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When should exchanges of the phrase "你好" end? I regularly see a Chinese person who greets me with "你好." If I respond with "你好" he immediately says "你好", and so on. I normally end it with "Yes, I'm fine." in English. Am I doing something wrong?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

I can't even imagine this scenario - but supposing they say 你好, and you replied that is where it should end.

If they went on to say 你好吗? You could obviously reply 我很好,你呢? or words to that effect, but that should really be the end of any 你好 exchanges.

I've never had a never ending 你好 exchange, and I'd be pretty confident in saying it isn't common.

Hope that helps.

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This does happen every now and then. It is just a way of expressing enthusiasm to see you.

And from experience it won't go on forever, usually just a second time, but sometimes people will say "你好, 你好" or even "你好, 你好, 你好" in a row.

Think of it as a handshake, it is not going to go on until it is awkward, just showing some enthusiasm with a couple of extra "hello's".

I would suggest going to the next part of the conversation with something like "你好吗?" or "你怎么样呀?". If you continue on with English with "Yes, I'm fine." this may be like dropping a handshake in the middle.

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+1 very insightful. – Terry Li Jan 12 '12 at 2:14
@TerryLiYifeng - Thanks for the kind comment! – xiaohouzi79 Jan 12 '12 at 2:36

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