"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."


November 22, 2017

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An awkward thing to translate, this.


It's awkward because the English has been contorted to fit the poetic structure. Poetically it's great, and it adds a bit of fun, but as an example of English, not so much.

I am trying to imagine how difficult it would be to explain this saying to a Chinese person...


Due to my not spotting the "poetic opportunity" I left the 我 off the end and got marked wrong.

Anyway Chinese poetry isn't concerned with rhymes is it? It doesn't really sound very poetic Chinese to me.


Yes, greatly so. The Classics often use the technique to employ metric emphasis. The Book of Songs 诗经, a compilation of Confucius of the hundreds of works floating around during the third Century BC, features pieces that employ the technique of mora similarity (rhythm). Note first that Chinese has remained legible for these 2,000 years dissimilar to Shakespearean works in original format. Second, take a look at evidence in a writing on peaches. Looking at the PinYin of the final word in each stanza, we see hua-jia, shi-shi, and zhen-ren; by no means a mistake.

桃夭 (táo yāo)
桃之夭夭 (táo zhī yāo yāo)
灼灼其華 (zhuó zhuó qí huá)
之子于歸 (zhī zǐ yú guī)
宜其室家 (yí qí shì jiā)

桃之夭夭 (táo zhī yāo yāo)
有蕡其實 (yǒu fén qí shí)
之子于歸 (zhī zǐ yú guī)
宜其家室 (yí qí jiā shì)

桃之夭夭 (táo zhī yāo yāo)
其葉蓁蓁 (qí yè zhēnzhēn)
之子于歸 (zhī zǐ yú guī)
宜其家人 (yí qí jiā rén)


thank you so much for this contribution. very interesting!


Too true. Duolingo's bizarre obsessions with translating idioms in the most awkward manner possible is a decision that I would love to have heard made just to see the insanity that must have led up to it.


i think you should try to use 成语 instead of attempting to vaguely translate english phrases


Splendid idea. But that's for advanced learners. Think of the length of the translation and the complexity of the explanation, not to mention the knowledge of Chinese history and cultural traditions needed to comprehend them :)


It doesn't matter, you wouldn't say this in China because it'll sound stupid. It'd be better to teach us Chinese idioms.


This is a phrase spoken in China


I find that hard to believe.


每日一蘋果醫生遠離我 is the common Chinese translation for this English saying.


An expression that doesn't teach you anything other than memorizing the answer duolingo wants is a waste of a lesson. Save these for the trivia section.


I disagree, learning a saying/proverb from another country can be very useful even if it shows something as banal as this. And I think we can understand (unless mistaken) that "an apple a day" is said with "一天一个苹果" , which is interesting to know.


Yes, that is mistaken. 一天一个苹果 is most similar to 'one day one apple'. The way to mention 'per' or 'each' is with 每 as in ‘每天吃一个苹果’ - 'to eat an apple each/per day'. So the attempt to include the proverb is contrived, artificially literal, and misguiding.


@ duolingo, ❤❤❤

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The sentence is impossible to translate for a beginner, especially because the hints over the English words do not help at all. Very frustrating.


Don't use idioms please ! It's hard enough !


An apple a day, the doctor wont find me....?


more like: the doctor won't look for me

I think 找到 is to find something


Thanks very much! Very useful!


Its more like : one day(一天)one apple(一个苹果)the doctor(医生) won't find me(不找我)


What the hell was I trying to translate!?


An English idiom intended to mean "healthy foods prevent medical issues".


This is much better: 一天一个苹果,医生远离我 Yītiān yīgè píngguǒ, yīshēng yuǎnlí wǒ


一天一个苹果, 医生不找我 Marked as wrong. What am I missing here?


I don't see any wrong with the above characters.


Overall I'm finding the course very good and helpful, but this sentence, which keeps coming back like the proverbial cat, is very discouraging.


So the literal translation is a day an apple, the doctor dont find me


So can anybody tell us the original saying..


