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Other way to say "Hello"


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Hello Everyone!


Other way to say "hello" in Chinese is "吃了吗?"


I have a doubt.


1) In what context may I use "吃了吗?" and should I say "你吃了吗" or just "吃了吗?"



2) May I also say...




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1) When for example you're taking a walk after dinner and you see your neighbor (but not around a public toilet).

2) No. It's fixed phrase, like "What's up". You don't want the other person to actually look up and tell you "Nothing" or "A plane".

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I think its a bit old fashion, not heard anyone use it for a long time,


It means literally "have you eaten?" which was a question of some concern when food was hard to come by.


I wouldn't use it and if some said it to me I probably would think it was a bit odd, like they had learnt chinese from an old old book :)


I would stick with 你好, I have heard young people use Hi Hi, probably trying to be "cool"

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I think the alternatives 你吃饭了吗? / 你吃饭了没有? / 你吃了没? are all acceptable as first greetings too. 



As someone who uses 吃饭了吗? (actually, more likely to be 饭吃了吗?for myself) quite a lot, especially around post-lunch and mid-evening (usually post-sunset), I use it to greet friends, family, and slightly older people (40s+) who are strangers. For the last group I'd likely use a title, whether it be 先生、太太、伯父 or something else appropriate. I don't know whether this is a Southernism, but it's something that I as a heritage speaker picked up much more naturally than the rather plain 你好 that came later. I am from a slightly old-fashioned family, but it is still something that's very much current, despite the predominance of 你好.


My most usual greeting for friends is a straight-up 怎么样呢? usually with a time phrase like 今天 or 早上, and likely with a 嘿. I will even occasionally greet strangers that way too.


I however am not one to say 来了 in Chinese as an initial greeting, neither to friends nor family nor strangers.

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This is a common but very interesting topic.  My foreign friends often say 你好 to me in the morning, many of whom are even with a Chinese level higher than HSK3~5. 

I understand it since I made similar mistakes when learning English. I still remember how confused I was when my American friend greeted me with "how are you doing?" when I traveled to Redmond. Because my teacher taught me "how are you" and "what are you doing" but never taught "how are you doing?" ^_^


So we added a short section in our app explaining how Chinese people greet each other.  I copy it below.


How do Chinese people greet each other? It’s actually not as simple as you might think. The obvious answers is "你好(nǐhǎo)", but this is a bit formal, almost always used when you are first meeting someone. An older neighbor might greet you in the morning with "你吃了吗(nǐ chī le ma)"?, which literally means "Have you eaten?" For students and young adults, there’s no real equivalent for "what’s up?" Chinese people almost never ask "你好吗(nǐ hǎo ma)?". Instead, friends often greet each other with a simple "嘿(hēi)" (a transliteration of "hey") followed by the person’s name, as in "嘿John!" Also common are "早上好(zǎoshàng hǎo, good morning)" and "晚上好(wǎnshàng hǎo, good evening)", depending on the time of day.

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I live in a building with many retirees and they often greet me with 吃饭了没 near mealtimes. When I see my co-workers first thing in the morning we nod at each other and say 早. My favorite was a security guard at a former job who would speak in a strong Hainan ascent: Qi pan li ma? Took me quite a few tries before I figured out what he was saying!!!

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I live in Gansu working as a teacher. Regardless of age, everyone is constantly saying  “你吃了吗?“ or ”你吃了没?“ It's often used as a passing phrase when we're walking in opposite directions but also as a conversation starter. I've found it to be a time sensitive phrase, though, in that you wouldn't say it at 3:00 PM. At 3 PM, most are asking if you got your afternoon nap in. I still get jaw drops from students when I say I don't take afternoon naps. 

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Agree with Chong's explanation above. Chinese doesn't have a catch-all equivalent for "hello".


“最近怎么样” is fine if you haven't seen the other person in a while.


Disagree that “吃了吗” is acceptable as a first greeting. That's nearly always “你好” or “您好” (or “幸会幸会” or similar).

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Use “你吃了吗 or 吃了吗” just in a short time after meal time, otherwise use “你好!” directly. You should pay more attention to the time when you use "你吃了吗 or 吃了吗" as a greeting words, otherwise it's sounds wired. At least I am doing so. .

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