How to GREET in Chinese?

As we all know, there are tons of greetings in English, such as “Hello!” “Hi!” “Hey!” “Good morning!” “Good afternoon!” “Good evening!” as well as “How are you?” “How do you do?” The Chinese language is the same: we also have different sayings to greet someone. But different sayings should be used under different circumstances.

Greetings From Mickey Mouse

Greetings From Mickey Mouse@ Disneyland Orlando

Greetings In Formal Circumstances…

As known to us all, “Hello” is the English expression for greetings in the most formal circumstances, such as greetings exchanged during people’s first meeting or greetings at the beginning of a business negotiation. “Hello” is translated as “你好” in Chinese. What’s more, “你好” is also used when elderly people greet each other.

Chinese Character/Saying for Hello_formal 

Greetings Between Different Generations…

It is different when an elder greets a young person and when young people greet the elderly.

An elder people will usually say “你好” when he greets a young person, which hopefully you remember from the first circumstance we talked about just now.

However, a youth will greet one who is elder than him in another way to express his respect. He will greet by saying “您好!” “您”means the same as “你”, both meaning “you” in Chinese. But “您” sounds more polite and decent than “你.”

Chinese Character/Saying for Hello_with respect 

Greetings Between People Who Know Each Other Well…

Americans greet someone whom they know well with “hi” or “hey.” “嗨.” The interesting thing is that we have two Chinese characters with exactly both the same meaning and the same pronunciation in Chinese.

Check this out. “嗨” stands for “hi” while “嘿” means “hey.”

Chinese Character/Saying for Hi 

Chinese Character/Saying for Hey 

Easy, huh?

Some “Weird” Greetings In Chinese…

The above greetings don’t show too many differences between the Chinese and American cultures.

Americans will feel offended when they are asked by a friend where they are going or what they are going to do. They will consider these questions quite personal and private. So you may find these Chinese greetings quite frustrating and weird.

Usually, we Chinese greet friends without directly saying “hi” or the like. Rather, we ask a question. such as “干嘛去?”which means “What are you going to do?”“去哪儿呀?”which means “Where are you going?” or “吃了吗?” which means “Have you eaten?”

Chinese Character/Saying for What Are You Going To Do  

Chinese Character/Saying for Where Are You Going  

Chinese Character/Saying for Have You Eaten 

See how interesting that is? It is always interesting to learn about a different culture when we learn a different language.

Xuan's Greeting From Underwater

Xuan's Greeting From Underwater


  Got more GREETINGS to share with us?

  Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!

  by Xuan♥.


4 comments on “How to GREET in Chinese?

  1. a little bit confused now, is this blog specific on the chinese character or the chinese language? since there is some difference and from the previous blog looks like u r trying to introduce chinese language as a whole rather than chinese character

    • Thanks for your questions. My instructor has pointed out the limitation of using a blog to build an online course, and this class is about BLOGGING skills, so I am kinda in between the transition. Changes will made after tomorrow’s meet with the instructor. You are more than welcome to check that out later!

      • yep, a blog for introduction is more than fine but for language learning it is limited due to the loss of communication and some other elements. Eager to see the changes tomorrow.

        PS: Appreicate ur work on both articles and recording, nice work so far, Miss Tian.

"Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought." ---By Napoleon Hill

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s