Our teacher of Chinese language and culture said this word means 因为. I stop my cart because of the evening scene of maple trees I admire.

But friends of mine question this. They give examples in various poems of different poets, like 坐爱云林泉石好(欧阳詹), 坐爱青草上(孟郊),坐爱前檐前(白居易),坐爱溪上山(萧镃),坐爱木兰舟(程敏政), etc, where 坐 could not have meant 因为 but only its original meaning "to sit".

I think my friends make more sense than my teacher.

  • This is a fun one because 停车坐爱 sounds like 停车做爱. Kids like to misparse the poem on purpose. That’ll be of more cultural merit for you than the poem itself.
    – Mou某
    Sep 30 at 14:34
  • @Mou某 I don't think people at that time (the Tang Dynasty) know the meaning of love making, which means romantic talks but not bedroom fun up till the most part of the 20th century in English-language literary works. Oct 1 at 2:33

4 Answers 4


“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.” ― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

Teacher is right! I found this:


杜牧这句诗想表达的是:停车是因为喜欢傍晚枫林的景色,所以停下来欣赏。 What Du Mu with this line of the poem wants to express is:

I stopped the wagon because I like the evening maple forest scene, therefore I stopped to admire it.

既是表达“因” 的意思,
If Du Mu wanted to express the meaning "because",
why would Du Mu want to use "sit" as a substitute?
There are scholars who say:
Because this poem is a seven word quatrain,
it must keep to the seven word standard;
if the character "stop" is followed by "because",
the tones will be wrong.
However the character "sit" fits in with the oblique tones.
Therefore (Du Mu) could only use "sit" as a substitute. (for "因")

In fact, Du Mu was not the first poet to use "sit" to express "because".
Previously in《Mo Shangsang 》there is a passage:
"The ploughman forgot his plough, the hoeman forgot his hoe."
Coming and going they are angry and blame each other, just because they were watching Luo Fu.

这里的“坐”便是“因为” 的意思。
The meaning of this "sit" is precisely "because".


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  • Those lecherous farmers are angry because they are watching a girl named Luo Fu? What is the reason for that? Aren't they happy to see a girl? Sep 30 at 8:00
  • Don't know about that, didn't have time to read more!
    – Pedroski
    Sep 30 at 10:44
  • According to the explanation given by @user2249675 down below, it should mean they are angry after being punished by glaring at or even flirting with a lady who is married to a high-ranking official. It is not a plain Jane next door, it is a Princess Diana much higher above you all! Oct 1 at 2:27


  1. 介词,因,由于,为着:“停车~爱枫林晚,霜叶红于二月花”。

  2. 副词(①空,徒然,如“胡为~自苦,吞悲仍抚膺”;②无故,自然而然,如“如若此,则盐必~长十倍”;③遂,即将,如“寒英~销落,何用慰远客”;④深,如“感此伤妾心,~愁红颜老”;⑤正,恰好,如“西村渡口人烟晚,~见渔舟两两归”)。

  • We should not give one exclusive explanation for a particular sentence, that is why I and my friends challenge this. Oct 1 at 2:36

For this particular sentence the general consensus is that 坐 means "because".

A little bit of history of how 坐 (to sit) came to mean "because":

The oldest meanings of 坐 are "to kneel" (跪), "to sit", or "to be fixed at some location."

During the Han dynasty, "坐" came to mean "to be punished according to some criminal law". This is where the meaning of "because, due to" began to emerge. 《助字辨略》 gives the following explanation: "汉法入罪曰坐,言罪与律应,不得移动也。" (In the laws of Han, 坐 means to be found to have committed some crime. The connotation is that the criminal status is ascertained by the law, and cannot be removed or changed.)

An exemplar is 《汉书 贾谊传》: 古者大臣有不廉而废者。 (In the past there are officials who are demoted due to corruption.)

Over time, the criminal connotation of 坐 became weakened, and its meaning is generalized into "because, due to", as in the poem 《陌上桑》: 来归相怨怒,但坐观罗敷。

  • The watchers of Luo Fu are angry for being "punished" because they have done something unacceptable. How about that? Oct 1 at 2:30
  • Nice guess but that's not the usual understanding of this poem. See this page (so.gushiwen.cn/shiwenv_333266b95824.aspx) for the "standard" interpretation. It says Luo Fu is a very beautiful girl. When people see her they are so obsessed by her beauty that they forget what they are doing. They blame theirselves (怨怒), only because (但坐) they spent too much time watching her. Oct 1 at 2:41
  • Do men blame each other because there is a beautiful girl for them to watch? That sounds ridiculous and against human nature, LOL. They may discuss when they can do the same again or if it is possible to see more beautiful women in town. But their wives or girlfriends do scold them for such misbehavior. Oct 1 at 7:59
  • @NanningYouth They’re not blaming each other; each of them is blaming himself in succession. They are both annoyed at themselves for being so caught up in watching Luo Fu that they left their tools behind. Imagine the ploughman and the hoeman each standing in their field, working. Then they see Luo Fu walk by, and they both get so mesmerised that they follow her, completely forgetting about their work. When she enters her home, they come out of their reverie and get annoyed with themselves for getting so distracted that they just left their plough and hoe behind. Oct 1 at 9:42
  • @JanusBahsJacquet But how do you explain the word 相 (mutually; one another) if things are like what you describe? What's more, if they did not sit idle there watching, how could they have not finished their work? It won't take too long for a lady (in the horse-drawn carriage most probably) to pass the land they are minding. Oct 2 at 2:25

One possible explanation- Because 陕西话 (Shaanxi Dialect) used to be the official Chinese language in the past for a period of time. 长安,现在叫做西安,是唐代的首都。此诗写于唐代,可能使用了长安的官话,与现代陕西话有相似之处。坐爱可能源于陕西话里的Zou Ai (zou爱,just because I love)

  • That is interesting and makes sense. Oct 1 at 2:28
  • 用陕西话"坐爱"的发音为zòuài了吗?
    – Pedroski
    Oct 1 at 5:46

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