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客气(kè qi” is a very useful word with profound meanings in Chinese language. Knowing the culture of “客气” will help better integrating into the Chinese society.

Part I: Chinese 101



qǐng wèn kě yǐ bāng wǒ ma?

May I ask, Could you please help me?





xiè xiè nǐ

Thank you!


bú kè qì

You’re welcome.

Words & Expressions

【请】qǐng : Please or Invite/Treating someone

请问: Please (may I) ask

请进: Please come in

请客: Treat someone

【问】wèn: ask

问路,ask the road

【帮】bāng; help



The classic adverb of negation, (bù) most often means "not" (before an adjective or a verb).

Note that for most verbs, (bù) is used when referring to the present and future, but not the past.

(bù) can also be used by itself to answer questions "no."

不好。Not good

不可以。Can not

【客气】kè qì; polite

你太客气了。You are too polite.

别客气。Don't be polite.

Part II: Language Tips

中国人的客气 zhōng guó rén de kè qì

l  Both “客气(kèqi)and “不客气(bú kèqi)” are showing politeness. How to use them properly?

l  Chinese are good at being “客气”to others, but how to tell if they are just showing politeness or really mean it?

l  Being over “客气” to a very close friend will make him or her feel unhappy

Part III Story of The Day

愚公移山yú gōng yí shān

Mr. Fool the mountain mover

It may sound foolish to try and move a mountain, but a famous fable from ancient China tells the story of persistent people who show this not as foolish as you might think.


Literal meaning: Mr. Fool moves mountains.

Explanation: to be consistent and persistent in your efforts to do something


wǒ xī wàng nǐ yǒu nài xīn hé yì lì ,wú lùn zhè jiàn shì duō kùn nán ,nǐdōu néng xiàng yú gōng yí shān yī yàng wán chéng .

I hope you have patience and stamina; regardless of how difficult something may seem, you can do it with the persistence of Mr. Fool, the mountain mover.

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