How do you say "so-so" in Mandarin? In Cantonese, you would say 麻麻地. What's the Mandarin equivalent of 麻麻地?

2 Answers 2


麻麻地 (Cantonese)

麻麻地 http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/words/1503/

so-so; not too good, not too bad; ho-hum; middling.

Example: 佢嘅英文麻麻地 (his English is just so-so)

普通/ 普普通通

普通 http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/words/2782/

ordinary; general; average; standard; common

Example:他的英文程度算是普普通通 (his English level is considered average)


一般 http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/words/1495/

[1] ordinary; common; general

Example:他的英文程度一般 (his English level is just average)

  • The term '麻麻' came from '馬馬虎虎'

馬馬虎虎 http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/words/41049/

careless; casual; just passable; so-so

Example: 他的英文只是馬馬虎虎的程度 (his English is only at a so-so level)

  • 1
    马马虎虎 is the one that my Chinese teacher taught me. Which of these would you say is most widely used in Mandarin? Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 13:09
  • 2
    一般 is more formal and literal; 普普通通 is more casual and colloquial; 馬馬虎虎 is more idiomatic.
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 13:36
  • Another way to say so-so is 一般般, which sounds more informal. Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 11:19

I think Tang Ho already gave a good answer, so I'll just add a bit of extra info on top of that. From my experiences, I hear 一般 the most often:


普普通通 I've literally never heard used in real life, so I can't comment on that.

As for 马马虎虎, I think it has more of an inclination towards "doing things carelessly", to "not be detail oriented", rather than "so so", but others might want to pipe in for this.

Hope this helps. :)

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