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Mandarin Go | Some common ways to say "Hello" in Chinese

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One of the first things students learn when studying Chinese is how to greet people. However, "Nĭhǎo" is just one of the many different greetings used by Chinese speakers, discover with us all the other way…

1. 你好 | Nĭhǎo | Hello!

你好, or "nĭhǎo" is the most common greeting taught as a beginner. Composed of the characters for "you" (你 nĭ) and "good" (好 hǎo), it literally means "you are good". If you're new to Chinese, you can't really go wrong using 你好 nĭhǎo for "hello". Therefore, don't worry if this is the only greeting you master at first.

2. Hello| Ninhǎo | Hello (polite)

Many beginner Chinese students will have learned that the formal way to say hello is 您好 (nínhǎo). If you are new to Chinese, you may remember that 您好 is used to show respect by noticing that the only difference between 你 and is that the in 您好 has 心 (xīn), the Chinese character for heart, below.

The best time to use this greeting is when you meet someone much older than you, a teacher, a superior or an important person. It can also be used to speak to someone you would like to show respect for the first time. You can also use 您好 in written form as a greeting in more formal correspondence.

3. 大家 好 | Dajiā hǎo | Hi everyone!

If you are looking for a way to greet a group of people, you found it in "大家好" (dàjiā hǎo).大家 means "everyone" or "everyone" in Chinese, so this greeting literally means "everyone is good".

Specifically, however, it can be translated as "hello everyone". This is a great greeting to address a group.

If you keep reading, you will soon notice that many Chinese greetings can be created by adding 好 after other characters that represent either the person or people you want to address. This is the case of .

Greetings are also frequently created by adding 好 after characters representing an hour of the day. An example of this is the phrase 下午好 (xiàwǔhǎo, or "Good afternoon"), discussed below.

4. 老师 好 | Loshī hǎo | Hello teacher!

If you are studying Chinese, you may want to consider greeting your teacher by saying 老师好 (lǎoshī hǎo). Translated literally, this phrase means "good teacher," but it actually means "Hello, professor."

This greeting follows a pattern similar to 你好 (nĭhǎo) and 大家好 (dàjiā hǎo) above. To build it, first write the characters of the person you want to address, in this case, your teacher, or 老师. Then, add .

In the United States, foe example, teachers are addressed like everyone else using a combination of their titles and surnames. In China, however, it is common to call teachers. In fact, most Chinese salute those who work as teachers with 老师好 even if they are not their teacher.

5. 下午 好 | Xiàwǔhǎo | Good afternoon!

Another commonly used template for creating greetings is to include the time you meet the person you want to greet, followed by 好.

For example, if you greet someone in the afternoon, who is 下午 in Mandarin, then you would say 下午好 (xiàwǔhǎo).

6. 晚上 好 | Wǎnshànghǎo | Good evening!

According to the pattern presented above, if you meet someone at night, you can create a greeting by starting with the Chinese word for the night, which is 晚上, and adding 好 at the end. Thus, your greeting becomes 晚上好 (wǎnshànghǎo).

Warning: the literal translation of this sentence is "good night", and English speakers may be tempted to reverse the order and assume that it is actually a way of saying "good night".

However, this interpretation is incorrect. In English, "goodnight" is not a greeting. Rather, it's a way of saying goodbye to someone.

In Chinese, on the other hand, 晚上好 (wǎnshànghǎo) means "good evening" and is a greeting, not a way to wish someone goodnight.

If you want to say goodnight to someone in Chinese, you have to say 晚安 (wǎn'ān).

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