To be honest in Chinese

Gray Zucchini Fruits (aka Mexican Squash)

My heart is filled with joy when I go to the garden to check on my gray zucchini plants. The huge dark-green leaves spreading out from turgid stems and the light-green fruits swelling up under attractive bright yellow-orange blossoms are indeed wondrous to behold, but my main concern is, “Which puppies will be ready to eat in the next couple of days?” Stir-fried young zucchinis are tender and mildly sweet – a delight to the discerning palate. (See recipe for Vegetarian’s Delight in my “Tame Migrain the Delicious Way” ebook.) I carefully remove any extra blossoms from the plant, chop the golden petals up and toss them into the frypan as well. Yummy! The Chinese call zucchinis 夏南瓜 (xià nánguā summer pumpkins) or 西葫芦 (xīhúlù western gourds). I prefer the latter name because of its interesting ring.

The Chinese word for fruits in general is 果实 (guǒshí). Our focus today is on the other meanings of the character (shí), which relate to the fact that a fruit is something solid and tangible, and therefore real and true.

When interpreted as a combination of a verb and a nouns, the word 结实 (jiēshi) means to bear fruit. Used as an adjective, 结实 (jiēshi) means sturdy, strong, tough or muscular.

实在 (shízài) means real, true, honest or dependable. As an adverb, it translates to indeed or really.

他做人实在.
Tā zuòrén shízài.
He is an honest and dependable person.

我实在不明白她为什么离开我.
Wǒ shízài bù míngbái tā wèishénme líkāi wǒ.
I really don’t understand why she left me.

说实在的, 我很想念她.
Shuō shízài de, wǒ hěn xiǎngniàn tā.
Actually (to state the fact), I miss her very much.

实际上 (shíjìshàng) means in reality or as a matter of fact.

实际上我不赞成他去巴黎.
Shíjìshàng wǒ bù zànchéng tā qù bālí.
In fact I don’t approve of his going to Paris.

不切实际 (bùqièshíjì) means unrealistic or impracticable.

他的计划不切实际.
Tā de jìhuà bùqièshíjì.
His plan is impractical.

On the contrary, 脚踏实地 (jiǎotàshídì to have one’s feet planted on solid ground) means to be earnest and down-to-earth.

The adjective 真实 (zhēnshí) is used to describe something that is true, real or authentic. 真实的故事 (zhēnshí de gùshi) is a true story. 真实的情况 (zhēnshí de qíngkuàng) is the actual situation or what is actually happening. This is often abbreviated as 实况 (shíkuàng). Therefore 实况转播 (shíkuàng zhuǎnbō) is a live broadcast. Similarly, 实情 (shíqíng) also means the actual situation or the true state of affairs. However, it is usually used to refer to the truth of the matter.

The idiom 名符其实 (míngfúqíshí) describes someone who lives up to his or her name. It can be applied to inanimate objects as well. On the other hand, 名不副实 (míngbùfùshí) means unworthy of the name or title.

天堂岛是一个名符其实的度假区.
Tiāntáng dǎo shì yīgè míngfúqíshí de dùjiàqū.
Paradise Island lives up to its name as a vacation area.

确实 (quèshí) means indeed or truely.

一般说来, 台湾的人确实很友善.
Yībān shuō lái, Táiwān de rén quèshí hěn yǒushàn.
Generally speaking, the people in Taiwan are indeed quite friendly.

货真价实 (huòzhēnjiàshí) describes merchandise that is genuine and fairly priced. When used to describe a person, this expression translates to “through and through”. For example,

他是一个货真价实的书呆子.
Tā shì yīgè huòzhēnjiàshí de shūdāizi.
He is a total bookworm.

To verify, or 证实 (zhèngshí), a physical law, one could do an experiment, or 实验 (shíyàn). The laboratory is called 实验室 (shíyànshì). To gain hands-on experience, it also helps to do fieldwork, or 实习 (shíxí).

忠实 (zhōngshí) means faithful or loyal, and 诚实 (chéngshí) means to be honest and not tell lies. 老实 (lǎoshi) means frank, honest and well-behaved, often borderin on being simple-minded, naive or gullible.

他太老实了!
Tā tà lǎoshi le!
He is so gullible!

When you want to start a remark by saying “Frankly” or “To be honest”, you could use the expression 老实说 (lǎoshi shuō).

老实说, 我对他没兴趣.
Lǎoshi shuō, wǒ duì tā méi xìngqù.
To be honest, I’m not interested in him.

To end this lesson on a funny note, I would like you to type “Frankly, I don’t give a fig.” into Google Translate and see what it shows for the Chinese translation. Do you know the correct way of saying this in Chinese?

Learn a few personal finance terms in Chinese

Dollar Sign-s
Summer is just around the corner. Think vacations. Think of it in Chinese. The word for a vacation or a leave of absence is 休假 (xiūjià). The word for going on a vacation is 度假 (dùjià), in which (dù) takes on the meaning of “to spend”.

你今年要去哪兒度假?
Nǐ jīnnián yào qù nǎr dùjià?
Where are you vacationing this year?

But wait. Do you have enough money saved up for going to a vacation spot other than your own backyard? 旅費 (lǚfèi travel expenses), 膳食費 (shànshí fèi meal expenses) and 娛樂費用 (yúlè fèiyòng entertainment fees) all need to be provided for, you know.

你的銀行戶頭裡有多少存款?
Nǐ de yínháng hùtóu lǐ yǒu duōshao cúnkuǎn?
How much savings do you have in your bank account?

你每月收入多少?
Nǐ měi yuè shōurù duōshao?
What’s your monthly earnings?

你们家每个月开支多少?
Nǐmen jiā měi gè yuè kāizhī duōshao?
How much are the monthly expenses of your household?

有没有贷款利息要付?
Yǒu méi yǒu dàikuǎnlìxī yào fù?
Do you have any interests on a loan to pay?

Are you counting on receiving dividends, or 股息 (gǔxī), from your investment in the stock market? The Chinese word for investment is 投资 (tóuzī). Keep in mind that the stock market, or 股票市场 (gǔpiàoshìchǎng), is quite volatile.

股票价格有时升值, 有时下降.
Gǔpiào jiàgé yǒushí shēngzhí, yǒushí xiàjiàng.
Stock prices sometimes appreciate, sometimes drop.

It’s important to have some savings, or 储蓄 (chǔxù). We want to save up not just for vacations but also for old age. Your 社会安全福利金 (shèhuì ānquán fúlì jīn social security income) may not be sufficient to cover all your living expenses.

省钱就是赚钱
Shěngqián jiùshì zhuànqián.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
(Saving money is making money.)

节俭是美德.
Jiéjiǎn shì měidé.
Frugality is a virtue.

Careful budgeting helps to ensure that one lives within one’s means. 平衡 (pínghéng) means being balanced. 收支平衡 (shōuzhī pínghéng) means the incomes and the expenses are balanced.

Should you come out ahead and have extra cash to spend, then congratulations! Start planning a vacation away from home. On the other hand, should you find yourself in the 入不敷出 (rù bù fū chū) situation, in which your income falls short of your expenses and you cannot make both ends meet, then you will probably have to satisfy your vacationing enthusiasm this year via armchair travel. A Chinese equivalent of armchair traveling is 卧游 (wò yóu). (wò) means to lie down, and (yóu) means to travel. This expression describes how one would lie on a recliner, holding a book or pictures of scenery, and travel mentally. 神游 (shén yóu) means to transport to a place mentally, not necessarily with a book or an iPad in hand.

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