How to Answer Common Chinese Questions Naturally
Updated: May 18, 2020
Are you a Chinese beginner and want to know how to answer common Chinese questions naturally? If so, we have carefully put together seven common questions and scenarios where a response is required. Read to find out what they are.
This is a special request from one of our Everyday Easy Chinese students who asked:
We thought this was great idea, so we have created a video to specifically answer this question (written notes are also available below). Let us know anymore common Chinese questions that you've you come across.
1. Have you been good? 最近还好吗?
If you bump into a friend that you haven’t see for a long time and he or she asks you: 最近还好吗？Instead of saying 我很好 which is the standard answers that they give you in text books. You can say:
· I’ve been doing very good: 我过的挺好的。(wǒguò dé tǐng hǎo de)
· Same as always: 老样子。(lǎo yàngzi) This means same as always, same as usual.
· Doing ok: 还好啦。(hái hǎo la)
If this is someone that you haven’t seen for a while, you can also comment on the other person, you can say:
·真抱歉 (zhēn bàoqiàn) You use this if for example, if you did a big mistake or broke something and you feel really bad out it. You can also use it when you are regretful for something that happened to someone. For example, if someone told you that their pet passed away.
· Childish 幼稚 (yòuzhì)
· Pretty美 (měi)
· Handsome 帅 (shuài)
· Skinny 瘦 (shòu)
· Fat 胖 (pàng)
2. Goodbye 再见
Use these other ways instead:
· 拜拜 (bài bài): Bye Bye (This one is quite casual and as you can tell, is an English loan word)
· 下次见 (xià cì jiàn): See you next time.
· 回头见！(huítóu jiàn): See you around soon. This means that you will or plan to see them again very soon.
· If you are leaving first: 我先走了！(wǒ xiān zǒule) I'm going!
3. Apologies 对不起
Other ways of apologizing can be:
· 不好意思 (bù hǎoyìsi) It is kind of like 'excuse me'.
· 真抱歉 (zhēn bàoqiàn) You use this if for example, if you did a big mistake or broke something and you feel really bad out it. You can also use it when you are regretful for something that happened to someone. For example, if someone told you that their pet passed away.
· 搞错了(gǎo cuòle) I made a mistake. This is more of a way of expressing guilt rather than apologising.
· 没事儿吧 (méishì er ba) You’re ok right?
· 哎哟(Āiyō) Uh Oh!
The last three ways are less of an apology but an acknowledgement that you did something wrong. So use these with people that are closer to you!
4. Responding to apologies
Some ways to respond to apologies are:
· 没关系 (méiguānxì) / 没事 (méishì): No problem.
· 别担心 (bié dānxīn): Don’t worry (Say this if someone if fretting over what they have done).
5. Where do you want to go? 你想去哪儿玩?
Some options you can give are:
· Singing Karaoke: 唱K (chàng k)
· Eat something: 吃点东西 (chī diǎn dōngxī)
· Go to a bar: 去酒吧 (qù jiǔbā)
· Play Mahjong: 打麻将 (dǎ májiàng)
· Go clubbing: 泡吧(pào bā)
6. Cheers 干杯!
If you want to do a cheers you can use this sentence structure: 为 [insert noun] 干杯 (gān bēi)
Some things you can cheers to are：
· 友谊 (yǒuyì) Friendship
· 哥儿们 (gē'ermen) The Bros
· 姐们儿 (jiěmen er) The girls
7. Have you eaten? 你吃饭了吗?
Although not as common nowadays, older Chinese people often ask 'Have you eaten?', but it doesn’t mean that they really care about what you eat. It’s like a 'how are you?' greeting in English, sometimes we just really don’t care how you are. If they ask you 你吃饭了吗？
You can answer by saying:
· 吃了。(chīle) I have eaten
· 还没吃。要一起吗？(Hái méi chī. Yào yīqǐ ma?) I haven’t eaten yet. Do you want to grab something?
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