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How do we use 不好意思 and 客气?


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From what I'm understanding, 不好意思 is used to talk about ourselves
but 客气 is used to talk about our opponents or others.

Like we can say that 我不好意思 but we can't say 我很客气。
Is these right or wrong? What are the differences between these two?


and what about 不客气?

Can we say 我不客气了?


Thank you for your answer.

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- This fish tastes great!

- Have some more then!

- 那我就不客气了. (Thanks, that sounds great, I won't waste your time by refusing a few times and just dig in.)

You can absolutely use 我不客气了 among people you know well, when there is no need for 客气.

Although I'm not sure I'm understanding your question correctly. 他很不好意思 is correct Chinese, as is 我很客气, much as in English you can say 'He's very sorry/He feels bad' and 'I'm very polite'. Neither is grammatically wrong, although both are phrases that are unlikely to be used.

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They mean different things.

不好意思 means "embarrassed". 她不好意思 = she's embarrassed

客气 means "polite". 她很客气 = she's polite

不客气 is a standard reply to "thank you". It means "No need to be so polite".

You can say "我很客气", meaning "I'm very polite". It's grammatically correct, but culturally it will come across as odd or arrogant in most situations, so you usually wouldn't say it.

You would say "我不客气了" if you're about to take some liberty that might otherwise be considered impolite, but is done with the other person's permission.

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不好意思 may stand for two things... saying 我不好意思 means I'm ashamed usually followed by what we are ashamed to do. (e.g. 我不好意思请人帮忙 )

               just saying 不好意思 stands for "sorry". before asking someone for something (on the metro maybe: 不好意思,让一下...) or saying we're sorry, like when we're late.

不客气 actually means no need to be formal. We commonly see it used as an answer to 谢谢. 

            sometimes (when being a guest at someone's home, for example) people would tell us "不要客气" that means make yourself at home...

            we can then answer 那我就不客气了, that stands for ok, I'll do that (making myself at home).

            it's funny that looking for 我就不客气 on jukuu gives results as: I won't be nice, then (with a menacing tone). I guess it has also this meaning depending on the situation!  


somebody could tell us 你很客气 (you're being very formal/polite) but I guess nobody would tell to himself 我很客气

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客氣 can also be used as an equivalent of you're welcome. Example:






- Thanks for your help.


- You're welcome. It's really nothing.


Edit: Just adding that 客氣 here is a contracted form of 你太客氣了.

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Generally speaking, it will be better to remember both of 不好意思 and 客气 can be used for both of u and the opposite, the difference mainly denotes that 不好意思 is used usually when inconvenience or poor performance made by you, and 客气 is polite expression when being positively commented. 

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