An Overview of Basic Chinese Greetings
If you are learning Chinese or teaching Chinese to your children, one of the first things you should learn/teach is how to say good morning, good afternoon, good night and other basic greetings.
Chinese people place a lot on emphasis on manners 礼貌. Since young, I was taught to be respectful to my elders, and greet them by name every time I see them (not fun when your mother is one of 11!).
I might add a quick but very important note about greetings. A lot of foreigners are taught to say 你好 as THE one greeting everyone learning Chinese should say. In actual fact, native speakers are far more likely to say Good morning 早安, Good afternoon 下午好 or Good evening , or Have you eaten? 吃了吗？(If you know us Chinese, our conversations revolve around food a LOT!). Or where have you been? 你去哪儿了？Where are you going? 你要去哪儿？Chinese people are a nosy lot. Haha.
You will more likely use 你好 when meeting someone for the first time, such as “Hello, my name is Jean. Nice to meet you.” （你好，我是Jean。很高兴认识你）
Depending on who you are greeting, you use 您 instead of 你 when greeting elders, as a more respectful term of address.
For my children, I greet them every morning with a “Good morning, what would you like for breakfast?” 早安。早餐想吃什么？and every night we end off with “Good night” 晚安.
Here are 23 basic Chinese greetings and responses you should know
Good morning 早上好/早安/早
Good afternoon 下午好/午安
Good evening 晚上好
Have you eaten? 吃了吗?
Yes I have eaten 吃了
No I have not eaten 还没
Hey 喂 （also used when answering the phone to say hello)
How are you? 你好吗? 您好吗？
I’m fine 我很好
I’m not doing well 不好
Bye bye 拜拜
See you next time 下次见
Thank you 谢谢
You’re welcome 不客气
It’s ok 没关系
Excuse me 请问
Long time no see 好久不见