In Chinese, we use informal interjections in many situations before we start a sentence. Let's look at some more examples here to help you better understand something of both the unique nuances in the Chinese language and of our people.


Just as in Informal Chinese Interjections (Part I) please note:
1. The informal interjections don’t have any practical meanings.
2. The tone of informal interjections changes according to the situation.
3. The tone of each character is shown in the pinyin. The tone of voice you should use is described in brackets, for example: [NEUTRAL (NEITHER POSITIVE NOR NEGATIVE) TONE]


6. 嗯(en)

a. 嗯(en) To give an affirmative answer.
e.g.: 嗯,好的,你觉得怎么办就怎么办吧。

en, hǎo de, nǐ juéde zěnme bàn jiù zěnme bàn ba.
(Ok, you do what you think is right.)


b. 嗯(én) To show doubt before you make a question.
e.g.: 嗯?你怎么不说话了?是不是我说错什么让你不开心了?

en? nǐ zěnme bù shuōhuàle? Shì bùshì wǒ shuō cuò shénme ràng nǐ bù kāixīnle?
(Hey, why are you not talking now? Is it because I said something that made you unhappy?)

When the person we are conversing with withdraws from the conversation, or we see something or somebody which is unexpected, we say én to show doubt. Its pronunciation is similar to the English mmm but in a rising tone.


7. 哼(hēng)

a. 哼(hēng) To show contempt and feign indifference.
e.g.: 哼,有什么了不起!走着瞧!

Hēng, yǒu shé me liǎobùqǐ! Zǒuzhe qiáo!
(Hey, I don’t give a damn, let’s wait a see.)

For example, when a child sees another one with a toy they do not have, or a person is jealous of a peer who may have a better job, we say hēng to show contempt and feign indifference.


b. 哼(hèng/hēng) To show unhappiness.
e.g.: 哼,我才不理你呢!你是个大坏蛋!

Hèng / Hēng, wǒ cái bù lǐ nǐ ne! Nǐ shìgè dà huàidàn!
(Hey, I don’t want to talk to you, you are a bad egg!)

For example, when a girl is really not happy with a man and wants to refuse his apology, this may be expressed in a negative tone; Or, if a girl pretends to refuse a guy’s proposal of marriage, she may say “hēng, I don’t want it”, to cover her shyness, but actually she has been waiting for it.


8. 嚯(huò)

嚯(huò) To express being surprised or amazed by something or somebody.
e.g.: 嚯,好大一棵树呀!

Huò, hào dà yī kē shù ya.
(Wow, what a tall tree!)

When we are surprised by some attribute or characteristic we had underestimated, or when our expectation is dramatically different from reality, we express great surprise by using huò. This expression may be more common in north of China.


9. 哦(o)

a. 哦(ò) To give a positive answer.
e.g.: 哦,好的。你放心,我一定会办好这件事。

ò, hǎo de. nǐ fàngxīn, wǒ yīdìng huì bàn hǎo zhè jiàn shì.
(Oh, ok. Don’t worry, I’ll do a good job.)

We use it to give positive answer in everyday talk, there is no special meaning or tone in it. Sometimes we answer with a drawn-out ò~ which means 'yes, I will do it', but we are not really willing to do it - it's just that we can’t go against our parents' wishes or because we have to do the work.

b. 哦(ò~) To understand something suddenly.
e.g.: 哦,原来是这样啊。

ò~. yuánlái shì zhèyàng a!
(Oh, I see why it is like this!)

Something we did not understand suddenly becomes clear, we answer with a drawn-out ò! , first we raise, then drop the pitch.


10. 哇 / 哇塞 (wa / wa sāi)

哇 / 哇塞 (wa~ / wa~sāi~) To express being surprised.
e.g.: 哇/哇塞,好多明星呀!我看到成龙在那边!

Wa~ / Wa~sāi~, hǎoduō míngxīng ya! Wǒ kàn dào chénglóng zài nà biān.
(Wow, so many famous stars! I see Jackie Chan, he’s over there!)


11. 呀 (ya)

呀 (yà) To express alarm when, for example, someone hurts themselves or there is an accident.
e.g.: 呀,你流鼻血了!

, nǐ liú bíxuè le!
(Oh, your nose is bleeding!)

When an accident has occurred, we scream ya to express alarm. This expression may be more common in north of China.


12. 哟 (yō)

a. 哟 (yō~) To express being surprised and happy to see somebody.
e.g.: 哟,王大爷,今儿个您也在啊,稀客稀客!

Yō~, wáng dàyé, jīn er gè nǐn yě zài a, xīkè xīkè!
(Hey, Mr. Wong, you are also here, you are quite a rare visitor!)

When someone visits our shop after a lengthy absence, or to express, or to express surprise and delight by an unexpected encounter.

b. 哟(yō~) To express being surprised and not really want to see somebody.
e.g.: 哟,今儿个太阳打西边儿出来了,王大爷您今天竟然来光临我们这个小地方。

Yō~, jīn er gè tàiyáng dǎ xībian er chūlái le, wáng dàyé nín jīntiān jìngrán lái guānglín wǒmen zhège xiǎo dìfāng.
(Hey, what a miracle, Mr. Wong you come to my little shop!)

When we don’t expect to see someone, because he is not welcome to come, or he has treated us poorly in the past, then we say to make him feel embarrassed.