September 18, 2007

Good good study, day day up

Posted in Fun at 4:46 pm by Feng

Good good study, day day up — Study hard, then you will improve day by day

This phrase — literally translated from Chinese — really cracks me up. It is the legendary saying left by the great leader Chairman Mao. In my childhood, the phrase was painted on campus walls, heard on radio, and said by teachers and parents all the time. Today, it evokes a familiar mint smell that drifts me back into the young and naive age …



  1. xiaoying said,

    Hi HaoFeng;

    Are you saying that good good study, day day up has been compiled as one of English phase. It is amusing.

    I like your webpage, it looks very professional.


  2. Feng said,

    It is not yet a formal English phrase. But who knows it may become official one day as the case for “long time no see”.

  3. AcE said,

    I can’t imagine such a stupid phrase and a nonsense translation becoming a formal English phrase. It’s just plain wrong.

  4. Visitor said,

    Your title “I am Chinese” -> “I am a Chinese” ?

    • another visitor said,

      No, it should be exactly as it is. You can say “I am Chinese” just like you can say “I am American”.

      • American said,

        In the US, you would be told to say “I am Chinese”, not “I am a Chinese”

  5. escanive said,


    Nice website. I was wondering, if translated more correctly what would the sentence that has becom “good good study, day day up” mean? Does it mean that if one studies well, something good will come out of it?

    If anyone knows this, please leave a comment here or contact me by e-mail: mail[at]escanive[dot]co[dot]cc (replace “[at]” with “@” and “[dot]” with “.”)

    Thanks in advance,


  6. escanive said,

    ha ha, my bad, i overlooked the text at the top – “Good good study, day day up — Study hard, then you will improve day by day”. Sorry about that.

  7. Manu B said,

    Hi Hoa Feng,
    I like this phrase, “Good good study, day day up”. I am an Indian and learning Mandarin. I have some Chinese friends who told me this. I want to write this on the board of my classroom before every class.

  8. Teddy said,

    I would translate the phrase like this:

    Learn well and make daily progress

  9. Kelli said,

    I learned this phrase today when I was talking about “Chinglish” with my Chinese friend who teaches English in Chengdu. You’re right, it means, “getting better each day.”

  10. paul said,

    Saying I’m a Chinese would be like Kennedy saying “ich bin ein Berliner” rather than “ich bin Berliner”. A Berliner is a jam doughnut whereas Berliner is someone who comes from Berlin. In effect Kennedy was saying “I am a jam doughnut”. Similarly, in English, saying “I am a Chinese” would mean “I am a Chinese meal” rather than the correct usage “I am Chinese” meaning “I am of Chinese nationality”. Aren’t languages great? I have come across some fabulous Chinglish this evening after being introduced to the concept by two of my translators this evening on a trip to the island in Xiamen. Very funny, bit like the French Toyota MR2…. just doesn’t work does it??? Who’d buy one?

  11. Richard said,

    We used to say “Good good study day day up” as far back as 1987 when we were learning Chinese in Dongbei. except we repeated the word study to make it scan better. It entered the lexicon of all the students countrywide who were following the adventures of Gubo and Palanka – the characters in the Practical Chinese Usage textbook. It was similar to the way students would say to each other “Want not want?” when offering each other something. Just an informal and lighthearted way of breaking the ice.

  12. PhiLeo said,

    哈哈哈,这就是所谓的“好好学习 天天向上”嘛!

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