I noticed in Cantonese there are two ways to say "thank you" based on the situation. You use "m goi" if thanking someone for a service and "do ze" when you receive a gift. Does Mandarin have similar expressions for giving thanks?

  • An easier distinction between "m goi /ng goi" and "do ze/dor tse" is when someone provides you with some sort of service. For example, when a waiter pours you a glass of water, or when someone opens the door for you, you say "m goi/ng goi". Whilst "do ze/dor tse" is more commonly used when you receive other things that are not in the form of a service, such as a present, a compliment etc – taytay Nov 6 '16 at 9:35

"M goi" means shouldn't. More accurately I shouldn't bother you to do this for me. I don't think people who speak Mandarin would say anything similar to this to show gratitude. You may say 真不该麻烦你 which literally only means I really shouldn't bother you (to do this for me). But it can never be used like m goo as a casually way to say thank you.

Most of time, it would just simply be 谢谢 (xiexie) or 多谢 (duo xie) in Mandarin.

  • OP is talking about Cantonese 唔該,while you are talking about 不該 in Mandarin – Incredibly HandSome Samuel Nov 5 '16 at 12:18

Actually Cantonese use both verb interchangeable, there is no special preference using any of those.

You can think of "m goi" carry extra meaning of sort of polite custom of "oh, you shouldn't spend money to buy me this presents, well, I will take it anyway.", "sorry for bother".

But in mandarin, you must use them explicitly :

When people buying you a meal, a presents, thanks for all your fish, anything that about spending money : "太破费了,谢谢".

for services, a meals,invitation,etc “麻烦你了, 谢谢”


Like "Thank you" in English, there's only one 谢谢/謝謝(xiè xiè ). It's universally applied unless you want to make a customized thanks.

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