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Chinese Numbers 1-100 and Everything You Need to Know about Chinese Numbers!

Chinese numbers in Chinese characters

Counting from 1-100 is a must-have skill when it comes to learning a new language. In this article, we will cover Chinese numbers 1-100 and everything you need to know about Chinese numbers! This article will take about at least 30 minutes to read. Worth to read. But if you do not have enough time to read the whole article, use the table of contents below and jump to the “Numbers in Mandarin Chinese Conclusion” section. Here are the topics we will talk about…

Let’s learn the numbers in Mandarin Chinese!! We start with Chinese numbers 1-100.

Chinese Numbers 1-10

Here is how we write numbers 1 to 10 in Mandarin Chinese. In my opinion, there is not really a shortcut for numbers 1-10. You just have to memorize it. 

Let’s start with the first three, the easest numbers to remember.

Number 1 in Chinese is just one horizontal line:   1   yī

Number 2 in Chinese just adds one more line. 2  èr. The bottom line is slightly longer than the one above 

Number 3 in Chinese Three horizontal lines. Keep in mind that the middle line is the shortest. And the bottom line is the longest: 3   sān

Wouldn’t it be nice if number 4 follows the same pattern as numbers 1 to 3? But it doesn’t. Let’s list the next numbers from 4-10.

4 四  sì

5 五  wǔ

6 六  liù

7 七  qī

8 八  bā

9 九  jiǔ

10 十  shí

Chinese numbers 1-10

Chinese Numbers 11-19

Don’t worry about learning memory any tricks. Just memorize and practice a few more times if necessary. Once you are familiar with the numbers 1-10, the numbers 11-20 are actually pretty easy, since it follows a simple pattern.

The pattern goes like this…

11=10+1, so 11 in Chinese is 十一 shíyī  (literally “ten one”)

12=10+2, so 12 in Chinese is 十二 shíèr (“ten two”)

The same pattern applies to 13 through 19. Try saying those numbers before reading below! 

Did you get those right? 

13=10+3, so 13 in Chinese is 十三 shísān (“ten three”)

14=10+4, so 14 in Chinese is 十四 shísì (“ten four”)

15=10+5, so 15 in Chinese is 十五 shíwǔ (“ten five”)

16=10+6, so 16 in Chinese is 十六 shíliù (“ten six”)

17=10+7, so 17 in Chinese is 十七 shíqī (“ten seven”) 

18=10+8, so 18 in Chinese is 十八 shíbā (“ten eight”)

19=10+9, so 19 in Chinese is 十九 shíjiǔ (“ten nine”)

Chinese numbers 11-19

Chinese Numbers Pattern for Tens

After learning numbers 1 through 19, we come to the number 20. 

In Mandarin Chinese, the tens numbers follow the same pattern as hundreds, thousands, etc.

For example, we say two hundred to mean two hundred (2 x 100). So instead of twenty, we say “two ten.”

So 20 in Chinese is 二十 èrshí (literally “two ten”)

All the tens numbers follow this pattern.

30 in Chinese is 三十 sānshí (“three ten”)

40 in Chinese is 四十 sìshí (“four ten”)

You can guess the rest.

Chinese numbers pattern for tens

Chinese Numbers 21-100

With the two patterns, you can form any number less than from 1 to 99.

Here are some examples…

21=20+1, so 21 in Chinese is 二十一 èrshíyī (literally “two ten one”)

22=20+2, so 22 in Chinese is 二十二 èrshíèr (“two ten two”)

29=20+9, so 29 in Chinese is 二十九 èrshíjiǔ (“two ten nine”)

38=30+8, so 38 in Chinese is 三十八 sānshíbā (“three-ten eight”)

66=60+6, so 66 in Chinese is 六十六 liùshíliù (“six-ten six”)

And so on…

The last thing you are going to learn in this section is 100!

Hundred is “百 bǎi”

One hundred is 一百 *yìbǎi

* Notice that the tone for “一” has changed from the first tone to the fourth tone. See “Tone Change Rules” below for detail.

Chinese numbers 21-100

To review, here is the table below for Chinese numbers 1-100

NumberHanziPinyin
0零 / 〇Líng
1
2Èr
3Sān
4
5
6Liù
7
8
9Jiǔ
10Shí
11十一Shí yī
12十二Shí èr
13十三Shí sān
14十四Shí sì
15十五Shí wǔ
16十六Shí liù
17十七Shí qī
18十八Shí bā
19十九Shí jiǔ
20二十Èr shí
21二十一Èr shí yī
22二十二Èr shí èr
23二十三Èr shí sān
24二十四Èr shí sì
25二十五Èr shí wǔ
26二十六Èr shí liù
27二十七Èr shí qī
28二十八Èr shí bā
29二十九Èr shí jiǔ
30三十Sān shí
31三十一Sān shí yī
32三十二Sān shí èr
33三十三Sān shí sān
34三十四Sān shí sì
35三十五Sān shí wǔ
36三十六Sān shí liù
37三十七Sān shí qī
38三十八Sān shí bā
39三十九Sān shí jiǔ
40四十Sì shí
41四十一Sì shí yī
42四十二Sì shí èr
43四十三Sì shí sān
44四十四Sì shí sì
45四十五Sì shí wǔ
46四十六Sì shí liù
47四十七Sì shí qī
48四十八Sì shí bā
49四十九Sì shí jiǔ
50五十Wǔ shí
51五十一Wǔ shí yī
52五十二Wǔ shí èr
53五十三Wǔ shí sān
54五十四Wǔ shí sì
55五十五Wǔ shí wǔ
56五十六Wǔ shí liù
57五十七Wǔ shí qī
58五十八Wǔ shí bā
59五十九Wǔ shí jiǔ
60六十Liù shí
61六十一Liù shí yī
62六十二Liù shí èr
63六十三Liù shí sān
64六十四Liù shí sì
65六十五Liù shí wǔ
66六十六Liù shí liù
67六十七Liù shí qī
68六十八Liù shí bā
69六十九Liù shí jiǔ
70七十Qī shí
71七十一Qī shí yī
72七十二Qī shí èr
73七十三Qī shí sān
74七十四Qī shí sì
75七十五Qī shí wǔ
76七十六Qī shí liù
77七十七Qī shí qī
78七十八Qī shí bā
79七十九Qī shí jiǔ
80八十Bā shí
81八十一Bā shí yī
82八十二Bā shí èr
83八十三Bā shí sān
84八十四Bā shí sì
85八十五Bā shí wǔ
86八十六Bā shí liù
87八十七Bā shí qī
88八十八Bā shí bā
89八十九Bā shí jiǔ
90九十Jiǔ shí
91九十一Jiǔ shí yī
92九十二Jiǔ shí èr
93九十三Jiǔ shí sān
94九十四Jiǔ shí sì
95九十五Jiǔ shí wǔ
96九十六Jiǔ shí liù
97九十七Jiǔ shí qī
98九十八Jiǔ shí bā
99九十九Jiǔ shí jiǔ
100一百Yì bǎi

And you also can download this infographic (just right click and download it!)  

Chinese numbers 1-100

If you are a teacher, you are welcome to check out those vivid Chinese posters, including numbers in Chinese poster.

After learning Chinese numbers 1-100, let’s move on to the higher numbers.

Chinese Numbers 100 and Up (Large Numbers in Chinese)

– Chinese Characters for Hundred, Thousand, Ten Thousand, Hundred Million and Trillion.

