Hello in Chinese 👋🏽 20 Ways To Greet Someone in Mandarin

Hello in Mandarin Chinese // Unlock 20 Ways To Greet Someone in Mandarin

hello in Chinese - hi everybody

How do you say hello in Chinese?

It’s usually the first thing students ask when starting out learning Mandarin.

You may have already heard of 你好 nǐ hǎo, but did you know there’s more than 20 ways of greeting someone in Mandarin?

And that’s not even counting Cantonese or Shanghainese greetings!

In this article, we’ll take you through our top 20 ways of saying hello in Mandarin Chinese, including both formal and informal greetings.

Hello in Chinese #1你好

Hello in Chinese #2 – 您好

Hello in Chinese #3你好吗

Hello in Chinese #4 您好吗

Hello in Chinese #5 你怎么样?

Hello in Chinese #6幸会

Hello in Chinese #7久仰

Hello in Chinese #8久闻大名

Hello in Chinese #9

Hello in Chinese #10你吃了吗?

Hello in Chinese #11最近好吗?

Hello in Chinese #12去哪儿?

Hello in Chinese #13

Hello in Chinese #14好久不见

Hello in Chinese #15大家好

Hello in Chinese #16下午好

Hello in Chinese #17晚上好

Hello in Chinese #18哈罗

Hello in Chinese #19-20嗨! 嘿!

Hello in Chinese – FAQ’s

1. 你好 – Nǐ hǎo

The standard, well-known greeting which is one of the first things anyone studying Mandarin will learn. It literary means “you good” and can be used in a variety of situations.

👉 If you’re new to Chinese, it’s pronounced like “knee how”.

If you’re confused by the squiggly line above the i and a, those indicate the tones. Make sure to check out our guide to Chinese tones if you’re not sure how to pronounce these!

2.  您好 – Nín hǎo

Similar to the above, but with the difference that this version of “you” is polite, 您. 

So when you’re meeting someone older than you, in a high position, or you simply want to be extra polite, 您好 is a safe bet!

3. 你好吗? – Nǐ hǎo ma?

This means ‘how are you?’ and is either used as an initial greeting or an immediate follow up to a greeting.

You may have noticed that it’s the same as 你好 (nǐ hǎo), but with the addition of 吗 (ma).

Let’s break it down a little:

你 nǐ – you

hǎo – good

ma – question particle used for ‘yes or no’ questions

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4. 您好吗? – Nín hǎo ma?

Same as above, but with the polite 您

Don’t stop at hello! Learn these other useful phrases:

🤝 Learn how to say thank you in Chinese

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5. 你怎么样? – Nǐ zěnmeyàng?

An informal greeting most often used when meeting friends or people you’re familiar with.

Means “how are you doing?” or “what’s up?”

6. 幸会 – Xìnghuì

A traditional way to say “nice to meet you”, often used by the older generations, although some younger people have taken to use 幸会 in a joking, or ironic way.

Want to practice greeting someone in Chinese? Start studying with certified, native speaker teachers today on our online Flexi Classes platform!

7.  久仰 – Jiǔyǎng

Very, very formal way of greeting.

This is not used between friends, but rather in professional settings when meeting for the first time. The literal meaning is something akin to “long lasting”

8. 久闻大名 – Jiǔwéndàmíng

Even more formal than the previous greeting.

This one should only be used when greeting someone you have a tremendous amount of respect for, and who is at least somewhat famous..

The literal meaning is “your name is famous”, which means “I have heard much about you”.

9. 早!Zǎo

“Morning!”, short for 早上好 (zǎo shang hǎo), meaning “good morning.”

Use it as you would use the English equivalent, and you’ll be safe… as long as it’s in the morning.

10. 你吃了吗? Nǐ chī le ma

“Have you eaten?” probably the single greeting which has caused the most amount of confusion.

If you’re not familiar with Chinese culture you might interpret it as a question and not a greeting!

This a greeting which shows in a that somebody cares about you, you should not describe in detail what you’ve eaten, or how hungry you are.

Rather, you should answer “chī le, nǐ ne?” which means “I’ve eaten, how about you?”

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11. 最近好吗?Zuì jìn hǎo mǎ

This means “How have you been recently?”

Let’s break it down in greater detail:

最近 zuì jìn – recently

好 hǎo – good

吗 ma – question particle used for yes or no questions

Similar to “how are you” in English, you can answer with a quick word or two, or you could go into greater detail.

