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How to Greet Properly Like a Native Speaker In Chinese?

Oct.28, 2019

Greet People in Chinese

Remember we talked about how to say "have a nice day" in Chinese earlier? You can click to check the article if you missed it.


I hope you already remember most of it and have applied it in your daily life. But to know a polite and native way to end a conversation is not enough.


In today's article, we will talk about how to start chatting in a Chinese way.


You might have questioned:


Aren't "你好 Nǐhǎo" & "你好吗?Nǐ hǎo ma" proper ways to greet?

In some very formal case maybe, but Chinese people rarely use them in their real life.


So, what do they use?


Let me introduce one by one here:


最近怎么样?

Zuìjìn zěnmeyàng?

How are you doing recently?


This is one of the most common sayings Chinese speakers to greet friends when they start to catch-up.


However, if you still remember what you talked about last time, you can make this question more specific, using the pattern below.


……怎么样?

……zěnmeyàng?

How is ……going?


You can ask about work or travelling, for example:


这两天工作怎么样?

Zhèliǎngtiān gōngzuò zěnmeyàng?

How’s your work lately?


上次玩得怎么样?

Shàngci wán de zěnmeyàng?

How was your travelling last time?


Another frequent saying you can use is "long time no see" when you meet a friend who you don't see often or haven't seen for a while.


You can start with "long time no see", and then add "how are you doing lately?" to start your conversation:


好久不见,(最近怎么样?)

Hǎojiǔ bújiàn,(zuìjìn zěnmeyàng?)

Long time no see, (How are you doing lately?)


Sometimes you want to know "What is your friend up to" / "What his plans are". You still remember the word "干嘛gànmá"? Right, You can apply this word to the greeting expression:


最近在干嘛?

Zuìjìn zài gànmá?

What are you up to recently?


These are the expressions to greet friends, but when you go to a party, what could you say to people you meet for the first time?


Similar to English, these types of questions can help you start the conversation more naturally:


你在上海工作吗?

Nǐ zài shànghǎi gōngzuò ma?

Do you work in Shanghai?


你是做什么的?

Nǐ shì zuò shénme de?

What do you do in Shanghai?


你是怎么认识……(the party's host)的?

Nǐ shì zěnme rènshi……de?

How did you get to know……


Now you understand how to greet like a native speaker? Try to not use "你好吗 nǐhǎoma" again, because no Chinese people say this in real life!


How to Greet People in Chinese

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