 

Hundred: 百 bǎi – 100 (2 zeros)

Thousand: 千 qiān – 1000 (3 zeros)

Ten thousand: 万 wàn – 10000 (4 zeros)

Hundred million: 亿 yì – 10000000 (7 zeros)

Trillion: 兆 zhào – 1000000000000 (12 zeros)

– Numbers 101-109

This is how we read the number 101 in Chinese,

101 一百零一 yì bǎi líng yī (零 líng means “zero”)

 一百零一 broke down into individual character, literally means “one-hundred-zero-one”

 

102 一百零二 yì bǎi líng èr

“一百” “零” and “二” literally means “one-hundred-zero-two”

Follow the same pattern for the next few numbers up to 109.

Chinese numbers 101-109

– Numbers 110-119

For the numbers 10 to 19 within large numbers, it gets a bit tricky. 

For number 110, we read as “一百 一十 yìbǎi yīshí” instead of “一百 yìbǎishí.” Normally we just say 十 shí for ten, but in the large numbers, we add 一 yī in front of 十 shí. 

Same for the rest, 

111, we read as “一百 一十一 yìbǎi yīshíyī” literally means “one-hundred-one-ten-one.”

112, we read as “一百 一十二 yìbǎi yīshíèr” literally means “one-hundred-one-ten-two.” 

This will apply to all the larger numbers when 10 to 19 are involved. For 3910, we read as “三千九百 一十 sān qiān jiǔ bǎi yī shí.” Or literally “three-thousand-one-hundred-one-ten.” 

Chinese numbers 110-119

– Numbers 120-200

These next numbers are pretty straight forward. 

120 is read as 一百二十     (one-hundred-two-ten)

156 is read as 一百五十六     (one-hundred-five-ten-six)

178 is read as 一百七十八     (one-hundred-seven-ten-eight)

190 is read as 一百九十   (one-hundred-nine-ten)

200 can be read as 二百, but the more common way say 200 is “两百 liǎngbǎi.” You can learn more about this in the “Chinese number 2: When to say 二 èr? When to say 两 liǎng?” section below.

– Numbers 201-999

Let’s try some bigger numbers. See if you can say them correctly. 

506  

418

790

816

999

Check your answers below.

506 五百零六   “five-hundred-zero-six”

418 四百一十八 “four-hundred-one-ten-eight”

790 七百九十  “seven-hundred-nine-ten”

816 八百一十六 “eight-hundred-one-ten-six”

999 九百九十九 “nine-hundred-nine-ten-nine”

Chinese numbers 120-999

 

Download this infographic! It not only includes Chinese numbers 1-100, also the numbers up to

Numbers up to 999 in Chinese

– Numbers 1000 and up

When talking about large numbers, the main points we should address,

Large numbers in Chinese

First, We place commas every four digits, unlike in English, where commas are placed every three digits. (Note: since international communications are very common nowadays, placing commas every three digits are getting popular in China and Taiwan.) 

In Mandarin Chinese, here are the categories for each comma in ascending order: “small number,” “万 wàn, Ten thousand,” “亿 yì, Hundred Million,” and “兆 zhào, Trillion.”  

As you can see from the infographic above, there are 4 digits in each category.

The place values for each category are as follows:

Small numbers category: 个 ge, 十 shí, 百 bǎi, and 千 qiān. 

万 wàn category: 万, 十万,  百万, and 千万

亿 yì category: 亿, 十亿,  百亿, and 千亿

兆 zhào category: 兆, 十兆,  百兆, and 千兆

 

Let’s use this big number as an example: 7915348

large numbers to Chinese character

How do we write and read this number in Chinese? Don’t panic! Let’s learn this step by step!

  1. Write down the numbers in numerals (just the numbers). → 7915348
  2. Place a comma every 4 digits → 791,5348.
  3. The first 3 numbers are 791, which you will say 七百九十一 (“seven-hundred-nine-ten-one”). Because this number is in the “万 Wàn category,” we combine them as “七百九十一” (“seven-hundred-nine-ten-one-ten thousand“).
  4. The last 4 numbers are 5348, which you will say 五千三百四十八. (“five-thousand-three-hundred-four-ten-eight”)
  5. Combine step 3 & 4, this is how you say this number 七百九十一万五千三百四十八. (“seven-hundred-nine-ten-one-ten thousand-five-thousand-three-hundred-four-ten-eight“)

Not too hard, right!?  

And what happens if you hear someone say a large number in Chinese? Here is how to figure out what that number is: 

When you hear a number in Chinese

  1. Write down the number in Chinese characters or pinyin. For instance, you hear 九十八万七千一百二十 jiǔ shí bā wàn qī qiān yī bǎi èr shí
  2. See if there is/are “万” “亿”, “兆” in the number. In this case, you will find “万” 
  3. Separate them by categories. In this case, the number is separated into two categories, 1. small numbers, and 2. 万 wàn ten thousand.
  4. In the 万 wàn category, you see the characters “九十八”, and that is “98” (don’t worry about “万” here. It is just for the category.)
  5. In the small numbers group, you see the characters “七千一百二十,” and that is “7120.”
  6. Combine step 4 & 5, and we get the number 987120.

 

Do you know how to deal with large numbers in Chinese now? Try quizzing yourself with this infographic. The answer key is upside down.

Large number practice

You can come here to download the high-quality “big numbers in Chinese” infographic.

The Use of Zero in Chinese

zeros in Chinese

Zero is a bit tricky in Chinese. That is why there is a whole section devoted to this. But don’t worry, once you learn the rules, it’ll become second nature to you.

– When The Tens Digit Is Zero in Numbers Larger Than 100

For numbers greater than 100 with a zero in the tens place, the structure is like this: x + 百 + 零 + y

101: 一百零一 (one-hundred-zero-one)

305: 三百零五 (three-hundred-zero-five)

407: 四百零七 (four-hundred-zero-seven)

908: 九百零八 (nine-hundred-zero-eight)

When the tens digit is zero in numbers larger than 100

– Zero in The Ones Digit 

The structure is like this: x + 百 + y + 十 

110: 一百一十 (one-hundred-one*-ten)

760: 七百六十 (seven-hundred-six-ten)

920: 九百二十 (nine-hundred-two-ten)

*If the number is just 10, we just say ten 十 shí. But in numbers above 100, we say “one” before the ten.

 

Zero in the ones digit 

– One Thousand and Up

Similar to the rules in hundreds. But if you have more than ONE ZERO in a row, you just say “zero” once.

1001: 一千零一 (one-thousand-zero)

3,0002: 三万零二 (three-ten thousand-zero-two)

5080: 五千零八十  (five-zero-eight-zero)

One thousand and up

But wait! You may be asking… what if you hear someone say a large number and you hear “líng,” how do you know if that is just one zero or multiple zeros? Let’s cover that now.

big number in Chinese with zeros example

 

If you hear… 八亿零五十万零九十  bā yì líng wǔ shí wàn líng jiǔ shí

  1. Separate by categories: “兆”, “亿”, “万” and small numbers. So in this case, it becomes “八亿”  “零五十万” and “零九十”. 
  2. Remember in Chinese each category has 4 digits since we put commas at every 4 digits.
  3. The first one is “八亿”, so you can write “8.” Then we have “零五十万” which is “五十.” So that is a “50” in the 万 category. Because there are 4 digits in each category, we need to put 2 zeros before the 50. It becomes “0050.” Then “零九十”, which is “九十 90.” So it becomes “0090.” Combine all of them together and we get the number “8,0050,0090.” 

