【Learn Chinese】10 Common Ways to Say “Yes” in Chinese
|Mandarin has no direct translation for the English word “yes,” so saying “yes” in Chinese can get a bit complicated. The only way to express the affirmative in Chinese is to consider the context in which you want to use it.
Just like in English, the more ways you know to express the affirmative in Chinese, the more like a native speaker you’ll sound. Check out our list of 10 common ways to say “yes” in Chinese below.
1. 是 | shì | to be; yes
One way to say “yes” in Chinese is 是, or shì in pinyin. It’s usually used to confirm that something is true, in the same way that we might say “yes, I am” or “yes, it is” in response to a corresponding question in English.
Note that when you respond to a question using 是 (shì), the question that was asked will normally also contain 是 (shì), which in certain contexts is the rough equivalent of the English verb “to be.”
2. 对 | duì | correct
对 (duì), which means “right” or “correct,” is another common way to say “yes” in Chinese. It’s very similar to 是 (shì), and in many cases the two can be used interchangeably.
In general, if a question contains 对 (duì), the response is more likely to be 对 (duì), while if the question contains 是 (shì), the response is likely to be 是 (shì).
3. 没错 | méicuò | not wrong
The expression 没错 (méicuò) is another way to say “yes” in Chinese. It’s similar to 对 (duì) in that it’s often used to agree with a statement that someone else has made.
没错 (méicuò) is often used when agreeing with someone else’s opinion and is the equivalent of English phrases like “that’s true” or “that’s right.”
4. 好 | hǎo | good
好 (hǎo) is another way to say “yes” in Chinese. The most basic meaning of 好 (hǎo) is “good.” You probably recognize this character from 你好 (nǐhǎo, hello), which is usually one of the first words that beginning Chinese students learn.
In Chinese, 好 (hǎo) can be used as the rough equivalent of “good,” “fine” or “OK” in English.
5. 可以 | kěyǐ | can; may
The phrase 可以 (kěyǐ) is another way to express the affirmative in Chinese. It’s often used when asking for or giving permission to do something. In this context, its meaning is similar to “can” or “may.” As a response, it can be roughly translated as “sure,” “OK,” or “yes, you can.”
Note that if the question contains 可以 (kěyǐ), it’s likely that the response will as well.
6. 行 | xíng | ok; alright
行 (xíng) means “OK” or “alright.” It’s usually used to respond affirmatively when someone makes a request or asks for permission. In many situations, its use is similar to 可以 (kěyǐ).
7. 嗯 | èn | yeah
嗯 (èn) is an informal affirmative response similar to “yeah” or “uh-huh” in English. It’s often used to express assent in informal communication among friends both offline and on Chinese social media. Like “uh-huh” in English, it sounds somewhat noncommittal.
8. 没问题 | méiwèntí | no problem
没问题 (méiwèntí) is a common Chinese phrase that’s the equivalent of “no problem” or “sure” in English.
9. 当然 | dāngrán | of course
当然 (dāngrán) is a strongly affirmative expression similar to “of course” or “certainly” in English. Answering in this way makes you sound especially confident.
10. “Yes” in other situations
One of the most common ways to say “yes” in Chinese is not a specific word at all. Rather, it’s a Chinese grammatical structure that involves expressing agreement by repeating the main verb or adjective in the question asked.
Because responding requires the ability to recognize keywords in a question, this method works best for learners who already have some basic Chinese vocabulary under their belts.
This repetition-based method is most commonly used with verbs. Thus, even if you’re a beginner without a large Chinese vocabulary, you’ll still be able to use this method so long as you’ve mastered commonly used Chinese verbs like 要 (yào, to want), 有 (yǒu, to have) and 会 (huì, to be able to).