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Experiencing Chinese

100 Popular Chinese Idioms

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Thanks and Appreciation Apologizing Saying Goodbye Compliment Appraisal Affirmation Negation Agreement Opposition Comforting Admonition Dissatisfaction Doubting Surprise Appointment Rejection Warning and Advising To Let Go Helplessness Challenge Congratulations and Wishes




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Allegorical Phrases Proverbs


Thanks a lot.

A: B: A: A: Qng b nge bizi d gi w. B: Gi n. A: Duxi. A: Please pass me the cup. B: Here you are. A: Thanks a lot.

A: B: 22 A: A: Qngwn q dngwyun znme zu? B: Cng zhli zu rshr l gngjioch ky zhji do. A: Duxi. A: Would you tell me how to get to the zoo, please. B: Take bus No. 22 from here. It will take you right there. A: Thanks a lot.

This is a commonly used expression to say thanks. You may use it to express gratitude whenever someone helps you.

Synonymous Expressions Xixie. Fichng gnxi.

2 help.

Mfan nn le.

Thanks for the

A: B: A: A: Qngwn dti zhn zi nr? B: Ji zi nbian. A: Xixie, mfan nn le. A: Wheres the subway station please? B: Its right there. A: Thanks for the help.

A: B: A: N yo de sh w du bng n zhodo le. B: Zhn sh mfan nn le. A: Ive found the books you asked for. B: Thanks for the help.

This expression literally means (sorry for) troubling you, and is used to express your gratitude to the person who takes the trouble to help you.

Synonymous Expressions Ti mfan nn le. Gi nn tin mfan le.

Xnk le.

So much toil for you.

A: B: A: Zutin wnshang wmen gngzu le y g tngxio. B: Xnk le! Kui huq xixi ba. A: We worked all through the night last night. B: So much toil for you! Go back and have a rest now.

A: B: A: Losh, zhge xuq nn xnk le. B: , bi zhme shu, ynggi de. A: Teacher, its been so much toil for you this semester. B: Its nothing really. Ive done what Im supposed to.

This expression is used to comfort and show understanding for the person who has put great effort into something meaningful and positive.

Synonymous Expressions Shuli le. ( shuli = be put to much trouble. e.g. Jio nn shuli le. - I'm sorry to have put you to so much trouble.)

Nr de hu.

Dont mention it.

A: B: A: Xixie n li jchng sng w. B: Nr de hu, w hn goxng li wi n sngxng. A: Thank you for seeing me off at the airport. B: Dont mention it. Im pleased to be able to say goodbye to you.

A: B: A: Xixie n qng wmen chfn. B: Nr de hu, w zo ji ynggi qng nmen chfn le. A: Thank you for inviting us to dinner. B: Dont mention it. In fact, I should have invited you sooner.

This is a casual and idiomatic response to somebody saying thanks, which is often used between acquaintances and good friends.

Synonymous Expressions Bi zhme shu. Bi kqi.

Ynggi de.

Its my pleasure.

A: B: A: Xixie n de bngzh. B: Kqi shnme, znmen sh pngyou, ynggi de. A: Thanks for your help. B: You are too polite. Were friends, it was my pleasure

A: B: A: L losh, nn mi ge xngq du li gi wmen bx gngk, wmen zhn b zhdo znme gnxi nn ci ho. B: Ynggi de, bi kqi. A: Teacher Li, every week you come to give us a lesson after school. We really dont know how to thank you B: Youre welcome. Its my pleasure.

When others say thanks to you, you may reply with this expression to show that you think its your obligation to help them.

Synonymous Expressions Zh sh w ynggi zu de.


Im sorry.

A: B: A: Dubuq, w b n de sh nngdi le. B: Migunxi, w zi mi y bn. A: Im sorry, I lost your book. B: It doesnt matter. Ill buy a new copy.

A: B: A: W yu chdo le, dubuq. B: Kui q gngzu ba, xi c zhy. A: Im late again. Sorry. B: Get to work and dont be late again.

If you ever think youve done something improper, you may use this commonly used expression to ask for forgiveness.

Synonymous Expressions ! Qng yunling!

(e.g. Qng yunling, dro nn le. - Excuse me for interrupting you.)

Zhn boqin.

Im really sorry.

A: , B: A: Ho ji du miyu gn n linx, zhn boqin! B: Migunxi, n yzh hn mng ba. A: Its been so long since I contacted you last, Im really sorry. B: Its all right. You must have been really busy.

A: B: A: Jnwn de ynhu n nng cnji ma? B: Zhn boqin! W jnwn zhngho yu sh. A: Are you coming to the dinner party tonight. B: Im really sorry. I have an appointment tonight.

This is an expression used to apologize for mistakes or improper behavior. Here, (zhnreally) indicates the sincerity of the speaker.

Synonymous Expressions ! Zhn b ho ysi!



It doesnt matter.

A: B: A: Dubuq, rng nn ji dng le. B: Migunxi, w y gng do yhur. A: Sorry to have kept you waiting. B: It doesnt matter. I just arrived a while ago.

A: B: A: Zhn boqin, w bngbulio n zhge mng. B: Migunxi, w zi xingxiang bnf. A: Im really sorry, I cant help you with that. B: It doesnt matter, Ill try to find a way out.

This is a response to apologies such as (dubuq, Im sorry), (boqin, I apologize), and (qng yunling, please forgive me). This expression is used to show your understanding and to console the apologizer.

Synonymous Expressions Mishnme.


B sng le.

Ill stop here.

A: B: A: Wimian lng, nn huq ba. B: Ho ba, n w ji b sng le. A: Its cold outside, please go back. B: Alright, Ill stop here.

A: B: A: Zhbian de l w hn sh, nmen ji bi sng w le. B: N ho, wmen b sng le, nn zu ho. A: Im quite familiar with the way. You dont have to accompany me any further. B: OK, well stop here. Take care.

This is a casual expression used by hosts when they see a guest off. You may use this phrase if you do not intend to accompany your guest further from your home.

Synonymous Expressions B yun sng le. Ji sng do zhr le.



Mn zu!

Take care!

A: B: A: W yo huji le. B: Ho ba, n n mn zu, w ji b sng le. A: I have to go home now. B: Alright, take care. Ill stop here.

A: B: A: Bi sng le, huq ba. B: Ho, n mn zu, yu kngr zi li. A: Please stop here and go back. B: OK. Come again when youre free. Take care.

This expression literally means walk slowly, which indicates that the host wishes the guest bon voyage.

Synonymous Expressions Zu ho. Qng mn zu.



Bi sng le.

Theres no need to

go any further.
A: B: A: Ti wn le, n huq ba, bi sng le. B: Ho ba, n zu ho. A: Its too late now, just go back please. Theres no need to go any further. B: Alright, take care.

A: , B: A: Bi sng le, du sh pngyou, byng kqi. B: N w ji b sng le, mn zu. A: Theres no need to go any further. Were friends, you dont have to be so courteous. B: Ill stop here then. Take care.

This expression is used by a guest. In China, some hosts have the custom of accompanying guests out the door or farther when they leave to show respect and friendliness.

Synonymous Expressions Huq ba.



Lib ba.

Please stop here.

A: B: A: W b sng n le, yu kngr chng li w ji wnr. B: Lib ba, w hu de. A: Ill say goodbye here. Come again when you have time B: Please stop here. Ill surely come again

A: B: A: N ydng yo zhog ho zj. B: W zhdo le, nn lib ba. A: Do take good care of yourself. B: I will. Please stop here.

This expression is similar to (bi sng le, theres no need to go any further) or (huq ba, please go back), but a little bit more formal.

Synonymous Expressions Qng lib.


13 now.

Shpi le.

Excuse me, I have to go

A: B: A: Gngs yu j sh, w di mshng huq. Dubuq, shpi le. B: Migunxi. A: Something urgent has come up at the company, I have to go back right away. Sorry, I have to go B: It doesnt matter.

A: B: A: Nmen tn ba, w hi yu bi de shqing, yo xin zu le. Shpi le. B: Ho, n n zu ba. A: Excuse me, I have to go now. I have something else to attend to. Please continue. B: OK, see you.

This is a polite expression used when you have to leave your friends at gatherings.

Synonymous Expressions Dubuq, w b nng pi nmen le.



Gn de ho!

Well done!

A: B: A: Jntin zh chng zqi si Hung Hng y ge rn ji tjn le sn ge qi. B: Gn de ho! A: In todays football match, Huang Hong alone scored three goals. B: Well done!

A: B: A: Nge xiotu zi tu zxngch de shhou, bi w zhuzh le, w b t jioxn le y dn. B: Gn de ho! A: I caught a thief stealing a bike and gave him a dressing down. B: Well done!

This expression is used to give praise or show admiration for good deeds.

Synonymous Expressions Gn de bcu! Hoyngrde!



K b le!


