12th January , 2013

How to greet in Chinese

After reading this blog post by a guy also trying to learning Chinese. http://mychinesenotebook.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/how-to-say-hello-in-chinese.html. I was inspired to start trying to incorporate some of the things I'm learning into my blog posts, rather than just talking about how to learn. These will hopefully be shorter and help myself drill those sentences into my head whilst hopefully helping a person or two! I hope 马思文 doesn't mind me 'stealing' and being inspired by some of his material! So without further ado, let's get started.


大家好 = Hello everyone

你好吗? = How are you?

你还好吧? Nǐ hái hǎo ba? = Are you alright?

怎么样? = How is it going?

最近怎么样? = How've you been recently

好久不见 = Long time no see

Replying to Greetings

我很好 = Very Good (very isn't very strong here, Chinese uses 很 as a filler word to make things sound better)

挺好的 = Very good (stronger than 很好)

非常好 = Very good, really good (stronger than 挺好的)

不错 = Not bad, Pretty Good

我不太好 = I'm not too good

还可以 = Passable, alright

马马虎虎 = So-so, just passable, fair, not so bad.

This means horse, horse, tiger, tiger. I was looking for the origins and came across this post someone else had written. It's nicely put so I'll quote the story he said:

"Way back in pre-historic times an artistic caveman drew an animal on the wall of the cave with some charcoal. His fellow cavemen were very impressed, and one of them said 'what a wonderful picture of a horse, so realistic' but another said 'whaddya mean a horse, look at it, it's obviously a tiger' and a heated discussion began with some shouting 'horse, horse' and others shouting 'tiger, tiger'. After the row had gone on for some time they all decided it wasn't that good a picture after all because they couldn't decide if it was a horse or tiger, in fact as pictures went it was only so-so."

I bet you'll never forget this word now.

Other Greetings

在吗? = Are you here? (Online greeting to ask if the person is away or not) You can answer this by just saying 在, to say 'I'm here'

喂! = Hey, yo (Usually on the phone) The reply to this can be either 喂 back or any of the normal greetings above.

After Greetings

你身体好吗? = How is your health? How are you?

你吃过了吗? = Have you eaten yet?

你吃饭了吗? = Have you eaten?

Note: The tooltip here is a WordPress plugin designed by Mr John Pasden over at Sinosplice.com. It seems super useful and I will try and use these to write any future posts in Chinese so people can practise their reading first and if they don't know the word they can hover over it. I've always hated having pinyin next to the Chinese, as I can't 'not' read the pinyin and it's difficult to know if I actually know the word properly or not!