EP3 你好吗?还可以 How are you?

Gao Huiying China Plus Published: 2017-04-20 16:45:27
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Part I: Chinese 101



Ni hao ma?

How are you?


Wo hen hao, ni ne?

I’m fine, how about you?


Hai ke yi, you dian mang.

Not bad. I’m a little bit busy.

Words & Expressions


Use “ma” as the end of an interrogative sentence

1. Yes-no questions:declarative sentence+

E.g  How are you? 你好吗?

     Is it right?对吗?

     Are you XXX? 你是XXX吗?

     Do you want XXX? 你要XXX吗?

2. Wh-Questions or Alternative questions don’t have “吗”in the end

E.g  Do you want A or B? A还是B?

     How old are you? What’s your name? Where...Why...Who...

【很】hen; very

很好,very good

很小,very small/young

很老,very old

【还】hai; (adv) also; still; even; yet

还好。All right.

还在,Still here

【可以】ke yi; Show permission or make sure; Can;

Could you finish it by the end of the day? 可以 (Sure/ OK/ Yes I can)

Would you like to hangout with me tomorrow? 可以!(Sure, Yes, Yep)

I’m OK/ Not bad. 还可以

【忙】mang; busy

我很忙。I’m so busy/ I’m very busy.

【有点】you dian: a bit, a little

有点忙. I’m a little bit busy.

Part II: Language Tips

l  Behind the words: What do Chinese really mean when they say “还可以(hai ke yi)or“还好(hai hao)?

l  还行(hai xing)” can be a Chinese way to express modesty

l  When your boss say“还可以(hai key i) ”or “还行(hai xing)”…

l  Is it kind of a politeness do not to ask people “How are you going” when they are in trouble?

Part III: Story of the Day

塞翁失马Saiwong and his lost horse

Traditional Chinese life philosophy on nutrition draws heavily from Taoism theory. In an ancient China Taoism book,"Huainan Zi 淮南子", there is a famous story about "blessings" and "misfortune".


“塞翁失马,焉知非福”Sai weng shi ma, yan zhi fei fu

Literal Meaning: An old man living at the frontier lost his horse.

Explanation: A loss may turn out to be a gain; a blessing in disguise



Sui ran ni mei you mai dao na ge gu piao, dan sai weng shi ma, yan zhi fei fu, ye xu guo liang tian gu shi jiu die le.

You failed to buy that stock, but it may be a blessing in disguise - the market prices might drop in a couple of days. 

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