Getting started with Chinese 3
Getting started with Chinese 3

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3 Useful greetings

In this section you’ll look at different ways to greet using both formal and colloquial expressions.

Activity 5

Read the greetings below and turn them into Chinese. Write your answers in your language notebook in either Pinyin or characters and then check against the answers by clicking the reveal button.

  • Hello!
  • Hello (polite form)!
  • Are you well?
  • Good morning!


  • Hello! Nǐ hǎo! 你好!

  • Hello (polite form)! Nín hǎo! 您好!

  • Are you well? Nǐ hǎo ma? 你好吗?

  • Good morning! Zǎoshang hǎo! 早上好!

hăo jiŭ bú jiàn 好久不见

hăo jiŭ bú jiàn 好久不见 is a modern idiom, commonly used when greeting a friend that you haven’t seen for a long time. The word hăo(good)functions here as an adverb meaning ‘very’, so the expression literally means ‘very long no see’, which can be translated as ‘it’s been a long time’ or ‘long time no see’.

Xiǎoyuè, hăo jiŭ bú jiàn! Nǐ hǎo ma? 小月,好久不见!你好吗?

(Xiaoyue, it’s been a long time! How you are?)

Wǒ hǎo máng. 我好忙。

(I’m very busy.)

Note that in the response hǎo is used colloquially as an adverb. In writing or more formal situations hěn would be used instead.

zěnme yàng 怎么样

zěnme yàng 怎么样 is another colloquial expression meaning ‘how are you?’ or ‘how are things?’

Xiǎoyuè, hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn!Zěnme yàng? 小月,好久不见!怎么样?

Xiaoyue, long time no see! How are things?

zěnme yàng 怎么样 can also be put after a pronoun or noun to ask about other people or things:

Nǐ mā ma zěnme yàng? 你妈妈怎么样?

How is your mother?

Zhè běn shū zěnme yàng? 这本书怎么样?

How is this book?

Activity 6

Part 1

Read the following questions and answers. Pair them by dragging and dropping the answer next to its corresponding question.

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. Hěn hǎo hē. 很好喝。

  2. Hěn hǎo chī. 很好吃。

  3. Yǒudiǎnr lèi. 有点儿累。

  • a.Déguó píjiǔ zěnme yàng? 德国啤酒怎么样?

  • b. Nǐ jīntiān zěnme yàng? 你今天怎么样?

  • c. Běijīng kǎoyā zěnme yàng? 北京烤鸭怎么样?

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = a
  • 2 = c
  • 3 = b

Part 2

Read the following short exchanges. Complete each blank with the most appropriate greeting from the drop-down list. Each greeting can only be used once.

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