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Have you ever worked with Chinese people or spent time in China?
If so, you probably would have noticed that Chinese people are incredibly gracious and cordial. That trait is reflected in their language!
Therefore, it’s important to learn the many different ways one can say thank you in Chinese.
Different Ways of Saying Thank You in Chinese
Xièxiè: This way of saying thank you is the most basic and most frequently used throughout China. It is also the first one foreigners learn when speaking Chinese. So if you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure how to express your gratitude, this is your go-to savior phrase.
Context: Xie Xie
Nali, nali: Technically, this way of saying thank you in Chinese has the opposite meaning of what you think it does. (Wait, what?) Well, when a person says this, they are more-or-less saying, “No, not really.” It’s a way of being modest. For example, if a person looks absolutely beautiful and you shower them with compliments, they may respond with “No, you’re just saying that.” Or, “Come on, no way.” In reality, this is how you say thank you without sounding arrogant.
Context: Nali, nali
Xièxie nín: Some situations involve speaking to people of very high regard, and how you address them is very important. For example, you developed a way to teach someone a new language in one week. As you meet high-ranking officials and world leaders who speak Chinese, they compliment you on your intellect and contribution to world education. You need to say thank you in a respectful manner. This way of expressing gratefulness is more formal than the first, with “nín” being a more polite way of saying you than “ní”.
Wàn fēn gan xiè: Have you ever wanted to thank someone a million times over? This way of saying thank you in Chinese does almost that, except not exactly a million times over. It literally translates to “I thank you 10,000 percent.” Reserve this thank you for a really big favor.
Context: Wan fen gan xie
Máfán ni le: Part of being human is that we are inevitably annoying in some way and this usually manifests itself in inconveniencing others occasionally. For instance, you may have forgotten your house key and now you have to wake up your sleeping roommate to open the door for you. Luckily there is a way of saying thank you in Chinese for receiving a small, somewhat bothersome favor or help.
Context: Mafan ni le
Xīnku le: This literally translates to “You’ve worked hard.” You will probably hear this thank you in the workplace. It might come from a boss or manager to thank their hardworking employees, but never the other way around. It could also be used by parents to thank their children for doing chores.
Context: Xinku le
Qiàn ni yí gè rén qíng: Friendship is one of the greatest things in life and is built on love, trust, and the favors that we do for one another. Saying thank you like this lets the other person know that you appreciate what they have done for you and that one day you will find a way to repay the favor.
Context: Qian ni yige ren qing
Bù kèqì: Our list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t tell you how to reply when others thank you. So if we say, “Xie xie for reading our blog, we hope you’ve found it interesting,” can you guess how to answer?
By signing up for the newsletter, of course 😉 … And, “Bù kèqì.”
Context: Bu keqi