WuKong Education Blog / WuKong Sharings / Chinese Culture / How to Say ‘How Are You?’ in Chinese: Top 8 ways

How to Say ‘How Are You?’ in Chinese: Top 8 ways

Are you getting ready for a trip or making new friends? Knowing how to say how are you in Chinese can level up those experiences! Picture yourself in China, unable to greet someone properly—it’s confusing, right? Learning this phrase is like unlocking a secret code to connect with locals. This guide is your key to mastering it in Mandarin Chinese. It makes starting chats effortless and shows respect to those you meet. Whether exploring, doing business, or just curious, these phrases are like special words bringing smiles. Let’s dive in and discover saying “How are you?” in Chinese—a simple step toward fluent conversations!

how to say how are you in chinese

Discover diverse ways to greet in Mandarin: How to say ‘How are you?’ in Chinese!

How to Say “How Are You?” in Chinese: Easy Phrases to Use

When delving into Mandarin Chinese, mastering “How to say How Are You in Chinese” is pivotal. While Mandarin might seem daunting, if you’ve grasped “I love you” in Chinese, you’re progressing well! Expressions may differ contextually despite conveying similar meanings. 

Exploring common phrases for “How are you?” in Chinese becomes essential when learning the language. Here, let’s uncover some widely-used ways to express this greeting in Mandarin Chinese.

how to say how are you in chinese

Master friendly greetings in Mandarin with various ways to say ‘How Are You?’ in Chinese.

  1. nǐ hǎo ma? (你好吗?) / nín hǎo ma? (您好吗?)

Starting to learn Chinese often introduces you to “nǐ hǎo ma?” This phrase translates to “How are you?” It’s a decent beginning but not the best for casual chats. Native Chinese speakers don’t usually use it in everyday conversations because it sounds too formal.

While “nǐ hǎo ma?” isn’t incorrect, exploring other phrases is a good idea for a more natural flow. Although it’s a simple and suitable phrase for beginners, diving into alternative ways to greet people in Mandarin Chinese can help you sound more fluent.

  1. 你怎么样?– Nǐ zěn me yàng?

In Chinese, if you’re wondering how to say goodbye, one phrase you might encounter is “你怎么样?” (Nǐ zěnme yàng?). It’s commonly used to ask “How are you?” in a relaxed way among Chinese speakers.

This expression is casual, similar to how “What’s up?” or “How are you doing?” is used in English. It’s perfect for conversations among friends, classmates, family members, or coworkers. While it’s not a direct goodbye, understanding these casual greetings helps you navigate the friendly exchanges in Mandarin Chinese.

  1. 近来可好?– Jìn lái kě hǎo?

If you’re exploring how to say goodbye in Chinese, you might encounter “Lái kě hǎo?” It means, “How are you these days?” It’s like checking in on someone’s recent well-being.

When you haven’t seen a friend for a few days and want to ask how they’ve been, “Lái kě hǎo?” is a great way to start the conversation. It’s semi-formal, making your body language comfortable without any awkwardness.

Asking a friend how they’ve been recently with “How are you these days?” is a friendly greeting. It’s a way to reconnect without causing any offence, especially when catching up with someone you haven’t seen in a while.

  1. 一切顺利吗? – Yī qiè shùnlì ma?

In Chinese, learning how to say goodbye involves phrases like “一切顺利吗?” This phrase is used to ask if everything went smoothly. It’s handy when you want to check on someone after a significant event, like a friend’s interview, a sibling’s big test, or an important work meeting.

Use this question to know how things went, not just as a routine greeting. “一切” means everything, and “顺利” means smoothly, combining to ask, “Did everything go smoothly?” It’s a thoughtful way to show interest in someone’s important moments.

  1. 忙什么呢?– Mánɡ shén me ne?

In Chinese, knowing how to say goodbye includes phrases like “忙什么呢?” This phrase translates to “What are you busy doing these days?” It’s a way to inquire about someone’s current activities when you’re unsure what they’ve been up to lately.

If you’re concerned about someone or want to catch up with friends, asking “忙什么呢?” is a friendly approach. You can use this phrase confidently anytime and anywhere to show interest in their recent busyness. It’s a way to connect and understand what’s occupied them.

  1. ? – Lǎo shī hǎo?

When learning how to say goodbye in Chinese, you’ll come across “老师好” (Lǎoshī hǎo), a phrase used to greet your teacher. “Lǎoshī” means teacher, so when meeting your Mandarin instructor, it’s respectful to say “Lǎoshī hǎo.”

This phrase isn’t limited to teachers; you can personalize it by adding a subject or someone’s name. For instance, “大卫好” (Dà wèi hǎo) means “How are you, David?” It’s a way to show respect and understanding of their social position, making it a courteous greeting in Chinese culture.

  1. 你最近过得好吗 – Nǐ zuì jìn guòde hǎo ma?

Imagine meeting an old friend you haven’t seen for a while, and they ask you, “Nǐ zuìjìn guòde hǎo ma?” This phrase means, “How have you been spending your time?” It’s like checking in on what you’ve been up to lately.

