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Expressing Your Emotions in Chinese Posted by on Jun 7, 2021 in Vocabulary

Talking about your emotions (情绪 qíng xù) is an important and tricky part of learning a language. Some words translate well between languages, while others don’t at all. There are tons of English words for describing emotions that simply can’t be translated into Chinese, and it’s the same the other way around. In this post, I’ll give a beginner-friendly lesson about expressing your emotions in Chinese.

Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

Chinese Vocabulary for Emotions

To help you out a little, here are 25 common Chinese words for expressing emotions/feelings that translate into English and can be used all the time:

happy
excited
sad
angry
hungry
thirsty
hot
cold
bored
tired
sleepy
furious
worried
jealous
nervous
looking forward to
embarrassed
disappointed
confused
surprised
depressed
afraid
busy
comfortable
sick/ill
高兴
兴奋
伤心
生气
饿



无聊


气愤
忧虑
嫉妒
紧张
期待
尴尬
失望
困惑
惊奇
郁闷
害怕

舒服
生病
gāo xìng
xīng fèn
shāng xīn
shēng qì
è


lěng
wú liáo
lèi
kùn
qì fèn
yōu lǜ
jí dù
jǐn zhāng
qí dài
gān gà
shī wàng
kùn huò
jīng qí
yù mèn
hài pà
máng
shū fú
shēng bìng

Image by teetasse from Pixabay

How to Express Emotions

Learning the words is great and all, but how do you use them? Here are some useful sentence structures that you can use:

I’m a little…

To say “I’m a little…” plus your emotion/feeling in Chinese, you say:

我有一点… (wǒ yǒu yī diǎn) + feeling/emotion

In this sentence, the 有 (yǒu) is optional – you don’t really need to use it. Use the words above and try to translate these three examples:

  1. 我一点生气.

  2. 我有一点哦.

  3. 我一点冷.

I’m very…

This is quite useful, as you’ll hear it all the time. It’s also super easy. Here’s how you say it in Chinese:

我很… (wǒ hěn) + feeling/emotion

Again, translate these examples from Chinese to English using the words above:

  1. 我很高兴.

  2. 我很热.

  3. 我很紧张.

I’m too/so…

Sometimes it’s just not enough to say “I’m very happy” – you need to express a slightly stronger emotion. This expression will help you do just that:

我太 + feeling/emotion + 了 (wǒ tài… le)

Translate three more examples and try to use this expression yourself:

  1. 我太累了!

  2. 我太忙了!

  3. 我太兴奋了!

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, there are some words that just don’t translate between languages. Check out this interesting article to learn a few Chinese words for feelings/emotions that can’t really translate directly to English. For even more vocabulary, this article gives 222 English emotions in Chinese. That should keep you busy!

This funny video from Learn Chinese Now will help you talk about your emotions. Keep in mind they’re using traditional characters.

Here are the answers for the above expressions:

  • I’m a little angry.
  • I’m a little hungry.
  • I’m a little cold.
  • I’m very happy.
  • I’m very hot.
  • I’m very nervous.
  • I’m so tired!
  • I’m so busy!
  • I’m so excited!
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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


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