You’ll be pleased to know that you have plenty of options when it comes to saying “thank you” in Chinese.
Whilst some ways are more direct than others, learning how (and when) to express your gratitude is always a good first point of call in any language.
After all, who doesn’t like being polite and showing appreciation to others?
But when it comes to the Chinese language, it’s important to understand the weight that different levels of “thank you” carry.
Well, using the wrong type of “thank you” could come across as a little heavy in certain situations – which to others can sound exaggerated, sarcastic or insincere.
So read carefully and take note!
Here are 3 different ways to say “thank you” in Chinese and exactly what they mean.
1. 谢谢 (xiè xie) thank you
In Chinese, 谢谢 is very much the ‘textbook’ way to say thank you.
It’s what most learners come across in their first chapter of a Chinese textbook, or in an app to learn Chinese.
And for good reasons:
谢谢 is without a doubt the most common way to express your appreciation in Chinese.
It’s also the safest way, too.
By safest, we mean you can use it between friends and strangers alike, in all types of scenarios.
You don’t need to worry about it being overly formal or polite, or too casual either.
- 我很好，谢谢！（wǒ hěn hǎo, xiè xie!) I’m good, thanks!
- 我不需要那个，谢谢。 (wǒ bù xū yào nà ge xiè xie) I don’t need that, thanks.
Whilst the ‘you’ is understood when you’re saying 谢谢 to someone, in some cases you might want to add 你 (nǐ) ‘you’:
谢谢你 (xiè xie nǐ)
By adding 你, you’re putting emphasis on the fact that you’re thanking someone, which makes it a little stronger than just 谢谢.
In formal situations, swap 你 for 您 (nín)：
谢谢您 (xiè xie nín) – a thank you that emphasises the you, and is more formal and respectful.
2. 多谢 (duō xiè) many thanks
Notice something similar with 谢谢?
Both use contain the character 谢.
On its own, 谢 means “to thank”. 多 means “many”.
So put the two together and what do you get?
多谢 is used similar to how we use “many thanks” or “thanks a lot” in English, as a proclamation.
Use it as a quick, casual way to express your thanks.
- 多谢，哥们！(duō xiè gē men) Thanks a lot, pal!
- 我走啦，多谢！(wǒ zǒu lā duō xiè) I’m off! Many thanks!
Just like 谢谢, add a 你 or 您 to the end of 多谢 to add emphasis to your ‘thank you’:
- 多谢你 (duō xiè nǐ)
- 多谢您 (duō xiè nín)
3. 感谢 (gǎn xiè) thank / gratitude
On its own, 感 means ‘to feel’ or ‘feeling’.
So you can think of 感谢 as literally meaning ‘to feel thankful’.
Think of it as a more formal way to say thank you in Chinese than 多谢 or 谢谢.
Similarly, you can add a 你 or 您 to the end of 感谢 for a bit more weight.
- 真是太感谢你了。 (zhēn shi tài gǎn xiè nǐ le) Thank you so much, really!
- 首先我们要感谢各位老师为学校的大力支持。（shǒu xiān wǒ men yào gǎn xiè gè wèi lǎo shī wèi xué xiào de dà lì zhī chí). First, we want to thank every teacher for their tremendous support for the school.
For a standalone expression, you can also add 非常 (fēi cháng) before 感谢 to say:
- 非常感谢 (fēi cháng gǎn xiè) Thank you very much!
Now that was easy, wasn’t it?
Next time a Chinese pal does you a favour, or you give an acceptance speech at an awards ceremony, you’ll know the best way to express your gratitude in Mandarin.