When writing to a female, is it appropriate to use 妳 for “you”?

Could it be misunderstood as a reference to breasts or milk?



4 Answers 4


The reason for using this word instead of 你 is because the radical of the word (The left part of 妳 in this case) is 女 (Girl, Female).

It's just a nicer way to refer to a girl.

Just like in English we got He and She, the Chinese have 他 and 她 (Even though pronounced the same!)

Just like in English, the girls will trip out (at least got her eyes wide open) if you referred to her "He"!

Same goes Chinese, although the case and degree of tripping out will be fewer and lesser because regardless of the word, they are ALL pronounced the same! And 你、他 is more like "neutral" state of "You" and "It(!?!?!?)". So girls wouldn't think too much about it!

  • A side question: what does trip out mean in your context? I can't find any definition in my dictionary. Thanks!
    – dan
    Jul 5, 2018 at 3:38
  • 1
    Oh I'm sorry! It's a slang meaning... uh... you're NOT happy! Going crazy! Throwing a tantrum! And such. Geez... it's harder to explain than Chinese! >"< Just imagine the girl will step on your toes VERY hard and turn around with a 哼 and walk away!
    – Pikachu620
    Jul 5, 2018 at 3:53
  • thanks! oh, I got that idea. Is it regional? Or understandable among all the native English speakers?
    – dan
    Jul 5, 2018 at 4:51
  • 1
    You're welcome! It's understandable all over America, but I'm not sure about England and other English speaking countries.
    – Pikachu620
    Jul 5, 2018 at 5:28
  • I am accepting this answer over the others, mainly because since asking, I have noticed on Facebook that people congratulating my friend usually use 她. They are (as far as I know) all in Taiwan. I have read that 她 is rarely used in the mainland.
    – 伟思礼
    Jul 31, 2018 at 18:49

妳 is supposed to be the female second-person pronoun, but I don't find it being used as often as the more generic 你 anymore, however。

And no. There is no connotation re: breasts of milk with the use of the word.

Not sure why some posters have the assumption that 你 is only used for both male and female in Simplified Chinese. Is it how it is used in Taiwan? As someone who can only write in Traditional Chinese, it seems that 你 is used interchangeably for the most part (even among my friends from Taiwan on social media, and books from Taiwan, etc.). Some people do use 妳 for female, but it seems rather uncommon nowadays.


Actually it won’t be misunderstood the meaning of 妳 to a reference to beasts or milk, even though it has the meaning. There some words with different pronunciation in Chinese, which called 多音字(duo yin zi).

And we can figure out which one we should use in different context.

Hope this helps:)


Both means you in English. The character 你 is used for male while 妳 for female in Traditional Chinese, also there are other personal pronouns, like 祢 used for divinities, such as god, nymph, deva, Jesus, etc. But they are all unified to one gender neutral character 你 in simplified Chinese in order to stay in step with English. Also, there are 他 for he, 她 for she and 祂 for divinities in traditional Chinese, the character 祂 is abolished, but 他, 她 are remained in simplified Chinese. There are also 它 for it (for lifeless like stone) and 牠 for it (for living things like animals) in traditional Chinese, the character 牠 is abolished, 它 is remained for it uniquely in simplified Chinese.

  • Good info, though not new to me and doesn’t answer the question.
    – 伟思礼
    Jul 6, 2018 at 11:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.