Practice with the numbers below. Answers are upside down.

big number with zeros practice

 

If you would like to download the high-quality “zeros in Chinese,” click here!

Watch this video to learn!

Now that we have learned how to say any numbers from zero to 1,000,0000,0000 in Chinese, you may wonder if there are ways to say even bigger numbers in Chinese? Of course, there are higher numbers, but we won’t go into it here. The numbers from zero to a trillion should keep you busy for a while.

Chinese Number 2: When to Say 二 èr? When to Say 两 liǎng?

If you have learned Chinese for a little while, you may notice that when we see “2,” we sometimes pronounce it as “二 èr,” but sometimes we say it as “两 liǎng.” So when do we say which? The infographic below will walk us through it.

 

 

  • We use 二 èr in these two circumstances:
  1. When giving a phone number

If your number is 432-722-1272, we read it as 四三二  七二二 一二七二

       2.When saying the ordinal number, which means “second”

For the “second one,” we read it as 第二个 (dì èr ge)

For the “second time,” we read it as 第二次 (dì èr cì)

  • We use 两 liǎng…

When talking about “two of something” or “both”

For “two cups of tea,” we say 两杯茶

When counting numbers, it becomes a bit tricky… But don’t worry. Let me explain. Here is an example number: 2,2222,2222,2222

 

Rule #1: We always read “2” as “二” if it is in the “ones” place of the small numbers category. 

Rule #2: Every “2” in the “tens” place of “兆”, “亿”, “万” or “small numbers”  categories, we always read as ““. Which you can see in red. (So ALL THE RED ONES read as )

Rule #3: Every “2” in the “thousands” and “hundreds” place of “兆”, “亿”, “万” and “small numbers” categories, we always read as “两”. Which you can see in blue.

Rule #4: If the “2” is the only number in its category, e.g., 2,3782, we read the 2 as “” even though it is in the ones place of that category. So we say “两万三千七百八十二.” Notice that the second “2” is “二” which follows Rule #1 above.

Another example, 2,8503,9278, we read the 2 as “两” even though it is in the ones place of that category. So we say “两亿八千五百零三万九千两百七十八.” Notice that the second “2” is “两” as well, which follows Rule #3 above.

Rule #5: If the “2” is in the “ones” place of “兆”, “亿”, “万” categories, but has other numbers before it, then we read it as “二.” E.g., 32, 6282, we say 三十二万六千两百八十二

Quick review

Just remember the number above, 

  • 2 in reds place say “二”, 
  • 2 in blues say “两”,
  • 2 in highlights: if they are the only number in their category, say “两”, otherwise say “二.”

We made a video to teach you step-by-step (up to 4 digits). Visit our Patreon page to check out more videos and infographics.

Chinese Phone Numbers

  • In China

When giving a phone number, you just read the digits. But there is one thing to keep in mind,

For the number “1,” when giving the phone number in China, we pronounce it as “yāo.” The reason for doing this is to differentiate the sound of the number “1” from the number “7,” which is “qī.” Normally “1” is pronounced 一 yī which can sometimes be confused with 七 qī.

In mainland China, cell phone numbers have 11 digits in the format 1xx-xxxx-xxxx. The first three digits (e.g. 13x, 14x,15x,17x and 18x) designate the mobile phone service provider.  

For instance, if you are giving your cell phone number to a new friend, your cell phone number is 134-5678-9012 (This is just a made-up number, but it could still be a real number. Don’t actually call this number.)

To say this number in Chinese, you would say Yāo sān sì wǔ liù qī bā jiǔ líng yāo èr

 

  • In Taiwan, the number 1 is pronounced as “yī.”

In Taiwan, cell phone numbers have 10 digits in the format 09xx-xxx-xxx. Originally, the first four digits were used to designate the service provider. But a few years ago, they changed the policy, so that you can transfer your number to a different provider. 

Emergency Numbers in China and Taiwan

  • In China

Police 110 

Ambulance 120

Fire 119

  • In Taiwan

Police 110

Ambulance and Fire: 119

It seems like a lot of numbers to remember, but the most important number is 110. In any emergency, just call this number and they will connect you to the proper department.

Dates and Times in Chinese

Soon after I started learning English as a second language, I realized that the months and the dates of the week are complicated in English. (So please don’t complain Chinese is hard.)

In Mandarin Chinese, once you know the numbers, you pretty much can say any time element in Chinese. Let’s dive in! 

Keywords to know: 

  • Year in Chinese: 年 nián. 

The year of 2019:  二〇一九 年 (èr líng yī jiǔ nián, “two-zero-one-nine-year”). 

The year of 2020: 二〇二〇 年 (èr líng èr líng nián, “two-zero-two-zero-year”). 

  • Month in Chinese: 月 yuè. 

January:  一月 yīyuè. The first month of the year, simply just add number 1, 一 yī, before 月 yuè. The same pattern applies to all the months.

March: 三月 (sān yuè). 

December: 十二月 (shí èr yuè)

  • Date: 日 rì or 号 hào.

3rd day of the month: 三日 (sān rì)

October 6: 十月六日 (shí yuè liù rì) or 十月六号 (shí yuè liù hào)

  • Week: 星期 xīngqī*

Monday: 星期一 (xīngqī yī)

Tuesday: 星期二 (xīngqī èr)

Friday: 星期五 (xīngqī wǔ)

Sunday: 星期日 (xīngqī rì) or 星期天 (xīngqītiān).

* 星期 xīng is used in China, whereas 星期 xīngis used in Taiwan. Note the difference in tones.

  • Hour: 点 diǎn

3 o’clock: 三点 (sān diǎn)

9 o’clock: 九点 (jiǔ diǎn)

  • Minute: 分 fēn 

9:10: 九点十分 (jiǔ diǎn shí fēn)

12:59: 十二点 五十九分 (shíèr diǎn wǔshíjiǔ fēn)

  • Second: 秒 miǎo

One second: 一秒 (yì miǎo)

Ten seconds: 十秒 (shí miǎo)

A little tip in Chinese grammar: whenever we talk about time, we always put the time elements in the order from largest to smallest. (I call it the Chinese time order slide. Check out the infographic below.)

Time order in Chinese

For instance,

3 o’clock on Tuesday → We say the day first, then the time → 星期二 三点

September 11th, 2001→ We say the year first, then the month, and lastly the day → 两千零一 年 九月十一日

You can check out more details about time in these two articles with infographics. Time order in Chinese and Time (Past, Present, Future).

Age in Chinese

Numbers can be used when talking about age. Here are some keywords for you to know first.

HanziPinyinEnglish  

suìYear old
yuèMonth
How many
几岁jǐsuìHow old

bànHalf

Simple phrase examples:

Six years old: 六岁 (liù suì)

Three and a half years old: 三岁 半 (sān suì bàn)

Eight months old: 八个月 (bā ge yuè)

How old: 几岁 (jǐ suì)

 

Full-sentence examples:

I am six years old this year: 我今年六岁。(wǒ jín nián liù suì)

My dad is forty years old: 我爸爸四十岁

 

A: How old is your little brother? 你弟弟几岁?

B: He is three and a half years old. 他三岁半。

Chinese Ordinal Numbers

Earlier when we talked about dates in Chinese, you may have noticed that Chinese is simpler than English. Ordinal numbers work the same way.

These are pretty straight forward. The structure of a simple phrase is just adding the word “第 dì” before the number.

