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Expressing Gratitude in Chinese

One of the first things any student of Chinese learns to say is “谢谢 (xièxiè)”, i.e. Thank You. This phrase is useful because it can be used to express your gratitude (or 感恩 (gǎn’ēn)) in pretty much any situation. For those wanting  to be a little more formal you can say “谢谢你 (xièxiè nǐ)”. However, there are actually many phrases that can be used to express your gratitude in Chinese other than just saying “Thank you”. 

If you want to stay casual with your thanks, you can just build off of 谢谢 (xièxiè). One phrase that you can use is “多谢 (duō xiè)” which means “Thanks a lot”. This phrase is commonly used when texting or emailing, but also can be used in casual conversation. “感谢 (gǎn xiè)” or “Many thanks” is another phrase that can be used in a casual conversation. An example of when to use this is if someone holds open a door for you or hands you something. The most casual phrase of thanks is “谢了 (xiè le)”, which you would use with your close friends or family members your own age.

Moving away from casual thanks, when you’re feeling especially grateful to someone you can use the phrase “ 非常感谢你 (fēi cháng gǎn xiè nǐ)” which just means “Thank you very much”. Moving away from using 谢 (xiè), there are many phrases that can also be used to express your thanks. 

When someone is complimenting you and you want to thank them for the compliment, you can say “哪里哪里 (nǎlǐ nǎlǐ)” which just means “you’re too kind”. This is a way to show your modesty and humility instead of just directly saying thank you. Another way to convey this is by saying “你太好啦 (nǐ tài hǎo la)” or “you are the best”. This is mostly used with family and close friends. 

When a friend, family member, or coworker goes out of their way to help you out, you can say “麻烦你了 (má fan nǐ le)” which means “sorry for troubling you”. Another phrase that can be used when someone is working hard for you is “辛苦啦 (xīn kǔ lā)” which means “thanks for the hard work”. This phrase is usually used when thanking your employees or the like. 

So now you know many phrases to use in many situations to express your thanks to someone in Chinese. Just remember, when in doubt, you can just say 谢谢 (xièxiè)!  

For a little bonus, you can probably guess that with all the ways to say “Thank you”, there are many ways to say “You’re welcome” as well. We’ll save most of those for another day. The most common thing to say is 不客气 (bù kèqì).  If you want to change things up a little, you can also say “不用谢 (bú yòng xiè)”, meaning “don’t mention it” or directly translated “no need to thank me”.

Remember that in Chinese, English, or any language, it’s always important to express gratitude for others! And by the way, we’re very grateful for you!

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