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
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)
A: May I ask, are you Li Ming?
Qǐngwèn, nǐ shì lǐ míng ma?
B: Yes, I am.
Shì, wǒ shì.
A: Is he your dad?
Zhè wèi shì nǐ bàba ma?
B: Yes, he is my dad.
Shì, tā shì wǒ bàba.
A: Are you coming tomorrow?
Nǐ míngtiān lái bu lái?
B: Yes, I will come.
Lái! Wǒ huì lái.
A: Is she pretty?
Tā piàoliang ma?
B: Yes. I think she is very pretty.
Piàoliang! Wǒ juédé tā hěn piàoliang.
Saying Yes to accept an invitation
Sure, ok 好 hǎo
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.
A: I would like to invite you and your family over for my son’s birthday party this Saturday at 3.
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.
Xièxiè nǐ! Hǎo, wǒmen huì qù.
A: I would like to take you out for dinner. Are you available tomorrow night?
Wǒ xiǎng qǐng nǐ chīfàn, nǐ míngtiān wǎnshàng yǒu kòng ma?
B: Sure, I am available tomorrow.
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!
Dad: Do you guys want to go get some ice cream?
Nǐmen xiǎng qù chī bīngqílín ma?
Kids: Yay! Of course!
Yē! Dāngrán xiǎng chī!
A: I want to go shopping this afternoon? Want to go together?
Wǒ jīntiān xiàwǔ xiǎng qù guàngjiē, nǐ xiǎng yào yīqǐ qù ma?
**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
Right, correct 没错 méi cuò
Right, correct 对 duì
Correct 正确 zhèngquè
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:
A: Are you the one who took those pictures?
Nǐ shì zhào nàxiē zhàopiàn de rén ma?
B: That’s right. It was me.
Méi cuò, shì wǒ.
A: Did you choose “B” for question 5?
Nǎi dì wǔ tí xuǎn B ma?
B: Yes, I chose B.
Duì, wǒ xuǎn B.
A: Are those pieces of information correct?
Zhèxiē zīxùn zhèngquè ma?
B: Yes, they are correct.
Saying Yes to permit a request
Yes, OK 行 xíng
Yes, sure 可以 kěyǐ
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:
Student: Teacher, may I come in?
Lǎoshī, wǒ kěyǐ jìnlái ma?
Teacher: Yes, come in!
Kěyǐ, nǐ jìnlái ba!
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.
Xíng! Dànshì nǐ dé wǎncān qián huílái.
Saying Yes to claim the ownership
***Have 有 yǒu
If someone is asking if you have, or own, something and you do, you can claim the ownership by using the word “有 yǒu.”
A: Do you have a scooter?
Nǐ yǒujī chē ma?
B: Yes, I have one.
Yǒu, wǒ yǒuyī liàng jīchē.
A: Do you have children?
Nǐ yǒu háizi ma?
B: Yes, I have two children, one boy and one girl.
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 会 huì
To know 知道 zhīdào
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:
A: Do you know how to say this character “难”?
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.
A: Does your brother know how to drive?
Nǐ dìdì huì kāichē ma?
B: Yes, he just got his license this summer.
Huì, tā jīnnián xiàtiān gāng ná dào jiàzhào.
Saying Yes to express a hesitant OK
OK… Fine… 好吧 hǎo ba
There are other times you are kind of forced to say yes, with a hesitant or unwilling voice. Here is how we say it:
Child: Mom, I am going out with my friend tonight. I probably won’t be home until 11 pm.
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.
Bùxíng, nǐ dé jiǔ diǎn bàn yǐqián huílái, bùrán nǐ bùnéng chūqù.
Child: OK. Fine.
Ō, hǎo ba.
(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?
Wǒmen yīqǐ qù wán yīcì, hǎobù hǎo?
You: OK. Fine.
Saying Yes to express the possibility
Can 可以 kěyǐ
A: Is it possible you could lend me some money?
Wǒ kěyǐ gēn nǐ jiè yīdiǎn qián ma?
B: OK, fine. How much?
Hǎo ba… Kěyǐ. Jiè duōshǎo?
Saying Yes to your significant one!
I am willing / yes, I do 我愿意！ Wǒ yuànyì!
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.
Saying Yes to express your doubt
Really? 真的吗？Zhēn de ma?
Yeah? 是吗？Shì ma?
We sometimes do not truly believe what people tell us; your response may be “oh yeah?” “really?” in English. Let’s see some examples:
(20 minutes after Jack got home from school)
Jack: Mom, I finished my homework. I am going to play now.
Māmā, wǒ xiě wán wǒ de zuòyèle! Wǒ yào qù wán le.
Mom: Oh yeah? Show me your homework.
Ná lái gěi wǒ kàn kàn.
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!
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!