How to Say No in Chinese
Saying No in Chinese is just a little like saying yes in Chinese. Essentially, there is one word that can always get the idea across, which is “bù” but this is much more like saying, “Not” rather than no in Chinese.
In order to know how to say no in Chinese, you will first need the context of the conversation because, in essence, you will need to say NO + the VERB in order to correctly convey the idea. Notice, though, that this is generally a very harsh way of saying no in Chinese.
How to Say No in Chinese Politely
To make your “no” in Chinese a little more palatable, you can most often use a phrase that is similar to “not really (+ verb)” or “not too (+ verb).” In this way, you will have politely said no in Chinese without being offensive.
- Do you like seafood?
- “Not really like.”
- Are you tired?
- “Not too tired.”
- Would you like to go to the park?
- “Not really would like to go.”
However, there are a few situations in which it is not possible to use this response. You couldn’t say, “I’m not too American,” so in this case, you would simply respond, “I’m not.” Neither would it be appropriate to respond, “I don’t really have children” or “I don’t have too many children,” so respond merely with “I don’t have.”
How to Say No in Chinese Boldly
In learning Chinese, one would be wise to study the climate of the culture. Even during those situations in which you desire to ardently communicate “NO” in Chinese, it’s probably still best to limit your response to a more polite “bú yào” (Don’t want) rather than merely saying no.
Even when vendors throng you (keep a close eye on your pockets) and you are sure that you will stumble over someone causing an unfortunate accident, it’s still better to reply with “bú yào.” This type of restraint really shows the quality of your character to the Chinese around you and will cause them to respond to you more appropriately.
If you reply with “bù,” you are likely to be interpreted as one who does not understand the culture, has no quality of character, and therefore it would not be inappropriate for others to take advantage of you. Calm restraint is the key here as peaceful interactions are highly valued.