Lesson 2. 10 Common Ways to Say ‘YES’ in Chinese
There are countless ways to respond ‘yes’ in Chinese. The reason is, ‘yes’ is more like a ‘concept of affirmation’, rather than a word. As a result, the response we use depend on the context and the grammar of the question. In this post, you will learn 10 common Chinese expressions of “I agree with what you said.”
「The Easiest Way: Repeat the Keywords!」
When someone asks you a question, find the keyword that holds the important information, the repeat the keyword! Hint: verb or adjective. Examples:
Nà shuǐguǒ tián bù tián?
Is that fruit sweet?
Explanation: sweet belongs to the adjective group.
Nǐ chīle ma?
Have you eaten?
Explanation: eat is a verb. 了 (le) in Chinese is used to indicate a past action.
是 (shì) is used when someone wants to verify something. We use it to respond to questions which contain the verb ‘to be’. In short, if the question contains 是 (shì), reply with 是 (shì). We use 是的 (shì de) in formal situations. For example:
Tā shì yīshēng ma?
Is she a doctor?
Yes, she is.
Meaning: Correct, Right
Similar to English ‘correct’, use 對 (duì) to agree with someone’s opinion. Oh yes, you can use it to respond a fact or yes-no questions as well.
Jīntiān shì xīngqítiān ma?
Is today Sunday?
Yes, it is.
「沒錯」– méi cuò
Literally Meaning: Not wrong
Meaning: That’s right
Beside 對 (duì), you can also use 沒錯 (méi cuò) to show your approval on other’s view. In addition, 沒錯 (méi cuò) also give a strong feeling to emphasize that something is true.
Qǐngwèn nǐ xìng gāo ma?
Excuse me, is your surname Gao?
Literally Meaning: Can, May
Meaning: OK, Possible, Allowed
可以（kěyǐ）is used as a response to several situations, like giving permission for someone to do something, answering you do not mind helping someone’s favor, and accepting someone’s offer. Examples:
Wǒ kěyǐ huí jiā ma?
Can I go home?
Yes, you can.
Nǐ néng bāng wǒ nà zhèběn shū ma?
Can you help me to take this book?
Yes, I can.
Nǐ jīn wǎn xiǎng chī rìběn liàolǐ ma?
Do you want to eat Japanese cuisine tonight?
「沒問題」– méi wèntí
Literally Meaning: No question
Meaning: Sure, No problem
This phrase is similar to English ‘no problem’, and frequently used in formal environments. As an example:
Nǐ néng bāng wǒ zhǔnbèi zhège yuè de bàogào ma?
Can you help me to prepare this month’s report?
Literally Meaning: Have
Meaning: There is, There are
有 （yǒu）is used to express that something has happened. The same word is used to respond “I have it”, “there is”, and “there are”.
Zhè li yǒu méiyǒu qìshuǐ?
Is there any carbonated drink here?
Yes. there is.
A super casual way of saying yes in Chinese. When talking with your family, friends, use 嗯 (ēn) or 嗯嗯 (ēn ēn) to express agreement, enthusiasm, and encourage them to carry on.
Nǐ èle ma?
Are you hungry?
Meaning: Of course, Certainly
Translated as of course, 當然 (dāngrán) is another way to express agreement of a statement.
Nǐ shì nǚrén ba?
Are you a woman?
Meaning: Good, Fine, Great
好 (hǎo) is one of the most common ways to say OK. It means that you are happy to accept an offer or request. 好的 (hǎo de) is the formal version of 好 (hǎo).
Wǒmen xià gè yuè yīqǐ qù zhōngguó lǚyóu ba！
Let’s travel to China next month！
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