Learning How to Say Thank You in Chinese

There are so many ways to say thank you in Chinese! Not only can you consider all the verbal phrases used in order to say thank you, but considering that we are talking about Chinese culture, you might want to take a look at the value of actions in being grateful. Action speaks volumes (compared with words) in China!

Thank You: Saying It in Chinese

If you want to say “thanks” in Chinese, you can simply use the character “Xie” which is said with the fourth tone. Generally, thanks is said as “Xie xie” because repetition in Mandarin implies emphasis. Yet, it is conceivable to only use the character once in order to express your thanks. [I:https://www.papublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/SuzanneBrickman10.jpg]

To be able to say a more complete “thank you” you need to know to whom you will say the phrase. If you are going to say it to someone who is your age or younger, then you can use the common form of the word “you” which is said as “ni.” “Ni” is said with the falling and rising third tone, but pronounced like the English word “knee.” Once you know which form of you, it is easy to put the entire phrase together as, “Xie xie ni.”

But, if you want to address someone who is older or more respected, then you should probably utilize the more polite form, which is “nin.” “Nin” is said with the rising second tone and sounds like you are asking a question because your voice rises at the end. If using this form, the phrase all together would be, “Xie xie nin,” where the first character is said with the falling fourth tone, the middle character has no tone (the way we say things in English), and the final character is said with the rising second tone.

How to Say Thank You Very Much

Of course, there are a variety of ways to also express “thank you very much.” In different parts of the country, you’ll find one phrase used more than the others, but all of them are viable options when you want to express your thankfulness to a greater degree. You will find, however, that these phrases for thank you very much are not used as commonly as in English, perhaps due to the fact that if one is exceptionally grateful, it is wise to show that gratefulness with action.

Still, it is possible to express this idea through words. The first phrase that we’ll explore is “Duo xie” which literally means “many or much thanks.” Since the phrase still ends with “xie” it will be said with the falling fourth tone, but “duo” is said with the high, level first tone (which sounds much like saying “aaahhh” at the dentist’s office, but pronounced “dw” + a sound that is halfway between “aawwww” and “oh”).

A second option for thank you very much is a bit longer, but is said as, “Fei chang gan xie.” “Fei chang” are the characters that mean extremely or very much (said first with the level, first tone and then with the rising second tone for “chang”). “Gan xie” is said with the falling and rising third tone, while “xie” is still said with the falling fourth tone. “Gan xie” is both the verb “to be grateful, thankful” as well as the adverb “gratefully or thankfully.” [I:https://www.papublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/SuzanneBrickman18.jpg]

Using Other Means to Say Thank You

Now, we can finally explore some of the other options for saying thank you in Chinese! It’s best to keep in mind that action is more powerful than words, but that taking the appropriate action is really what is needed. So, how do you show appreciation in Chinese culture?

Consider ways in which you can assist the person to whom you are grateful. What about introducing them to someone who could help them with a problem, or who can open them or their family to other opportunities? What about preparing a meal for the person you wish to thank or even taking it to their home for the whole family to enjoy? Perhaps you have noticed something around their home that needs repair or can help them in the future when they need an item repaired. These are just some of the ways that you can demonstrate thankfulness through action.

Of course, you might also consider buying a gift for your friend. In this case, the key will be to make sure that the gift is practical and will be well received. Consider, for example, purchasing an exotic food, wine, or snack that the receiver would enjoy. In Chinese culture, you can never go wrong in purchasing food! But, something useful for the home or office is also an option to say thank you in Chinese without words!

For more information detail on how to say thank you, see a brief video or check out my Squidoo lens where you can see the Chinese characters for all of these Mandarin phrases in the Mandarin language!