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What Does “nǐ chīle ma?你吃了吗?” Mean ?

Don’t feel awkward and nervous if Chinese people ask you “ 你吃了吗?” and you can reply to them “ 吃了.”(I have eaten.) with a warm smile.

Gisele Huang
Gisele Huang
Book lesson

“你吃了吗?” means “Have you eaten?” In China, when you meet people and say, “Have you eaten?”  it doesn’t mean you really want to know if they have had dinner or want to treat them to the meal. Most of the time, “你吃了吗?”  is just a greeting as the British say, “how is the weather?”

Don’t feel awkward and nervous if Chinese people ask you “ 你吃了吗?” and you can reply to them “ 吃了.”(I have eaten.) with a warm smile.

Why do the Chinese ask “吃了吗?” as a greeting?

For a long time in the past, because of the undeveloped production technology, people often didn't have enough to eat, so everyone was concerned about the topic of “eating.”

However, Chinese people always think highly of politeness. It is impolite to ask some private questions when greeting each other, so people choose to ask, “Have you had dinner?” which is a question that everyone cares about.

Nowadays, our production technology is very advanced, and Chinese people have become so rich that we don't have to worry about food anymore. But people have gotten used to saying, “Have you eaten?” to greet each other.

What other greetings do you know? Welcome to leave me a message to discuss the topic.

Language Learning

Gisele Huang

I am Gisele, a native speaker of Mandarin and Cantonese. I am a professional Chinese teacher with 4 years experience . Welcome to my class!

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