子听了之后,便拿起把剪刀走到她的织布机前,指着那块已经完成了一半的锦缎说:”这块锦缎用的是最好的丝,我一丝丝的累积来织成这锦缎。如果我现在把它剪断,就等于前功尽弃。你求学也是这样,如果现在停止,和剪断织布机上的锦缎有什么区别?”

乐羊子被妻子的话深深感动,于是立刻离开家,继续拜师求学。

几年后,乐洋子终于完成学业,成为一个博学的人。

 

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

 

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