Sentences with Chinese Characteristics – Part 1

  • I came across these few sentences in an article, which the author believes they are special in some way.
  • These sentences are not exactly grammatically and structurally typical. And in most cases they stand-alone as in independent expression. Plus, many of them contain elements of Chinese culture that set them apart from regular sentences.
  • I have listed a few here today. Enjoy!


1. 你吃饭了吗? nǐ chī fàn le ma?

Literally: ‘”Have you eaten?”

Function: Greet someone when Chinese meet each other.

Near-equivalent phrase in English: “How’s it going?” or “How are you?”


2. 你多吃一点。 nǐ duō chī yì diǎn.

Literally: “Eat some more.”

Function: Expresses one’s hospility for a guest.

Near-equivalent phrase in English: “Have some more.”


3. 慢慢吃。 màn man chī.

Literally: “Eat slowly.”

Function: Expresses politeness to someone when eating.

Near-equvalent phrase in Ehglish: “BoN appétit” or “enjoy your meal”.


4. 慢走。màn zǒu.

Literally: “Walk slowly.”

Function: Expresses politeness to someone when leaving someone’s house or a hotel, restaurant, etc.

Near-equvalent phrase in English: “Take care.” or “Have a safe trip”.


5. 慢慢来。 màn man lái.

Literally: “Come slowly.”

Function: Expresses to someone to take it easy.

Near-equvalent phrase in English: “Take it easy”, “Take your time” or “Easy does it”.


6. 我跟你讲。wǒ gēn nǐ jiǎng.

Literally: “I speak to you.”

Funtion: Used to get someone to listen to you when you want you tell them something you think is important.

Near-equivalent phrase in English: “Look,…” or “Listen,…”


7. 我先走了。wǒ xiān zǒu le.

Literally: “I go first.”

Function: Used to tell someone that you’re leaving, and that they can stay in the same place if they wish.

Near-equivalent phrase in English: “I’m off.” or “I gotta run.”


8. 请问一下。 qǐnɡ wèn yí xià.

Literally: “Please [let me] ask.”

Function: Used when you wish to ask someone (usually a stranger) a question.

Near-equivalent phrase in English: “Excuse me.”



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4 thoughts on “Sentences with Chinese Characteristics – Part 1”

  1. The english equivalent for 慢走 should be: “Take care.” or “Have a safe trip.” Also, let me say I appreciate your use of proper quotation marks. 🙂

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