Colloquial Cantonese phrases often differ significantly from Mandarin, so I would be nervous to use 你怎么样 pronounced in Cantonese.

Is there a greeting of identical (or nearly identical) meaning in Cantonese (ie, for closer acquaintances, implying "how are ya?" or "what's up?")?

  • This question is likely too simple for someone who has a basic understanding of Cantonese and is something you would likely already know if you were serious about learning it. This sounds like a 'how do u say hi in Chinese' type question when u are not really serious about learning"
    – going
    Dec 18, 2011 at 10:31
  • 1
    Fair point and worthy of a down vote. I was looking for a a comment on the subtlety implied in a casual "what's up?" but I agree with your assessment.
    – tbaums
    Dec 18, 2011 at 12:49
  • 1
    I don't think people would often say "你怎么样?" in Mandarin. It's not very clear what you're asking about and there's a connotation of "is there something wrong with you". I guess the tone of how you say it could clarify the connotation. I think people usually add some more context like "你最近怎么样?".
    – user102008
    Feb 22, 2015 at 4:55

1 Answer 1


Normally we use the verb "点"

你点啊? Nei5 dim2 aa3? leih dim a? English: What's up? (less formal)

你点样啊? Nei5 dim2 jeung5 aa3? leih dim yeung a? English: How are you doing? (more formal)

你近排点啊? Nei5 gan6 paai4 dim2 aa3? leih gan pai dim a? English: How have you been doing?

你呢排点啊? Nei5 ni1 paai4 dim2 aa3? leih li pai dim a? English: How've you been lately?

  • Can you translate these or note the differences between them in the tone they convey colloquially?
    – tbaums
    Dec 19, 2011 at 2:23
  • 1
    The first would be more casual like "How's it going?" while the second is a little more formal like "How are you doing?". The last two are essentially the same as far as my experience goes - "How have you been?" or "How have you been lately?". Dec 20, 2011 at 22:45
  • It is curious how you use "l" in place of "n" in "nei" and "ni", @Sammi. Is that a matter of dialect or accent?
    – MickG
    Feb 21, 2015 at 11:58
  • Perhaps the alternate romanization is now best removed…
    – MickG
    Feb 21, 2015 at 12:03

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.