I am hoping for a word that, when spoken, is short in duration. In English, I would say "success" or "passed" or "good". In Chinese, I would say....?

When I say, "Chinese", I realize there are multiple dialects. Mandarin is probably a safe bet, except I understand the region where I'll be using the phrase is (according to Google) predominantly Cantonese. A word that is the same in both would be awesome, if possible.

Of course I can find Google's translations and spoken tools exist for those translations, but I have no idea if the literal translations work in context.


  • 1
    What type of test? There are different words for school exams, factory QA tests, auditions, etc.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 2:01
  • it seems iciba has sufficiently many examples applying to any possible exam or test
    – user6065
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 4:42
  • I think most people would just say "pass" in English in that situation, I rarely hear anyone says it in Chinese. (I am from Taiwan, I don't know how other Chinese speaking country says)
    – CYC
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


Speaking as both a Mandarin and Cantonese speaker, I've seen 合格 used before (in some description of drug testing results, literally labelled as 检验结果) to describe successful outcomes, when there is presumably an issue of passing a specific standard. Such a scenario would be similar to what you are looking for, since I am getting the impression that you are looking for something that conveys a successful result (rather than passing in the sense of passing an exam, where "success" is poorly defined).

合格 is also used more generally generally to mean "pass" (in the sense of exceeding some "mark"), for instance, in 他这次考试终于合格 (loosely translated as This round of exams, he finally achieved a passing mark.). This would be the most obvious word that comes to mind. However, do note that 合格 only means something equivalent to "pass" in the relevant contexts. 合格 isn't a transitive verb; rather, it's normally classified as an adjective (and one that can also take on other meanings, such as "eligible" or "qualified" -- see here). So it works, but the exact wording of the sentence it's used in won't be a word-for-word translation of the English equivalent.

There are other words that could be used, albeit with different connotations. For instance, 达到 means "to reach", so it can be used, for example in 达到我们的标准 (to reach our standards). However, it is not as concise, in that you need additional information to quality your statement to make sense, and alone (without our standards or the such), it doesn't mean "pass" per se.

My usual Cantonese-focused Chinese dictionary also lists a couple other choices, such as 過關 (in simplified characters, 过关). However, these aren't as appropriate: many of the other choices were either focused on exam-type scenarios, which are generally inappropriate in the context of the tests you speak of, and the most relevant meaning of 過關 is to pass a certain stage, which is also inappropriate (since it assumes some sort of passage of time and sequence of trials).

  • 合格 looks like the one to go with, thanks. I should have worded my question better and said something like: I'm looking for the word for "pass" in the sense of a "pass/fail" test condition. Despite my poor wording, you understood.
    – bcsteeve
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 21:47
  • not mentioned above (w/o the exam as direct object): 及格 (this is even in IME pinyin editor):iciba/百科 【读音】 jígé 【英语】[pass;pass an examination;up to standard; get a passing grade;up to the mark] 【解释】考试或学科成绩达到规定的最低标准 。达到规定的最低标准。最低标准一般指得分率为60%。 【例句】他参加学位考试,及格了。 【出处】 唐 郑处诲《明皇杂录》:“ 杨国忠之子 暄 ,举明经,礼部侍郎 达奚珣 考之,不及格,将黜落,惧 国忠 而未敢定。” 《宋史·张亢传》:“马高不及格,宜悉还坊监,止留十之三
    – user6065
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 1:56
  • @bcsteeve: do note that as implied by one of the comments, the specific context matters affects the best choice. (e.g. for auditions, where it's also about finding the top candidates, something like 成功 -- succeed -- might be more appropriate.) As a side-note, it's worth noting that 合格 only means something equivalent to "pass" in such settings. (合格 in my memory isn't a transitive verb; rather, it's normally classified as an adjective.) So it works, but the exact wording of the sentence it's used in won't be a mostly literal translation of the English equivalent.
    – user5714
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 2:25
  • 1
    A bit formal. In daily speaking language, we just say "过了" for passed, "挂了" for failed.
    – Madwyn
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 20:35

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