Simple phrase examples:

First: 第一 (dì yī)

Second: 第二 (dì èr)

Third: 第三 (dì sān)

When we use ordinal numbers, they usually don’t appear by themselves. For instance,

If you won “first place” in a competition. (“first” is accompanied with “place”)

If you are having the second cup of coffee today.

If you just finished watching the “third movie” for the day.

 

In Chinese, the structure will look like this:

第 + number + (measure word) + noun

Examples:

First place: 第一名(dì yī míng)

Second cup of coffee: 第二杯咖啡 (dì èr bēi kā fēi)

Third movie: 第三个电影 (dì sān ge diàn yǐng)

What Are The Lucky Numbers in Chinese? And What Are Unlucky Numbers in Chinese?

In most cultures, some numbers are more meaningful than others. Knowing the lucky, as well as unlucky, numbers in Chinese will help you understand a bit of Chinese culture. Let’s start with the auspicious numbers in Mandarin Chinese.

Number 2 is considered a lucky number in Chinese. In Chinese culture, good things come in pairs. 

Number 6 is also considered a lucky number in Chinese. Its pronunciation “liù” is close to the word “流 liú” which means “flow.” Many businesses display this number somewhere in their facility, especially by the front entrance. They believe that display this number will signify that fortune will flow in.

Number 8 is another lucky number in Chinese. Its pronunciation “bā” rhymes with the word “发 fā” which means “worth” and “fortune.” The year when China hosted the Beijing Olympics, the opening ceremony started at 8:08 pm on 8/8/2008. And that is no coincidence!

Number 9 is considered a lucky number in Chinese. Its pronunciation “jiǔ” is the same as the word “久 jiǔ” which means long and forever. It is believed that this number represents a long-lasting life. 

So far we’ve looked at the common lucky numbers in Chinese culture.

 

Are there any inauspicious numbers in Chinese?

Number 4 is considered unlucky in Chinese because its pronunciation is very close to 死 sǐ, which means “death” in Chinese. In many buildings in China, like hospitals and apartments, they even skip the “fourth-floor.” So there is a third floor and the floor above it is the “fifth floor.”

 

Other numbers can be either lucky or unlucky depending on the occasion. 

Number 0

Lucky: Some consider this number as the beginning of everything.

Unlucky: Zero represents “no” or “nothing.” Some believe it brings “no fortune.”  

Number 1

Lucky: It can mean the first place in a competition. 

Unlucky: It can also mean loneliness or solitude, not able to be paired. The “Singles Day” in China is November 11 (11/11.)

Number 3 

Lucky: 三 sān sounds like “生 shēng.” 生 shēng means “birth” and “life.”

Unlucky: But 三 sān also sounds like “散 sàn,” which means “break” or “separate,” as in relationships.

Number 5

Lucky: Five is associated with the five elements in Chinese philosophy. We call it “五行 wǔ xíng,” which includes Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, and Wood. Another example of number five in Chinese history is that the Tiananmen gate has five arches.

Unlucky: The pronunciation for number 5 is “wǔ,” and sounds like the word “无 wú,” which means “do not have any.”

Number 7

Lucky: “七 qī,” Chinese Valentine’s Day is on the seventh month of the lunar calendar.

Unlucky: The seventh month of the lunar calendar is also known as the “ghost” month. Some people believe the door of hell will open on the first day and close on the last day of the month.

lucky and unlucky numbers in Chinese

Chinese Number Slang

The internet and texting have become important parts of our life. So knowing some Chinese internet slang may be necessary. Let’s talk about some Chinese number slang.

Chinese number slang

1314 (yī sān yī sì)

Meaning: Forever.

1314 sounds similar to 一生一世  (yì shēng yí shì), which means “for the rest of my life” or “forever.” 

250 (èr bǎi wǔ):

Meaning: Idiot

Many of the Chinese slang is related to the pronunciation, but not this one. This is an insulting slang. It comes from the fact that Chinese coins used to have a hole in the middle so that they could be strung together in amounts of 1000 (called a diào (吊).  The term bàn diào zi (半吊子), or half a diào, referred to someone not having full knowledge.  Bàn diào zi (半吊子) was used to describe oneself in a humble manner and not necessarily negative. However, half of a half diào, which is 250, or èr bǎi wǔ (二百五) was half of the half-wit, which definitely is an insult.  

484 (sìbāsì)

Meaning: Yes or no.

484 sounds similar to 是不是  (shì bú shì), which means yes or not in Chinese.

520 (wǔ èr líng)

Meaning: I love you. The pronunciation of 520 is pretty close to “I love you” in Chinese, which is 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ). 

I have heard people tell me that they don’t think 520 sounds like 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ). Well, I understand the point. But expressing love is always an important part of any language. Typing numbers is pretty fast and easy. These three numbers are the closest pronunciation to express “I love you” in Chinese. So that’s why it is used!  

555 (wǔ wǔ wǔ)

Meaning: Crying noise.

555 sounds similar to the Chinese onomatopoeia for the crying noise, which is 呜呜呜(wū wū wū).

7456 (qī sì wǔ liù):

Meaning: I am so angry!

气死我了(qì sǐ wǒ le) sounds like 7456. It literally means (something or someone) is angering me to death!

88 (bābā) (881, 886)

Meaning: Goodbye.

88 sounds like “bye-bye” in English. 881 sounds like bye byeeee. And 886 represents adding “了” after bye-bye. It could roughly translate to “bye-bye then” in English.

995 (jiǔjiǔwǔ):

Meaning: Help me!

995 sounds like 救救我(jiùjiùwǒ) which means “help me.”

Like Chinese slang? We made another fun infographic about Relationship Related Chinese Slang! Check it out!

Simple Math in Chinese

Don’t worry! We’re not doing any difficult math here. Just a few examples to show you how to say some simple math in Chinese.

Keywords to know

Math symbolHanziPinyin  
jiā
jiǎn 
✖️乘(以)chéng (yǐ)
除(以)chú (yǐ)
=等于děngyú
…%百分之... bǎifēnzhī…
.diǎn
X / YY分之XY fēnzhī X
>大于dàyú
<小于xiǎoyú

  • 3+5=8, we read as “三 加 五 等于 八”
  • 9-7=2, we read as “九 减 七等于 二”
  • 4*6=24, we read as “四 乘以 六 等于 二十四”
  • 72/8=9, we read as “七十二 除以 八 等于 九”
  • 45.6, we read as “四十五 点 六”
  • 0.03, we read as “零 点 零 三”
  • ½, we read as “二 分之 一” (In Chinese, the denominator is first, then the numerator)
  • 80%, we read as “百分之 八十” (80% equals 80/100, so we say the 100 first, then the 80)
  • 5 > 3, we read as “五 大于 三”
  • 4 < 8, we read as “四 小于 八”

Tone Change Rules for Number 1

Tone change rules for number 1

There are a few cases in Chinese where you have to change the pronunciation of a certain character. Number 1 一 yī happens to be one of them.

  • We read 一 as “yī” when “一” appears as a number in a series, address, dates, etc…

For instance:

2011年1月11日: we read it as èr líng yīyī nián yī yuè shíyī rì 

311: we read as sānbǎi yīshíyī

 

  • We read 一 as “yí” when “一” is followed by a character in the 4th tone 

For instance: 一片 yí piàn. 片 piàn is in the 4th tone, so 一 is pronounced in the 2nd tone 

 

  • We read 一 as “yì” when “一” is followed by a character in the other tones (1st, 2nd, 3rd and neutral tone)

For instance: 

一双 yì shuāng

一条 yì tiáo

一本 yì běn

一个 yì ge

If you are curious about what other situations the tone would be changed, check out this article “Tone change rules.” 

