In my story, 孔琳's behavior has changed from ultra-depressed to ultra-optimistic in a matter of moments (she has an unstable personality). Her friends (陈叶 and 胡灵阳) are staring at her in amazement, and I want to write...


I want to describe this change using a chengyu, but the closest I found was 以耳代目 and 以耳为目 which are variants. It's not bad (it means something like "substitute ears for eyes"), but I don't think it works grammatically above. I'm also unsure that the context works here; perhaps it refers to blind people.

Question: How do I use a chengyu (idiom) to describe a "one extreme to the other" kind of transformation?

English derived from above Chinese; only to be used "in case of emergency" (i.e., if the Chinese is incomprehensible):

Now Chen Ye and Hu Lingyang [are] standing, surprisedly staring [at] Kong Lin's from-one-extreme-to-the-other change.

  • Base on the links you posted, neither 以耳代目 nor 以耳为目would work here.
    – fefe
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 13:16
  • aha, first word comes to mind was 破涕为笑
    – Shaw
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 19:23
  • Hi 李蓓, I am not sure whether I misunderstand what you want to express, I think you can't use 盯着(adj.)的变化。
    – BING
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 22:55

3 Answers 3


Depend on what the emphasis is, there are quite a few idioms you can use in this context.

Some suggestion:

判若兩人 (like a different person)

前後判若兩人 (like a different person from before)

大起大落 (up and down to the extreme/ high and low to the extreme)

峰迴路轉 (surprising, unexpected)

前後反覆 (change completely from before/ turn 180 degree)

一百八十度轉變 (turn 180 degree)

If you are looking for an idiom 前後判若兩人 fit in this context the best, but 一百八十度轉變 itself is a common phrase

  • 前後判若兩人 seems to fit perfectly. Thanks. (I'm trying to "show, don't tell" her volatility to the reader, so I'm avoiding words meaning 反覆 which spoils the story, even though they're correct.)
    – Becky 李蓓
    Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 4:39

忽喜忽忧 is probably what you need. It means 时而欢喜,时而忧伤。

For example:


  • "忽喜忽忧" has very few Baidu hits---I've never gotten anything past my teacher without millions of hits.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 4:42
  • 1
    @Becky李蓓 忽... 忽... is probably a common structure. E. g. 忽慢忽快,忽悲忽喜,忽上忽下,etc. What I quoted in my answer was actually from a dictionary.
    – dan
    Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 7:39
  • @Becky李蓓 here is a link: cihai123.com/cidian/1211886.html
    – dan
    Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 9:21
  • @Becky李蓓 A caveat: the way you use it is crucial. It could sound weird when you put it in a wrong way.
    – dan
    Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 9:23

To add to the collection: 反复无常:Changed unpredictably to something that is in an opposite direction.

e.g. The weather can go from one extreme to the other. == The weather can go 反复无常

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.