A: B: A: N kn nge nhi de fxng du xncho. B: W si! K b le! A: Look at that girls hairstyle, so chic. B: Wow! Cool!

A: B: A: N de tiyngjng sh zi nr mi de? K b le. B: Sh ma? N y mi y ge ba. A: Where did you buy your sunglasses? Theyre cool. B: Really? You can buy a pair too.

The expression literally means cool to the point of death. The character (k) is a transliteration of the English word cool. Young people often use this expression to pay a compliment when they think someone or something is very modern or fashionable.

Synonymous Expressions Zhn k! Ti k le!



Ti bng le!


A: B: A: N chngchang w zu de ci, wido znmeyng? B: Ng, ti bng le, wido ho j le. A: Taste the dish I cooked. How is it? B: Eh, great! It tastes fabulous.

A: B: A: Zh bn sh znmeyng? B: Ti bng le, n y nq knkan ba. A: What do you think of this book? B: Great! Just take it and have a look.

The expression is commonly used by the northerners in China to praise anything that is admired: a dish, a book, a performance or a behavior.

Synonymous Expressions Bng j le! Zhn bng!



Zhn liobuq!

Its admirable!

A: B: A: L Mng zh c kosh yu sh qun bn dy? B: Zhn liobuq! T ti cngming le. A: Li Ming ranks first again in the examination this time. B: Admirable! Hes so smart.

A: B: A: W gge cho gpio, y nin ji zhun le wsh wn. B: N gge zhn liobuq! A: My brother speculated in the stock market and made half a million dollars in a year! B: Your brother is admirable.

This is an expression of admiration for somebodys extraordinary conduct in words or deeds.

Synonymous Expressions Zhn xng! Zhn bdlio!



Youre so capable.

Zhn yu lingxizi.

A: B: A: Zh sh w zj zu de yfu. B: Kn bu chli, n hi zhn yu lingxizi. A: I made the clothes myself. B: I cant believe it. Youre so capable.

A: B: A: Zhng Fi yjng b dinno xiho le. B: T zhn yu lingxiziw xi le ling tin du mi xiho. A: Zhang Fei has fixed the computer. B: Hes so capable. I tried to fix it for two days without success.

This expression is used to compliment someone who you think is capable and skilful.

Synonymous Expressions Zhn yu bnshi. Zhn b jindn.



B ti ho!

Not too good!

A: B: A: Zujn shngyi znmeyng? B: B ti ho! Hn du hu du mi bu chq. A: How is your business lately? B: Not too good! There are many goods in stock that cant be sold.

A: B: A: N mma shnt znmeyng? B: B ti ho, mitin du di ch yo. A: How is your mother? B: Not too good! She has to take medicine every day.

The Chinese and English versions of the expression are almost equivalent. Inserting (ti too) between (b - not and (ho good) makes the tone more mild and polite.

Synonymous Expressions B znme ho. B ti lxing.



(Its) nothing special.

Ji nme hu shr.

A: B: A: Nge xn jin de yulyun n q le ma? Gnju rh? B: Q le. Ji nme hu shr. A: Did you go to the new amusement park? How is it? B: I did. Its nothing special.

A: B: A: N rzi zujn xux znmeyng le? B: Ji nme hu shr, Yngy jngchng b jg. A: How is your son getting on with his studies? B: Nothing special. He often fails his English tests.

You may use this expression to express your dissatisfaction if you think something is humdrum or mediocre. The literal meaning of the expression is its just like that. The tone is comparatively strong.

Synonymous Expressions B znmeyng.



Hishi lo yngzi.

Still the same old story.

A: B: A: N h ppo de gunxi znmeyng le? B: Hishi lo yngzi, miyu shnme binhu. A: How are you getting on with your mother-in-law? B: Its still the same old story. Nothing changes.

A: B: A: N bba de bng ho le mi? B: Hishi lo yngzi. A: How is your fathers illness? B: Its still the same old story.

You use this expression to show your dissatisfaction or anxiety when someone or the state of affairs are not progressing or changing.

Synonymous Expressions Mi shnme binhu.



Hi xng.


A: B: A: N jude Zhngyng Dinshti de jim znmeyng? B: Hi xng, yude jim ting ho de. A: What do you think of CCTVs programs? B: Acceptable. There are some good programs

A: B: A: N kn zh to fngzi znmeyang? B: Hi xng, wizh h hunjng du hi ky. A: What do you think of the house? B: Acceptable. The location and environment are both alright.

If you think something is generally adequate, though not without some deficiencies, use this expression.

Synonymous Expressions Hi ky. Hi bcu.





A: B: A: N jude zh pin lnwn znmeyng? B: Mmhh ba. A: What do you think of the thesis? B: Just passable.

A: B: A: Nmen gngs jnnin de xioshuling znmeyng? B: Mmhh, hi gudeq. A: How are your companys auto sales this year? B: Passable, and acceptable.

Use this expression to evaluate someone or something that is neither very good nor very bad.

Synonymous Expressions Ybnbn. Cuhe.




It cant be

A: B: A: Zh sh Hung xiozhng de dinhu ma? B: Cubulio, w zutin hi dguo ne. A: Is this the telephone number of President Huang? B: It cant be wrong. I dialed it just yesterday.

A: B: A: Xio Li ji sh zh zhge lu ma? B: Cubulio, w liguo t ji. A: Is Xiao Lius home in this building? B: It cant be wrong. I visited his home once

Use this expression to reassure someone who somewhat doubts what you said or did.

Synonymous Expressions Mi cu. B hu cu de.



Mi wnt.

No problem.

A: B: A: Yjng sh din le, znmen nng gnshang mbnch ma? B: Mi wnt. A: Its ten oclock already. Can we catch the last bus? B: No problem.

A: B: A: N jude jntin wnshang de qisi znmen du nng yng ma? B: Mi wnt, kndng nng yng. A: Do you think our team will win the match tonight? B: No problem. We will surely win.

When someone feels worried or lacks confidence in what youre doing, you can use this expression to reassure him. At the same time, it implies a promise.

Synonymous Expressions Wnt b d.



N dngrn!

Of course!

A: B: A: N titai rng n kn shjibi ma? B: N dngrn! T b rng w kn, w y yo kn. A: Does your wife allow you to watch the World Cup? B: Of course! Id watch it anyway, even if she disagrees.

A: B: A: N shbush y xhuan ty yndng? B: N dngrn, w mitin du yuyng. A: Do you love sports too? B: Of course, I swim every day.

This is an affirmative and confident expression that is used to dispel the doubts of others when you think you have no problem in doing something.

Synonymous Expressions Dngrn! Dngrn la



N hi yng shu.


A: B: A: Dng fixngyun shnt szh ydng yo ho. B: N hi yng shu. A: You need a good physique to become a pilot. B: Absolutely.

A: B: A: N hi nng jde wmen shng c yxin de dfang ma? B: N hi yng shu, w ybizi du wngbulio. A: Do you still remember the place where we had that emergency? B: Absolutely, Ill never forget it.

When someone expresses doubt about something you are proud of because they lack full knowledge, you can respond with this expression. It has a sense of pride, confidence, even complacency.

Synonymous Expressions N sh.



B knng.

Its impossible

A: B: A: Tngshu Xio Wng h Xio Chn lhn le. B: B knng, zutin w hi knjin tmen gung shngchng ne. A: I hear Xiao Wang and Xiao Chen got divorced. B: Its impossible. I saw them window-shopping only yesterday.

A: B: A: Nmen ling ge hoho lioliao, modn ji knng jiju le. B: B knng, wmen mi shnme ho shu de le. A: You two have a good talk and maybe the conflict will be resolved. B: Its impossible. We have nothing to say to each other.

Use this expression when you think the odds of something happening are very low.

Synonymous Expressions B hu de.


29 knows!

Gu zhdo!

Only the devil

A: B: A: B zhdo mngtin tinq znmeyng. B: Gu zhdo! Zh j tin tinq lo bin, yhur qng, yhur yn. A: Dont know what the weather will be tomorrow. B: Only the devil knows! The weather is always changing these days: cloudless one hour and overcast the next.

A: B: A: Lobn shnme shhou gi wmen ji xn ya? B: Gu zhdo! A: When will the boss give us a pay rise? B: Only the devil knows.

This expression is one of denial that means: I dont know. It expresses the idea that you are unable to understand, are dissatisfied, or dont care about something. It conveys a tone of dissatisfaction and complaint.

Synonymous Expressions Shi zhdo. Tin zhdo.



Shi shu de?

Who said that?

A: B: A: Tngshu n yo q guwi fzhn? B: Shi shu de? W gnbn ji mi zhge xingf. A: I hear youre going abroad for personal development. B: Who said that? Ive never had that idea at all.

A: B: A: Nmen gngs b jngyng de bcu ma? B: Shi shu de? Du kui dob le. A: Your company has been running well, hasnt it? B: Who said that? Its going bankrupt.

