If you want to make an impression in front of your Chinese friends when visiting China, you must learn Chinese greetings to greet in different ways. China has long been known for its long-cultivated history and culture. Thus, by learning to greet in Chinese, you will be getting a good start in learning the Chinese language and becoming a bit more familiar with Chinese culture. The first thing that one needs to know while talking is how to say “Hello” in Mandarin. There are different Chinese greetings to greet on different occasions, like how to say good morning in Mandarin, goodbye in Mandarin, etc. So let’s get started to grasp the gist of greetings in Chinese.
What are the best ways to learn Mandarin Greetings?
Chinese can be learnt through real-world videos in FluentU. You can access movie trailers, news, music videos, etc., to learn Chinese with fun. ChineseClass 101 is another source for learning advanced phrases in the Chinese language and some chinese greetings words. It provides a variety of resources that can be understood easily.
What are the most commonly used Mandarin Greetings?
So, let’s look at some of the basic greetings in Mandarin used to greet in Chinese.
- How to say hello in Mandarin?
- 你好 (nǐ hǎo) – Hello
This phrase is used as a common way to say hello in Mandarin. This is used as a too formal a way of greeting friends and colleagues
- 您好 (nín hǎo) – Hello
This phrase is used to say hello when addressing someone older or in a respected position, whether at work or in the family. Thus, it is a more formal way to say “Hello”.
- How to say “Hi” in Mandarin?
The following three are modern and commonly used ways to say hello between friends, colleagues and classmates. This phrase has become more fashionable among younger people in China.
3. 嗨 (hāi) – Hi
4. 哈喽 (hā lou) – Hello
5. 嘿 (hēi) – Hey
- How to ask “How are you?” in Mandarin?
- 你好吗？ (nǐ hǎo ma) – How are you?
This phrase is literally used when asking, “You good?” It is used to ask about the well-being of the person you are talking with.
- Good morning in Chinese
In China, the morning is split into two-time frames, from early morning to mid-morning. Thus, there are two different phrases used for saying “Good morning” in two distinct time zones:
早上好 is used between 6 and 9 am
上午好 refers to mid-morning, from 9 am-12 pm.
- 早上好 (zǎo shang hǎo) – Good Morning
早 (zǎo) refers to early morning and can be remembered as the sun 日 (rì) rising over a helmet.
- 早 (zǎo) – Mornin’
This phrase is used as a shortened version of 早上好 (zǎo shang hǎo).
- Good afternoon in Chinese
下午好 (xià wǔ hǎo) – Good Afternoon
Just like how we say “good morning” or “Good evening”, the time phrase + 好 is used to Good (time of the day), and 下午 is used to refer to “noon”.
- Good evening in Chinese
- 晚上好 (wǎn shang hǎo) – Good Evening
This phrase is used for greeting after sunset. 晚上 (wan shang) is a phrase which means evening or night. Combined with the character for good, 好 (hǎo), is used to greet during evening time.
- 喂 (wéi) – Hey
This phrase is used to say “Hello” while talking on the phone
Now, let’s look at some additional greetings used to greet in Mandarin:
不见 (hǎo jiǔ bu jiàn) – Long time no see
This phrase is used when you meet someone after a long time.
最近你怎么样? (zuì jìn nǐ zěn me yàng) – How’s things?
This is an informal phrase used to ask “What’s up?” to your friend or colleague
最近。。。 (zuì jìn) – …recently
This is used as a preface to a greeting meaning ‘Since I saw you last’. For example, it is used in these ways:
最近在干嘛？ (zuì jìn zài gàn má?) – What have you been doing recently?
最近干什么呢？ (zuì jìn gàn shén me ne?) – What were you doing recently?
最近忙什么呢？ (zuì jìn máng shén me ne?) – What have you been busy doing recently?
去哪呢？ (qù nǎ ne?) – Where are you going?
This phrase is generally used when passing an acquaintance or neighbour. It is not used as a question but rather as a greeting.
干嘛呢？ (gàn má ne?) – What are you doing?
