Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

3.3: Greetings (模块三- 寒暄)

  • Page ID
    33163
  • Module III: Greetings

    模块三:寒暄

    Scenario 3.1: Li Ming chats with Zhang Wenshan before the class starts.

    LM:

    ZhW:

    你怎么样?

    我很好。

    or 还可以。

    or 我病了。

    怎么样

    zěnmeyàng

    how

    hěn

    very

    hái

    still

    bìng

    sick

    le

    (particle)

    Note:

    你怎么样 lit.“How are you?”, is often used among people of approximately equal status, such as classmates or colleagues. To a superior, you should address the person by the title and replace 你 with 您.

    很 is a very important adverb in Chinese. Unlike “very” in English, 很 usually only plays a grammar role as a place holder in front of the adjectives, instead of contributing to the meanings, unless 很is stressed. Therefore, the best translation of a sentence like 我很好 would be “I am fine.” rather than “I am very fine.”

    还可以 lit. “still okay”, could be translated as “it is still all right”, “not too bad”, or “so so.” This informal expression would be used with people whom you know well.

    了 in this sentence indicates a changed situation (i.e., I am sick now, but I was okay before).

    Scenario 3.2: Teacher Wang greets Zhang Wenshan, who does not look fine.

    W:

    ZhW:

    你还好吗?

    我很累。

    or 我很冷。

    or 我很饿。

    ma

    (particle)

    lèi

    tired

    lěng

    cold

    饿

    è

    hungry

    Note:

    吗a final particle, is used to transform statements into questions. One of the most common ways of forming a question in Chinese is by adding吗 to the end of a statement. The pattern is:

    Statement + 吗

    你还好 吗?

    (lit. “Are you still doing okay?”)

    很 an adverb. In Chinese, an adjective can be used as a predicate without being preceded by the verb 是( shì,to be). The pattern is:

    Subject + Adverbial Modifier + Adj.

    我 很 累。

    (lit. “I am tired.”)

    In this pattern, 很is not as strong as its English counterpart “very.” If you say only 我累, without the 很, this may imply comparison or contrast, e.g., “I am tired (but he is not).” Note *我是累. is an incorrect expression.

    • Was this article helpful?