How to Greet in Chinese

你好ni-hao-is-not-enough. Learn to greet properly in Chinese and stun your Chinese-speaking friends!

打招呼(dă zhāohu) “Say Hi”     

In the Chinese culture, relationships with other members of the group affiliation and the stance that one takes to socialize interpersonally plays a dominant role. Here are five most used expressions in Chinese, from informal to formal as followed.

Casual  Formal
嗨/嘿 早安/午安/晚安

(It can be used in all occasions.)

你好 您好 幸会

(hāi) “Hi”、嘿 (hēi) “Hey” 

王学波:嘿,明美!

高明美:嗨!小王!

To whom?

Hey! SAY them to your friends!

Originated from what?

“Hi” and “Hey” in English.

Who rarely says this? 

The elderly, except for the cool ones.

早安(zăo’ān)/午安(wŭ’ān)/晚安(wăn’ān)

早安 (zăo’an) “Good morning!”

高明美:早安,小王!

王学波:明美,早上好!

In China, they may say 早上好 (zăoshang hăo) as well.

午安 (wŭ’ān) “Good afternoon!”

In China, they may say 下午好 (xiàwŭ hăo) as well.

晚安 (wăn’ān) “Good evening/ good night!”

Same here, the Chinese people may say 晚上好 (wănshang hăo) as well.

你好 (nǐhǎo) “How do you do.”

谢国生:你好,我是小谢。

高明美:小谢,你好。

你好 (nǐhǎo) literally means “you” “good”

你(nǐ) is a neutral word which is less formal than 您 (nín).

To whom?

You can use it when you greet an acquaintance or are meeting new people in a less formal context. To our friends and family? Well, not so much.

您好  (nínhăo) “How do you do.”(respectful form)

服务生:您好,敝姓陈,很高兴为您服务。

王学波:您好,我想订位。

您好  (nínhăo) is also “you” “good” but in a rather respectful form.

To whom?

It is used frequently when we first meet new people.

Like where?

In a very formal occasion, such as a business conference or interviews.

When?

When you answer an unknown call, you can also use 您好(nínhăo).

Moreover, always use 您好(nínhăo) if you are interacting with your customers at work.

幸会 (xìnghuì) “It’s my great honor to meet you.”

Very formal but kind of old-fashioned

幸会 (xìnghuì) is also a way to greet people, nowadays you will only hear the elderly use it, or see it in written Chinese.

Most of the Chinese people hold various bonding with their relatives, families and people in our social circle. You can definitely tell it from how diverse the ways we greet each other. Therefore, you may want to be precise in using Chinese to greet to avoid awkward situations and misunderstanding. Step out to the world and start your journey into the Chinese speaking communities now!

%d bloggers like this: