No matter if you’re traveling to a Mandarin Chinese-speaking country or getting to know people closer to home, these words and phrases are essential for your Chinese language survival kit. By the end of this lesson you’ll know the formal and informal ways to for ask people how they are to ensure you make a good first impression. And just in case you need to apologize… you’ll learn how to say sorry in Chinese as well!
Feeling confident with these basic Chinese words and phrases will make such a positive difference to your experiences with Chinese people. Remember, a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet!
Resources for further reading:
Here are some common questions that follow a greeting.
For friends or family:
Rocket Record lets you perfect your Chinese pronunciation. Just listen to the native speaker audio and then use the microphone icon to record yourself. Once you’re done, you’ll get a score out of 100 on your pronunciation and can listen to your own audio playback. (Use a headset mic for best results.) Problems? Click here!
How are you recently?
How is it going recently?
For strangers or more senior persons:
How are you?
What do you say if someone asks you one of these questions?
Very well, thanks.
A little busy.
A common follow-up question is, “And you?”, Nǐ zěnme yàng？ (你怎么样？) or in short and informal terms nǐ ne？(你 呢？)
And how about you?
If someone tells you that he or she is not feeling well you could say the following…
If someone is feeling great you might want to say the following…
It is true that in most languages in the world, when people hear some bad news from friends, they normally say “I’m sorry”, e.g. to someone who is sick. Yet in Chinese, people only say the phrase “I’m sorry” when they have done something wrong.
It is still important to know how to say it in Chinese, because everybody makes mistakes, don’t they? Some people even believe that the most important phrase in any language is how to say you’re sorry! Others disagree. They say that there are THREE important phrases that you absolutely must know in any language. They are:
I love you.
Could you please help me?
Hmm, I can’t think of a situation in which I’d need to use all three, but I’ll leave it to your imagination! That’s it for today’s lesson.
If you want more lessons on Chinese salutations then I recommend that you check out the following:
下次见！ Xiàcì jiàn!
Lin Ping: Rocket Chinese
Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities!