9 Ways to Say YES in Chinese Like a Native – The Ultimate Guide

How do you say yes in Chinese? If you’ve just started learning Chinese, the simple 是的(shì de) or 对(duì) are probably your initial options. After you have been communicating with Chinese people or watching videos or movies in Chinese, you may realize that there are various ways to convey ‘yes’ in Mandarin Chinese for different situations. In this post, we list 9 methods for expressing agreement or approval in real-life Chinese and teach you useful ways to say yes in Chinese like a native speaker.

A basic word to say yes in Chinese: 是 (的) – shì (de)

Let’s start with the word 是 (shì) which you are likely to know about. If there is the verb 是 (shì) in a yes-no question, its positive answer should be 是 (shì) or 是的 (shì de). For example:

A: 请问,你是王女士吗?

Qǐngwèn, nǐ shì Wáng nǚshì ma?

Excuse me, are you Ms. Wang?

B: 是的。

Shì de.

Yes.


A: 这个东西是你的吗?

Zhè ge dōngxi shì nǐ de ma?

Is this thing yours?

B: 是的。

Shì de.

Yes.

The most basic way to say yes in Mandarin:  repeat the key Verbs

In a simple question, just use the key verbs to answer, like verbs of thought or feeling, modal verbs, etc. Now let’s look at some examples.

A: 你喜欢狗吗?

Nǐ xǐhuan gǒu ma?

Do you like dogs?

B: 喜欢!

Xǐhuan!

Yes, I do!


A: 你有孩子吗?

Nǐ yǒu háizi ma?

Do you have children?

B: 有,我有三个孩子。

Yǒu, wǒ yǒu sān ge háizi.

Yes, I have three children.


A: 你会游泳吗?

Nǐ huì yóuyǒng ma?

Can you swim?

B: 会。你呢?

Huì. Nǐ ne ?

Yes, I can. How about you?


A: 你明天去学校吗?

Nǐ míngtiān qù xuéxiào ma?

Will you go to school tomorrow?

B: 去。

Qù.

Yes, I will.

When someone asksfor permission or help, you want say yes : 可以 (kěyǐ) / 当然 (dāngrán) / 没问题 (méi wèntí)

If someone asks you for permission or help, you can answer with positive words, such as 可以 (kěyǐ) , 当然 (dāngrán), and 没问题 (méi wèntí). 可以 (kěyǐ)  means yes;  当然 (dāngrán) means of course;  没问题 (méi wèntí)  means no problem. 当然 (dāngrán) and 没问题 (méi wèntí) sound more certain than 可以 (kěyǐ) . 没问题 (méi wèntí) is often used when people ask for help.

Ask for permission:

A: 我可以看电视吗?

Wǒ kěyǐ kàn diànshì ma?

Can I watch TV?

B: 可以。

Kěyǐ.

Yes, you can.


A: 我可以用一下你的笔吗?

Wǒ kěyǐ yòng yí xià nǐ de bǐ ma?

Can I use your pen?

B: 当然。你用吧。

Dāngrán. Nǐ yòng ba.

Of course. Here you go.

Ask for help:

A: 丽丽,你可以给我讲一下这道题吗?

Lìli, nǐ kěyǐ gěi wǒ jiǎng yí xià zhè dào tí ma?

Lily, can you help me with this question?

B: 可以啊,你哪里不明白?

Kěyǐ a, nǐ nǎli bù míngbai?

Yes. What are you confused about?


A: 你能帮我买一杯咖啡吗?

Nǐ néng bāng wǒ mǎi yì bēi kāfēi ma?

Can you buy me a coffee, please?

B: 没问题。

Méi wèntí.

No problem.

 

Using 好(hǎo) to express yes in Chinese

好(hǎo) is a positive answer.  It can be followed with some modal particles, such as 好啊 (hǎo a), 好的 (hǎo de), 好吧(hǎo ba). But there are subtle differences between them:

If someone is asking for your opinion, the positive answer can be 好 (hǎo) or 好的(hǎo a), and  好啊 (hǎo a) makes the tone more soft and light.

A: 我们中午吃披萨怎么样?

Wǒ men zhōngwǔ chī pīsà zěnmeyàng?

How about pizza for lunch?

B: 好啊!

Hǎo a!

Great!

If someone is giving an order or a request, the positive answer normally is 好 (hǎo) or 好的(hǎo de). And 好的 (hǎo de) sounds more formal.

A: 丽丽,明天开会的时候你做报告。

Lì li, míngtiān kāi huì de shíhou nǐ zuò bàogào.

Lily, please present a report at the meeting tomorrow.

B: 好的。

Hǎo de.

Okay.

If what someone says didn’t meet your expectation, but you have to accept, in this case, you should use 好吧 (hǎo ba) to say yes and to show your disappointment.

A: 今天我不去游泳了,我有点儿不舒服。

Jīntiān wǒ bú qù yóuyǒng le, wǒ yǒu diǎnr bù shūfu.

I can’t go to swim today as I’m not feeling very well.

B: 好吧,那你回去好好休息吧。

Hǎo ba, nà nǐ huíqu hǎohao xiūxi ba.

Okay, just go back and rest up.

Using 行 (xíng) to say yes in spoken Chinese

行 (xíng)  is also a positive answer in spoken Chinese. If you’re willing to do something, then you can answer by adding the modal particle 啊(ā) at the end, that is  行啊(xíng a).

A: 没有飞机票了,我们坐火车去行吗?

Méiyǒu fēijī piào le, wǒmen zuò huǒchē qù xíng ma?

The plane tickets are sold out. Can we go by train?

B: 行啊。

Xíng a.

No problem.


A: 你看,这样行不行?

Nǐ kàn, zhèyàng xíng bu xíng?

Look, is this OK?

B: 行。

Xíng.

No problem.

When you agree with someone’s opinion: 对(duì) / 没错(méi cuò)

对(duì) means that’s right;  没错 (méi cuò) means exactly. When you agree with someone’s opinion or show your support, you can use 对(duì) or 没错 (méi cuò) to say yes. For example:

A: 你是不是很喜欢吃巧克力?

Nǐ shì bu shì hěn xǐ huan chī qiǎo kè lì?

You really like chocolates, don’t you?

B: 对!

Duì!

Yes!


A: 我觉得大卫这次还会是第一名。

Wǒ juéde Dàwèi zhè cì hái huì shì dì-yī míng.

I think David will still be number one this time.

B: 没错,我也这么觉得。

Méicuò, wǒ yě zhème juéde.

Yes, I think so too.

Using 嗯(ǹg) to express yes in daily life

嗯 (ǹg) means um, yeah, right.  Sometimes, 嗯 (ǹg) can be also used as a positive answer in everyday life. The Chinese people use 嗯 (ǹg) or 嗯嗯(ǹg ǹg) especially when talking to their relatives and friends on the phone. In addition, it can be followed by a sentence or a word. For example:

A: 丽丽,你写完报告了吗?

Lìli, nǐ xiě wán bàogào le ma?

Lily, did you finish your report?

B: 嗯,写完了。

Ǹg, xiě wán le.

Yes, finished.


A: 咱们是明天上午十点的飞机吧?

Zánmen shì míngtiān shàngwǔ shídiǎn de fēijī ba?

Our flight is 10 o’clock tomorrow morning, right?

B: 嗯。

Ǹg .

Yeah.

我没意见/ 听你的 –  I agree with you. / It’s up to you.

When discussing with other people, if you agree with someone’s opinion, then you can use 我没意见(wǒ méi yì jiàn) or 听你的(tīng nǐ de) to give a positive answer. For example:

A: 我们每个人轮流照顾父母一个月,怎么样?

Wǒmen měi ge rén lúnliú zhàogù fùmǔ yí ge yuè,zěnmeyàng?

Each of us takes turns to take care of our parents every month. Do you agree?

B: 我没意见。

Wǒ méiyì jiàn.

I agree.


A: 我们先去爬山,然后去吃午饭,晚上去逛街,怎么样?

Wǒmen xiān qù páshān, ránhòu qù chī wǔfàn, wǎnshang qù guàngjiē, zěnmeyàng?

Let’s go hiking first, then have lunch, and go shopping at night. What do you think?

B: 听你的,我没意见。

Tīng nǐ de, wǒ méi yìjiàn.

Sounds good.

Repeat word many times to say yes with emotion

Sometime, the native speakers also repeat a word three time to express yes and show their emotion as well. Like 行行行 (xíng xíng xíng), it means someone is annoyed by something.

A: 哎呀,你得先倒油,然后放土豆,最后放鸡肉……

Āiya, nǐ děi xiān dào yóu, ránhòu fàng tǔdòu, zuì hòu fàng jīròu ···

You have to pour oil first, then put potatoes, and put chicken at last…

B: 行行行,我知道了,你去看电视吧!

Xíng xíng xíng, wǒ zhīdào le, nǐ qù kàn diànshì ba!

Ok ok, got it. Just watch TV!

 One more example, 好好好 (hǎo hǎo hǎo) also means someone is annoyed by something.

A: 衣服要放在柜子里,书要放在书架上,水果要放在冰箱里。

Yīfu yào fàng zài guìzi li, shū yào fàng zài shūjià shang, shuǐguǒ yào fàng zài bīngxiāng li.

You should put your clothes in the cupboard, books on the shelf, fruits in the refrigerator.

B: 好好好,我知道了,你快去忙你的吧。

Hǎo hǎo hǎo, wǒ zhīdào le, nǐ kuài qù máng nǐ de ba.

Ok ok, got it. Just do your things!

Note that if you pronounce the last word longer, 好好好 (hǎo hǎo hǎo), it shows the old spoil the children.

A: 奶奶,我要吃糖。

Nǎinai,  wǒ yào chī táng.

Grandma, I want candies.

B: 好好好,乖孙女,奶奶给你买。

Hǎo hǎo hǎo, guāi sūnnǚ, nǎi nai gěi nǐ mǎi.

Sweetie, I’ll buy it for you.

The last one, 对对对 (duì duì duì) shows a highly agree.

A: 你说的是《花木兰》吗?

Nǐ shuō de shì 《Huā Mùlán》 ma?

Are you referring to the movie Mulan?

B: 对对对,就是那个电影。

Duì duì duì, jiù shì nà ge diànyǐng.

Exactly. Just that movie.

The End

Now, do you know how to say yes properly and fluently in Chinese? If you know other ways to use yes in Chinese or want to share your own ‘yes’ expressions with us, you can tell us in the comments section below. Thanks!


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