This isn't exactly a question about the linguistic properties of the Chinese language, but something I'm just curious about.

Is 作心三日 a 成語 used in China? It's a very common Korean proverb, basically meaning that whatever someone puts their mind to, they can't last for a long period of time (literally translating to "the mindset you created, three days."

I'm just curious because I thought chengyu were pretty much the same across Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.

  • I'm just curious because I thought chengyu were pretty much the same across Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. There are a substantial amount which are shared, but Koreans and Japanese have also invented their own, which Chinese people may not understand (unless the chengyu is rather literal). Japanese 一石二鳥, for example, is not something you'd find in Chinese (actually it looks like a direct translation from English).
    – dROOOze
    Jan 24, 2020 at 14:53
  • That's actually an interesting aspect of Korean and Japanese. Because Korea was colonized by Japan, there are many more similarities between the two languages than there are for Chinese. Many Japanese words using Chinese characters are also the same in Korean, but not the case for Chinese.
    – Sean
    Jan 24, 2020 at 15:24
  • 一石二鳥 is a common Chinese idiom cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/words/3793
    – Tang Ho
    Jan 24, 2020 at 16:29
  • I’m sure I’ve heard more traditional idioms than 一石二鳥, must be a relatively recent import. Anyway it’s undoubtedly ultimately from English.
    – dROOOze
    Jan 24, 2020 at 16:51
  • 1
    @TangHo the concept may not have been imported from English, but the phrase definitely is. You can’t find 一石二鳥 in literature until modern times.
    – dROOOze
    Jan 25, 2020 at 0:10

1 Answer 1


No, but there is a colloquial proverb (俗语) in this vein:


sān tiān dǎ yú, liǎng tiān shài wǎng

A more modern turn of phrase is:


wǔ fēnzhōng rèdù

... literally "five minutes of zeal / enthusiasm".

  • Isn’t it 三分钟 and not 5 min?
    – Mou某
    Jan 24, 2020 at 16:04
  • 1
    I've heard of the 三分钟 version as well - but it strikes me as very modern.
    – Michaelyus
    Jan 24, 2020 at 16:10
  • 1
    Attention spans are dropping
    – Mou某
    Jan 25, 2020 at 9:24

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