(#12) Good afternoon / 午安

Past morning, we’d naturally say good afternoon as a greeting.

In Chinese, we separate the time between 12pm to approx 6pm into two slots. Aptly, between 12pm and 1pm is the noon hour, and greetings exchanged at this time would be 中午好zhong1 wu3 hao3.

zhong1 is a preposition, which means ‘centre’.

wu3 means ‘noon’.

Together, they form 中午 zhong1 wu3 which means ‘middle of noon’, or you can remember it as middle of the day.

As a greeting, as usual you add a 好 hao3, which means, of course, ‘well’. You hadn’t forgotten it, had you?

When it comes to after 1pm, we say it is 下午 xia4 wu3. 下 xia4, on its own, is a preposition, which means ‘down’. Applying the same rule, we add a 好 hao3 to the end of this word, and it becomes 下午好 xia4 wu3 hao3, which means good afternoon.

That was a lot of explaination, and I don’t want to digress from the focus point of this post!
From 12 noon to 1pm plus, you can say 中午好 zhong1 wu3 hao3 ‘good noon’
From 1pm plus to 5pm plus (and before 6pm), you can say 下午好 xia4 wu3 hao3 ‘good afternoon’
Or, you can simply use 午安 wu3 an1 to say good afternoon during anytime in the afternoon. It is easier to remember, and that’s what is important for now.

New Vocabulary

  • wu3 noon
  • zhong1 centre/middle
  • xia4 down
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