There are many different ways to say yes in Chinese. Unlike English, which has a single word to agree or offer confirmation, Chinese has several phrases that work in different scenarios.
Knowing these can help you sound more natural and confident in any conversation. Here are four common ways to say yes in Chinese: Shi De, Dui, Hao Ba, and Bu Xing.
Using the word Shi (shi) is one of the most basic ways how to say yes in Chinese. It sounds more formal and polite than just the word ‘yes,’ but it retains some of the same meaning. It’s often used in work environments or when subordinates want to respond positively to their boss or someone with a higher position.
Another slightly different way to say yes in Chinese is Mei Wen Ti (mei wenti). Like “sure” or “no problem” in English, this is a strong affirmative response indicating you’re sure of your answer. It can also be used casually when agreeing with a friend or acquaintance.
Dui is a common variation of Shi and can be used interchangeably. This word is more formal and appropriate for work environments or when speaking to someone who you know in a higher position than you.
Adding the particle De (de) to the end of the phrase can make it even more formal. It’s a popular way to agree with a suggestion from a coworker or acquaintance, and it’s a widespread way of responding to requests on social media.
Dui, a word that means “correct” or “right,” is another easy way to say yes in Chinese. It’s used the same way as Shi and can be interchanged. To use this answer, you repeat the keyword or phrase in the question. This strategy works exceptionally well for questions that contain verbs or adjectives. It’s an excellent way to demonstrate agreement, even if you need a solid grasp of grammar.
You can say yes in Chinese with the particle Hao and the word Ba (ba) to sound more formal. This is often used when someone agrees with a statement that has not been explained entirely. You’re slightly reluctant about something someone else has suggested, but it’s still an affirmative response.
Other ways to say yes in Chinese include Ke Yi (ke yi) –”fine” or “OK,” Mei Cuo (mei cuo – not wrong), and Wen Ti Bu Da (wen ti bu da – not a problem). Mei Cuo is the most common because it’s a simple answer that conveys your approval while keeping things positive. You can even say Ng (ng) – “yea” if you’re in a more casual setting. Using these words is just as easy as saying yes in English, and it will help you to become more confident in your Mandarin skills.
One of the first things Chinese learners learn is that no single word in Mandarin translates directly to “yes.” This means you’ll need to learn several ways to confirm and agree with people, depending on the context.
For example, if you are asked if you want to have a hotpot with your friend tonight, a good choice would be Hao A (hao a). It sounds casual and can be likened to “sure” or “yeah!” in English. Alternatively, you could say Jin Wan Qu Kan (hao wan qua kun) to show more enthusiasm.
Hao Ba is similar in tone to Hao A but slightly more formal and reluctant. It is common for speakers to agree with someone when they are not enthusiastic about the idea but need better options.
Another casual way to agree is Ng (en). This is very similar to “yeah” or “uh-huh” in English and is a prevalent response for Chinese speakers online and in casual conversations. You can even repeat it for more emphasis (Ng ng).
While most languages have a word that means yes, Mandarin Chinese does not. Instead, there are various ways to imply yes that can be used depending on the context and grammar of the question.
For example, if you ask a coworker if she wants to go camping this weekend, she may answer, “Bu Xing.” This is a way of saying “yes” without a definitive answer. However, it’s important to note that she may not want to go. Rather than telling you no, she’s just letting you know she might need time to consider it.
Another way to say yes in Chinese is to use the phrase “Yao, You, Hui.” This can also be interpreted as a definite yes if you’re using it in the correct context. However, if you use it negatively, you’ll have to switch to a different phrase.
If you’re new to learning Chinese, practicing with friends or colleagues who can help you understand the language and pronunciation is helpful. By practicing with these people, you can learn how to respond to questions appropriately to the situation. This will also help you avoid making mistakes that could turn off the person you’re talking to. So get out there and practice with some friendly locals.