Chinese Number Writing in Complex Forms

It is rarer to see this in daily life. Here is the list of the complex forms of numbers in Mandarin Chinese characters.

0: 零 líng

1: 壹 yī

2: 貳 èr

3: 參 sān

4: 肆

5: 伍

6: 陸 liù

7: 柒

8: 捌

9: 玖 jiǔ

10: 拾 shí

100: 佰 bǎi

1000: 仟 qiān

10000: 萬 wàn

1,0000,0000: 億 yì

1,0000,0000,0000: 兆 zhào

NumberNormal Chinese CharacterComplex FormPinyin 
0零/〇líng
1
2èr
3sān
4
5
6liù
7
8
9jiǔ
10shí
100bǎi
1000qiān
10000wàn
1,0000,0000亿
1,0000,0000,0000zhào

Chinese numbers in complex forms are used mainly in notarized, official documents (like contracts), and when writing checks. An exception is zero; the complex form is much more widely used than a casual circle (“0”). The complex forms are known in English as banker’s anti-fraud numerals, in  Mandarin Chinese as 大寫 dàxiě (which is the same term for “capitalized letters”). They are necessary because normal Chinese characters are too simple, so a forger could easily change some numbers. For instance, let’s take the number 110, which is 一百一十. A forger just needs to add three strokes (shown in red below) to change 110 to 370, 三百七十. Using the complex form (參佰柒拾) will prevent this kind of forgery.

Chinese Number Gestures 

Number gestures are similar around the world. Below is the table of the most commonly used gestures for numbers 1-10 in different parts of the Chinese speaking world. Numbers 1-6 are the same. But 7-10 differ based on the region. How do these hand gestures compare to yours?

Chinese numbers hand gesters

 

Numbers in Mandarin Chinese Conclusion 

Chinese Numbers 1-10

1 一  yī

2 二  èr

3 三  sān

4 四  sì

5 五  wǔ

6 六  liù

7 七  qī

8 八  bā

9 九  jiǔ

10 十  shí

Chinese Numbers 11-19 Pattern

11=10+1, so 11 in Chinese is 十一 shíyī  (literally “ten one”)

The same pattern applies to 12 through 19

Chinese Numbers Pattern for Tens

20 in Chinese is 二十 èrshí (literally “two ten”)

All the tens numbers follow this pattern.

Chinese Numbers 21-100

21=20+1, so 21 in Chinese is 二十一 èrshíyī (literally “two ten one”)

The same pattern applies to 12 through 99

One hundred is 一百 yìbǎi

 

Chinese Numbers 100 and Up (Large Numbers in Chinese)

Hundred: 百 bǎi – 100 (2 zeros)

– Numbers 101-109

101 一百零一 yì bǎi líng yī (零 líng means “zero”)

The same pattern applies to 102 through 109

– Numbers 110-119

110 一百 一十 yìbǎi yīshí

111 一百 一十一 yìbǎi yīshíyī

The same pattern applies to 112 through 119

 

– Numbers 120-200 Examples

120 一百二十     

156  一百五十六     

200 is “两百 liǎngbǎi

 

– Numbers 201-999 Examples

506 五百零六   “five-hundred-zero-six”

418 四百一十八 “four-hundred-one-ten-eight”

 

– Numbers 1000 and up

Thousand: 千 qiān – 1000 (3 zeros)

Ten thousand: 万 wàn – 10000 (4 zeros)

Hundred million: 亿 yì – 10000000 (7 zeros)

Trillion: 兆 zhào – 1000000000000 (12 zeros)

 

The Use of Zero in Chinese

– When The Tens Digit Is Zero in Numbers Larger Than 100

x + 百 + 零 + y

101: 一百零一 (one-hundred-zero-one)

305: 三百零五 (three-hundred-zero-five)

– Zero in The Ones Digit 

x + 百 + y + 十 

760: 七百六十 (seven-hundred-six-ten)

– One Thousand and Up

Similar to the rules in hundreds. But if you have more than ONE ZERO in a row, you just say “zero” once.

1001: 一千零一 (one-thousand-zero)

 

Chinese Number 2: When to Say 二 èr? When to Say 两 liǎng?

We use 二 èr when…

Giving a phone number

Saying the ordinal number, which means “second”

For the “second one,” we read it as 第二个 (dì èr ge)

 

We use 两 liǎng…

When talking about “two of something” or “both”

For “two cups of tea,” we say 两杯茶

Chinese Phone Numbers

  • In China

When giving a phone number, you just read the digits. For the number “1,” when giving the phone number in China, we pronounce it as “yāo.” 

  • In Taiwan, the number 1 is pronounced as “yī.”

Emergency Numbers in China and Taiwan

  • In China

Police 110 

Ambulance 120

Fire 119

  • In Taiwan

Police 110

Ambulance and Fire: 119

Dates and Times in Chinese

whenever we talk about time, we always put the time elements in the order from largest to smallest.

September 11th, 2001→ We say the year first, then the month, and lastly the day → 两千零一 年 九月十一日

Age in Chinese

Six years old: 六岁 (liù suì)

Three and a half years old: 三岁 半 (sān suì bàn)

Chinese Ordinal Numbers

First: 第一 (dì yī)

Second: 第二 (dì èr)

Third: 第三 (dì sān)

The Lucky Numbers and Unlucky Numbers in Chinese

Lucky numbers: 2, 6, 8, 9

Unlucky number: 4

Chinese Number Slang

1314 (yī sān yī sì), Meaning: Forever.

250 (èr bǎi wǔ), Meaning: Idiot

484 (sìbāsì), Meaning: Yes or no.

520 (wǔ èr líng), Meaning: I love you. 

555 (wǔ wǔ wǔ), Meaning: Crying noise.

7456 (qī sì wǔ liù), Meaning: I am so angry!

88 (bābā) (881, 886), Meaning: Goodbye.

995 (jiǔjiǔwǔ), Meaning: Help me!

 

Simple Math in Chinese Examples

  • 3+5=8, we read as “三 加 五 等于 八”
  • 9-7=2, we read as “九 减 七等于 二”
  • 4*6=24, we read as “四 乘以 六 等于 二十四”
  • 72/8=9, we read as “七十二 除以 八 等于 九”
  • 45.6, we read as “四十五 点 六”
  • 0.03, we read as “零 点 零 三”
  • ½, we read as “二 分之 一” (In Chinese, the denominator is first, then the numerator)
  • 80%, we read as “百分之 八十” (80% equals 80/100, so we say the 100 first, then the 80)
  • 5 > 3, we read as “五 大于 三”
  • 4 < 8, we read as “四 小于 八”

 

Tone Change Rules for Number 1

  • We read 一 as “yī” when “一” appears as a number in a series, address, dates, etc…
  • We read 一 as “yí” when “一” is followed by a character in the 4th tone 
  • We read 一 as “yì” when “一” is followed by a character in the other tones (1st, 2nd, 3rd and neutral tone)

Chinese Number Writing in Complex Forms

0: 零 líng

1: 壹 yī

2: 貳 èr

3: 參 sān

4: 肆 sì

5: 伍 wǔ

6: 陸 liù

7: 柒 qī

8: 捌 bā

9: 玖 jiǔ

10: 拾 shí

100: 佰 bǎi

1000: 仟 qiān

10000: 萬 wàn

1,0000,0000: 億 yì

1,0000,0000,0000: 兆 zhào

 

Posted in AP Exam, Blog, Culture, Infographics, Vocabulary

How to Say Yes in Chinese

How to say Yes in Chinese

Knowing how to say YES in a new language that you are learning, is quite important and very useful. Is “yes” in Chinese as simple as in English? The answer is, nope! But it is not hard, either! Even though we do not have direct answers for “yes” in Chinese, we have some rules for you to follow. In this article, we will talk about how to say yes in Mandarin Chinese.