This is a way of expressing denial. It means: (b du - thats not right) or (b sh zh yng de its not like that). Sometimes it conveys a sense of resentment.

Synonymous Expressions Miyu zh hu shr.



Xing de mi!

In your dreams!

A: B: A: Mngnin znmen y mi ling ch ba? B: Xing de mi! Znmen n yu qin ya! A: Shall we buy a car next year? B: In your dreams! We dont have the money.

A: B: A: Y ge xngq yoshi zh gngzu sn tin du ho a! B: Xing de mi! Kui gnhu ba. A: How nice it would be if we only had to work three days a week! B: In your dreams! Just get on with your work.

The literal meaning of the Chinese expression is (you) think so beautifully (that your idea can never be realized). It is used to ridicule someone whose expectation is too high or whose ideas are unrealistic. It shows that you are strongly opposed to someones ideas or suggestions and want them to give up their position. Women usually use it.

Synonymous Expressions Zumng! B knng!





A: B: A: B n de zxngch ji gi w yngyong xng ma? B: Hoshu, zh sh ch yoshi, gi n. A: Can I borrow your bicycle? B: Alright. Heres the key.

A: B: A: W xing xu dz, n nng jiojiao w ma? B: Hoshu. N dsun shnme shhou kish xu? A: I want to learn to type. Can you show me how? B: Alright. When do you want to start?

The literal meaning is close to (Im) easy to be persuaded, and is used as a light-hearted expression of agreement. When you say this, you show that you agree to someones request and want to accede to the request.

Synonymous Expressions Mi de shu. Mi shu de.



Ho zhyi!

Good idea!

A: B: A: Znmen ki ge wngb ba, xinzi shngwng de rn hn du, ki wngb ydng nng zhngqin. B: Ho zhyi! A: Lets open an internet bar. Im sure we can make money, because there are so many web-surfers nowadays. B: Good idea!

A: B: A: Zh c lyu znmen zu huch q, zu fij huli, znmeyng? B: Ho zhyi! Zhyng yu b dnw shjin, yu pinyi. A: For this trip how about we go there by train and come back by plane? B: Good idea! That way we can save both time and money.

Use this expression to show admiration for a good idea or suggestion.

Synonymous Expressions Ti ho le Ho bnf Hoj le!





A: DVD B: A: Znmen mi y ti DVD j ba, zi jili kn dinyng fngbin. B: Xng, n mi ba. A: Lets buy a DVD player so we can watch movies at home. B: OK, go ahead.

A: B: A: Znmen mngtin q pshn ba. B: Xng, j din chf? A: Shall we go hiking in the mountains tomorrow? B: OK, when shall we set out?

This is a simple and idiomatic way of expressing agreement. If you think someones request or suggestion is reasonable, you can use this expression to show your agreement.

Synonymous Expressions Ho. Ho ba. Ky.



Yu dol!

Youre right.

A: B: A: N bx jinch zu mirng pf ci hu ho. B: Yu dol. A: You must have continuous beauty treatments in order to have good looking skin. B: Youre right.

A: B: A: Zo shu zo q shnt ho. B: Ng, zh hu yu dol. A: Early to bed and early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise. B: Eh, youre right.

This expression means that you agree with others suggestions or ideas, but without commitment.

Synonymous Expressions Shu de du!



Hshu bdo!


A: HSK B: A: Tngshu n b xing cnji HSK kosh le. B: Hshu bdo! Shi shu de? A: I hear you dont want to take the HSK test. B: Nonsense! Who said that?

A: B: A: Xio Li shu go chunxio ky zhng d qin. B: Hshu bdo! N ksh wif de. A: Xiao Liu said you can make big money by pyramid selling. B: Nonsense! Thats illegal.

This is an expression showing strong opposition. Use it with caution: it is comparatively rude, unfriendly, and nearly abusive.

Synonymous Expressions H shu! Hch!



Hu b nng zhme shu.

You cant be that conclusive.

A: B: A: W jude mi boxin ydinr yng du miyu. B: Hu b nng zhme shu, fshng ywi de shhou ji yu yng le. A: I think insurance is simply useless. B: You cant be that conclusive. It will be useful if an accident happens.

A: B: A: Dinz yux du hizi ydinr hoch du miyu. B: Hu b nng zhme shu, wnr dinz yux y nng dunlin hizi de fnyng nngl. A: Computer games can never do children any good. B: You cant be that conclusive. Computer games can surely strengthen childrens reflexes.

Use this roundabout expression when you disagree with someones opinion, but dont want to embarrass him.

Synonymous Expressions Y bjnrn. Bjnrn ba.




No way!

A: B: A: Jntin n zufn, w kn dinshj q. B: Mimnr! W hi xing kn dinshj ne. A: You cook today and Ill watch the sitcoms. B: No way! I want to watch the sitcoms too.

A: B: A: Zn li lo choji, w kn lhn sun le. B: Xing gn w lhn, mimnr! A: We quarrel too much. Wed better divorce. B: You want to divorce me? No way!

This is an abrupt and strong rejection to a request or suggestion made by someone else. The tone is very strong.

Synonymous Expressions Zumng! Xixing!



N n xng a!


A: B: A: W ji gi n de qin ji byng hun le. B: N n xng a, ho ji ho hun zi ji b nn ma. A: You dont have to repay the money I lent you. B: Thats unacceptable. As the saying goes: repay the borrowed money duly and you may borrow again easily.

A: B: A: Nmen xin huq ba, shngxi de shqing w li zu ba. B: N n xng a, hishi znmen yq zu wn zi zu ba. A: You go back first, Ill finish the rest. B: Thats unacceptable! Lets finish it together and then go.

This is an expression of disagreement or opposition to someones way of saying or doing something. You can also simply say: (b xng).

Synonymous Expressions N b xng. N znme xng a!


40 nuts?

N yu bng ya?!

Are you

A: B: ?! ? A: W b zhge yu de gngz qun mi cipio le. B: N yu bng ya ?! N znmen ch shnme ya? A: Ive spent all of this months salary buying lottery tickets. B: Are you nuts?! Then what do we live off?

A: B: ?! A: N kn, w jntin shng ji mi le w jin yfu. B: N yu bng ya ?! Y xi z mi zhme du yfu chun de wn ma? A: Look! I bought 5 pieces of clothing today. B: Are you nuts?! Can you wear so many clothes?

This is an expression of scolding used to rebuke somebody for doing something unreasonable or something that should not be done.

Synonymous Expressions Yu mobng ya n!



Bi dnxn.

Dont worry.

A: B: A: W zh bng p sh hobulio le. B: Bi dnxn, hu ho de. A: Im afraid I can never recover from this illness. B: Dont worry, youll recover.

A: B: A: N y ge rn zi guwi shnghu xng ma? B: Mi wnt, bi dnxn. A: Is it alright for you to live alone in a foreign land? B: No problem. Dont worry.

This is an expression that is used to comfort your friend who is worried about someone or something. Usually you add a reassuring reason before or after the expression.

Synonymous Expressions Fngxn ba. Fngxn.



Bi j !

Be patient!

A: B: A: Znmen shnme shhou jihn? B: Bi j ! Dng yu fngzi zi shu. A: When will we get married? B: Be patient! Well wait until we have a house.

A: B: A: Huch ji yo ki le, t znme hi mi li ya? B: Bi j ! Zi dngdeng. A: The train is about to leave. How come he hasnt arrived yet? B: Be patient! Just wait a while.

Use this expression to comfort someone who is getting impatient.

Synonymous Expressions J shnme. Zho shnme j.



Xing ki dinr.

Look on the

bright side.
A: B: A: W shnt b ho, titai yu shy le, zh rzi k znme gu ya? B: Xing ki dianr, yqi du hu hoqli de. A: My health isnt good, and my wife is out of work again. How can I go on? B: Look on the bright side. Everything will turn out fine.

A: B: A: W gn jngl ydinr y hbuli, zhn b xing zi t shu xi gn le. B: Xing ki dianr, lngdo du zhyng. A: I can never get along with the manager. I really dont want to work under him any more. B: Look on the bright side; and besides, all superiors are alike.

When someone is caught up in difficulties, is in low spirits, looks on the dark side, feels disappointed, and is even desperate, use this expression to console him, open his mind to look at things from a different point of view, and relax his state of mind.

Synonymous Expressions Bi lo xingbuki.




Its nothing.

A: B: A: W cn zi dinno li de wnjin du zhobudo le, j s w le! B: Mishr, w li bng n knkan. A: I cant find my files in the computer. Im feeling very anxious. B: Its nothing. Let me help you with it.

A: B: A: W gng do Bijng, yu xi shut bf. B: Mishr, gu j tin ji ho le. A: I just arrived in Beijing, and Im feeling a bit under the weather. B: Its nothing, youll be fine in a few days.

