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"Have you eaten?" (你吃了/吃了吗/吃饭没有 etc) sounds like a Chinese equivalent of "how are you?". However, I don't know what is the correct way to respond to the question.

What do Chinese people expect me to answer when they ask it? Should I just answer it literally?

I first thought they ask me to go in lunch together. But it is definitely not true... So if they want to ask me out, do they use a different approach or do I have to discern if they ask me out or just use the phrase as a greeting?

  • it is same as following classic English dialog: A: How are you? B: Fine, and you? A: Fine too. ^_^ . – Daniel Yeung Aug 16 '17 at 9:28
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You can just answer it literally. Usually, I will response: 吃过了(or 还没有),你呢?

If people want to ask you out, they will go further with additional questions/requests: 我们一起去吃饭吧?

-1
  1. "吃了, 今天天气不错啊" / "吃过了, 你听说..." / "吃了, 真热啊"

(I'm so starving, since we won't eat together, let's finish this topic and switch to whatever)

  1. "没吃呢, 你吃了吗?",

(I can't eat anymore, but I like to go out, let me ask it too to comfirm you was inviting me, if you response "我也没吃", deal. If you start to bullshit, that was just a greeting.)

  1. "没吃呢, 待会儿吃"

(I am starving again, but piss off, I won't go out with you.)

  1. "没吃呢, 不知道吃什么."

(I'm full, but I like you, I wish you can introduce an restaurant, so we can go out.)

  1. "对付一口"

(Just put something in my stomach, I don't like guessing )

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