An apple a day keeps the doctor away


It's funny howthis became a competition between cultures, and therefore specialists. Culture should bear collaboration, instead. 晚安


Can anyone please give a direct translation of this? It seems to me like "one day one apple, doctor no me me" I am especially confused by the last "我我". Shouldn't it be "见我“?


Actually the next to last character is 找 (zhao3). They look very similar. 找 means: to look for, to call on somebody.

One day one apple, the doctor does not call on me

Translating idioms is always difficult.


I wish we could be more specific when reporing things. Translating English idioms into other languages is pretty counterintuitive.


marked incorrect for a lack of comma, a bit harsh


Normally I hate to complain about Duolingo, but this exercise is ridiculous! Strongly idiomatic expressions with lengthy hover-over hints which are also idiomatic... This does not belong in a basic language course!


I also feel like the last part could be translated to 医生不找我. There is an implication in the English saying that the doctor is the focus of the action "keeps the doctor away" like the doctor will come looking for you if you're sick


It's kinda hard for beginners since it's an idiom. I've to make an imagination before working on this one. It's like, "(consuming) an apple a day, (then) doctor won't be looking for you". Stay healthy by eating an apple a day, right.


Perhaps reading literally, for example, " each day apple, doctor no look me ". That is, " An apple a day keeps the doctor away "!


Wait... is this actually something Chinese people say? Or is this duolingo trying to translate an idiom word by word?!


I don't think this is a Chinese idiom. You can Baidu search, Google search Taiwan Yahoo search it all you want

It is an idiom in English though but I've personally never heard a Chinese speaker say something equivalent


"Each day one apple, doctor not look for me'' It seems right inline how Chinese would write this 'saying', if it were their own. You're all great. If in doubt, report it out-lol!


Heart harvesting exercise


This is not even a remotely helpful sentence to learn since the lesson in which it appears and all those previous to it do not also teach the grammatical structure with which it is formed.


I think, 每天一個蘋果,我不要去見我醫生。like for me, dislike for duo ;3


But I wrote it correctly, why is it still wrong


In Chinese a common noun can not be a doer ? In English an apple keeps the doctor away


The performer is hidden, as in: "[having] an apple a day keeps the doctor away." The apple is only 'doing' by means of status and existence.

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Yesterday I didn't have my apple. Since early this morning, the doctor has been standing right outside the house, scowling. (That said, I also think that this sentence does not belong in a basic course.)


This is an english idiom/proverb and it is difficult to translate it directly with the same meaning into Mandarin. This really shouldnt be in this particular exercise set


Wouldnt it be better to accept the more widespread translation? 每日一苹果医生远离我


Yes, at this level of learning, using idiomatic expressions can be somewhat perplexing, perhaps even to a Chinese person! It might be beneficial if they devoted a whole lesson to Chinese idiomatic expressions towards the end of the course.


I am not even convinced this is a proverb used by the Chinese. If Duo is going to introduce idiomatic expressions or proverbs, at least do ones that Chinese actually know and use.

龙生龙,风生风 等等...


It should be "远离” instead of “不找”。


Is the word order important here? Why is it not "一个苹果一天,医生不找我。"? Also if I ate poorly and got sick wouldn't I look for a Doctor? Why is the doctor looking for me? Is this a real Chinese idiom?


Among other things, they're trying to replicate the rhyming structure of the original English, where the final syllable of "... a day" rhymes with the final syllable of ".. away".

So likwise in the Chinese, using the given word order, the final syllables of "...pingguo" and "... zhao wo" also rhyme.

So it's not that the word order you ask about is wrong; it's just that it doesn't rhyme.


In Chinese, when referring to frequency, the order is flipped compared to English.

"An apple (per) day" = "(每)一天一个苹果"

It isn't translated in the best way, but it reflects the English idiom. "An apple a day keeps the doctor away (from you)", not you from the doctor.

I usually hear it in Chinese as: 一日一苹果,医生远离我。


Seems like Google auto-complete agrees with you when I input 一天一个苹果


Usually 'when' (time) is before the object. I think this is a translation of an English Idiom, I don't think it is a Chineses Idiom. I tried looking it up in Pleco and did not find it. Pleco does have a lot of the Chinese Idioms.

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