As an example, I was at the cinema and I wanted to buy tickets for a film named


However, I can't read all of the characters.

In English I'd say;

Can I get a ticket for that film "北京*something*上西*something**something*", please?

Is there an equivalent way to do this in Chinese?

  • obviously this doesn't happen in the same way in English, but if a name is very long, it's not uncommon to forget some of it "lemony snickets: a series of something something" Mar 25, 2013 at 16:59

2 Answers 2


I would use 什么, or 什么什么 as the placeholder for the characters I can't read.

In your exmaple, I would say: 北京 什么 西 什么, or 北京 什么什么 西 什么什么, or 北京 什么 西 什么什么, or 北京 什么什么 西 什么.

什么 or 什么什么 can substitute any numbers of characters.

I am from Northern China, and I am not sure what words people in other regions in China would use for this purpose.

  • if there were two characters, would you repeat the "什么"? Mar 25, 2013 at 17:03
  • @MatthewRudy马泰 As he says, "什么 or 什么什么 can substitute any numbers of characters". Mar 25, 2013 at 18:40
  • @MatthewRudy马泰: I revised my answer after seeing your comment. Mar 25, 2013 at 19:15
  • @孤影萍踪 yeah. I wrote my comment, then saw your update. Thanks. Mar 26, 2013 at 5:43

many people read:北京X(音:叉cha)上西XX

  • that's an interesting suggestion, thanks. Mar 26, 2013 at 7:44
  • I don't get it... :P
    – Alenanno
    Mar 26, 2013 at 16:19
  • 2
    Probably more appropriate in writing. In speech, chā has other... more sexual connotations and should be discouraged in this context. Mar 27, 2013 at 4:48

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