I'm trying to think of how to say "if I don't study, I cannot learn" in Chinese. However, 学习 means both "study" and "learn", so it translates to:

If I don't study, I cannot learn.
如果我不学习,我就不会学习。 (Google Translate)

But Google's translation means "if I don't study, I won't study", so it's quite weird. Perhaps this is a possible workaround:


(replacing "learn" with "obtain knowledge", i.e., the definition of "learn") but I'm not sure.

Question: How do I say "if I don't study, I cannot learn"?

There's other questions related to learn vs. study: (a) "Learn" vs. "Study" (b) how to say "learn" without involving studying?, but I didn't find an answer there.

3 Answers 3


"study" emphasizes the process of obtaining/ seeking knowledge (e.g. study math all night, not learn math all night).

"learn" emphasizes the process of receiving knowledge (e.g. learn how to fight from someone, not study how to fight from someone).

"If I don't study, I cannot learn" sound odd because it lack an object. If it has an object, it would be a more complete sentence.

E.g. If I don't study (mathematics), I cannot learn (mathematics) -- 如果我不学习(数学),我就不会学懂(数学).

If you think 学习 and 学懂 are still too similar. You can replace "学习" (study) with "学/ 去学" (study); or replace "学懂" (learn) with "懂" (know/ understand).


"不去学就学不懂" - "cannot learn if you don't study"

"不学就不会懂" - "would not know/ understand if you don't study"

More example:

"去学就会学懂" - "can learn if you study"

"学就会懂" - "would know/ understand if you study"


?Why all these 拗口 sentences?


Learn is always 学会, by its definition: gain knowledge or skills by studying, which is done when you learn.

  • "Learn is always 学会" Ahem, 活到老,学到老 Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 20:45

I'm not nearly experienced enough to be giving advice but I'll try anyways:

Following a verb with 到 indicates that the desired effect has been achieved. For instance in your case 学习 would literally mean "seek new knowledge" (study) while 学习到 would mean "gain new knowledge" (learn) with the implication being that you succeeded. You might even get away with 学到 instead of 学习到.

Altering your original example gives: 如果我不学习,我就不会学到

And google translate agrees with this translation (though google translate is by no means the best thing to compare against)

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