 

11 Ways to Say Yes in Chinese

There are many situations in which we will say YES! Let’s learn some common ways to say yes in Mandarin Chinese. 

 

Saying Yes to Yes/No Questions

yes-or-no in Chinese

 

When answering a yes or no question, it depends on the “verb” or the “adjective” in the question. If the answer is “yes,” you can simply repeat the verb or adjective as a short answer. If the answer is “no,” you add “不” or “没” before the verb. You can see the article on how to say no in Chinese, for more “NO” details.

The pattern looks like this:

Answer with “yes”

Short answer: verb / adjective

Sentence answer: Subject + verb  + adjective (+ object)

Example 1,

A: May I ask, are you Li Ming?

请问,你是李明吗?

Qǐngwèn, nǐ shì lǐ míng ma?

B: Yes, I am.

是,我是。

Shì, wǒ shì.

 

Example 2,

A: Is he your dad?

这位是你爸爸吗?

Zhè wèi shì nǐ bàba ma?

B: Yes, he is my dad.

是,他是我爸爸。

Shì, tā shì wǒ bàba.

 

Example 3,

A: Are you coming tomorrow?

你明天来不来?

Nǐ míngtiān lái bu lái?

B: Yes, I will come.

来!我会来。

Lái! Wǒ huì lái.

 

Example 4,

A: Is she pretty?

她漂亮吗?

Tā piàoliang ma?

B: Yes. I think she is very pretty.

漂亮!我觉得她很漂亮。

Piàoliang! Wǒ juédé tā hěn piàoliang.

 

Saying Yes to accept an invitation

Keyword

Sure, ok 好 hǎo

yes invitation in Chinese

There are a variety of situations when you respond yes to an invitation. We have listed just the one keyword above, but it does not mean you can only use this word to say yes. “好 hǎo” is a general word to say yes to an invite. 

 

Example 1,

A: I would like to invite you and your family over for my son’s birthday party this Saturday at 3.

我想邀请你和你家人来我儿子的生日派对,这的星期六下午三点。

Wǒ xiǎng yāoqǐng nǐ hé nǐ jiārén lái wǒ érzi de shēngrì pàiduì, zhè de xīngqíliù xiàwǔ sān diǎn.

B: Thank you. Yes, we can come.

谢谢你!好,我们会去。

Xièxiè nǐ! Hǎo, wǒmen huì qù.

 

Example 2,

A: I would like to take you out for dinner. Are you available tomorrow night?

我想请你吃饭,你明天晚上有空吗?

Wǒ xiǎng qǐng nǐ chīfàn, nǐ míngtiān wǎnshàng yǒu kòng ma?

B: Sure, I am available tomorrow.

好,我明天晚上有空。

Hǎo, wǒ míngtiān wǎnshàng yǒu kòng.

 

*OK, yes, sure 好 hǎo

*Emoji fun fact: If you type “hao” on your Chinese pinyin keyboard (at least on iPhones and Macs), do you know what you will get?

Let’s try it! You will get this → 👌 Isn’t it cool?

 

Saying Yes to express pleasure 

Sure; ok! 好啊 hǎo a

Of course 当然 dāngrán

That’s great, that would be great! 太好了!Tài hǎole!

**Yay 耶!yē! 

happy yes in Chinese

Example 1,

(After dinner…)

Dad: Do you guys want to go get some ice cream? 

你们想去吃冰淇淋吗?

Nǐmen xiǎng qù chī bīngqílín ma?

Kids: Yay! Of course! 

耶!当然想吃!

Yē! Dāngrán xiǎng chī!

 

Example 2,

A: I want to go shopping this afternoon? Want to go together?

我今天下午想去逛街,你想要一起去吗?

Wǒ jīntiān xiàwǔ xiǎng qù guàngjiē, nǐ xiǎng yào yīqǐ qù ma?

B: Sure!

好啊!

Hǎo a! 

 

**Fun fact 1: When you want to take pictures with your friends from China or Taiwan, you may notice they often post their hands like this, ✌️. Do you know it doesn’t mean “peace?” The hand gesture actually means “yay!” Many Chinese, especially the younger generation, like to pose with a “V” hand gesture while taking pictures.  

**Emoji fun fact 2: If you have a Chinese pinyin keyboard on your smartphone or computer (at least on iPhones and Macs), type “ye” and see what emoji you will find!

Yes, you will get ✌️! 

 

Saying Yes to agree 

Keywords

Right, correct 没错 méi cuò

Right, correct 对 duì

Correct 正确 zhèngquè

correct in Chinese

The first one, “没错 méi cuò,” literally means “not wrong.” The usage of the first one and the second one is pretty similar. When you agree with what someone says, you can use both “没错 méi cuò” and “对 duì.”

Even though all three of the keywords above can be translated as “correct,” the last one, “正确 zhèngquè,” is normally used in a formal setting or in documents. 

 

Let’s see the examples for each keyword:

Example 1,

A: Are you the one who took those pictures?

你是照那些照片的人吗?

Nǐ shì zhào nàxiē zhàopiàn de rén ma?

B: That’s right. It was me.

没错,是我。

Méi cuò, shì wǒ.

 

Example 2,

A: Did you choose “B” for question 5?

妳第五题选B吗?

Nǎi dì wǔ tí xuǎn B ma?

B: Yes, I chose B.

对,我选B。

Duì, wǒ xuǎn B.

 

Example 3,

A: Are those pieces of information correct?

这些资讯正确吗?

Zhèxiē zīxùn zhèngquè ma?

B: Yes, they are correct.

正确。

Zhèngquè.

 

Saying Yes to permit a request

Yes, OK xíng

Yes, sure 可以 kěyǐ

ok in Chinese

When someone asks permission from you, the question usually contains the phrase “可以 kěyǐ.” But when answering the questions, both keywords above can be used. See two examples below:

Example 1,

Student: Teacher, may I come in?

老师,我可以进来吗?

Lǎoshī, wǒ kěyǐ jìnlái ma?

Teacher: Yes, come in!

可以,你进来吧!

Kěyǐ, nǐ jìnlái ba!

 

Example 2,

Child: Dad, can I go to Joe’s house?

爸爸,我可以去 Joe 的家吗?

Bàba, wǒ kěyǐ qù Joe de jiā ma?

Dad: Sure. But come back before dinner.

行!但是你得晚餐前回来。

Xíng! Dànshì nǐ dé wǎncān qián huílái.

 

Saying Yes to claim the ownership

Keyword

***Have 有 yǒu

have in Chinese

If someone is asking if you have, or own, something and you do, you can claim the ownership by using the word “有 yǒu.”

 

Example 1,

A: Do you have a scooter?

你有机车吗?

Nǐ yǒujī chē ma?

B: Yes, I have one.

有,我有一辆机车。

Yǒu, wǒ yǒuyī liàng jīchē.

 

Example 2,

A: Do you have children?

你有孩子吗?

