Frequently misused homophones in Chinese set phrases

Frequently misused homophones in Chinese set phrases

Chinese set phrases are special fixed phrases, originally from ancient classics or books, historical stories or people’s verbal stories. The meaning of a set phrase is always implicit and not the simple sum of the literal meanings of the constituent components.




The structure of set phrases is very strict, and generally the order of the constituent components can’t be changed. Set phrases are mostly in the form of four words, even though there are some composed of three or more than four words. Many times people misuse one or more homophones (a homophone is a character that sounds the same as another but is different in writing and meaning) in a set phrase because they don’t really know the right meaning of this set phrase. Here are some very common examples in which homophones are misused in set phrases.

正确✔️

破釜沉舟
名副其实
惹是生非
甘拜下风
安分守己
按部就班
莫名其妙
一脉相承
首屈一指
来势汹汹
金榜题名
诡计多端
以逸待劳
戴罪立功

错误❌

破斧沉舟
名付其实
惹事生非
甘败下风
安份守己
按步就班
莫明其妙
一脉相成
手屈一指
来势凶凶
金榜提名
鬼计多端
以逸代劳
带罪立功

Check out set phrases

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