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  1. #1
    GoodTaste is offline Key Member
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    Open a book to benefit

    Does "Open a book to benefit" sound natural in English?

    The phrase "Open a book to benefit" is a direct translation by me from a Chinese idiom which means "Something, which is beneficial to you, is learned every time a book is opened." So tranditionally it encourages people to read books. It doesn't mean you have to read a book completely; it tends to mean you should open books often to be inspried.

  2. #2
    tedmc is online now VIP Member
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    Re: Open a book to benefit

    The phrase doesn't ring a bell in English. Most of the sayings are about the benefits of reading or reading books, such as the following:

    Reading is to the mind as exercise is to the body

    Reading makes a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

  3. #3
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: Open a book to benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    The phrase doesn't ring a bell in English.
    It doesn't exist in English.

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    Most of the sayings are about the benefits of reading or reading books
    What does that mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    such as the following:
    Reading is to the mind as exercise is to the body
    Reading makes a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.
    Someone might have written those, but I wouldn't say they're idioms. They're certainly not commonly used.

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    tedmc is online now VIP Member
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    Re: Open a book to benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by teechar View Post
    It doesn't exist in English.

    That was why I said they didn't ring a bell.

    I think the saying in Chinese about the "opening of a book" has its origin in ancient times in China thousands of years ago. In those days, it took some effort to open a book because they were not printed on paper but written on heavy bamboo scrolls which were cumbersome to handle and was the privilege of the learned class. Thus the opening of a book was associated with serious reading and acquisition of knowledge which could only be beneficial to the reader. It contrasts with the books that western civilisation were used to, where the people would not think much about the mere action of opening of a book. Thus the saying in Chinese appears alien to Westerners when translated to their language.


    What does that mean?

    The famous quotes are about the reading in general or about reading books, but not about opening books.


    Someone might have written those, but I wouldn't say they're idioms. They're certainly not commonly used.


    They are famous sayings from the past; I didn't say they are idioms.

    .
    Last edited by tedmc; 30-Aug-2020 at 11:42.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

  5. #5
    GoodTaste is offline Key Member
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    Re: Open a book to benefit

    OK. Just "Reading enriches the mind."

  6. #6
    tedmc is online now VIP Member
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    Re: Open a book to benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodTaste View Post
    OK. Just "Reading enriches the mind."
    That's quite different from the original though.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

  7. #7
    PeterCW is offline Member
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    Re: Open a book to benefit

    In BrE slang "open a book" can also mean starting to take bets on something.
    Retired magazine editor and native British English speaker - not a teacher

  8. #8
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    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Open a book to benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    That's quite different from the original though.
    The original doesn't mean anything in English. We simply don't have a phrase that matches up well.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  9. #9
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: Open a book to benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodTaste View Post
    Does "Open a book to benefit" sound natural in English?
    No. It does not exist in English.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodTaste View Post
    The phrase "Open a book to benefit" is a direct translation by me from a Chinese idiom
    And how many times have we told you and other learners that idioms do not translate across languages?
    Sometimes, languages can have similar idioms, but generally speaking, most idioms are language-specific.

    Note that I have moved your thread to the appropriate section of the forum.
    Last edited by teechar; 30-Aug-2020 at 09:18.

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