Posts Tagged ‘ greetings ’

(#26) Valentine’s Day / 情人节

In mandarin, we say it is 应景 yin4 jing3, which means during specific activities aligned to the occassion.

Today is Valentine’s Day, so I’ll want to say Happy Valentine’s Day to you.
情人节快乐!qing2 ren3 jie2 kuai4 le4!

Let’s take the opportunity to go through some vocabulary related to this occassion.

我爱你   wo3 ai4 ni3   I love you
男朋友   nan2 peng2 you3   Boyfriend
女朋友   nv3 peng2 you3   Girlfriend
丈夫,妻子   zhang4 fu1, qi1 zi3   (Used as a pair; formal) Husband, wife
先生;太太   xian1 sheng1, tai4 tai4   (Used as a pair; used in introduction) Husband, wife
老公,老婆   lao3 gong1, lao3 po2   (Used as a pair; informal and cute) Husband, wife
恋人   lian4 ren2   Lovers
结婚   jie2 hun1   Marry, married (depending on context)
订婚   ding4 hun1   Engage, engaged (depending on context)
戒指   jie4 zhi3   Ring
玫瑰花   mei2 gui4 hua1   Rose
巧克力   qiao3 ke4 li4   Chocolate
红酒   hong2 jiu3   Red wine
钻石   zuan4 shi2   Diamond


(#18) Thank you, Sorry, Goodbye / 谢谢你, 对不起, 再见

Thank you for sticking around for the past 18 posts. I need to say 谢谢你 xie4 xie4 ni3.

That brings me to one of the phrase that I want to go through today. 谢 xie4 on its own means ‘thank’ and saying 谢谢你 xie4 xie4 ni3 is very natural in mandarin, probably because Chinese are pretty polite.

Saying 谢谢你 xie4 xie4 ni3 is polite, while 谢谢 xie4 xie4 is casual and friendly. If you happen to be writting a speech and you need a word that elevates the meaning, you can use 感谢 gan3 xie4, such as 我要感谢我的妈妈 wo3 yao4 gan3 xie4 wo3 de4 ma1 ma1 – I want to thank my mother.


To say sorry, you can say 对不起 dui4 bu4 qi3, or 抱歉 bao4 qian4. The former is more commonly used, while the latter is more formal, and more frequently used with customers or clients.

Remember the post on 很 hen3 and 真的很 zhen1 de4 hen3? You can use it with  谢谢你 xie4 xie4 ni3 and 对不起 dui4 bu4 qi3 to increase the intensity of the meaning.

谢谢你 xie4 xie4 ni3
很谢谢你 hen3 xie4 xie4 ni3
真的很谢谢你 zhen1 de4 hen3 xie4 xie4 ni3

对不起 dui4 bu4 qi3
很对不起 hen3 dui4 bu4 qi3
真的很对不起 zhen1 de4 hen3 dui4 bu4 qi3


One last helpful phrase for the post: 再见 zai4 jian4 good bye

再见 zai4 jian4 is literally ‘again-meet’, so it is the same as ‘See you’. In chinese we had also adopted the english ‘byebye’ into our language, and is written as 拜拜 or  掰掰。You can just say ‘byebye’ and most chinese people would understand. I say most, because after all, it is an adopted word.

(#14) Good night / 晚安

It started as one post to go through 早安 zao3 an1,午安 wu3 an1 and 晚安 wan3 an1, and it ended up as 4 separate posts.

I prefer to keep each post to take approximately 5 minutes to read, therefore I have to separate contents diligently.

I digress.

I was saying, good night in Chinese is used quite similarly to how it is used in English, where you are either saying it as the last sentence before you, or the other party, turn in to sleep, or two persons ended a night’s out and is going to part for the day.

In either way, saying 晚安 wan3 an1 or goodnight is like putting a nice, thoughtful full stop to end the day’s interaction.

To complete the lesson, let’s go through how to say ‘night’ in Chinese. 晚上 wan3 shang4 represents ‘night’, and as an individual character 晚 wan3 means night too. In future lessons you will see more examples of it being paired with other characters.


New Vocabulary:

  • wan3 night

(#13) Good evening / 傍晚好

Truthfully, I’d never said good evening in mandarin to anyone before. I thought hard and realised, like 早上好 zao3 shang4 hao3,中午好 zhong1 wu3 hao3,下午好 xia4 wu3 hao3,the similarly-formed 傍晚好 bang4 wan3 hao2 all has a degree of formality to it.

This is why they are more often used on semi-formal to formal television shows such as the news. But don’t worry, these words do exist, just that they don’t seem as ‘friendly’ as 早安 zao3 an1 午安 wu3 an1and the 晚安 wan3 an1.

傍晚 bang4 wan3 refers to the evening, and anything around 6pm and up to 7pm plus, is considered 傍晚 bang4 wan3.


New Vocabulary

  • 傍晚 bang4 wan3 evening

(#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

(#11) Good morning / 早安

Did you say ‘good morning’ to anyone today?

In Chinese we would say 早安 zao3 an1. 早 zao3 means morning (早 also have the meaning of early), and 安 an1 can mean assurance, safety etc.

安心 an1 xin1 assurance
安全 an1 quan2 safe, as in there is no danger
平安 ping2 an1 safe

It is also possible to say good morning as 早上好 zao3 shang4 hao3.

shang4, on its own, is a preposition, which literally means ‘up’. Placed together, 早上 zao3 shang4 means morning too. Next we add 好 hao3, so in total it is 早上好 zao3 shang4 hao3, which means literally ‘morning-well’.


New Vocabulary:

  • 早安 zao3 an1 good morning
  • zao3 morning; early
  • shang4 up

(#3) How are you? I’m good. / 你好吗?我很好。

Let’s do an obligatory post on saying hi and replying when you are being said hi to.

你好吗?ni3 hao3 ma1? How are you?

我很好。 wo3 hen3 hao3. I’m good.


But let me break that down into individual characters. You should recognise ni3 你, which means you. “好” hao3 means good, and in this case, it means well. ” 吗” ma1 is a formal method to ask question, and this character – always paired with a question mark – is affixed at the end of the sentence.


Some other possible answers to the question:

不错 bu4 cuo4 : not bad

还好 hai2 hao3 : okay

不好 bu4 hao3 : not good