This is a friendly and idiomatic expression used to comfort an anxious person.

Synonymous Expressions Mishnme.



Pci minzi.

A loss of wealth is

a gain of health.
A: B: A: W de shuj yu di le. B: Bi xntng, pci minzi. A: I lost my mobile phone again. B: Dont get distressed. A loss of wealth is a gain of health.

A: B: A: W ji jntin bi do le, zhn q rn. B: Bi shngq, pci minzi. A: A burglar broke into my house today. Its outrageous. B: Dont get angry. A loss of wealth is a gain of health.

(p ci) means lose property and (min zi) means dispel disaster. The literal meaning of the expression is if you lose your property, youll dispel disaster. If someone loses money or something valuable, you can use this expression to console him.

Synonymous Expressions Shci rnn.



Bi dolun!

Dont make trouble!

A: B: A: Mma, pi w wnr yhur yux ba. B: Bi dolun! Mma zufn ne, ch wn fn zi wnr. A: Mum, can you play games with me for a while? B: Dont make trouble! Mum is cooking, and will play with you after dinner.

A: B: A: W li bang n dioy ba. B: Bi dolun! Y mshng ji yo shnggu le. A: Let me help you with your fishing. B: Dont make trouble! The fish is going to bite

The expression is used to admonish someone not to disrupt an ongoing work or activity. For instance, you can use it with a child who is disrupting your work.

Synonymous Expressions Bi hno. ( hno = horse around; run wild. e.g. T xioshhou i hno. - He liked to run wild when he was young.)



Bi duxn!

Dont be so sensitive!

A: B: A: N rnwi w gnbulio zh jin sh ma? B: Bi duxn! W b sh zhge ysi. A: You think I cant do this? B: Dont be so sensitive. I didnt mean that.

A: B: A: Wng Wi shbush shng w de q le? B: Bi duxn, b hu de. A: Is Wang Wei angry with me? B: Dont be so sensitive. I dont think he is angry.

When someone is uneasy and suspicious as a result of misunderstanding what you or others say or do, you can use this expression to reassure them.

Synonymous Expressions Bi xi ci! Bi xi xing!



Bi duzu!

Dont interrupt!

A: B: A: W rnwi t de zh zhng shuf b du. B: Bi duzu, rng t b hu shu wn. A: I think what hes saying is not right. B: Dont interrupt. Let him finish.

A: B: A: Mma, n bi lo gn bba choji le. B: Bi duzu! Drn de shqing xiohi sho gun. A: Mum, dont quarrel with Dad anymore. B: Dont interrupt! You kids mind your own business.

This reprimand is used when you think someone speaks at the wrong time or is not qualified to interrupt. For example, parents may use this expression to stop a child from interrupting adults conversations.

Synonymous Expressions Bx duzu. Sho duzu.



Bi xiokn rn.


belittle others.
A: B: A: Zh jin sh hn fz, n nng chl ho ma? B: Bi xiokn rn, w ydng hu rng n mny de. A: This is a complex situation. Can you handle it well? B: Dont belittle me. Ill surely make you satisfied.

A: B: A: Hizi, zhge yzi hn zhng, n nng bndng ma?. B: Mma, n bi xiokn rn, w yjng zhngd le. A: Hey kid, this chair is really heavy. Can you lift it? B: Mum, dont belittle me. Ive already grown up.

This is a confident reply to someone who you think looks down on you or others. In this expression, (xio kn) means to look down upon, to despise. If you think someone looks down upon your ability, you can use this expression in response.

Synonymous Expressions Bi qiobuq rn ya.



Hb ne?

No need for that.

A: B: A: Gngzu yl ti d, yushhou w du b xing hu le. B: Hb ne? Dbulio hun ge gngzu. A: I work under too much pressure. Sometimes I just dont want to live any more. B: No need for that. At worst, you can find another job.

A: B: A: W zhn shubulio w titai nge hui pq, xing gn t lhn sun le. B: Hb ne? Hizi du nme d le. A: I really cant bear that bad temper of my wife. I just want to divorce her. B: No need for that. After all, your kid has grown into such a big child.

This is an expression to console someone with goodwill in order to persuade him against a poor idea, such as divorce, suicide, and so on. Usually something rational or reasonable follows.

Synonymous Expressions Hk ne? Yu shnme byo a?



Sun le ba!

Just leave it as it is!

A: B: A: Zh zh koy hoxing yudinr shng, w q zho fwyun li hun y zh. B: Sun le ba, cuhe ch ba. A: The roast duck is a little raw. Ill find the server to have it exchanged. B: Just leave it as it is. I can put up with it.

A: B: A: W mngmng mi le ling jn xhngsh, znme sho le s ling? W q zho nge xiofn shushuo. B: Sun le ba, yhu b zi t nr mi ji xng le. A: I bought two jin of tomatoes. How come its four liang less? Ill talk to the peddler. B: Just leave it as it is and dont buy from him next time.

This is an expression that is used to persuade someone. For example, if your friend has a conflict with someone, you can use this expression to persuade him to give up his own position or to compromise in order to resolve the conflict.

Synonymous Expressions Xng le. D le.



Wnwn bk!

Never do that!

A: B: A: W jude gngzu yl hn d, zhn xing czh b gn le. B: Wnwn bk! Xinzi gngzu k b ho zho le. A: I work under too much pressure. I really want to resign. B: Never do that! Its very hard to get a job right now.

A: B: A: Znmen nuyng dinr gngkun mi fng ba. B: N sh wif de, wnwn bk! A: Why dont we appropriate a little public money to buy a house? B: Thats illegal. Never do that!

When a friend is planning to do something rash and harmful you may use this expression to admonish him not to do so in order to avoid bringing about a bad result. The tone of the expression is both cordial and direct.

Synonymous Expressions Qinwn bi! Shbud!



Zuho bi.

Youd better not.

A: B: A: Rng w h ydinr ji ba. B: Zuho bi, n hiyo kich ne. A: Let me drink a little. B: Youd better not. Youre driving today.

A: B: A: Lo Li de bng hn ynzhng, znmen ynggi b bngqng gosu t. B: Zuho bi, t hu shubulio de. A: Lao Liu is seriously ill. We should tell him the truth. B: Wed better not. He wont be able to take it.

This is an expression of both admonition and advice. Use this when you think someones idea or conduct is improper or may entail adverse consequences.

Synonymous Expressions Zuho byo ba.




Thats shocking!

A: B: A: Xio L de fqn bng de hn zhng, t y b huji knkan. B: Ti bxinghu le, n yu zhyng de hizi! A: Xiao Lis father fell seriously ill and he wont go home to see him. B: Thats shocking! How can a son be like that?

A: B: A: T yu b lj cng yngti rng chq le. B: Bxinghu, ydinr gngdxn du miyu. A: He threw rubbish from the balcony again. B: Thats shocking. He has no sense of social morality at all.

If you think someones words or actions are contrary to common sense, even causing people to be resentful or indignant, then you can use this expression to condemn him.

Synonymous Expressions Ti bxinghu le. Zhn bxinghu.



Ti gufn le!

Hes gone too far!

A: B: A: Lobn yjng sn ge yu mi gi wmen f gngz le. B: Ti gufn le, nmen hi b bgng? A: The boss hasnt paid our salaries for three months! B: Hes gone too far! Why dont you go on strike?

A: B: A: Jntin zh chng bsi cipn chu hisho, tbi b gngpng. B: Sh ma? Ti gufn le! A: The referee of todays match is corrupt and outrageously unfair. B: Really? Hes gone too far.

This is an expression of strong resentment and condemnation used when what someone says or does exceeds the bearable limits of the average person.

Synonymous Expressions Ti mi tinl le.





A: B: A: W y xing do guwi q knkan, dnsh miyu qin, ymn! B: J shnme, dng n zho do le gngzu ji yu qin ch gu lyu le. A: I want to go abroad as well, but I dont have the money. Sulk! B: No hurry. Youll have money to travel abroad after you find a job.

A: B: A: W yu bi lobn cho yuy le, ymn! B: Yu shnme ymn de, zi zho gngzu bei. A: I got fired by the boss again. Sulk! B: Its nothing to sulk about really. Just find another job.

A very popular expression used by young people in China. This phrase implies a sense of resentment and discontent. You can use this expression when something is beyond your patience and you cant stand it any more.

Synonymous Expressions Zhn shubulio.



Znme go de?

What happened?

A: B: A: Znme go de? Trn tngdin le. B: Shbush xinl ch gzhng le? A: What happened? The electricity suddenly went out. B: Is there something wrong with the power line?

A: B: A: Znmen ding de hu tmen hi mi sngli. B: Znme go de? Tmen znme zhme b shuxnyng. A: They still havent delivered the goods we ordered. B: What happened? How could they fail to keep their promise?

When you cant understand someones action or the result of something, you can use this expression to question him. It has a sense of resentment, anxiety, and agitation.

