Essential Chengyu: A great word for tenacity and effort – 千方百计

Today we cover a chengyu that is a great word for conveying tenacity and effort: 千方百计 (qiānfāngbǎijì).

The next time you want to tell your Chinese client / professor / S.O. the great lengths you went for the  project / homework / anniversary, you can use 千方百计. 千方百计 basically means “to think of or employ all means imaginable” to a goal, and literally means “1000 methods and 100 plans.”

A breakdown of the characters in 千方百计:

千 (qiān): thousand (eg. 千里: one-thousand li, a literary way to say “a long distance”)

方 (fāng): method (eg. 方法: the regular way to say “method” or “way”)

百 (bǎi): one hundred (eg. 百万: 1 million)

计 (jì): plan (eg. 计划: the regular way to say “plan” or “to plan”)

Observing 千方百计 in the wild shows that it generally appears in “~ + 地+ verb” form. In other words, you don’t just 千方百计,you usually do something in a 千方百计 manner.

Example A) “。。。法国兴业银行正~地安慰投资者。。。”

“…fàguó xīngyè yínháng zhèng ~de ānwèi tóuzīzhě…”

“…the French bank Société Générale is currently using all means possible to comfort investors…”

Example B) “为弥补用电的缺口,我们会~地购电。”

“wèi míbǔ yòngdiàn de quēkǒu ,wǒmen huì ~ de gòu diàn 。

“To make up for this electricity shortage, we will pull out all the stops to purchase electricity.”

Example C) This example also shows that the 地 is actually optional with little impact on the meaning.


“~wéihù xiānggǎng jīngjì shèhuì wěndìng”

“To use all means possible to maintain economic and societal stability”

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