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Greetings in Chinese You Must Learn

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

In this section, you can teach yourself by learning the essential greetings you must learn for basic everyday talk and situations in China with Dao Mandarin.

Greetings in Chinese

Here Are 12 Must learn Greetings in Chinese.

1.你好 (Nǐ hǎo) - Hello

"你好" (Nǐ hǎo) translates to "Hello" or "Hi" in English. It is a common and polite way to greet someone in Mandarin Chinese. "你" (Nǐ) means "you," and "好" (hǎo) means "good," so the greeting can be literally understood as "You good or good to you ," similar to "Hello "Hi " in English.

2. 你好吗?(Nǐ hǎo ma?) - How are you?

"你好吗?" (Nǐ hǎo ma?) translates to "How are you?" in English. Breaking it down:

  • "你" (Nǐ) means "you."

  • "好" (hǎo) means "good."

  • "吗" (ma) is a question marker, turning the statement "You good" into a question, equivalent to "Are you good?" or "How are you?" in English.

So, "你好吗?" is a common way to ask someone about their well-being or how they are feeling.

3. 早上好 (Zǎoshang hǎo) - Good morning

"早上好" (Zǎoshang hǎo) translates to "Good morning" in English.

  • "早上" (Zǎoshang) means "morning."

  • "好" (hǎo) means "good."

"早上好" is a polite and common way to greet someone in the morning in Mandarin Chinese.

4. 下午好 (Xiàwǔ hǎo) - Good afternoon

"下午好" (Xiàwǔ hǎo) translates to "Good afternoon" in English.

  • "下午" (Xiàwǔ) means "afternoon."

  • "好" (hǎo) means "good."

"下午好" is a polite and common way to greet someone in the afternoon in Mandarin Chinese.

5. 晚上好 (Wǎnshàng hǎo) - Good evening

"晚上好" (Wǎnshàng hǎo) translates to "Good evening" in English.

  • "晚上" (Wǎnshàng) means "evening."

  • "好" (hǎo) means "good."

"晚上好" is a polite and common way to greet someone in the evening in Mandarin Chinese.

6. 再见 (Zàijiàn) - Goodbye or see you again.

"再见" (Zàijiàn) translates to "Goodbye" in English.

  • "再" (Zài) means "again" or "once more."

  • "见" (jiàn) means "see" or "meet."

"再见" is a standard way to say goodbye in Mandarin Chinese, expressing the hope to meet again in the future.

7. 很高兴认识你 (Hěn gāoxìng rènshì nǐ) - Nice to meet you

"很高兴认识你" (Hěn gāoxìng rènshì nǐ) translates to "Nice to meet you" in English.

  • "很" (Hěn) means "very" or "quite."

  • "高兴" (gāoxìng) means "happy" or "glad."

  • "认识" (rènshì) means "to meet" or "to know."

  • "你" (nǐ) means "you."

So, the phrase expresses the sentiment of being very happy or glad to meet someone. This phrase is comparativey formal to use among young people.

8. 请问 (Qǐngwèn) - Excuse me / May I ask...

"请问" (Qǐngwèn) can be translated to "Excuse me" or "May I ask" in English. It is a polite way to get someone's attention or to preface a question or request.

  • "请" (Qǐng) means "please."

  • "问" (wèn) means "ask" or "question."

So, when you say "请问," you are literally saying "Please ask" or "May I ask," making it a courteous way to initiate a conversation or seek information.

9. 对不起 (Duìbùqǐ) - I'm sorry

"对不起" (Duìbùqǐ) translates to "I'm sorry" or "Excuse me" in English. It's a phrase used to apologize or express regret. Breaking it down:

  • "对" (Duì) means "to" or "towards."

  • "不起" (bùqǐ) means "excuse" or "to rise."

So, when you say "对不起," you are expressing a form of apology or seeking forgiveness for something, It's a common expression used to apologize or express regret in Mandarin Chinese.

10. 谢谢 (Xièxiè) - Thank you

Absolutely correct! "谢谢" (Xièxiè) translates to "Thank you" in English. It's a common and polite way to express gratitude in Mandarin Chinese.

11. 不客气 (Bú kèqì) - You're welcome

"不" (Bù) in Chinese means "not" or "no." It is often used to negate a statement or express the absence or negation of something. For example:

  • "不好" (Bù hǎo) means "not good."

  • "不是" (Bù shì) means "not" or "is not."

"不" plays a crucial role in forming negative expressions in Mandarin Chinese.

"客气" (kèqì) translates to "polite" or "courteous" in English.

"不客气" (Bù kèqì) means" no need to thank me"translates to "You're welcome" in English. It is a polite way to respond when someone expresses gratitude or thank you in Mandarin Chinese. It conveys the idea that there's no need for the other person to be polite or feel obligated to thank you.

12. 没关系 (Méiguānxi) - It's okay / No problem

"没" (Méi) in Chinese is a negative particle used to indicate the absence of an action or state. It is commonly used to negate verbs. For example:

  • "有" (Yǒu) means "to have," and "没有" (Méiyǒu) means "to not have" or "there is no."

So, "没" (Méi) is often used to express the negative form of various verbs, indicating the lack or non-existence of something.

"关系(guānxi)" has several meanings in Mandarin Chinese, in 没关系 (Méiguānxi) phrase it means matter or important.

"没关系" (Méiguānxi) translates to "It's okay," "No problem," or "It doesn't matter" in English. It's a common way to reassure someone or let them know that there's no need to worry or feel apologetic for a minor issue.

Practice these greetings, and you'll be better equipped to engage in basic conversations in Mandarin Chinese. Remember that pronunciation is crucial in Chinese, so listening to native speakers and practicing the tones is essential.

If you are interested in learning more Mandarin Lessons, you can book a 30 minutes free Mandarin Class with one of our online teachers .

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