Dec 31 2009

不要在一棵树上吊死 – buyao zai yi ke shu shang diaosi

不要在一棵树上吊死 – bu2yao4 zai4 yi1 ke1 shu4 shang4 diao4si3

Literal translation : don’t at one (measure word) tree on hang oneself

Actual translation : Don’t hang yourself on one tree

Meaning : this proverb can be used when someone is overly upset over losing a boyfriend or girlfriend.  In this proverb the “tree” is the person you are mourning over.  This wouldn’t be too appropriate to use with the death of a boyfriend or girlfriend but merely the breaking up.  In English we might say something like “there are plenty of fish in the sea” in an effort to comfort our friend.  This is when someone is under the impression that there is no one else out there for them, so they are essentially “hanging themself upon 1 tree” when in reality the forest has many trees.

This expression could also be used if someone has lost their job.  No need to feel like there are no other jobs out there (trees).  Don’t get hung up with grief on the job you lost, pick yourself up and move on.

7 Responses to “不要在一棵树上吊死 – buyao zai yi ke shu shang diaosi”

  1. Cindy Miller says:

    Please note the Chinese character for “zai” on this page is incorrect.

  2. says:

    Thanks – I just corrected it

  3. Cindy Miller says:

    Excellent! You do know some characters!

    Your website is excellent!
    Do you work for a specific website? Only curious.

  4. says:

    I’m glad you like the site. I am completely independent. This is my site which I started a week or so ago as a hobby. I don’t work for any specific website

  5. Cindy Miller says:

    Interesting!

    Are you a teacher in China?

  6. Daisy Yu says:

    Hi, just 4 your reference: I believe we Chinese say “天涯何處無芳草” to comfort a person who just had a break up (mostly saying to a man who broke up w/ his gf); sometimes we say: “何必單戀一枝花”(this is more similar to what you said here)As a Taiwanese, I personally do not know this “hang on one tree” expression being used under the particular circumstance; however, i do not rule out the possibility of which being used by mainland Chinese.

  7. says:

    Hi Daisy

    Yes I am also aware of that expression. It translates as something like “Where isn’t there grass?” – i.e. as we say in English “there are plenty of fish in the sea”. The 2nd expression you said there I haven’t heard before so I will ask around to see if it’s common here on the mainland. I am not surprised that there are some expressions that are used here and not in Taiwan. I’m sure the opposite is true as well.

    Thanks for your feedback

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