I'd like to know if that's optional take or not this sign, because i'm known that a few idioms are used to have this sign, thus i want to know why do they use this and how does it affect the sentence ?

  • 3
    What sign? "一" is a character that means "one"
    – Tang Ho
    Jan 6, 2020 at 3:50

1 Answer 1


These are both idioms (成语) with fixed structures, so deleting the 一 (yī) = "one" would change the meaning, and make it nonsensical. This also holds for Chinese words such as 一起 and 第一.

  • 丝不苟 basically means "[even] one thread not careless", referring to meticulousness.

  • 不屑 basically means "disdain [even] one consideration", or "disdain even considering it once". However, here it's possible to just say 不屑 = "disdain".

So ordinarily dropping the 一 is not reasonable, and certainly so among fixed idioms.

However, in some non-idiom cases we can drop the 一, such as:

  • 每一个人 can be shorted to 每个人, and
  • 她是一个医生 can be shorted to 她是个医生, and even further to 她是医生.

In these cases it's different: we have a measure word (个) and it's possible to sometimes drop the 一.

  • I don't think someone who learned the characters 丝, 苟, 屑 and 顾 would not had learned the character 一 .
    – Tang Ho
    Jan 6, 2020 at 10:30

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