In English culture, when someone is giving other a surprise, he/she can call out with voice 'surprise!'.

Is there an equivalent in Chinese culture?


I can't recall any Chinese expressions used in the same way as calling out with 'Surprise!' in English. I guess the reason might be that Chinese Culture doesn't make Chinese people as playful as English Culture making its people.

We say something different from 'surprise!' in similar cases:

  1. I bring a gift to a friend, before showing him/her the gift, I say: 猜我给你带来了什么?or 看我给你带来了什么? Then show the gift, and after seeing his/her facial surprise expression, I say: 没想到吧?or 喜欢吗?He or she may say: 真没想到。or 我很喜欢。or 我太惊讶了!

  2. We plan to throw a party for a friend's birthday, and one person leads the friend to a room where everybody else is hiding. When they come in, all the hiding people jump out together and say: 生日快乐!

  3. In a classmates reunion party, we decide to invite the old flame of one of our classmates. Once that classmate arrives, we say to him/her: 你看谁来了?Then the old flame comes in to give him/her a surprise.

  4. At a performance audition, the judge is pleased with an actor's performance. The judge may say: 你的表演很不错,但是你知道,其他的表演者也非常优秀。我知道你非常热爱表演,所以不论今天你是否被录取,我希望你一直坚持下去,不要放弃。Now the actor probably thinks he will not be picked. Then the judge says: 恭喜你,你被录取了!The actor is definitely surprised.

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Many of them will actually use the English word, as weird as that sounds. This is true mostly with younger and more educated Chinese people. Here is a video of it actually being used in a very natural setting. Skip to 3:58. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqUpsXF4Yu8

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  • +1 for the video. Now more and more young Chinese people start using English words directly in Chinese sentences for the meanings hard to express in Chinese. For example, one girl may say: 我想找一个很man的男朋友。Here "man" means 有男子气概。 – 孤影萍踪 Mar 25 '14 at 19:10

The very native Chinese word of 'Surprise!' which every Chinese can understand is "我操!", and you need to speak it aloud.

And to express the following mood after an surprise, you can say "真鸡巴XX" in which XX is an adjective, like "big, hard, hot, strong, sexual, pretty, good..."

So the whole sentence, for example, would be like that: "我操! 真鸡巴硬"

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  • Your examples are only general interjections. Also they are vulgar so be careful when you use them. – congusbongus Mar 25 '14 at 5:31
  • Are you serious? – agriprop Mar 25 '14 at 10:04
  • What's the big deal? You guys just pretend to be decent and I want to ask how much do you know about the oral Chinese? The formal expression of "Surprise" are as hypocritical as you are, don't say "我太惊讶了" to any Chinese because all they feel about you is hypocritical, "我太惊讶了" == "I'm not surprise at all but try not to let you down I have to pretend to be surprised". And my answer is actually similar to "It's damn cool", it's very common to see between friends, it will show a real you. – j5shi Mar 25 '14 at 11:41
  • @j5shi I think in any spoken languages, the actual meaning of a word, a phrase or a sentence depends on how you say it, what moods/intonation used. So "我太惊讶了" doesn't always mean "I am prentending to be surprised." Another example, a girl may say 你真坏! to a guy, but it can mean anything from "You son of a bitch!" all the way to "You are so adorable" depending on how it is said. – 孤影萍踪 Mar 25 '14 at 21:23

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