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How to master 成语 / Chinese idioms


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Dear all

I was wondering if any of you have some good suggestions on how to learn/understand 成语。Maybe also just some useful information about the "syntax" of 成语。

One thing that helped me to understand better the meaning of chinese idioms is the fact that a friend of mine told me that in Chinese idioms, you often use 之 as the literary equivalent of 的. This was really helpful as 之 appears in so many chengyu and if you know that it stands for 的, it can help you a lot in understanding a certain 成语。I was wondering if there are some other hints like this one that can facilitate the process of studying chinese idioms. Maybe there are also some rules about the "character order" within a chengyu? something like...if character X stands in position Y, it usually means Z.

If someone could "shed some light" on this,  I would be most grateful.

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Yes, you are right about 之. Also modern Mandarin grammar has changed a lot in the past thousand years or so, so the structure of the idioms might be different from what you are used to.


Here are some commonly used idioms with their explanations and contextual usage. I hope you find this helpful! I'll look for more sites like this.

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