In German, we have the expression "Mut zur Lücke", in English something like "courage to have a gap" - a knowledge gap. It is used between students, when they skip to learn something for an exam.

It's more the hope that this topic will be not part of the exam or test. So it is some kind of taking a calculated risk. The reasons can be diverse. Normally caused by the inability to understand or simply running out of time. Laziness or carelessness also play a role.

When someone says this, they stop learning (of a certain topic) and accept the risk that it maybe be asked in a test. Then of course they "knows their limits", but this is secondary. They are brave / have nerve to have a knowledge gap.

Is there a similar expression in Chinese? I even could not found a translation for "knowledge gap" in Chinese.

  • I can hardly understand that. "Skip to learn something"---why they would skip? (Laziness or carelessness?) The motivation of their skipping would very possibly be important for translation.
    – Stan
    Commented May 26, 2013 at 14:20
  • @Stan I expanded my question ... hope it's more clear now. Commented May 26, 2013 at 19:13
  • 1
    FYI, "courage to have a gap" doesn't make sense in English, so searching for a translation of "knowledge gap" might not be helpful. Commented May 26, 2013 at 19:23
  • @susisstrolch I am not sure I understand the idiom yet. Does it mean "know your limit" or "don't be afraid of the unknown"? Can you give some concrete examples to show how it is used in a conversation?
    – NS.X.
    Commented May 26, 2013 at 19:41
  • Or you could've just said 'to gamble' ;). It's about venturing into the unknown, which is exactly what 'to gamble' means. Commented May 28, 2013 at 1:39

3 Answers 3


google told me "Mut zur Lücke" means "dare to venture into the unknown", and I can't find a Chinese phrase that have the same meaning xD. But there is a expression, 碰运气, which means to "push your luck". So in your example about the exam, you can say 碰一碰运气吧,这部分我不复习了(Let me push my luck and skip this part).

P.S. In Chinese, 人品 means moral qualities. Chinese people sort of believe in karma, where people with good qualities(人品好) will do good deeds, good deeds will be rewarded with good luck. So you can replace 碰运气 with 拼人品(the collocation can't be changed, 碰人品 and 拼运气 are not proper expressions). But this expression "拼人品" is informal and is only used among young people.

  • 碰人品 is never heard, but 拼运气 is acceptable in Mandarin Chinese :) Also, 赌(运气/人品) is OK.
    – Stan
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 6:06
  • 3
    I think it's because in Chinese, luck is extrinsic and karma is intrinsic. 碰运气 is 'try the luck' while 拼人品 is 'gamble with my karma'. You can not 拼 with 运气 because luck is not in your possession.
    – NS.X.
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 7:11
  • @Alex Su 碰一碰运气吧,这部分我不复习了 hits the meaning, thanks, but it's "constructed" in the same as I tried to explain it in English. So I guess there is no idiom with a similar meaning in Chinese. Commented May 27, 2013 at 10:04
  • 拼人品 has a more formal expression called 隨緣 :-) Commented May 31, 2013 at 5:35
  • Well, "赌运气" is used when someone has a strong hope that the part of knowledge will not appear in the exam. It is more of "hope" than "acceptance of the risk". "Mut zur Lücke", as I guess, is explained as "not care too much of the risk" Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 13:46

How about 敢傻 as a translation for dare to stupid, which is what "Mut zur Lücke" sans euphemism means. It is also homophonous to 干啥.

  • Nice try, it sounds funny. But I've never ever heard of that and I think a native speaker doesn't understand it.
    – Stan
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 4:55

This is done I would think in many cultures. Here is the scenario: The student for what ever reason is not properly prepared for the exam and he doesn't have time to study thoroughly as he should. The reason he got to this point is not the issue, I assume the German phrase is talking about WHAT the student actually does. The German way of phrasing it might be different from in English, but I would say that what the student actually does to salvage what he can of this sad situation is "spot study". He selects topics he thinks or hopes will be on the exam and just uses his limited time to study these. A slightly different view of the student would be to "spot study areas that he does not know but he figures he needs (to stop his normal studying ) to concentrate on these troublesome areas in case they come up. Hope I understood your question, and that my answer is helpful to who might need it at this juncture.

  • It's the first case combined with the deliberate intention of not learning things. Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 0:31

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