I let ChatGPT tell me some proverbs related to "你要教人家一杯水,你自己就要有一桶水的储备" and it tells me that one. Although I have searched on Baidu and Google, I have been unable to find any relevant sources. Therefore, I am curious to know if the saying "先学为后己,后学为先己" exists in Chinese? Or in any other languages? I am Chinese but I don't know any relevant sources.

  • 1
    – halfelf
    Mar 3 at 5:18
  • @halfelf 看上去挺有道理的,但好像真是它发明的 Mar 3 at 6:31
  • 從未聽過 "你要教人家一杯水,你自己就要有一桶水的储备" 孔子說"三人行必有我師" -- 任何人都會有別人能從他身上學習的東西。我說你有一杯水那麼多的智識,就能傳授一杯水那麼多的智識給別人。例如我我不懂日文,也可告訴你日文「天地無用」的意思是「不可倒置」
    – Tang Ho
    Mar 3 at 7:47

3 Answers 3


你那句"教别人一杯水, 自己要有一桶水的储备", 很认同. 不管学习还是工作, 都是教会别人与自己弄懂了是两个层次. 颇有庄子的"先存诸己而后存诸人"的味道. "先学为后己,后学为先己", 这句话如果是它自己通过学习自己造出来的, 是真的强.

解释起来: "为后来的自己学习", 是金子总会发光的, 乔布斯的演讲中也提到过之前的一切后面总会有用的.

"先付出行动, 后自己得到学习", 我理解上两个相近的意思: 1.付出总会有汇报 2.实验检验理论.


  • "后学为先己"是不是可以理解为“后面再次复习是为了把所学到的教授给 和先前的自己那样 不懂的人” Mar 3 at 8:53
  • "别人一杯水, 自己要有一桶水的储备", I don't "" is an appropriate word here..
    – r13
    Mar 3 at 15:36
  • @r13 means teach or share your knowledge, and the "一杯水 of 一桶水" like a little point of knowledge you learned
    – codor
    Mar 7 at 5:50
  • @LernerZhang 本就是仁者见仁智者见智的, 我也不是什么文学家, 见地很浅. 这种谚语理解起来有时候不能扣一两个字, 而且这句话还可能是ChatGPT自己造出来的, 我去问了它这句话什么意思, 它的解释也笼统... 我认为"后学为先己", 这里面着重点是, 它存粹为了对称才用了先己 您的理解我认为很不错, 后学理解成复习, 整体意思上也是 不断循环提升自己, 方便服务他人和自己. 与我的理解上区别是: 我的后学而后第一次学习, 你的意思是学习后的再一次学习... 以我的能力只能分析至此, 至于那种理解更贴切, 难以决断.
    – codor
    Mar 7 at 6:10
  • @codor I understand the meaning of the sentence but object to the expression "teach someone a glass of water...". I think "treat or offer" will be a more to-the-point and appropriate word.
    – r13
    Mar 7 at 13:12

As others have said, this is not an existing proverb in Chinese. Chatgpt is a very advanced AI by modern standards, but it is not actually capable of properly understanding context or being a reliable source of information. (If interested look into winograd schema and similar concepts, such things Chatgpt cannot pass).

Chatgpt is able to very scientifically analyze languages from a mathematical and computerized way. Sometimes that results in things that are completely wrong, or things like this that are believable. As an example of how chatgpt may have come to this:

The importance of learning for your future is very widespread in Chinese culture, especially for some people, it is genuinely their main way to improve quality of life. So it is reasonable to say that Chatgpt will have many, many sources to analyze on the subject. It also has access to actually existing proverbs in huge quantities.

Analyzing these, it can compare which characters appear together the most, whether next to each other or in the same article. It can analyze the format of existing proverbs, and combine it together. Even text prediction like a keyboard will be used to a sophisticated degree. Thus a realistic but false answer is born.

So once again we confirm that Chatgpt is advanced in many ways, and very fun to play with. It is still far from a reliable source of information. It truly is the language equivalent of AI art, the main theme is maintained but the details are likely to be distorted. AI art may seem unrelated, but the way they function is the same-- one scientifically tries to analyze art and the other language.

AI generated art from just now

As you can see, a picture is worth a thousand words. This AI was given the prompt "cat chinese inkwash painting". It does not understand, and cannot comprehend. It analyzes the individual terms with their search results, and analyzes cat art in general. What it has returned is indeed a cat art-- however the integrity of the request is nowhere to be seen. All modern AI are this level, where the main goal is to create something realistic, with almost no thought into accuracy (since it isn't possible yet).


No. Normally, if you don't search in Baidu or Google, it doesn't exist before. Also I never heard that before.

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