I get 'take care' or 'be careful' for 留神。

I‘ve seen '一不留神‘ translated as 'accidentally', but this guy did not write his stuff 'accidentally'. It seems to mean 'surprisingly' here. Is that right?


一不留神写了不少军报头条。 ,surprisingly, I wrote a lot of lead stories.

留神 means "pay attention"

一不留神 means " not paying attention for just an instance"

In the sentence, "一不留神" implies " before I notice it"


"Before I noticed it, I had already written many lead articles in Military News"

You could use "Before I noticed it" or "Before I knew it"

  • Aha, that's great, thanks! ,还写了不少东西,I also wrote a lot of things, 一不留神写了不少军报头条。 before I knew it, I had written quite a few lead articles in the Military Gazette. That makes sense! – Gangosa Sep 17 '16 at 2:18
  • jukuu has 19 examples for 一不留神 among them 5. Before you know it, bam! 一不留神, 叭! which would suggest "before I knew it" in the present case, in agreement with answer #1. – user6065 Sep 17 '16 at 2:47
  • to justify preceding comment notice that it was written before answer was edited (taking account of comment) to include the more common phrase suggested by jukuu – user6065 Sep 17 '16 at 4:49
  • Can you give the link to jukuu please? – Gangosa Sep 17 '16 at 4:54
  • what is the problem? Just search for (google) "jukuu" and write desired combination (一不留神) in search space, anyhow the result is jukuu.com/search.php?q=%E4%B8%80%E4%B8%8D%E7%95%99%E7%A5%9E – user6065 Sep 17 '16 at 5:03

his main job is 工程兵, his part-time, leisure activity is writing articles to the military newspaper.

一不留神, means unintentionally in the sentence. cause his leisurely activity has more achievements than his main job.

  • Thanks, but writing requires a conscious effort on the part of the author. How can you unintentionally write anything? – Gangosa Sep 17 '16 at 1:23
  • well, you misunderstand lah :) an article to be 軍報頭條 (headlines of military newspaper) is an achievement, the author had several (不少). normally, people spend less time & effort in their leisure activity, if they get more achievements in it, it's unintentionally. it's not that he write without conscious efforts, it's his less input with better achievement. there's a proverb 無心插柳柳成蔭 to describe this situation: dict.revised.moe.edu.tw/cgi-bin/cbdic/… – 水巷孑蠻 Sep 17 '16 at 1:41

I think the meaning of word "somehow" is similar to "一不留神". The author didn't care about whether he's articles could be the lead stories. He just like to do it.

For we, if we kept doing the thing all the time, we would find out that time passes unbelievably quick. After a long time had past, the author found out that he somehow wrote a lot of lead stories.

  • That kind of fits, thanks! – Gangosa Sep 19 '16 at 10:33

“一不留神”means "没注意到变化或情况" eg: "我早上跑步的时候,一不留神踩到狗屎了"

  • 1
    老兄,可以看的出你有誠意,但你寫中文原po 者看不懂啦,看的懂就不會問。 – 辛祐賦 hsinyofu Sep 30 '16 at 17:48

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