If we’re talking about the first phrase to learn in Chinese, it would be “谢谢” (xièxiè, thank you). Now, when someone says “谢谢” to you, what’s the best response? In Chinese, the equivalent expression for “you’re welcome” is “不客气” (bù kè qì). Interestingly, this expression is used in various situations, including expressing gratitude, making apologies, and more. However, there are also other appropriate expressions depending on the context. In this article, we will introduce and explain different ways to say You’re welcome in Chinese, so you can easily understand and use them.
How to say You’re Welcome in Chinese?
The most way to say You’re welcome in Chinese is “不客气” (bù kè qì).
不客气 (bú kè qi) is the most commonly used expression equivalent to “you’re welcome” in Chinese. The term “客气” carries the meaning of “being polite” or “being reserved,” so a literal translation would be “Please don’t be reserved.”
It is widely used in various situations involving gratitude or apologies. However, some native speakers may feel that it sounds a bit formal or excessive when used among friends.
It’s important to note that while translating phrases between languages, maintaining a smooth and fluent flow in English can sometimes require adaptation to cultural nuances and expressions.
When it comes to responding to “Thank you” in Chinese, besides “谢谢” (xièxiè, thank you), there are other ways to reply:
(bú yòng xiè)
bú yòng xiè
不用谢 (bú yòng xiè) can be used as a response to “谢谢” (xièxiè, thank you), and it conveys the meaning of “No need to thank me” or “You’re welcome.” It is a versatile phrase that can be used in casual conversations among friends or in professional settings.
For example, let’s say you give a gift to a friend, and they express their gratitude by saying “非常感谢” (fēi cháng gǎn xiè, thank you very much). In response, you can say “不用谢，我也很高兴” (bú yòng xiè, wǒ yě hěn gāo xìng, You’re welcome. I’m glad too).
Another way to respond to “Thank you” in a more casual manner is by using “不谢” (bú xiè) or “别客气” (bié kè qì).
不谢 (bú xiè) bú xiè No need to thank me. / Not at all. / You’re welcome.
不谢 (bú xiè) is an even more casual form of “you’re welcome” that can be used among close friends or romantic partners when they express light gratitude.
别客气! (bié kè qì) bié kè qì Don’t be polite. / No need to be so formal. / You’re welcome.
When the other person appears grateful and somewhat bashful, you can convey “别客气!” (bié kè qì), which means “Don’t be so polite” or “No need to be so formal.” 别 (bié) is a prohibition term meaning “don’t,” but in this context, it is used to gently encourage the other person to not feel overly obligated.
How to respond to compliments in Chinese?
To respond to compliments in Chinese, One commonly used phrase in Chinese is “哪里哪里” (nǎ li nǎ li), which can be translated as “Where, where” or “No, no.” Originally meaning “where,” it is used here in a light-hearted manner to downplay the compliment. This expression is widely used as a response to compliments and is considered the most common phrase in such situations.
In a slightly more casual context, you can use the following variations:
- 哪里 (nǎ li) Na li No, no. / Don’t mention it.
This expression is suitable for casual situations among friends, where you want to lightly brush off the compliment. Using “哪里哪里” (nǎ li nǎ li) together adds a softer tone.
- 哪儿的话 (nǎr de huà) Na er de hua Not at all. / It’s nothing.
This expression is commonly used by older generations. However, among young people in China, a simple “谢谢” (xiè xiè, thank you) is often used without further response.
Here are a few more phrases you can use to modestly respond to compliments:
- 过奖了 (guò jiǎng le) Guo jiang le That’s too much praise. / You flatter me.
This phrase conveys the meaning of “it’s too much” or “you’re praising me too highly.”
- 没那么好 (méi nàme hǎo) Mei name hao Not that good. / Not as good as you think.
This phrase expresses a sense of humility by saying “it’s not as good as you think.”
How to respond to apologies in Chinese?
Let’s explore some expressions you can use in response to apologies:
(méi wèn tí)
méi wèn tí
No problem. / It’s all right.
This is the most commonly used phrase, conveying the meaning of “It’s okay” or “No problem.” It can be used as a response to both serious and more casual apologies, ranging from “I’m sorry” to lighter apologies like “Sorry.”
(méi shén me)
méi shén me
It’s nothing. / Don’t worry about it.
This phrase means “It’s nothing” or “Don’t worry about it.” It carries a similar meaning to “No problem” or “It’s okay.”
(hǎo le hǎo le)
hǎo le hǎo le
It’s fine, it’s fine.
This expression can also be used to mean “I understand” or “It’s fine.” It can convey the message of “Don’t worry about it” when responding to an apology. However, depending on the tone, it can sometimes sound slightly grumpy as if saying “Enough, enough.”
No〜 / Not at all〜
“没有” means “no” or “not,” and when combined with other words, it can convey a meaning similar to “It’s not a big deal.” It can be used among friends. Adding “了” (le) at the end, such as “没有了” (méi yǒu le), gives a softer tone often used by women.
(bú yào jǐn)
bú yào jǐn
It doesn’t matter. / No big deal.
The character “紧” means “tense” or “nervous.” So, “不要紧” can be understood as “Don’t be tense” or “It’s not a big deal.” It conveys the message of reassurance and that the situation is not a cause for concern.
Depending on the situation and the tone of the apology, you can choose the appropriate response.
In conclusion, there are indeed various expressions that can be used in Chinese depending on the situation and level of formality. Unlike in Japanese where a simple nod or smile may suffice as a response to someone’s gratitude, it seems that in Chinese there is usually a verbal reply.
It’s great to expand the range of expressions beyond just “不客气” (bú kè qì, you’re welcome) and adapt them to different contexts. It’s important to find the learning method that suits you and seek advice from professional Chinese language coaches to learn Chinese without hesitation or frustration.
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