Nǐ yǒu háizi ma?

B: Yes, I have two children, one boy and one girl.

有,我有两个孩子。一个儿子,一个女儿。

Yǒu, wǒ yǒu liǎng gè háizi. Yīgè er zi, yīgè nǚ’ér.

 

***Emoji fun fact: If you are familiar with emojis, you may have seen this “ 🈶️ ” before. Look familiar? Yes, that is the word “have 有 yǒu.”

 

Saying Yes to express the ability

To know how to huì

To know 知道 zhīdào

ability in Chinese

The word 会 huì means the skill or knowledge you have learned. So when someone asks if you know how to do a certain skill, you can answer yes by saying “会 huì.”

You can also use the phrase “知道 zhīdào to know.” It usually comes with “怎么 zěnme” which means “how, how to.” Check out the examples below:

Example 1,

A: Do you know how to say this character “”?

你知道怎么说 “难” 这个字吗?

Nǐ zhīdào zěnme shuō “nán” zhège zì ma?

B: Yes. This character is “nán,” it means hard, difficult.

知道,这个字是 “nán” ,意思是 hard, difficult.

Zhīdào, zhège zì shì “nán”, yìsi shì hard, difficult.

 

Example 2,

A: Does your brother know how to drive?

你弟弟会开车吗?

Nǐ dìdì huì kāichē ma?

B: Yes, he just got his license this summer.

会,他今年夏天刚拿到驾照。

Huì, tā jīnnián xiàtiān gāng ná dào jiàzhào.

 

Saying Yes to express a hesitant OK

OK… Fine… 好吧 hǎo ba

ok...

There are other times you are kind of forced to say yes, with a hesitant or unwilling voice. Here is how we say it:

 

Example 1,

Child: Mom, I am going out with my friend tonight. I probably won’t be home until 11 pm.

妈妈,我今天晚上要跟朋友出去,可能要十一点才回来。

Māmā, wǒ jīntiān wǎnshàng yào gēn péngyǒu chūqù, kěnéng yào shíyī diǎn cái huílái.

Mom: No, you need to be home by 9:30 pm. Otherwise, you are not allowed to go out.

不行,你得九点半以前回来,不然你不能出去。

Bùxíng, nǐ dé jiǔ diǎn bàn yǐqián huílái, bùrán nǐ bùnéng chūqù.

Child: OK. Fine.

喔,好吧。

Ō, hǎo ba.

 

Example 2,

(You are afraid of roller coasters. But you go to an amusement park with some of your close friends, they all want you to try one.)

Your friend: Let’s go on it for just one time, ok?

我们一起去玩一次,好不好?

Wǒmen yīqǐ qù wán yīcì, hǎobù hǎo?

You: OK. Fine.

好吧。

Hǎo ba.

 

Saying Yes to express the possibility

Keyword

Can 可以 kěyǐ

possibility

A: Is it possible you could lend me some money?

我可以跟你借一点钱吗?

Wǒ kěyǐ gēn nǐ jiè yīdiǎn qián ma?

B: OK, fine. How much? 

好吧…可以。借多少?

Hǎo ba… Kěyǐ. Jiè duōshǎo?

 

Saying Yes to your significant one!

I am willing / yes, I do 我愿意! Wǒ yuànyì!

proposal yes

Yes, I do! When someone proposes to you, this is the way to respond in Chinese, say “我愿意! Wǒ yuànyì!”

We also say this at weddings. 

 

Your officiant: “Will you take this woman/man to be your wife/husband, …” 

你愿意他 / 她成为你的丈夫 / 妻子…

Nǐ yuànyì tā/ tā chéngwéi nǐde zhàngfū/ qīzi…

You: Yes, I do.

我愿意。

Wǒ yuànyì.

 

Saying Yes to express your doubt

Keywords

Oh 哦?Ó?

Really? 真的吗?Zhēn de ma?

Yeah? 是吗?Shì ma?

request

We sometimes do not truly believe what people tell us; your response may be “oh yeah?” “really?” in English. Let’s see some examples:

 

Example 1,

(20 minutes after Jack got home from school)

Jack: Mom, I finished my homework. I am going to play now.

妈妈,我写完我的作业了!我要去玩了。

Māmā, wǒ xiě wán wǒ de zuòyèle! Wǒ yào qù wán le.

Mom: Oh yeah? Show me your homework.

哦?是吗?拿来给我看看。

Ná lái gěi wǒ kàn kàn.

 

Example 2,

A: I heard Kevin is getting married next month!

我听说 Kevin 下个月要结婚了!

Wǒ tīng shuō Kevin xià gè yuè yào jiéhūnle!

B: Yeah? I saw him last week, he said he did not have a girlfriend yet! 

真的吗?我上星期看到他,他说他还没有女朋友。

Zhēn de ma? Wǒ shàng xīngqí kàn dào tā, tā shuō tā hái méiyǒu nǚ péngyǒu.

 

You are welcome to share with us other ways to say “yes” in Chinese! Please make a comment below!

 

Posted in AP Exam, Blog, Culture, Infographics

How to Say You’re Welcome in Chinese

How to Say You’re Welcome in Chinese?

 

As we grow up, we were taught that being polite to others was crucial. “Please,” “thank you,” and “sorry” often appeared in the conversation. But how do you respond when others say “sorry” or “thank you” to you? Knowing how to respond appropriately is just as important. In English, when people say “thank you” or “thanks,” you reply “you’re welcome.” But how do you say you’re welcome in Mandarin Chinese?

 

Manners Keywords

Let’s learn some manners keywords before we dive into more details,

Manners in Chinese

 

 

Please 请 qǐng

Sorry 对不起 duìbùqǐ

Thank you 谢谢 xièxie

 

 

 

 

Now, we are going to introduce you to the 7 most common ways to respond to a “thank you” in Mandarin Chinese. How do you say you’re welcome or no problem in Chinese?

 

The 7 Most Common Ways to Express “You’re Welcome!” in Chinese

First of all, we use “客气 kèqi” quite often to express “you are welcome” in Chinese. “客气 kèqi” means “being polite.” But how is “being polite” related to “you’re welcome” in Chinese. Let’s get started!

 

不客气 bú kèqì / 不用客气 búyòng kèqi

Literal meaning: 不 bú not, no; 不用 búyòng need not, no need; 客气 kèqì polite

不客气 bú kèqì means don’t be so polite.

不用客气 búyòng kèqì no need to be so polite.

Those two are the most common way to express “you’re welcome” in Chinese. Either one can be used on any occasion. “不用客气 búyòng kèqì” is slightly more formal than “不客气 bú kèqì.”

you're welcome bu keqi in Chinese

Example,

(You dropped your pen on the floor, someone next to you picks it up for you.)

A: Thank you. 

谢谢

Xièxiè

 

B: You’re welcome.

不客气!

Bú kèqì!

 

不用谢 búyòng xiè 

 Literal: 谢 xiè thank you, thanks

 不用谢 búyòng xiè means no need to say thank you.

This is often used in mainland China. Even the translation is “there is no need to say thank you,” it is a polite way to say, “you’re welcome.” It doesn’t really mean you don’t really need to thank other people.

bu yont xie in Chinese

Example,

A: Thank you for bringing this to me.

谢谢你帮我带这个。Xièxiè nǐ bāng wǒ dài zhège.

 

B: No need to say thank you. (You’re welcome.)

不用谢!

Búyòng xiè!