This phrase is used when greeting your colleague or friend instead rather than just asking
大家好 (dà jiā hǎo) – Hello everyone
This phrase is used when you address a group of people and welcome them
Following are some phrases used to greet people whom you had not met before and meeting for the first time:
很高兴见到你。 (hěn gāo xìng jiàn dào nǐ) Nice to meet you.
很高兴再次见到你。 (hěn gāo xìng zài cì jiàn dào nǐ) Nice to see you again.
How to say “Bye” in Chinese?
Use these phrases to say “Bye” in Mandarin:
Good-bye. 再见。（zài jiàn）
Bye-bye. 拜拜。（bái bái）
See you later. 待会见。（dāi huì jiàn)
再见。 is the most common phrase used to greet bye to someone though its literal meaning is meeting again. It is used on occasions such as leaving a party, hanging up the phone, etc. Also, you can use 拜拜, which is formed based on the sound “Bye bye”. Similarly, 待会见 means ‘see you later’ and should be used if you know that you are going to meet the person again very soon.
How to greet someone in Mandarin
“Have a good day! ” 祝你度过美好的一天！(Zhù nǐ dù guò měi hǎo de yī tiān!)
This phrase is used to say, “Have fun today!” To answer this, say 好的（hǎo de）, which means “Okay” in English.
How have you been recently? 最近怎么样啊？（Zuì jìn zěn me yàng a?）
You can answer this by saying 挺好的 (tǐng hǎo de), meaning “pretty good”.
Long time no see. 好久不见。（Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn.）
This phrase is used as an informal way of greeting in Mandarin when you have not seen someone for a long time.
How are you? 你好吗？ （Nǐ hǎo ma）
This is also another phrase same as 最近怎么样啊？（Zuì jìn zěn me yàng a), and is answered by replying this 挺好的 （tǐng hǎo de)
Mandarin Greetings Chart
The above chart shows the list of some Mandarin greetings phrases
Formal and Informal ways of Mandarin Greetings
Formal ways are used to greet professionally and respectfully, and informal ways are used to greet in a very friendly tone.
Example of how to say hello on Chinese formal: 您好 (nín hǎo) — “Hello” (respectful)
最近好吗? (zuì jìn hǎo ma) — “How are you these days?”
Example of an informal way of greeting: 晚上 wǎnshàng
And adding 好 hǎo to the end is used to imply that you hope that they have a good evening
Tips for learning Mandarin Greetings
- Try to learn how to pronounce the characters and learn the different characters used for communicating different things. Learn Mandarin greetings phrases using some online Chinese handles
- Make a habit of watching Chinese videos and try to practice the wordings they use in chinese greetings phrases
- Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, which means that the pitch of your voice can change the meaning of a word. Pay attention to the four tones and practice pronouncing them correctly.
- To improve your pronunciation and understanding, listen to native speakers and try to imitate their pronunciation. You can find videos or audio recordings online or practice with language exchange partners or tutors.
- Create flashcards with Mandarin characters, pinyin (romanized pronunciation), and English translations for each greeting. Review these regularly to help memorise the phrases.
- Interacting with native speakers is one of the best ways to improve your language skills. Look for language exchange partners, join Mandarin-speaking groups or participate in cultural events where you can practice your Mandarin greetings.
- Understanding the cultural context of Mandarin greetings will help you use them more appropriately. For example, knowing when to use formal or informal greetings or how to address people based on their age and social status.
- Like any skill, learning Mandarin greetings requires consistent practice. Set aside time each day to review and practice your greetings to solidify your knowledge.
- Mandarin can be challenging but don’t get discouraged. Keep practising and learning, and your language skills will improve over time.
- How do you greet “Hello” someone in Chinese?
- The greeting rules are a bit different for answering phone calls. The first thing that you should say is 喂 wèi, followed by a different set of characters, a 你好 nǐ hǎo (or not)
- What is the best way to greet someone in a formal situation in Mandarin?
- The informal way of saying “Hello” by saying (你好 – nǐ hǎo) is changed to a formal version just by including an extra N like 您好 “nin hao”
- How can anyone learn to speak and write Chinese?
- You can watch videos online to learn how to pronounce words in Chinese and also learn to write Chinese characters by using some online platforms like Skritter (An inventive way to master Chinese characters).