Synonymous Expressions Znme hu sh?




What a pity!

A: B: A: N kn zh shuj, gang yng le ling tin ji ch mobng le. B: Zhnshde, zhling zhn c. A: Look at this mobile phone. Something has gone wrong with it after I used it for only two days. B: What a pity! The quality is really bad.

A: HSK B: A: W zh c HSK kosh ch ydinr ji li j le. B: Zhnshde, ti kx le. A: I just missed the chance to pass the HSK test band six this time. B: Too bad. Its a great pity.

This expression is used to show dissatisfaction, pity, and regret. An explanation of the reason is given either before or after the expression.

Synonymous Expressions Znme hu zh yng a!



Zhn wlio!


A: B: A: Xio L h Xio Zhng li zngsh wile yxi xio sh choji. B: Zhn wlio! A: Xiao Li and Xiao Zhang always quarrel over minor trivialities. B: Tiresome!

A: B: A: Li Fi tbi xhuan zi bihu shu biren de huihu. B: Zh zhng rn, zhn wlio! A: Liu Fei simply loves to speak ill of others behind their backs. B: This kind of person is tiresome!

If you have no interest in someone or something, you can use this expression. The tone has a sense of dissatisfaction and disappointment.

Synonymous Expressions Zhn mi ysi. Zhn mi q.



B hu ba.

That cant be.

A: B: A: Tngshu znmen zhr yo dzhn le. B: B hu ba, ydinr zhngzho y miyu a. A: I hear theres going to be an earthquake here. B: That cant be. Theres no sign of it at all.

A: B: A: rzi xinzi hi mi huli, shbush chsh le? B: B hu ba, n bi xi w. A: Our son hasnt come back yet. Could there be something wrong? B: That cant be. Dont scare me.

If you think what someone said is contrary to common sense, or is unbelievable, you can use this expression to show your doubt.

Synonymous Expressions Nr hu a.





A: B: A: W y xiosh ji nng b zhxi dnc biwn, n xnbuxn? B: Chuni! W ci b xn ne. A: I can recite these new words in an hour. Do you believe me? B: Braggart! I dont believe you.

A: B: A: W y ge rn ji ky b zhge bngxing bn shng lu. B: Chuni! Zhge bngxing chn zhe ne. A: I can move this fridge upstairs by myself. B: Braggart! This fridge is very heavy.

This expression literally means blow the cow. You can use this expression when you think someone is exaggerating. It is usually used between close acquaintances.

Synonymous Expressions Bi chu le. Bi chuni le.



Ti kuzhng le ba.


A: B: A: Jnnin dngtin, nnfng de xu b bifng de hi d ne! B: Nnfng de xu znme hu b bifng de d ne? Ti kuzhng le ba. A: This winter it snowed more in the south than in the north! B: How could it snow more in the south? Unbelievable!

A: B: A: Tngshu Lo Zhng jnnin chog zhun le snbi wn. B: Ti kuzhng le ba, mngnin w y q chochao. A: I hear Lao Zhang made three million dollars by speculating in the stock market this year. B: Unbelievable! Ill do the same next year.

Use this expression to show disbelief in response to an exaggeration.

Synonymous Expressions Knng ma?



Znme hu ne?

How could that be?

A: B: A: Znmen zu ba, Lo Zhng tmen knng b li le. B: Znme hu ne? T shu ho li de. A: Lets go. Lao Zhang and his company may not come. B: How could that be? He promised to come.

A: B: A: Tngshu lobn q Migu le. B: Znme hu ne? W zutin hi knjin t le ne. A: I hear the boss has gone to the US. B: How could that be? I saw him only yesterday.

When you doubt or disbelieve what someone said, you can use this expression as a question in reply.

Synonymous Expressions B hu ba. B knng.



Zhn de ma?


A: B: A: Tngshu Li Dhu yo jbn grn ynchnghu le. B: Zhnde ma? N znmen ydng di q knkan. A: I hear Andy Lau is to give a concert. B: Really? We really must go then.

A: B: A: Tngshu fngzi mshng ji yo jingji le. B: Zhnde ma? Rgu zhn sh zhyng ji ti ho le.. A: I hear the price of housing is going down. B: Really? Thats great if its true.

When you feel that what someone said is unexpected or doubtful, you can use this expression as a question in reply.

Synonymous Expressions Sh ma?


A: B:


Good gracious!

A: N kn w dio de zh tio y. B: Hojihuo! Zhme d gr. A: Look at this fish I got. B: Good gracious! Its so big.

A: B: A: Hojihuo! Hn de bcu ma, zj yu ch le. B: H n b ch yun le. A: Good gracious! You have your own car, youve made your fortune I bet. B: You are far ahead of me.

Use this expression of surprise when you encounter something unexpected.

Synonymous Expressions Yh!



Tin na!

My God!

A: B: A: Tin na! Wde qinbo b jin le. B: Bi j, n zi hoho zhozhao. A: My God! Ive lost my wallet. B: Dont panic. Just try looking for it carefully.

A: B: A: Tin na! W zhng de sh tujing ya! B: Xio shng dinr, bi rng biren tngjin. A: My God! Ive won the first prize in the lottery. B: Quiet! Dont let others hear you.

This is an expression commonly used to show various emotions, such as surprise, fear, regret, or happiness.

Synonymous Expressions Wde tin na! M ya! Wde m ya!



W si!


A: B: A: Zh sh w nr. B: W si! Zhng de ho pioliang ya. A: This is my daughter. B: Wow! Shes so beautiful.

A: B: A: W xi de sh chbn le. B: W si! N zhn lhai! A: My book has just been published. B: Wow! Youre good!

Young people in China often use this expression to show surprise and admiration.

Synonymous Expressions W!



Yunli rc!

Oh, I see!

A: B: A: A: Ml de Hny znme shu de zhme ho ya? B: T q su ji gn bba mma dole Zhnggu, zi Zhnggu yjng shnghule sh nin le. A: O, yunli rc. A: How come Mary speaks Chinese so well? B: She came to China with her parents when she was only seven, and shes been living in China for ten years. A: Oh, I see.

A: B: A: A: N znme zhme hu cho ci? B: Ynwe w bba sh tj chsh ya. A: Yunli rc. A: How come you can cook so well? B: Because my dad is a master chef. A: Oh, I see.

This expression is used by someone who has a sudden realization of the reason for, or the truth of something and they no longer think it strange.

Synonymous Expressions Guibud ne. Nngui ne.




What bad luck!

A: B: A: Znme yu g hwi? B: Zogo, mfn h le. A: Somethings burning? B: What bad luck! Its the rice burning.

A: B: A: Yjng q din wshw le, zogo, w yo chdo le. B: J shnme, losh yjng tngzh le, jntin b shng k. A: Its 7:55 already. What bad luck! Im going to be late. B: No hurry. The teacher has already said that we dont have class today.

This expression occurs spontaneously when someone suddenly realizes that there is a problem.

Synonymous Expressions Hui le! Zo le!



Zhn mi xingdo.

I never

knew that.
A: B: A: Xio Li mi le y to bish. B: T nme yuqin ya, zhn mi xingdo. A: Xiao Liu bought a villa. B: Hes so rich! I never knew that.

A: B: A: Zhn mi xingdo, t pin le w zhngzhng rsh nin. B: Guqu de sh ji bi t t le. A: I never knew that. She cheated me for twenty years! B: Let bygones be bygones.

This expression is a response to an entirely unexpected event, which can be happy, irritating, or pitiable.

Synonymous Expressions Shi nng xingdo ne.



B jin b sn.

See you there.

A: B: A: Mngtin shngw sh din znmen gngyun mnku jin. B: Ho, b jin b sn. A: Well meet at the gate of the park at ten oclock tomorrow morning. B: OK, see you there.

A: B: A: Jntin wnshang li din w zi dinyngyun mnku dng n. B: Ho, b jin b sn. A: Ill wait for you at the gate of the cinema at six this evening. B: OK, see you there.

This expression is used to warn someone of an appointment. For example, you and your friend have already agreed upon a time and place to meet, and then you use this expression to emphasize that you will keep the appointment and you want your friend to do the same. (Editors Note: Chinese friends tell me this expression actually has a light-hearted tone, indeed I have it seen it translated elsewhere as: Be there or be square!, not something we really say in English nowadays but I hope you get the idea.)

Synonymous Expressions Do shhou jin.



Di hur jin.

See you in a

A: B: A: W zi bngngsh dng n. B: Ho, di hur jin. A: Ill wait for you at the office. B: OK, see you in a minute.

A: B: A: W q bn dinr sh, yhur q zho nmen. B: Hode, di hur jin. A: Excuse me for a minute. Ill catch up with you later. B: OK, see you in a minute.

This is a self-evident expression that is used when parting for a short time.

Synonymous Expressions Yhur jin. Hutu jin.