 

This reminds me of a funny story. As some of you may know I come from Taiwan, and as I grew up, I rarely heard people say “不用谢 búyòng xiè” to express you are welcome. I never taught my kids this way. When my little one was a toddler, we visited China. There was a lady who happened to help us bringing something over. 

“谢谢!,” said my son.

“不用谢!,” said the lady.

“谢谢!,” said my son with a louder voice.

“不用谢!” replied the lady.

“要谢!要谢!Yào xiè! Yào xiè!” said my son with an angry voice. 

(In case you are not familiar with the word 要 yào, it means “need to or want to.” In this case, he meant “need to.” From his understanding, receiving something from someone, you need to say thank you. But the lady told him “there is no need to say thank you.” He was frustrated because he thought the lady did not want to take his appreciation!)

 

你太客气了 nǐ tài kèqì le / 你太客气啦 nǐ tài kèqì la

Literal meaning: 你 nǐ you; 太 tài too; 客气 kèqì polite

你太客气了 is translated to “you are too polite!”

We usually won’t use this unless it is when others express their appreciation by more than just saying thank you. See the example below,

tai keqi in Chinese

Example,

Lisa: Thank you for helping me last time. I made some cookies for you.

谢谢你上次帮我,我做了一些饼干给你!

Xièxiè nǐ shàng cì bāng wǒ, wǒ zuòle yīxiē bǐnggān gěi nǐ!

 

Sarah: You are too polite!

你太客气啦!

Nǐ tài kèqì la!

Lisa expresses her gratitude by not only saying thank you but also by making some cookies. Sarah may feel that was more than she actually did for Lisa.  

There is no strict rule for when to use “了” or “啦.” But “啦” is usually used in a casual setting. 

 

没问题 méi wèntí

Literal meaning: no problem

This one is pretty straightforward compared to the others. When others say thank you, you simply accept that and say no problem!

no problem in chinese

Example,

A: Thank you for teaching me Chinese!

谢谢你教我中文!

Xièxiè nǐ jiào wǒ zhōngwén!

 

B: No problem!

B: 没问题!

Méi wèntí!

 

没事(儿) méishì (er)

Literal meaning: Nothing

This can be translated to “it is nothing” or “it is not a big deal!” 

mei shi in Chinese

Example,

A: Thanks for throwing the trash away for me yesterday.

谢谢你昨天帮我倒垃圾。

Xièxiè nǐ zuótiān bāng wǒ dào lājī.

 

B: Not a big deal!

没事(儿) 

Méishì (er)

 

不会 bú huì / 不麻烦 bù máfan

Literal: 不会 bú huì it is not; 不 麻烦 bù máfan it is not troublesome. 

We use those two phrases to let the ones who received our help that we do not think that is too much trouble to help them. 

no trouble in Chinese

Example,

A: Thank you for babysitting my kid last minute. It was too troublesome.  

谢谢你今天临时帮我看小孩,太麻烦你了!

Xièxiè nǐ jīntiān línshí bāng wǒ kàn xiǎohái, tài máfan nǐle!

 

B: No, it was not. Your daughter is so adorable! 

不会,不麻烦!你女儿很可爱!

Bù huì, bù máfan! Nǐ nǚ’ér hěn kě’ài!

 

举手之劳 jǔ shǒu zhī láo

This idiom literally means the exertion of lifting one’s hand. So, when people are using this idiom that means they think that it was a very slight effort that they made for you. 

you're welcome 2

A: Thank you for giving my son a ride home. It was too troublesome for you!

谢谢你帮我载我儿子回来,太麻烦你了!

Xièxiè nǐ bāng wǒ zài wǒ ér zǐ huílái, tài máfan nǐle!

 

B: It was on my way anyway. It was just a slight effort. 

我刚好顺路,这只是举手之劳。

Wǒ gānghǎo shùnlù, zhè zhǐshì jǔshǒuzhīláo.

(It seems weird in English translation. But it really happens in Chinese conversations. When the Chinese receive appreciation from others, they tend to be even more polite. So that others won’t feel that guilty.)

 

There are still other ways to express “you’re welcome” in Mandarin Chinese. But the ones we have listed above are the most common ways. We have put those expressions below in the table for your reference. 

 

You’re Welcome in Mandarin Chinese Infographic

You’re Welcome in Mandarin Chinese Infographic

Culture differences: 

One of the cultural differences I experienced when I first moved to the States was implicit and straightforward. Most people who grew up in the States, they state their ideas, feelings, and opinions very clearly. They usually are not afraid to say it out loud. On the other hand, this is a different case in Chinese culture. When we have different opinions than others, we often choose an implicit way to express them, or even change the topic to avoid the conflicts. 

I used to be a high school Chinese teacher in Ohio. Whenever we talked about cultural differences, or even when I took students to China, I always remind them, when talking about or experiencing a culture difference, keep your mind open. Don’t think “Oh, that is really weird.” Try thinking “It is different.” 

Some people may think, well, I know some Chinese they don’t act in the way you said. Yes, I agree. When we talk about culture, it is only a general situation. It does not represent everyone. It does not mean all of the people who live in the same country will express their opinions in the same way. That’s why communication is so important. 

 

Posted in AP Exam, HSK, Infographics, Vocabulary

HSK 2 Vocabulary (Part 9)

HSK 2 Vocabulary (Part 9)

In this HSK 2 Vocabulary (Part 9) infographic, there are ~30 words. We put these vocabulary in two groups.

 

The first group contains body motion verbs,

说话 shuōhuà speak,

来 lái come,

回 huí return,

做 zuò do,

坐 zuò sit,

住 zhù live,

走 zǒu walk,

进 jìn enter,

出 chū come,

到 dào arrive,

穿 chuān wear,

给 gěi give,

笑 xiào smile,

告诉 gàosù tell,

开始 kāishǐ begin,

帮助 bāngzhù help,

送 sòng give as a present,

想 xiǎng want,

认识 rènshi know/recognize,

知道 zhīdao know,

会 huì can.

 

The second group contains verbs,

是 shì be (am, is, are),

有 yǒu have,

叫 jiào call,

觉得 juédé think.

HSK 2 Vocabulary (Part 9) Infographic

HSK 2 Vocabulary (Part 9) Infographic

 

Posted in AP Exam, HSK, Infographics, Vocabulary

HSK 2 Vocabulary (Part 8)

HSK 2 Vocabulary (Part 8)

In this HSK 2 Vocabulary (Part 8) infographic, we’ve included ~30 HSK 2 vocabulary.

The vocabulary are “adverbs” and “adjectives,” which include

不 bù no,

很 hěn quite/very,

太 tài too,

都 dōu all/both,

非常 fēicháng very,

最 zuì most,

真 zhēn real, really,

没 méi no,

大 dà big,

小 xiǎo small,

多 duō many/much,

少 shǎo few, little,

冷 lěng cold,

热 rè hot,

好 hǎo good,

漂亮 piàoliang beautiful,

高兴 gāoxìng happy,

高 gāo tall,

忙 máng busy,

快 kuài fast,

慢 màn slow,

远 yuǎn far,

近 jìn close,

好吃 hǎochī delicioous,

累 lèi tired,

长 cháng long,

新 xīn new,

贵 guì expensive,

便宜 piányi cheap.

 

Please note:

The vocabulary in black are the vocabulary from HSK 1.

The vocabulary in blue are the NEW vocabulary from HSK 2.

 

HSK 2 Vocabulary (Part 8) Infographic

HSK 2 Vocabulary (Part 8) Infographic