Chengyu Series | Say Three Speak Four | Elementary Lesson | ChinesePod

April 30, 2020

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Chengyu are Chinese idioms that consist of four characters. Although they originate from classical Chinese, Chengyu remain as an important aspect in both spoken and written language. They may seem erratic and confusing to you at first since they don’t follow the usual sentence order and their meanings depend heavily on context. But don’t worry, in this Chengyu series, we will introduce simple Chengyu made up with all the characters that you already knew, and you can infer the actual meaning by looking at the separate characters! In this lesson, let’s take a look at three Chengyu with numbers 三 (three) and 四 (four) in them!

Key Vocabulary:

不三不四 (bùsānbùsì) – dubious; shady

交朋友 (jiāopéngyou) – to make friends

常常 (chángcháng) – frequently

说三道四 (shuōsāndàosì) – to make thoughtless remarks (idiom); to criticize; gossip

礼貌 (lǐmào) – polite

别人 (biéren) – other people

丢三落四 (diūsānlàsì) – forgetful

忘记 (wàngjì) – to forget

NOTE: This video features SIMPLIFIED characters, which are used in Mainland China. For viewers studying the form of written Chinese used in Hong Kong and Taiwan (traditional), the traditional-character version of this video is available at

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