7

众人回头观望,而这一看不要紧,所有人都是不由大吃一惊

According to an online dictionary, "不要紧" means "not important". How does the sentence make sense?

"The group looked back and that look was not important. Everyone couldn't help but be shocked greatly?"

9

不要紧 has two meanings (http://www.baike.com/wiki/%E4%B8%8D%E8%A6%81%E7%B4%A7):

  1. Doesn't matter; not a problem.

  2. Seemingly not a problem but ...

Here it is the second meaning. The logic behind the sentence is:

众人回头观望,而这一看不要紧,所有人都是不由大吃一惊

The group looked back. This seemingly trivial action lead to a surprising finding.

  • I like this translation :) – Mindless May 19 '15 at 1:00
  • 1
    I think this usage came from 说书。The story teller always links the words with some extra things to grab attention. This follows a format like: A ... A 不要紧, (要紧的是) B。 It's a way to express 递进关系 in modern/formal Chinese. – Danke Xie May 23 '15 at 4:03
2

There is a subtle comparison here, which makes the sentence more emotion intensive. it means "The fact that people turn their eyes is not important, what matters is that the thing that people are looking at is really amazing and people do get amazed.

You can paraphrase it into “不看不知道,一看吓下跳。”.

0

My spin:

【什么事发生了.】【然后】众人回头观望,而这一看不要紧,所有人都是不由大吃一惊。

[Something happened][Afterwards] Everyone turned and looked, but that didn't mean much, people are easily startled.

-1

It doesn't matter. Generally used when you forgive someone.

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