In English I can change "what the heck" to something like "what the heeckkkkkk" when writing in order to show that the pronunciation of "heck" is being dragged out. When writing Chinese characters, how can I indicate this lengthened pronunciation?

  • 1
    as a native hongkonger, i would say both Albert and vermillon's answer are correct. while, dash (——) is more formal (e.g. used in novel / writing) and tilde (~~) is more casual and modern (used in social network / texting). also, tilde carries a relaxing tone. it can be used with exclamation mark (~~!) to emphasis.
    – wilson
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 11:22

3 Answers 3


The one I see most often is the use of "~": "啊~~~"

  • is there any web source saying 波浪号 (~) is used for the said purpose, or are there web examples showing such use? Regarding 破折号 reference in answer #1 says " 六、表示声音延长",
    – user6065
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 21:57
  • "~" for "ditto", thus 啊~~~ amounts to 啊啊啊啊,āāāā, similarly 哦~~~ for 哦哦哦哦, thus ~ works for the 2 or 3 vowels 啊,哦, however e.g. 鬼~~~ would only mean guǐguǐguǐguǐ and not e.g. guuuuuuiiiiii
    – user6065
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 3:25
  • Not to me. I see often "~~~" used as a "..." and never had to take it as in this question.
    – gb.
    Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 2:51

Use 破折号(dash), for example:


  • Q appears to be about dragging out/lengthening a single syllable, 该问题好象是关于有没有什么方式来表达拖长一个音节就是说拖长一个字。
    – user6065
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 4:35
  • 唉?难道不是说的拉长音么…………
    – Albert
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 5:28
  • is there no problem about the intended meaning of "搞什么鬼―" (unlike with "what the heeckkkkkk")? It would seem with several dashes there is no problem, 要是有多于两个字后带着同样数目的破折号的话,就没有问题,可是如果只有一个的话,似乎会有人不了解所要表达的意义是什么。
    – user6065
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 6:47
  • Yeah, so I often use …… for "long pronunciation" 嗯……所以一般我用省略号来表示"拉长音"……
    – Albert
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 7:12
  • maybe it's regional difference, but me and my friends use ... stands for "此处无声胜有声" :D
    – thinwa
    Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 9:46

I do not think there is a way to have the same effect as "what the heeckkkkkk" with Chinese characters, except within pinyin, which would be weird.

Languages are not supposed to all have the same set of tools to express emotions. There are a lot of things on can do with Chinese characters that cannot be done in other languages. For example 福 upside-down means "prosperity obtained" through a very rough pun which has no equivalent in other languages, I would bet.

However, all languages have tools to express emotions, and in Chinese, there a long list of finals like 啦咯嘛阿呀 used for this purpose, and among them you may find the one which will convey a similar emotion as in "whaat?"

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