Yyn widng!

Its a deal!

A: B: A: Shji znmen q uzhu lxng, znmeyng? B: Ho! Yyn widng! A: How about we go on a tour of Europe this summer vacation? B: OK, its a deal!

A: B: A: Xi xngqw wmen y shu jio qin, y shu jio hu. B: N ho! Yyn widng! A: Next Friday we will execute the transaction. B: OK, its a deal!

This expression is used to indicate that something has been agreed to and will not change.

Synonymous Expressions Shu ho le. Shu dng le.



B yng le.

No need.

A: B: A: W li zufn ba. B: B yng le, n li le y tin, xi hur ba. A: Let me cook the meal. B: No need. Youve been working all day, just take a rest.

A: B: A: Wimian xiy le, di b sn ba. B: B yng le, y xi de b d. A: Its raining outside. Take an umbrella. B: No need. Its a light rain.

This is an expression used to refuse an invitation or an offer of help. You can use this expression when someone offers you help, but you dont want to trouble him.

Synonymous Expressions Bb le. B xyo.



Gitin ba.

Maybe some other time.

A: B: A: Znmen xiw q mi dinno ba. B: Gitin ba, w jntin yu sh. A: Lets go and buy a computer this afternoon. B: Maybe some other time. Im busy today.

A: B: A: Zhum znmen q knkan w fm ba. B: Gitin ba, zhum wmen gngs jibn. A: Lets visit my parents this weekend. B: Maybe some other time. I have to work overtime at the company this weekend.

This is a polite rejection to an invitation. Its literal meaning is (lets do it) some other day. When you dont want to accept someones invitation and you dont want to say so directly, you can use this expression to refuse in a roundabout way.

Synonymous Expressions Xic ba. Yhu ba.



Zi shu ba.

Lets talk it over later.

A: B: A: Znmen shnme shhou q kn Wng losh. B: Zi shu ba, w zujn tbi mng. A: When shall we visit Teacher Wang? B: Lets talk it over later. Ive been very busy recently.

A: B: A: Znmen shngliang shngliang xi c q nr wnr. B: W xinzi yu j sh, zi shu ba. A: Lets discuss where we will travel to next time. B: Im attending to something urgent. Lets talk it over later.

Use this expression when you can neither accept nor overtly turn down a request to put off a matter. This expression can also be understood as a roundabout way of expressing a rejection.

Synonymous Expressions Hutu zi shu ba. Yhu zi shu.



W shutu y b fy.

Im feeling the pinch myself.

A: B: A: W xing mi ling ch, qin bgu, n nng ji gi w dinr ma?. B: Zhn boqin, w shutu y b fy. A: I want to buy a car, but I dont have enough money. Could you lend me some? B: Sorry, Im feeling the pinch myself.

A: B: A: W zujn j x yng qin, n nng ji w yxi ma? B: Kngp bxng, w shutu y b fy. A: Im in urgent need of money right now. Would you lend me some? B: Im afraid I cant. Im feeling the pinch myself.

Use this expression to show a polite and tactful refusal to lend money to someone when you do not have or are not willing to lend money.

Synonymous Expressions W shutu y quqin. W shutu y b kuny.




Watch out!

A: B: A: Dngxn! Qinmian yu ch. B: Xixi n txng w. A: Watch out! Theres a car ahead! B: Thank you for reminding me.

A: B: A: Dngxn! Nr yu jngch, bi ki nme kui! B: O, w zhdo le. A: Watch out! Theres a policeman, dont drive too fast. B: Oh, I see.

This is an expression of warning used to urge someone to pay attention to whats happening at the moment. The tone usually carries a sense of urgency.

Synonymous Expressions Xioxn!



Du linx.

Stay in touch.

A: B: A: N dng le zngjngl, k bi wng le wmen ya, du linx! B: Wngbulio, w hu chng gn nmen linx de! A: Youre general manager now. Dont forget us, and stay in touch. B: Of course I wont forget you. Ill contact you often.

A: B: A: Xixi n d dinhu gi w, yhu wmen du linx. B: Ho, du linx. A: Thank you for calling me. Lets stay in touch from now on. B: OK, stay in touch.

This expression can be said to a parting friend or a friend who is far away. The aim is to encourage them to stay in touch.

Synonymous Expressions Boch linx. Chng linx.



Mn dinr!

Be careful.

A: B: A: M, w shngbn q le. B: Mn dinr, lshang ch du. A: Mum, Im going to work. B: Be careful. The traffic is heavy.

A: B: A: Wimian de xu xi de zhn d. B: Mn dinr, bi shui le. A: Its snowing heavily outside. B: Be careful. Dont slip.

This expression is used to show concern for someone. If your friend is preparing to do something, you use this expression to warn him to be careful and not to be in a hurry.

Synonymous Expressions Xioxn dinr!



Tng n de!

At your command!

A: B: A: Jntin znmen ch jiozi, hishi ch mintio? B: Tng n de! N zu shnme w ji ch shnme. A: Shall we eat jiaozi or noodles today? B: At your command! Ill eat whatever you cook.

A: B: A: Znmen sh xngqli hishi xngqtin q kn w mma? B: N tin du xng, tng n de. A: Shall we go and visit my mother this Saturday or Sunday? B: Whatever, Im at your command.

The use of this expression indicates you respect the wishes and choice of your partner.

Synonymous Expressions Su n. N shu ba.




I dont care.

A: B: A: N zhdo biren znme yln n ma? B: Biren znme shu, w wsuwi. A: Do you know what other people are saying about you? B: Whatever theyre saying, I dont care.

A: B: A: Gi n hun ge xn bngngzhu ba. B: Xn ji wsuwi, nng yng ji xng. A: Let me get you a new desk. B: I dont care whether its old or new, as long as its usable.

This expression is used to indicate that you are very open and tolerant about the choice to be made.

Synonymous Expressions W b jiy. W b zihu.



Xnbuxn yu n.

Believe it or not.

A: B: A: N shu t ki le yge gngs? W b xn. B: Xnbuxn yu n. A: You say he started his own company? I dont believe it. B: Believe it or not.

A: B: A: T znme nng yng ne? B: W b xing gn n du jish shnme le, xnbuxn yu n. A: How could he win? B: Believe it or not! I wont explain it any more.

The expression is used to indicate that you dont care about the suspicion of others when they doubt what you have said.

Synonymous Expressions ixn bxn. Bxn ldo.



Znme du xng.


A: B: A: Zhngqiji znmen mibumi yubng. B: Tng nde, znme du xng. A: Shall we buy moon cakes this Mid-Autumn Festival? B: Whatever you want to do is fine.

A: B: A: Jnnin Chnji znmen q nr wn ya? B: N shu ba, znme du xng. A: Where shall we travel to during the Spring Festival this year? B: Whatever you want to do is fine.

The expression is used to transfer your right of making a decision to your partner. You will abide by his decision.

Synonymous Expressions Subin. Znme du ky.



B gn b xng a.

I have no

A: B: A: Zu, znmen q tiow ba, bi jibn le. B: Zh sh j hu, b gn b xng a. A: Lets go dancing. Dont work overtime any more. B: This is urgent. I have no choice.

A: B: A: N shnt b ho, bi zhme wnr mng gngzu le. B: B gn b xng a, y ji rn du zhwng w ne. A: Youre not in good health. Dont work so hard. B: I have no choice. My family depends on me.

This is a sighing expression of helplessness. Use it when you dont want to do something, but you have to it. Because if you dont, there will be a very serious result.

Synonymous Expressions Mi fzi ya.



Mi bnf.

Theres nothing I can do.

A: B: A: N znme yu li wn le. B: Mi bnf, lshang d ch. A: Why are you late again? B: There was nothing I could do. I encountered a traffic jam on the way.

A: B: A: Nmen znme tintin jibn ya? B: Mi bnf, shqing du, zubuwn. A: Why do you work overtime every day? B: Theres nothing I can do. Theres too much to do.

This expression has a tone of helplessness. It means that you have no control over events. You can only let matters take their own course.

Synonymous Expressions Mi zh.



Tngtin yumng ba.

Just let it be.

A: B: A: Zh c kosh w ydinr bw y miyu. B: Bi xing le, tngtin yu mng ba. A: Im not sure about this examination at all. B: Dont think about it anymore. Just let it be.

A: B: A: Shw h shu jh du miyu le, znme bn a? B: Tngtin yu mng ba. A: Food and water are running out. What should we do? B: Just let it be.

This expression has a tone of helplessness. It literally means just let providence or fate decide. Use it when you have no recourse and can only leave matters to providence.

Synonymous Expressions Kn lotiny de le.



N ywi n sh shi?

Who do you

think you are?

A: B: A: N znme zngsh du w zhshu hujio, n ywi n sh shi? B: Zhn b zh hodi, w sh wi n ho. A: Why are you always criticizing me? Who do you think you are? B: You must be senseless. I do it for your own good.

