Chinese Language Blog

How to Say “Hello” in Chinese Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Culture, Uncategorized, Vocabulary

When learning a language, chances are the first word you will learn is the equivalent of “Hello.” After all, you can’t really start talking to someone before greeting them! Just like in English, where we have a ton of ways to greet someone (Hello, Hi, Hey, What’s up?, How are you?, etc.), there are plenty of options in Chinese as well.

The most common way to say “Hello” in Chinese.

Here are 15 different ways to greet someone in Mandarin Chinese, in an easy-to-follow table with English, Chinese characters, and pinyin transliteration:

A nice and easy YouTube video about saying “Hello” in Chinese.


Ok… do you have those 15 expressions down? Test yourself by choosing the proper greeting for the following situations:

  • You greet someone after dinner, at around 7 PM.
  • You greet your Chinese teacher before class.
  • You see an old friend for the first time in a long time.
  • You greet an acquaintance who is your age.
  • You greet a potential business partner for the first time.
  • You answer your phone.
  • You greet an elder.
  • You greet someone after breakfast, at around 9 AM.
  • You greet a good friend.
  • You greet a large group of people.
  • You greet someone after lunch, at around 1 PM.
  • You greet two of your classmates who you are studying with.

Now that you know 15 common greetings, do your best to try and use them in the appropriate situations. Check back here in the near future for a post about how to say goodbye in Chinese.

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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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