I heard from a classmate of mine that 哪里 is not used much among Chinese nowadays like in following dialog:


哪里, 哪里!

Is it true that it's considered formal? Are there other expressions that could be used and have the same meaning?

  • 1
    不敢当:iciba: 3. I deserve neither such praise nor such censure.这样的夸奖我不敢当,这样的责备我也不敢当. 5. Annie: You flatter me . Let's learn from each other.安妮: 不敢当,让我们互相学习吧. 7. Not at all, sir.不敢当, 先生.
    – user6065
    Jun 18, 2015 at 9:25
  • @S.Rhee 不敢当 is also very formal.
    – imrek
    Jun 18, 2015 at 10:58
  • 上述评论的目的仅仅为回答问题最后部分而已即 Are there other expressions that could be used and have the same meaning?
    – user6065
    Jun 18, 2015 at 11:33
  • 1
    Well. I normally say: 凑合吧/还行吧/差不多吧/马马虎虎吧。哪里 is a formal word. It is OK to use in a formal case. But in the daily life, it it not too formal but too nerdy to use. E.g. A: 你今天很帅气! B: 马马虎虎吧
    – FortCpp
    Jun 18, 2015 at 20:31
  • 哪里 can also be used as an answer, in pretty much the same way, to mean something like "what the hell?" (kind of). like A:你还是有点小气哈 B:哪里哟...
    – Mou某
    Jun 26, 2015 at 9:52

4 Answers 4


Oral conversations have gotten more colloquial. At time you will see people mixing formal and colloquial patterns, especially online.

It's the same etiquette as if you would express if someone were to praise you, as a general rule you will probably thank them ("you flatter").

哪里 is typically used to show one's humility/modesty (in formal situations), particularly when one is praised by others. You can use 一般 as a similar expression to express one's modesty. 一般般 is typically only used to refer to oneself (individually), orally and more colloquially (typically used by younger people).

A: 你今天打扮得很漂亮!

B: 哪里哪里 一般般

Due to different cultural etiquettes between those from the West vs those from the East, Chinese people tend to be shy when praised by others, so traditionally their will respond 哪里 instead of saying "thank you," as most Westerners would.

Note that in addition to showing modesty you can use it as a negator, to deny something just mention:

A: 你有很多漫画!

B: 哪里 你哪儿的比我还多!

It's a bit less harsh sounding the if you negate it with something like 不是的.

Additionally 一般 by itself can be used to refer to things that are so-so/average -- neither good or bad. Typically the tone is neutral.

  • So bottom line: 哪里 can be used, and would be understood if you answer like that, right?
    – UVV
    Jun 18, 2015 at 12:11
  • Given the the correct context, yes.
    – Krazer
    Jun 18, 2015 at 12:21

It's a kind of modest answers as the Chinese prefer to be modest. It means NO but the truly meaning is like "Thanks, I can still do it better."


还好吧 没有啦 哪有啊 is oral.

哪里哪里 is too formal


This is a polite way of speech, and it doesn't meaning the people indeed think his Chinese is so so.

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