空中楼阁- Having unrealistic ideas

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空中楼阁 Kōngzhōnglóugé – Having unrealistic ideas

We all have dreams, but sometimes those dreams can be extremely unrealistic in the present situation. Most of you reading this will never be capable of climbing Mount Everest even if you have the idea to do so, for example. In this story, an unrealistic idea is revealed to be unworkable in real life as well.

Once, a wealthy man built a beautiful three-storey house. When his neighbour saw it, he wished that he could have a house like that as well. He hired an architect, telling him to build a house just like the wealthy man’s house.

The architect carefully designed the house and started construction by laying the foundations. When the neighbour saw what the architect was doing, he pulled the architect aside.

‘I appreciate what you’re doing,’ said the neighbour, ‘but there’s really no need to put in the foundations or build the first and second floors. I just want you to build the third floor.’

Pause. Is this guy dense? Where has he seen a house with just a third floor? And how can that be the third floor if that’s the only floor? You can’t have three floors when you have only one. Puts into question how this guy got his money.

Anyway, the architect was shocked. ‘How can I build the top floor of a house in midair? If you really want this, you’ll have to find another architect.’ the architect replied, rolling up his plans and leaving.

Even after hearing the architect, the neighbour continued to stare at the empty space where his new house would have been built, imagining his house with only the top floor!

This story gives us the idiom 空中楼阁, which means ‘having unrealistic ideas’. You could use it in the sentence 这一个计划简直是空中楼阁,根本不能实行!Zhè yīgè jìhuà jiǎnzhí shì kōngzhōnglóugé, gēnběn bùnéng shíxíng! (This plan is just an unrealistic idea; it can’t be carried out!) 

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