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Chinese Idiom: 刻舟求剑(kèzhōuqiújiàn) Mark the Boat for a Dropped Sword

Mar. 6, 2015
Learn a Chinese Idiom-刻舟求剑(Kèzhōu qiú jiàn)”
Key Learning Point (Preview):
刻舟求剑 (kèzhōuqiújiàn) To Mark the Boat to Look for the Sword
Idiom Story:

Yǒu yígè Chǔguó rén chūmén yuǎnxíng.
有     一个   楚国      人     出门        远行。
There was a man from Chu who went out on a long journey.

Tā zài chéngchuán guòjiāng de shíhou, bù xiǎoxīn bǎ suíshēn dàizhe de jiàn luòdào jiāngzhōng le.
他   在     乘船            过江      的    时候, 不   小心    把    随身      带着   的   剑     落到       江中      了。
When he was crossing the river by ship, his sword fell into the water because of his carelessness.

Zhègè Chǔguó rén mǎshàng yòng yìbǎ xiǎodāo zài chuánxián shàng kè le gè jìhào,
这个     楚国     人       马上         用    一把    小刀     在      船舷     上     刻了  个 记号,
The man from Chu immediately made a mark with his knife on the side of the boat where his sword fell in,

Ránhòu huítóu duì dàjiā shuō: “Zhèshì wǒde jiàn diào xiàqù de dìfang.
然后        回头    对  大家    说:“  这是    我的   剑    掉    下去  的 地方。”
He then turn around and said to everybody: “This is where my sword fell in.”

Zhòngrén yíhuò bù jiě de wàngzhe nàgè dāo kè de yìnjì.
众人            疑惑   不  解 地     望着    那个 刀    刻 的  印记。
The other people looked confusedly at the imprint made by the knife.

Yǒurén cuīcù tā shuō: “Kuài xiàshuǐ qù zhǎo jiàn ya!
有人       催促   他 说:“     快    下水   去   找    剑   呀!”
Some people urged him by saying: “Hurry and find the sword!”

Chǔguó rén shuō: “ Huāng shénme, wǒ yǒu jìhào ne.”
楚国         人     说: “  慌         什么,   我 有     记号 呢。”
The man from Chu said: “There’s no need to hurry, I made a mark.”

Chuán jìxù qiánxíng, yòu yǒu rén duì tā shuō: “Zài bú xiàqù zhǎo jiàn, zhè chuán yuè zǒu yuè yuǎn,
船        继续     前行,  又   有   人  对  他   说:“  再  不  下去    找   剑, 这     船     越    走    越    远,
dāngxīn zhǎo bù huílái le.”
当心      找     不   回来   了。”
The ship continued to move forward, and another man said to him: “The ship is going farther and farther. If you don’t look for the sword, you won’t get it back.”

Chǔguó rén yījiù zìxìn de shuō: “ Búyòng jí, búyòng jí, jìhào kè zài nàr ne.
楚国      人   依旧 自信  地    说:“ 不用 急,不用 急,记号  刻 在  那儿呢。”
The man from Chu still said confidently: “Don’t worry, don’t worry. The mark is still there.”

Zhízhì chuán xíngdào ànbiān tíngxià hòu, zhègè Chǔguó rén cái shùnzhe tā kè yǒu jìhào de dìfāng
直至        船      行到      岸边      停下     后,  这个    楚国   人  才    顺着    他 刻   有  记号  的   地方
xiàshuǐ qù zhǎojiàn.
下水     去     找剑。
When the ship stopped at the shore, the man from Chu jumped into the water at the place indicated by his mark to find the sword.

Tā zài ànbiān chuánxià de shuǐzhōng fèi le hǎo dà yízhèn gōngfu, jiéguǒ háowúsuǒhuò, hái zhāolái le
他   在     岸边     船下    的     水中     费  了  好   大    一阵     工夫,结果       毫 无 所 获,  还    招来  了
zhòngrén de jīxiào.
众人        的  讥笑。
He looked for the sword in the water below the boat at the shore, taking a long time, but in vain. And he was laughed at by the others.

Key Learning Point:

刻舟求剑(kèzhōuqiújiàn)

This idiom is used as a metaphor to refer to those who consider things from a static viewpoint without taking into account the ever changing situation.

Examples:

Nǐ zěnme zǒng yòng lǎo bànfǎ jiějué wèntí? Zhēnshì kèzhōuqiújiàn!
你    怎么    总     用     老     办法   解决 问题?   真是       刻舟求剑!
Why do you always use old ways to solve problems? It’s a foolish undertaking!

Nǐmen gōngchǎng zěnme hái bù gǎijìn jìshù, zhè búshì kèzhōuqiújiàn ma?
你们          工厂        怎么    还  不   改进  技术,这 不是       刻舟求剑       吗?
Why has your factory still not improved on your technology? You’re not taking a fruitless approach are you?

Question:

The man from Chu in the idiom刻舟求剑 (kèzhōuqiújiàn) is very ____.
A. foolish
B. clever
C. principled

See Answer

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