A: B: A: Xio Ln, n qfu xio tngxu sh b du de, kui xing rnji doqin. B: N ywi n sh shi? Jrn gn guan w. A: Xiao Lin, youre wrong to bully those younger classmates. You must apologize to them at once. B: Who do you think you are? How dare you poke your nose into my business?

If you think there are some problems with someones behavior or the way they do things, such as being arrogant and looking down on others, you can say (n ywi n sh shi) to him. Your aim is to get him to realize that there is no difference between him and others, and that he should respect other people.

Synonymous Expressions N sun lo j!



What kind of attitude is that?

N zh sh shnme tid?

A: B: A: A: Xiomng, yhu b nng wnr de zhme wn! B: Bi gun w. A: N zh sh shnme tid? A: Xiao Ming, never play this late again! B: Leave me alone. A: What kind of attitude is that?

A: B: A: A: Bi tng zi chung shang knsh. B: Sho fn w. A: N zh sh shnme tid? Zhn mi lmo. A: Dont read in bed. B: Mind your own business. A: What kind of attitude is that? Youre really rude.

This expression doesnt mean that you want to know a persons actual attitude, but is used to express a strong resentment or protest against someone elses bad attitude.

Synonymous Expressions Shnme tid a!



Whats it to you?

Zh y n yu shnme gunx?

A: B: A: Dubuq, qng nn byo subin rng lj. B: Zh y n yu shnme gunx? A: Sorry, but please dont throw litter everywhere. B: Whats it to you?

A: B: A: N de ch znme tng zi zhr le? B: Tng zi zhr znme le? Zh y n yu shnme gunx? A: Why did you park your car here? B: Why cant I park here? Whats it to you?

In the expression (zh y n yu shnme gunx), (gunx) means to have a bearing on. This expression means: this has nothing to do with you. The speaker doesnt want anyone to interfere.

Synonymous Expressions B guan n de sh! Gun n shnme sh!



N yu shnme zg zhz w? Why do you think youre good enough to blame me?
A: B: A: N yu shnme zg zhz w? B: N zu de b du, w znme b nng shu n! A: Why do you think youre good enough to blame me? B: What you did is wrong. Of course I can criticize you.

A: B: A: N znme subin rng lj ne? B: N yu shnme zg zhz w? N zj y sh zhyng. A: Why do you drop litter everywhere? B: Why do you think youre good enough to blame me? You do it too.

The literal meaning of this expression is what qualifications do you have to blame me? It is a rhetorical question meaning: you are not qualified to find fault with me. This is expresses strong resentment towards a person who lays blame on you.

Synonymous Expressions Hi lnbudo n shu w ne!



Gngx gngx!


A: B: A: Gosu n y ge ho xioxi, w zhodo gngzu le. B: Gngx gngx! N gi qngk le. A: Let me tell you some good news: Ive found a job. B: Congratulations! You should give a party.

A: B: A: Xi xngq w jihn, n li h xji ba. B: Gngx gngx! W ydng q. A: Im getting married next week. Please come to the party. B: Congratulations! Ill definitely go.

This is an expression of good wishes and congratulations on the occasion of a marriage, birth of a child, promotion, getting a job, winning the lottery, and so on.

Synonymous Expressions Zhh zhh!



Yl shnfng!

Bon voyage!

A: B: A: Tngshu n mngtin ji yo q Zhnggu lixu le, zh n yl shnfng. B: Xixie! A: I hear youre leaving to study in China tomorrow. Bon voyage! B: Thanks!

A: B: A: W mngtin ji yo q Bijng lyu le. B: Zhnde? Zh n yl shnfng! A: Im going to travel to Beijing tomorrow. B: Really? Bon voyage!

This is an auspicious expression used when you see someone off. It is usually used at an airport or train station. For example, if your friend is going to travel or study abroad, you can use this to express good wishes to him at the airport when you say goodbye.

Synonymous Expressions Yl pingn!




Zh n chnggng!

I wish you

A: B: A: W xi juxn yo b zhge qy bnho. B: Hoyngde, zh n chnggng. A: Im determined to make this business a successful one. B: Good, I wish you success.

A: B: A: Mngtin w yo cnji qch yuy bsi. B: Zh n chnggng! A: Tomorrow Im going to take part in an off-road auto race. B: I wish you success!

This expression conveys your wish for someones success when that someone faces something important and they hope to succeed very much.

Synonymous Expressions Zh n mdo chnggng!



Gujing le!

Not really!

A: B: A: Nde Hny shu de zhn ho, zi nr xu de? B: Gujing le! W sh zxu de. A: You speak very good Chinese. Where did you learn it? B: Not really! I taught myself.

A: B: A: Zhn knbuch n hishi ge dinno goshu ya! B: Hh, gujing le! A: I never knew you were such a computer expert! B: Oh, not really!

The literal meaning of this expression is youre overpraising me, a typical Chinese way of expressing contentment to show modesty. When someone praises you or your family members and you feel that the praise is too great, you can use this expression.

Synonymous Expressions Bgndng.



Rng nn jinxio le.


restrain your criticisms.

A: B: A: Zh shu sh sh n zu de ba? B: Ng, rng nn jinxio le. A: Did you write this poem? B: Uh, dont restrain your criticisms.

A: B: A: N zh pin lnwn xi de zhn bcu. B: Nl, rng nn jinxio le. A: Your thesis is really well written. B: Oh, not really! Dont restrain your criticisms.

This expression shows self-modesty. For example, when someone praises an article that you wrote, you can say (xi de b ho, rng nn jinxio le) to show your modesty.

Synonymous Expressions Jinxio le.



Nl, nl!

Dont say that.

A: B: A: Zhungxi fngzi n sh zhunji, w di xing n qngjio. B: Nl, nl! Tnbushng qngjio. A: Youre an expert in house decorating. I need your instruction. B: Dont say that. I can offer help, but not instruction.

A: B: A: Dinno fngmin n hi di zhdo zhdo w. B: Nl, nl! Hxing xux ba. A: regarding the computer, you still have to give me guidance. B: Dont say that. We can learn from each other.

This expression can be used to show your modesty when someone praises you. Its literal meaning of where, where is a very Chinese response to a compliment.

Synonymous Expressions Nr ya!



Please forgive me.

Qng dudu bohn.

A: B: A: W gng li, du gngs de qngkung hi b ti shx, bdng zhch, qng dudu bohn. B: Nl, nl! W hi di xing n xux de. A: Im new here and unfamiliar with the companys situation. Please forgive me if I do anything inappropriate. B: Dont say that! I have to learn from you.

A: B: A: W de hizi b ti dngsh, qng dudu bohn. B: Nn hizi ting bcu de. A: My child is not too sensible. Please forgive him/her. B: Your child is a good kid.

This is a polite expression used on formal occasions to solicit forgiveness for improper conduct.

Synonymous Expressions Qng dudu zhjio.



Rng n pfi le.


spent too much on this.

A: B: A: Zh sh w song gi nn de lw. B: Y, mi zhme guzhng de dngxi gn shnme! Rng nn pfi le. A: This is my present for you. B: Oh, a very expensive gift! Youve spent too much on this.

A: B: A: Jntin zh dn fn, rng nn pfi le ba? B: Nl, w hi di gnxi nmen shnggung ne. A: Havent you spent too much on the dinner today? B: Dont say that. Im very grateful that you came.

This is an expression of gratitude, and as it were, a very Chinese one. In China, the recipient of a gift uses this expression to indicate his understanding and appreciation of the senders friendly feelings.

Synonymous Expressions Rng n to yobo le.



Yqi hi ho ba?

Is everything OK?

A: B: A: Hoji b jin le! Yqi hi ho ba? B: Hi xng. A: Long time no see! Is everything OK? B: Everythings fine.

A: B: A: Nn shnme shhou ch de yun? Yqi hi ho ba? B: Hi ho, huf de chbudu le. A: When did you leave the hospital? Is everything OK? B: Everythings fine. Ive almost recovered.

This is a polite expression used when two people meet each other. It conveys ones respects and concern. You do not have to respond with a concrete answer. Saying only (hi xng) or (b cu, and so on is OK.

Synonymous Expressions Zujn znmeyng? Du tng ho de ba?



Allegorical Phrases

chh l zh jiozi - yu ku do (do) b ch Dumplings in a teapot cannot be poured out. (Being unable to express oneself.) (A play on the words [do] and [do] ).


d p shgu - wn (wn) do d Break an earthenware pot cracked to the bottom. (To interrogate thoroughly to get to the bottom of a matter.) (A play on the words [wn] and [wn] ).


dinxin gnzi bang jmo - ho d dn (dn) zi Tie feathers to a power pole what a big duster. (What gall!) (A play on the words [dn] and [dn] ).


y de ynli - ji cbi Shedding crocodile tears insincere show of sorrow.


fi p hu - z q miwng A moth flies into a fire to court destruction.


gu n hozi - dugun xinsh A dog that catches mice to poke ones nose into other peoples business.



gu nin yzi - gugu jio A dog chasing ducks the ducks call out quack quack. (Implies that someone is great or excellent.)


gu yo L Dngbn - b sh ho rn xn The dog bites Lu Dongbin biting the hand that feeds you.


hn Xn yng bng - du du y shn Like soldiers at war the more the better.

