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南轅北轍 (Nányuánběizhé)


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南轅北轍 (Nányuánběizhé) - Objective and action doesn't match.

Literal Meaning - South rope, North trail.

During the Warring States, Yi and Zhao are about to go to war. In order to stop the King of Yi, his adviser told him a story, "One day Gui Liang was walking on a road, a carriage came from the opposite direction and blocked his path. The merchant asked Gui Liang to get out of the way as he was headed to Chu Kingdom. Gui Liang told him that he was headed for the wrong direction, Chu Kingdom was on the other side. The merchant then kept boasting on how his horse carriage was the best there was and how rich he was. The merchant claimed that with such prowess, surely he will reach Chu Kingdom. Gui Liang said to the merchant, 'It's not about your power, it is that you are on the wrong side of the road. No matter how long you go, you'll not reach Chu Kingdom.' The merchant did not listen and continued down the path."

The King of Yi said that he didn't know such a foolish person existed. His adviser than told the King that he was in a way similar to the merchant. The adviser told the King that war was not a way to win the people's trust and the King was headed the wrong path.

南轅北轍 (Nányuánběizhé) means what someone is doing isn't what he/she is aiming for.

Example:

"你說的跟做的大大不同,這不是「南轅北轍」嗎?"

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