In a section of my textbook I recently covered, I came across 3 vocabulary words that are very similar and I'm not sure how and when to use each.

From what I understand:

  1. 礼仪: protocol/etiquette. The dictionary I have doesn't give too many examples of this.
  2. 惯例: convention; usual practice. Ex:


打破惯例 - break from usual practice/convention

  1. 规矩: this one is probably the trickiest of the three because there are two definitions: (a) rules of a community or organization; custom; established practice. (b) customary rules of good behavior; social etiquette (which translates to something similar to 礼仪)

example of (a): 按照中国规矩,写信时日期写在最后

example of (b):

(i) 遵守规矩;

(ii) 这个孩子没有规矩 (this child has bad manners; which seems to mean 礼貌)

So I'm still confused, because they all seem to mean the same: (to follow) some sort of standard etiquette

  • 1
    礼仪=manners/etiquette 惯例=usual practice/convention 规矩=rules
    – Mou某
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 4:58
  • @user3306356 Can we use "遵守“ + (礼仪/惯例/规矩)? Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 5:02
  • 遵守 is good for 规矩. 惯例 and 礼仪 goes with (按)照.
    – Mou某
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 5:09
  • see jukuu, iciba:没有规矩 without norms and standards, 没有礼貌 bad manners, impolite, rude
    – user6065
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 6:14
  • But as the explanations of these three words implies: protocol/etiquette, convention/usual practice, and rules are all different in English and mean differently, these three words in Chinese mean differently in the similar way. Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 19:03

3 Answers 3


The three wors are all nouns.

  1. 礼仪 What someone's behavior or words gives others a very good expression.for example ,the man is a gentleman

    example 礼仪之邦



    礼仪之邦 :The people in the country are all gentlemen.(indluding women and children)

  2. 惯例 the activity has already been done in this way for many years,and others' also in this way.

    惯例 mostly is used to describle activity,not behavior.

  3. 规矩 规矩 mostly is used to describle someone's words and behavior.

    for example,don't make noise in public place.

    规矩 describles most people's behaviors should be done like this, not gentleman.


that's all kinds of regulations. but in most cases, 惯例 is not a rule with official definition or power. it is just habits for people doing something

礼仪 is manners for doing something to be polite, maybe legally defined or not

规矩 may be more official, and more powerful, which means you must follow the process


For 规矩,u can just interpreted it as 'rule'.if say: 这个孩子很没有规矩, u can just think its say: he's not following the rules for..i dont know, rule for people i think

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