A man I don't know calls me and starts talking to me in Chinese. All is fine, except I don't know who he is. I sense I'm not the person he's looking for. How do I ask who he is without being too blunt: "你是誰?"

4 Answers 4


There are several ways to say it:



Qǐng wèn (May I ask), nǐ shì (you are) (which) wèi (identifier for people/position)

May I ask, who is this?

您好, 您找谁?

Nín hǎo (hello), nín (polite form of you) zhǎo (looking) sheí (who)?

Hello, whom are you looking for?


Wei ("hi"- typical way people answer the phone), qǐng wèn nín shì sheí?

Hi, who is this please (..., 请问 is "please". 请问 ,... is "excuse me") ?


喂? 哪位?

Wèi nǎ wèi

Hi, who is this...?


Zhǎo sheí ya ("ya" is a participle equivalent to 啊 "ah" expressing surprise or doubt)?

Who are you lookin' for?

These are the ones I typically hear... although there are more.

  • 2
    Yo son your English is fading as your Mandarin strengthens... "these are the ones I typically here"
    – user2251
    Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 2:03
  • The mixed use of 你 and 您 in the 2nd sentence seems weird. I would pick either and stick with it.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 2:26
  • @NS.X. Good catch- oops. at B.D, lol that's not good :O
    – user3871
    Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 2:49
  • @Growler Word to word, 请问 is more closer to May I ask ..., and 对不起/不好意思 = excuse me. However, 请问您是谁 = who is this please is good translation.
    – John Siu
    Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 4:45
  • Another polite way: 敢問閣下尊姓大名 gan3 wen4 ge2 xia4 zun1 xing4 da4 ming2. 敢問 = 請問 + humbler attitude. 閣下 = 您 + humbler attitude. 尊姓大名 = notable family name and great given name.
    – George
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 16:12

Polite: 请问您是哪位?

Impolite: 哎,你是哪个?

Alternatively, you could politely ask him who he is looking for:

Polite: 请问您找谁?


Some people (at least in Taiwan) also say (你)哪里找, which to me doesn't seem either super polite or super impolite...really just depends on tone of voice.


Politer than 你是誰? is 你是哪一位?.

(Side note: I'd also like to point out that 這是誰? is wrong, while 你是誰? is acceptable. You got this right, but it's not obvious to a lot of learners.)

  • I think I've heard "這是誰?" before, although it's pretty rude.
    – user3871
    Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 2:59
  • @Growler And in English, it's the opposite. "Who are you?" is very in-your-face and rude, while "Who is this?" is pretty standard. Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 5:17
  • Yeah that's actually true, lol. Never thought about that.
    – user3871
    Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 16:52
  • I guess what @Growler heard is in fact 這誰啊, yeah, quite blunt. In 你是哪一位, the 一 is usually dropped, so 您哪位 or 您是哪位.
    – George
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 16:07

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