Most probably, you have a fair idea of saying hello in Chinese but you are stuck while saying bye in Chinese. Learning such phrases is essential in order to hold daily conversations. Learning “goodbye” in Mandarin – 再见 (zàijiàn) is not enough. You need to learn some other ways to say ‘goodbye’ that fit best with your particular situation.
Learning to say bye in Chinese will surely take you one step closer to sounding like a native speaker. The most common phrase i.e. – 再见 (zàijiàn) is not enough for all types of situations.
In this article, we will explore some different ways to say goodbye in Chinese. Stick to this post till the end and you will end up sounding like a native Chinese speaker.
10 common ways to say bye in Chinese
1. 再见 (zàijiàn)
It is the most common way to say goodbye in Chinese. In fact, if you search out the most common way to say bye in Chinese, you will most probably land into 再见 (zàijiàn). In Chinese, 再 (zài) means “again” and 见 (jiàn) is “to see”, so the whole phrase 再见 (zàijiàn). This means that you are expecting to see the particular person again.
It is a safe phrase to use in almost all situations but you should know some other ways as well in order to sound like native Chinese speakers.
2. 告别 (gàobié)
If there are chances that you are not going to see the other person again, you can use the phrase 告别 (gàobié). It is a formal phrase that means goodbye in Chinese. For instance, you can say 我是来向你告别的 (wǒ shì lái xiàng nǐ gàobié de) means ‘I came to say goodbye to you’.
It is a formal phrase that is not normally used between friends. Rather, it can be used to say goodbye to an older person or to someone you have met for business purposes. Now, you know that using the right phrase is very important in order to avoid any awkward situation.
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3. 拜拜 (bàibài)
拜拜 (bàibài) means ‘bye bye’. It is a very common phrase that almost all people already know. In fact, this phrase is commonly used by the people of Taiwan. Using a single 拜 (bài) is also acceptable but Chinese native speakers usually use both of them.
4. 回头见 (huítóu jiàn)
回头见 (huítóu jiàn) means ‘see you later’. Obviously, it is used with the person you are going to meet again. You can use it with your friends, colleagues, and the people you meet on daily basis.
5. 明天见 (míngtiān jiàn)
明天见 (míngtiān jiàn) means ‘see you tomorrow’. 明天见 (míngtiān jiàn, “see you tomorrow”) can be changed to 星期三见 (xīngqísān jiàn, “see you Wednesday”) or, for example, 下周见 (xià zhōu jiàn, “see you next week”) or even 下学期见 (xià xuéqí jiàn, “see you next term”).
6. 一会儿见 (yīhuì’er jiàn)
While 一 (yī) means “one” in Chinese and 会 (huì) means “meeting”, “can” or “be able to”, when they are combined, they take on a different meanings.
一会儿 (yīhuǐ’er) means “a while”, “a moment” or “a bit” in the scenario of time. 一会儿见 (yīhuǐ’er jiàn) then means not only “see you soon”, but also “see you in a bit” or even “bye-bye now”. You need to learn Chinese characters in order to build your understanding of complex Chinese words and their contextual usage.
7. 照顾自己 (zhàogù zìjǐ)
照顾自己 (zhàogù zìjǐ) means ‘take care’. You can also go for a longer phrase i.e. 好好照顾自己 (hǎohao zhàogù zìjǐ that means “take good care of yourself”. There are several situations where this phrase can be used. For instance:
她照顾孩子。(Tā zhàogù háizi.) – “She takes care of the children.”
· 我病了。请多多照顾。(Wǒ bìngle. Qǐng duōduō zhàogù.) – “I’m sick. Please, take care of me.”
· 下周请你照顾我的狗吗？(Xià zhōu qǐng nǐ zhàogù wǒ de gǒu ma?) – “Can you please look after my dog next week?”
8. 祝你今天愉快 (zhù nǐ jīntiān yúkuài)
祝你今天愉快 (zhù nǐ jīntiān yúkuài) means ‘have a nice day’. This phrase is not commonly used in Chinese. Even if you translate this phrase 祝你今天愉快 (zhù nǐ jīntiān yúkuài) word by word, it becomes ‘“wish you today happy”.
The difference between Chinese and English phrases is in terms of grammatical structure as well as cultural background. Remember, these phrases are closely tied to cultural backgrounds. What is normal in one culture may be offensive in another one. While learning a foreign language, it is necessary to keep the cultural background in mind.
Instead of saying ‘have a nice day’ try saying ‘玩的开心 (wán de kāixīn, “have fun”) or 祝你愉快 (zhù nǐ yúkuài, “I wish you happiness”). These phrases will make you sound more like a Chinese native speaker.
9. 我走了 (wǒ zǒule)
走 (zǒu) means “walk” or “go” in Chinese. 我走了 (wǒ zǒule) exactly means “I walked” or “I went”, but it is used as “I’m gone” or “I’m off”. This phrase is mostly used in casual situations or during casual conversations.
Some of the common examples include:
- 再十分钟，我走了。(Zài shí fēnzhōng, wǒ zǒule.) – “Ten more minutes and then I’m gone.”
- 好吧，我们完成了，我走了。(Hǎo ba, wǒmen wánchéngle, wǒ zǒule.) – “All right, we’re done, I’m off.”
10. 告辞 (gào cí) or 失陪 (shī péi)
These two are the most formal phrases to say bye in Chinese. You can use these phrases when you are in a formal setting where a polite conversational tone is required. For instance, you can use this phrase when you want to announce your farewell or departure.
告辞 (gào cí, “farewell”) is analogous to 告别 (gàobié), while 失陪 (shī péi) means something like “leaving someone’s company”. It is used in a form of full sentences such as ‘Please excuse me! I must be leaving now’.
These were the ten most common phrases to say bye in Chinese. There are several other ones along with these. If you are a beginner Chinese learner, try to absorb these phrases one by one.
It needs a bit of practice to master these phrases. Remember Chinese are very polite and generous people. If you want to understand Chinese people and the type of conversations that they undergo, try learning the common phrases that they use. For instance, try learning Chinese New Year greeting. Learning such greetings will help you understand Chinese people and their culture. Learning Chinese is not an overnight process. If you are a beginner, be consistent in your learning approach. Start learning Chinese numbers, days of the week and days of the month, etc. Make notes for yourself and keep visiting them until you master them.