一分钱一分货 You Get What You Pay For

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Since we’re on the topics of shopping and money (videos here and hereaudio list here) on the Mandarin Weekly series, I thought it’d be apt to introduce this proverb. Scroll down for the explanation and examples.

一分钱一分货 final

So, what does “一分钱一分货” (yì fēn qián yì fēn huò) mean? “分” fēn is the smallest unit of money, so literally, this means one fēn money, one fēn worth of goods – you get what you pay for.

A similar saying is:
hǎohuò bù piányi, piányi méi hǎohuò
好货不便宜,便宜没好货
Good things aren’t cheap, cheap things aren’t good.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

Zhè xiézi cái gāng mǎi jiù pò le, zhēn shì yì fēn qián yì fēn huò.
这鞋子才刚买就破了,真是一分钱一分货。
I just got this pair of shoes and they’re torn. Well, you get what you pay for.

Zhè jiàn yīfu yàngzi gēn gébì nà jiā de chàbuduō, háishi huíqu mǎi nà jiàn ba, piányi duō le.
A:这件衣服样子跟隔壁那家的差不多,还是回去买那件吧,便宜多了。
The design of this dress is quite similar to the one we saw next door. Let’s get that one – it’s so much cheaper.
Yì fēn qián yì fēn huò, yí kàn jiù zhīdao bù yíyàng.
B:一分钱一分货,一看就知道不一样。
You get what you pay for. One look and you know the quality is different.

Huā le nàme duō qián mǎi de shǒuji, méi bàn nián jiù huài le, shénme yì fēn qián yì fēn huò.
花了那么多钱买的手机,没半年就坏了,什么一分钱一分货!
I paid so much for this mobile phone, yet it’s broken in less than half a year. And they say you get what you pay for!

What do you think? Do you believe 一分钱一分货?

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