Mandarin is a wonderful and interesting language to learn. I personally derive a lot of joy from learning Chinese idioms and sayings. Just like our English sayings and idioms, the Mandarin ones are packed full of meaning. I have put together a list of ten of my most favorites:
1.百折不挠 bǎi zhé bù náo：Literally this means, “One hundred breaks/losses, no scratch/yield.” So the meaning here is to keep on fighting in spite of all setbacks or to be indomitable. This is a great one to keep in mind when studying Mandarin.
2.水滴石穿 shuǐ dī shí chuān：Literally this means, “Water drops, stone is bored through.” In other words dripping water can penetrate through rocks. The idea here is closely related to the English saying, “little strokes fell great oaks.” This idiom encourages you to be persistent and keep your goals in mind.
3. 大惑不解 dà huò bù jiě：Literally this means, “large confusion, no understanding.” The idiom means to be at a complete loss or to be unable to make head or tail of something. Sometimes I feel this way when studying new characters and so it is an appropriate 成语chénɡ yǔ to use here.
4.烟消云散 yān xiāo yún sàn：Literally this means, “Smoke vanishes, clouds disperse.” In other words, to vanish like smoke as disperse like clouds. The meaning here is to completely vanish or disappear. Perhaps in English a close comparison could be when we say someone went AWOL.
5. 捡了芝麻，丢了西瓜 jiǎn le zhī mɑ ， diū le xī ɡuā：Literally this means, “To pick out the seeds and neglect the watermelon.” In other words, to dwell on trifle issues and thus lose sight of the bigger picture. This idiom is interesting because it uses the imagery of food, (who doesn’t love watermelon?), to explain a larger issue. This is definitely one of my favorites。
6.将信将疑 jiānɡ xìn jiānɡ yí： This literally means, “to use belief and to use doubt.” In other words half believing and half do