How to say “YES” in Mandarin?

It seems to be a rather easy question: How to say YES in Mandarin? However, the truth is, learners struggle with it. Why? Because there are too many translational equivalent of “YES” in Mandarin Chinese but they actually fit into different situations. This article, thus, will first list the “YES”s and the corresponding circumstances under which they are used. Second of all, i will also tell you a trick to always be right when saying “YES” in Mandarin Chinese.

yes

How many “YES”s are there?

  1. 是 shì

是 shì is one of the first words learnt by Mandarin Chinese learners. It is mostly used as auxiliary words, meaning “am”, “is”, and “are”. 是 shì is also very commonly used as “YES” when making judgment.

Q: Zhè shì nǐ de shǒujī ma?
这是你的手机吗?
Is this your cell phone?
A: Shì de.
是的。
Yes

2. 对 duì /没错méi cuò

对 duì is probably the most overused form by Mandarin learners to indicate “YES” because in many occasions it can be translated as “YES” in English. However, the most accurate translation of 对 duì should be “CORREC”. That is the reason why i put it together with 没错Méi cuò which literally means “NOT WRONG”. These two Mandarin Chinese words or phrases, thus, are only eligible in circumstances which you are verifying some information and showing your agreement with someone. 

a. verifying information (overlapped with 是 shì)

Q:Nǐ shì 4 yuè chūshēng de ma?
你是4月出生的吗?
Were you born in April?
A:Duì/shì.
对/是。
Yes, correct.

b. showing your agreement

3. 好Hǎo /行xíng /可以kěyǐ 

These three expressions are used when you want to answer to people’s invitation or suggestion. For example, if someone asks you out for dinner:

Q: Jīntiān xiàbān qù hè yībēi ba?
     今天下班去喝一杯吧?
     Do you want to have a drink after work today?
A: Hǎo a!/Xíng/kěyǐ.
     好啊!/行/可以。

 

How to always be right when expressing “YES” in Mandarin?

The answer to this question is: to just repeat the verb or the 🙂

Q: Zhè shì nǐ de shǒujī ma?
     这是你的手机吗?
     Is this your cell phone?
A: Shì.
     是。
      Yes

Q: Jīntiān xiàbān hè yībēi ba?
     今天下班去喝一杯吧?
     Do you want to have a drink after work today?
A: .
去。
Yes, i will go.

Q: tā hǎo shuài
     他好帅!
     He is so hot!
A: shuài!
帅!
Yes, he is.

Q: Nǐ xǐhuān zhōngguó ma?
你喜欢中国吗?
Do you like China?
A: Xǐhuān.
喜欢。
Yes, i do.

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