Similar to asking, “Zuì jìn qù nǎr ne?” you don’t need to give a detailed list of everything you’ve done. Sharing some highlights is enough. You could mention taking piano lessons (钢琴课), playing video games (玩电子游戏), or even excitingly mentioning your Chinese learning journey (学习中文). It’s a friendly way to catch up on recent activities without delving into every detail.

  1. 身体好吗?– Shēn tǐ hǎo ma?

In Chinese, asking “身体好吗?” means “How’s your health?” It’s a thoughtful way to inquire about someone’s well-being or body condition.

This phrase is best used when meeting someone older than you showing concern for their health. It’s also handy when checking on a friend or family member you don’t often see, especially during phone conversations.

In Chinese culture, expressing care for someone’s health, especially if you rarely meet, holds great importance. It’s a gesture showing consideration and respect for their well-being, emphasizing the significance of health in Chinese society.

Everyday Greetings in China: How to Say How Are You in Chinese Casually

In China, everyday interactions embody warmth through friendly and informal greetings. These familiar phrases pave the way for effortless meet-and-greet moments, illustrating how to say How are you in Chinese with ease.

最近怎么样? Zuìjìn zěnmeyàng? – It translates to “How have you been lately?” It’s a friendly way to inquire about recent happenings.

  • 最近好吗?Zuìjìn hǎo ma? – This phrase means, “Are you doing okay recently?” It’s a simple, caring question used in casual encounters.
  • 最近还好吧? Zuìjìn hái hǎo ma? – Meaning “Everything alright lately?” It’s an easy way to check on someone’s well-being.

Additionally, don’t be surprised if a friend calls your name, nods, or smiles in passing while out and about, indicating a greeting. They might even use phrases like “Hey!” or “Long time no see!” followed by:

  • 好久不见! Hǎojiǔ bú jiàn! (Long time no see!)
  • 最近怎么样? Zuìjin zěnmeyàng? (How have you been recently?)

These phrases, accompanied by friendly gestures, build camaraderie and reflect the warmth of everyday interactions in Chinese culture.

The Significance of Greetings in Chinese Culture

In Chinese culture, knowing how to say How are you in Chinese is more than words; it’s a key social cue reflecting respect, harmony, and unity. Every greeting carries layers of meaning, representing the speaker’s attitude and feelings towards the listener.

Respect and hierarchy play crucial roles in Chinese social dynamics. Greeting elders or those in authority, like teachers or seniors, with phrases such as “Lǎoshī hǎo” (Hello, Teacher) signifies deference and honor.

Moreover, greetings are not confined to mere words; body language, tone, and timing matter significantly. Understanding when to use certain greetings demonstrates social grace and cultural sensitivity.

Beyond the words themselves, greetings pave the way for deeper connections. They serve as the initial bridge to conversations, expressing care, goodwill, and a genuine interest in the other person’s well-being.

By embracing the essence of greetings in Chinese culture, language learners can foster meaningful connections and demonstrate a profound appreciation for Chinese customs and traditions.

FAQs about Saying “How Are You?” in Chinese

1. How many ways are there to say “How are you?” in Chinese?

In Mandarin Chinese, several phrases express “How are you?” Each phrase, like “你好吗?” (Nǐ hǎo ma?), varies in formality. Learning multiple expressions adds depth to conversations.

2. When should I use these phrases in Chinese?

These phrases are versatile for different scenarios. Choose “你怎么样?” (Nǐ zěnme yàng?) for casual chats and “一切顺利吗?” (Yīqiè shùnlì ma?) for more serious inquiries.

3. Is there a specific phrase for greeting teachers in Chinese?

Yes, “老师好?” (Lǎoshī hǎo) is a respectful greeting for teachers. You can personalize it by adding names, like “大卫好?” (Dà wèi hǎo?).

4. Are there phrases to check on someone’s well-being?

Certainly! “身体好吗?” (Shēntǐ hǎo ma?) asks about someone’s health. It’s culturally significant to show concern, especially for older individuals or those seldom seen.

5. How do I express catching up with someone in Chinese?

To catch up, phrases like “你最近过得好吗?” (Nǐ zuìjìn guòde hǎo ma?) are perfect. Share highlights of your recent activities to reconnect smoothly.


Knowing how to say How are you in Chinese helps connect smoothly. From simple greetings like “Nǐ hǎo ma?” to asking about health with “Shēntǐ hǎo ma?”—each phrase carries care and respect. They suit various situations, whether chatting with teachers’ friends or checking someone’s well-being. Understanding phrases like “Yīqiè shùnlì ma?” adds depth. “Nǐ zuìjìn guòde hǎo ma?” aids catching up. This guide ensures smoother conversations and cultural understanding, enriching your Mandarin learning with diverse phrases. Mastering these makes chatting in Chinese natural and respectful in different settings.

留资卡片:中文(en): Book Now-Online Chinese Language classes for 3 to 18 year-old students