Say you are talking to an emperor (or anyone with high social status), what is the most polite way to say "I beg your pardon" in Chinese?

  • 1
    You'll have to clarify what exactly are you "begging pardon" for? You say talking to an emperor, a rarity these days, so begging not to be beheaded? :) Apr 4, 2022 at 5:11
  • @WayneCheah, I did not hear clearly what the emperor said and had to ask him to repeat it.
    – Zuriel
    Apr 4, 2022 at 15:26

5 Answers 5


To an emperor: 恕臣愚昧,肯请圣上再次指点一二,臣等万分荣幸。 smth like that

Perhaps: 臣有一事不明, and then continue to ask about some details, etc.

I don't believe there are many historical accounts of such conversations.

  • If you are a nobody (peasant, merchant, etc.), then you probably have no right to ask the emperor or someone with high status (in ancient times) to speak again.
    – De Rien
    Apr 6, 2022 at 15:37
  • So if the emperor asked you a question and you did not hear it clearly, you will be doomed?
    – Zuriel
    Apr 7, 2022 at 1:48
  • @Zuriel Pretty much yes. If you are someone with high status (like a 太监) and you fail to understand the emperor, it was suggested that if it is something important, it is better to ask the emperor in the way I stated above. However, asking like this would certainly offend the emperor, and you would be crowned with the title of “办事不力”, so you might get demoted.
    – De Rien
    Apr 7, 2022 at 3:58
  • If you are a 太监 and the emperor summons you for something important, this probably means that you are also high-ranked (perhaps preferred by the emperor), so it would be best to "plead guilty" and ask again (or else if you made wrong orders, you're probably gonna get killed), but you'll probably get punished (beaten). If you're a nobody, you're definitely getting demoted and might get killed... Nevertheless, you're pretty screwed and you'll never see the emperor ever again...
    – De Rien
    Apr 7, 2022 at 4:03

抱歉,请问您可以重复一遍吗? Sorry, could you please repeat that?

您 is a courteous version of 你, and should be polite enough in most cases. 陛下 (Your Majesty) is usually used for emperors, and 阁下 (Your Excellency) is usually used for high-level officials.


This is the People's Republic of China, the Emperor is long since gone!

Comrade, could you please repeat that?

  • There are however still lots of "Little Emperors" around from whom parents have to "beg pardons" from? Apr 4, 2022 at 8:32
  • Well, the gf thinks she is an Empress and I must needs obey her Royal Commands!
    – Pedroski
    Apr 6, 2022 at 23:48

If you intend to ask the person to repeat his word/sentence, the polite way to say is "對不起,可以請你再說一遍嗎?", or "抱歉,可以請你重覆一遍嗎?". Both mean "Sorry, can you please...".

ADD: I've missed the word "emperor" in the question. In that case, you shall say "皇上恕罪,恕(excuse)小(草)民(me)....".

  • I believe, in the Chinese emperor's case, (in case you manage to travel back in Time), you need to start or end with, 萬歲...萬歲...萬,萬...歲, to avoid begging not to be beheaded? In the Japanese emperor's case, I believe it's "Banzai", which is the same as 萬歲, but with a very heavy Japanese accent. Apr 5, 2022 at 3:38
  • @WayneCheah It is not necessarily the case, depending on when the beg for pardon is brought up. And the truth is everybody's guess.
    – r13
    Apr 5, 2022 at 3:53

望见谅! I think this is the best choice.

望 means hope, 见谅 get the pardon. 望见谅 it means I do hope that you forgive me. Hope this can help.

Your Answer

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

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