Another alternative, used in the exact same way, is:


Zuìjìnguò dé zěnyàng ya?

How has life been recently?

12. 去哪儿?Qù nǎ er

“Where are you going?” similar to 你吃了吗 previously, it’s a way to show you care, and not meant to be nosy.

As this greeting often depends on location, for example, if you meet someone on the subway in the morning you might ask:

你去上班吗?- Nǐ qù shàngbān ma? Meaning “are you going to work?”

Want to connect with other Chinese language learners and have daily conversation practice? Join our LTL Discord Server!

13. 喂!Wèi

“Hello?” speaking of subways, if you’ve ever been to China you’ve most certainly heard someone shout 喂! Wèi on your morning commute.

That’s because this is used when answering up the phone.

Like in English, if the connection is poor, or the line drops, you’d shout “hello?” people in China will shout 喂 wèi?

14. 好久不见!Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn

This is a common way to greet someone in Chinese.

“Long time no see!”

Used when old friends meet, this is a very positive, happy greeting.

The literal translation “long time, no see” has also made its way into the English language.

FUN FACT – we use long time, no see because we took it from the Chinese version of 好久不见!

15. 大家好 – Dàjiā hǎo

Hello everyone: used when addressing a crowd.

大家 dàjiā simply means everyone.

Student Austin has come a long way from learning how to say hello! Check out him talking about learning Chinese – IN CHINESE! (Don’t worry, there’s English subtitles too)

16. 下午好 – Xiàwǔ hǎo

下午好 means good afternoon.

下午 (xiàwǔ) means afternoon and 好 (hǎo) means good.

17. 晚上好 – Wǎnshàng hǎo

This is an ideal one for you night owls out there.

This one means good evening. 晚上 (wǎnshàng) means evening or night and 好 (hǎo) means good.

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18. 哈罗! Hā luō

This is a phonetic adaptation of the English “hello”.

It’s mostly used by young, urban people and is a more fun way to greet someone.

19. 嗨!Hāi, and 20. 嘿! Hēi!

A phonetic adaptation of “hi” and “hey”, like 哈罗 before, this is used mainly by young, urban types.

So there you have it!

There you have it, 20 ways to greet someone in Mandarin Chinese, now go out there and practice!

Got anymore that we may have missed?

Leave a comment below and add your favourites or check out our other guide to more greetings in Chinese which includes a free quiz!

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Want to discover more basic greetings?

Why not check out our guide to Japanese greetings, informal and formal ways to say hello in Korean and the best ways to say hello in Vietnamese whilst you’re here?

Hello in Mandarin Chinese // FAQ’s

How do Chinese greet each other on the phone?

Rather than using 你好 Nǐ hǎo Chinese tend to use 喂 Wèi when answering the phone to greet someone.

Is Hello different in Cantonese?

Yes, whereas in Mandarin you would say 你好 – Nǐ hǎo, in Cantonese the pronunciation is slightly different, Neih hou.

How do you say Thank You in Chinese?

Thank you in Chinese is 谢谢 Xiè Xiè.

What does hello in Mandarin literally translate to?

Hello in Chinese is 你好 – Nǐ hǎo.

This quite literally translates to “you good”.

In a formal situation, what’s the best way to say hello in Chinese?

Similarly to the informal version of hello (你好 – Nǐ hǎo), the formal version just includes an extra N making 您好 “Nin hao”.

This is best used in formal situations in China.

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Come and check it out free of charge and see what you think!

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  1. Catherine von Dennefeld

    Great post! Thank you!

    1. LTL Team HQ

      Thanks as ever for the reply Catherine! We can say HI in more ways than one now!

  2. Marcus H

    Is hello in Shanghainese the same as in Mandarin?

    1. Max Hobbs

      Hi Marcus, thanks for the comment.

      Actually hello in Shanghainese is different to Mandarin – 侬好 (nong hao), notice nong is used instead of ni

      If you wish you can find out more about Shanghainese here – https://www.ltl-shanghai.com/learn-shanghainese/


  3. Paulo

    Nice, didn’t really know there were so many away from nihao! Time to raise my game

    1. Max Hobbs

      Oh indeed. Don’t underestimate the Chinese language Paulo!

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  5. Rumaisa Jameel

    That is great i Like Mandarian alot and it is super cool LOL

    1. Max Hobbs

      Glad to hear it!

  6. Tristan

    Who knew! SO many ways, i like them

    1. Max Hobbs

      Plenty of options Tristan!

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