10. hshang d sn - w f (f) w tin A monk holding an umbrella above his head there is no hair and no sky (shows no respect for law or authority). A play on the words [f] and [f]. 11. hshang tu shang de shzi - mng bi zhe A louse on the head of a monk in plain sight. 12. hu sh tin z - du c y j Drawing a picture of a snake with feet - more than enough is too much. 13. hungshlng gi j binin - mi n ho xn A weasel wishing Happy new Year to a chicken - harboring no good intention. 14. jdn li tou tio gtou - w zhng shng yu Looking for a bone in an egg - purely fictitious or fabricated.


15. Jing tigng dioy - yun zh shnggu Jiang Taigong fishing (with a straight hook) hooked. 16. Kng fzi bnji - jng sh sh (sh) Confucius moves to a new house - nothing but books (loses all the time) (a play on the words [sh] and [sh] ). 17. loh pgu - mbude A tigers buttocks untouchable. - only the willing will get

18. ln zhn m qing - b kui y gung Sharpen a spear only before a battle - if its not sharp, at least its bright (implies that someone starts to prepare only at the last moment). 19. lngzi rduo - bish A deaf mans ears just for show.

20. mbdi shang xihu - dzi ti ch Embroidering on a piece of sackcloth 21. n ps gu jing - zshn nnbo A clay Buddha crossing a stream 22. q l kn chngbn - zu zhe qio Reading a book on the donkey-back - wait and see how things work out. hardly able to save oneself. the basis rots.


23. qi hu de mzha - bngbulio j tin A grasshopper at the end of autumn - its jumping days are numbered (it will die soon). 24. ro bozi d gu - yu q w hu Chasing a dog by throwing meat dumplings at it lose something instead of accomplishing a goal). 25. snshli j - zu wi shng Of the thirty-six stratagems the best is running away. gone, never to return (to

26. sh j yng ni do - xio t d zu Use a pole-axe to kill a chicken - to overdo something.

27. shw ge diotng d shu - q shng b xi Fifteen buckets to draw water from a well and sevens, in disorder). 28. ti gngj - y mo b b Like an iron rooster - not a feather can be pulled out (miserly, very stingy). seven up and eight down (at sixes

29. tudng shng chung, jio d li nng Ulcer on the head and pus on the foot 30. tzi de wiba - chngbulio Like the tail of a hare -

hui tu le to be rotten to the core.

it cant grow longer (something wont last long).


wng yng b lo

- wi sh b wn - its not too late yet (its never too late).

Mend the fence after the sheep is lost 32. wngba ch chngtu - ti le xn

Like a tortoise that has eaten a weight 33. Wng p mi gu - z mi z ku Like Mother Wang selling melons praises his own pots). 34. xinhu ch zi nifn shang

its heart is as determined as iron.

she praises what she sells (every potter

b pi unmatched.

Like a flower placed in a lump of bullshit 35. xio cng bn dufu - y qng (qng) r bi

Small onions of azure blue and white mixed with white bean curd - one is blue and the other is white (something is perfectly clear) (a play on the words [qng] and [qng] ). 36. zhma kihu - ji ji go Sesame stalk putting forth flowers - notch by notch, higher and higher (rising steadily). 37. Zhu Y d Hung Gi - y ge yun d, y ge yun i Like Zhou Yu beating Huang Gai - one is willing to beat and the other is willing to be beaten. (From a 14th century novel based on events that took place in the third century A.D. Zhou Yu of the kingdom of Wu cruelly beat Huang Gai, another Wu general who accepted the beating, and then sent him to the enemy camp in order to win a battle by deceiving the enemy.)


38. Zh Bji zho jngzi - l wi b sh rn Zhu Bajie looking at himself in a mirror blamed by everyone). 39. zh bzi ch cng - zhung xing A pig sticking scallions into its nostrils - pretending to be an elephant (to pretend to be other than what you really are). 40. zh ln d shu - y chng kng Like ladling water with a wicker basket all in vain (wasted effort). not a person inside or outside (to be




Bi wn b r y jin. Seeing is believing. (Seeing once is worth hearing a hundred times.)


Bng dng sn ch fi y r zh hn. Rome was not built in a day. (One day of cold cant form three feet of ice.)


Bng cng ku r, hu cng ku ch. A closed mouth catches no flies and careful talk avoids trouble. (Diseases go into the mouth and misfortunes come out of it.)


B d b chng jio. No discord, no concord. (Conflicts make a companion.)


Ch shng nid b p h. The less wit, the more courage. (A new-born calf is not afraid of the tiger.)


D sh d xi ho chngling. Good shade is found under a big tree.


Dozi zu, dufu xn. His bark is worse than his bite. (A mouth as sharp as a knife and a heart as soft as bean-curd.)


Fng jnz b fng xiorn. The devil lurks behind the cross. (It can only guard against the good but not the bad.)


Gngfu b f yuxnrn. Efforts never fail the aspiring.

10. Ho de kidun sh chnggng de ybn. Well begun is half done. 11. Ho ji ho hun, zi ji b nn. He who borrows to repay may borrow yet another day. (Return what you borrowed before and you may borrow once more. 12. Ho sh b chmn, hui sh chun qin l. Bad news has wings. (Good deeds stay inside, and ill deeds travel far and wide.) 13. Hunnn jin zhnqng. Adversity is the test of friendship. (A friend in need is a friend indeed.) 14. J b k sh, sh b zi li. Opportunity seldom knocks twice. (A missed chance is missed for good.) 15. Ji chu b k wi yng. Air your dirty linen at home. (A family stain is not to be aired.) 16. Ji ji yu bn nn nin de jng. Every family has a skeleton in the closet. (Every family has its own sad story.)


17. Jing hishi lo de l. The older, the wiser. (Ginger is spiciest when it matures.) 18. Li de zo br li de qio. The hindmost dog may catch the hare. (Early is not as good as the right time.) 19. Li r b wng fi l y. Mutuality is property. 20. Miyu b tufng de qing. Walls have ears. (Theres no wall without a crack.) 21. M do b w kn chi gng. Sharpening your ax will not delay your job of cutting wood. 22. Qing ni de gu b tin. Love cannot be forced. (A melon plucked too early is not sweet.) 23. Qio f nn wi w m zh chu. Without rice, even the cleverest housewife cannot cook. 24. Qn xingd, mng sunzhng. Even reckoning makes long friends. (The account must be clear even between blood brothers.)


25. Qnggun nn dun jiwsh. Family affairs often confuse the cleverest judge. 26. Rn du lliang d. The more people, the more power. 27. Shn zhng b p yngzi xi. A clean wants no washing. (An upright man does not worry about his crooked shadow.) 28. Shng bi ni bngji chngsh. You win some, you lose some. (Winning and losing are commonplace in war.) 29. Sh nu s, rn nu hu. A tree dies if moved, a man lives by moving. 30. Shu coco, coco do. Speak of the devil and the devil appears. 31. Tn du jio b ln. Dont try to do too much at once. (Greed for food causes indigestion.) 32. Tn xio pinyi ch d ku. Penny wise, pound foolish. (The greed for small favors results in the loss of big benefits.)


33. Tzi b ch w bin co. A man wont harm the people around his home. (A hare wont eat the grass near his hole.) 34. W fng b q lng. Theres no smoke without fire. (Theres no wave without wind.) 35. Wsh b xio bi b. The pot calls the kettle black. (Its like a fifty-step escaper laughing at a one hundred-step escaper.) 36. Xn guan shngrn sn b hu. The new broom sweeps clean. 37. Yngmo ch zi yang shn shang. Wool comes from sheep. 38. Y fn qin y fn hu. Nothing for nothing and very little for a half penny. (One cent of price, one element of quality.) 39. Y ge bzhang pi b xing. When one will not, two cannot quarrel. (A single hand cannot clap.) 40. Y nin zh j zi y chn. A years plan starts with spring. (Spring is the queen of the year.)


41. Yu d b yu sh. Omelets are not made without breaking eggs. (No pain, no gain.) 42. Yun shu jibulio jn hu. The far water cannot quench the near fire. 43. Zo shu zo q shnt ho. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. 44. Zhn jn b p hu lin. Real gold stands the test of fire. 45. Zh z zh chng l. Contentment is happiness. (Those who feel satisfied are forever blessed.) 46. Zh li bo b zh hu. The truth always prevails. (Paper cannot wrap up the fire.)


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