How To Ask For Help In Chinese

Aug 19, 2021 | How to Say in Chinese

If you live in China and are still not familiar with the local culture and customs, it is inevitable that you ask your Chinese friends to help you out when you encounter problems related to your daily life. Hence, it’ll be helpful if you have knowledge of some of the commonly-used structures that people use when they need help from others. Let’s find out what they are.

 

(nǐ) 可以(kě yǐ)…….(ma)?

This is the most commonly used structure in China when you would like to ask someone to do you a favour. The keyword here is “可以(kě yǐ)”, which means “can or may”. Therefore, the literal translation of this structure is “Can you………?”, and the first word “(你 nǐ) = you” is often omitted.

how to ask for help in Chinese

Example:

可以给我一杯水吗?
kě yǐ gěi wǒ yī bēi shuǐ ma?
Can you give me a glass of water?

 

(qǐng)……….

“请(qǐng)” means “please”, and it’s usually followed by a verb to express your desire to ask someone to do something. What you need to bear in mind is that this word never goes at the end of a sentence, which means “Can I have a coffee, please?” should be translated as “Please give me a coffee” in Chinese.

Examples:

请开门。
qǐng kāi mén
Please open the door.

请关窗。
qǐng guān chuāng
Please close the window.

Vocabulary:


kāi
to open


guān
to close


mén
door


chuāng
window

 

麻烦 (má fán) (nǐ)……..

“麻烦 (má fán)” means “to bother”, and this structure is a polite way to indicate that you need someone’s help as it translates as “Can I bother you to…….?”

Example:

麻烦你在这里签字。
má fán nǐ zài zhè lǐ qiān zì
Can you sign here, please? (Can I bother you to sign here?)

Vocabulary:

签字
qiān zì
to sign

 

方便 (fang biàn)…….. (ma)?

The word “方便 (fāng biàn)” means “convenient”, which is a very useful word to describe many things in China, such as WeChat. Therefore, the literal meaning of the whole structure is “Would it be convenient for you to……..?”

Example:

方便帮我买一个三明治吗?
fāng biàn bāng wǒ mǎi yī gè sān míng zhì ma?
Would it be ok for you to get me a sandwich? (the literal translation of this question is “Would it be convenient for you to help me buy a sandwich?”)

Vocabulary:


bāng
to help


mǎi
to buy

三明治
sān míng zhì
sandwich

 

劳驾 (láo jià)…….

“劳驾 (láo jià)”, meaning “Excuse me” can hardly be heard in Chinese people’s daily lives as it’s usually used in formal situations. However, you’ll have the opportunity to brag about your Chinese by starting your request with this word.

Example:

劳驾,把书给我。
láo jià, bǎ shū gěi wǒ.
Excuse me, can you give me the book?

Vocabulary:


shū
book

 

We hope you enjoyed reading about how to ask for help in Chinese. Now that you know all that you need to know, we hope you’re able to easily fix all the problems you run into. If you are interested in some common Chinese words that cause confusion, have a read about them here.

 

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