A Year’s Plan Starts with Spring

No matter in what cultural contexts, spring is always considered a thriving season, inspiring literary men to compose many classic poems, romantic stories,  as well as proverbs.

对话 Dialogue:

yòu zhǎng pàng le yào bù wǒ kāishǐ liàn yújiāba
A: 又长胖了,要不我开始练瑜伽吧。
I am putting on weight again! Maybe I should start doing yoga.

nǐ dōu shuō le yī dōng tiān le
B: 你都说了一冬天了!
You have been saying that for the whole winter!

zhè cìbùyī yàng ,yīnián zhī jì zài yúchūn ma
A: 这次不一样,一年之计在于春嘛。
It is different this time. As the saying goes, “A year’s plan starts with spring.”

xī wàng nǐ búshìsuí biàn shuōshuō
B: 希望你不是随便说说。
I hope it is not just a casual remark.

语言点 Language Points:

要不 yào bù

  • In the above dialogue, it is used as an indirect way of giving a suggestion, as the speaker uses it to seek consent of the listener.
    Eg. 一个人去看电影没意思,要不我们一起去吧。
    It’s no fun to go to the movies by myself. How about we go together?
  • 要不 can also mean “otherwise”.
    Eg. 我要打的, 要不我会迟到。
    I’m taking a taxi, otherwise I’ll be late.
  • Furthermore, 要不 can be used to offer “either/or” choices to others, similar to 或者
    Eg.你要不看书要不听音乐。
    You can either study or listen to music.

都 …了 dōu… le
It is used to express that something has already happened, similar to “已经……了”. However, it is used more emphatically, implying that the speaker holds some sort of attitude in relation to the event, and is not merely objectively stating the facts, as with “已经……了”. In the dialogue, it means “You have announced this plan many times in the winter, but you haven’t taken any action at all, so I don’t believe you.”

  • Eg. 九点,快起床吧!
    It’s nine o’clock already. Get out of bed!
  • ,他怎么还不回来?
    The food is cold already. Why hasn’t he come back yet?

一年之计在于春,一日之计在于晨 yìnián zhī jì zàiyúchūn, yí rìzhī jì zàiyúchén
A year’s plan starts with spring; a day’s plan starts with early morning.

It is a popular Chinese proverb. “一年之计在于春” emphasizes the importance of spring out of the four seasons and that a good “收获 (shōuhuò) harvest” depends on the spring sowing. “一日之计在于晨” refers to the best time of a day being the early morning, and that it is good to make a whole day’s “计划 (jìhuà) plan” early in the morning.


更多