How to Respond to Compliments in Chinese in 4 Ways

If you speak Chinese and have been to China, you probably know that Chinese people love to compliment foreigners on their Chinese.

Next time you get complimented, instead of going back to your standard 谢谢 (xiè xiè – “Thank you”) response, why not vary it up with one of these replies?


1. 没有没有 (méi yǒu méi yǒu) — No, no

This is a standard response that is more humble than 谢谢 since you’re not fully agreeing with the compliment.

2. 没有那么厉害 (méiyǒu nàme lìhài) — No, I’m not that awesome

This is a response that makes sense if your complimenter is really laying it on thick with something like 你的中文真好 (nǐde zhōngwén zhēnhǎo – “Your Chinese is really good”).

3. 哪里哪里 (nǎlǐ nǎlǐ) — No, not at all

This is a lot like 没有没有 but sounds slightly more polite. Interestingly, 哪里 also means “Where?” in questions.

4. 过奖 (guò jiǎng) — You speak too highly of me

If you want to show off a bit while acting modest, this is the “coolest” response out of the four responses. Your complimenter may go from thinking your Chinese is pretty good to thinking that it’s really good.

This is a super versatile one that you can use in any of the following combinations (they all mean basically the same thing):

过奖 (guòjiǎng)

过奖 (nǐ guòjiǎng)

过奖 (guòjiǎng le)

过奖 (nǐ guòjiǎng le)

Check out more examples of responding to compliments by watching videos by and for native Chinese speakers on FluentU.

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