Hello in Chinese

Feeling like nǐhǎo (你好) is no longer sufficient for saying hello to your Chinese-speaking friends? You've come to the right place! Here in this free lesson, you will learn different ways to greet friends and families, colleagues and even strangers.

Be sure to listen to the recordings and practice saying those terms. Once you've mastered the "hello" scene, it's a lot more easier to segue the conversation into areas that you are really passionate about!

How to say "hello" in Chinese

We are extremely lucky to be living in an era where modern, or vernacular, Chinese is in vogue. In older times, saying hello could be a handful as the term to be used differs according to the time of the year, the person you are speaking with, the purpose of such conversation and so on. Nowadays, people more or less just go with simple "hello" and "hi", or maybe have a word play with phrases as casual as nǐ zěnmeyàng (你怎么样?), meaning "what's up?", to the more polite zuìjìn hǎoma (最近好吗? ), or "how is it going?".

As Chinese people aren't exactly big fans of hand shaking, cheek kissing or hugging, these hello's alone will get you a long way. So don't be shy when you practice saying them!

Pronouncing "hello" in Chinese

Chinese women - How are you?

The only tricky part in saying hello is that there are two ways of saying "you" in Chinese - the formal nín (您) and the casual (你). Just make sure to use nín (您) when you are addressing to someone you're meeting for the first time, a senior in terms of age or ranking, and a respected figure.

Now, let's give those terms a try!

您好

nínhǎo

Hello (polite)

你好

nǐhǎo

Hello (casual)

早上好

zǎoshàng hǎo

Good morning

晚上好

wǎnshàng hǎo

Good evening

Sometimes, people might even just say "hello" and "hi" as in English when meeting friends or families. And just in case you are seeing someone who you haven't seen in a long time, the classic "long time no see" comes in handy! Let's give them some practice, shall we?

哈罗

hāluó

Hello

hēi

Hi

好久不见

hǎojiǔ bújiàn

Long time no see

And now, to follow right behind those "hello's" and "hi's", here are some useful phrases.

你怎么样?

Nǐ zěnmeyàng?

What's up with you? (Casual, for close friends)

最近好吗?

Zuìjìn hǎo ma?

How are you recently?

最近怎么样?

Zuìjìn zěnmeyàng?

How is it going recently?

Lastly, if you want to make a perfect impression on someone that you're meeting for the first time (think potential boss or future in-laws), you have to nail these extremely polite and smooth lines!

幸会,幸会!

Xìnghuì,xìnghuì!

It's such a privilege to meet you!

初次见面,请多指教。

Chūcì jiànmiàn,qǐng duō zhǐjiào。

How do you do, it's an honor to meet you. (Literal: First time seeing you, please don't hesitate to correct and educate me.)

Great job! Now that you have a proper idea how to meet someone and start a conversation, why not explore more Chinese with us? Until the next lesson.

If you want more lessons on Chinese salutations then I recommend that you check out the following:

Xià  jiàn (下次见)

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Lin Ping
Rocket Chinese


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