Rather than simply saying “zài jiàn”, which translates to ‘goodbye’ in Chinese, you can switch it up and use different phrases to say farewell! For instance, in English, there are plenty of ways you can say ‘goodbye’, such as ‘bye-bye’, ‘see you later’, ‘until next time’, and many others. There are also many ways in which Chinese speakers say farewell to their friends and colleagues too!
To help you get started, here are some phrases for farewells you can add to your growing Chinese vocabulary.
One of the easier additions to saying farewell is “bài bài la”. This phrase has a similar sound to the English phrase ‘bye-bye’. It was adapted from English and is much more commonly used in Taiwan by locals.
2. Meet you again
“Zài huì” is a typical farewell for many native Chinese speakers. In Chinese, it means ‘catch you later’.While it is similar to “zài jiàn”, it is a much more affectionate goodbye that is often used to say farewell to a close friend or a loved one.
3. See you again
A phrase typically used by Chinese speakers when they say farewell to English speakers is ‘see you’. This is a fun way of saying goodbye as it implies that ‘we will meet each other again’. As a result, this phrase is most commonly learnt on the first day of your Chinese course in Singapore.
“Zài jiàn” means ‘see you again’, which is different from the phrase mentioned above, “zài huì”, which means ‘meet you again’.
4. See you tomorrow
If you are taking Mandarin lessons where you will see your classmates again the following day, you can use the phrase “míng tiān jiàn”. “Míng tiān” translates to tomorrow and “jiàn” means ‘to see’, which means ‘see you tomorrow’ when said together.
This phrase is commonly used when you are sure that you will be seeing someone the very next day, such as your classmates or your friends, as compared to “zài jiàn” which is much more loosely used.
5. I’ve got to say farewell
Have you ever been stuck in a conversation when you have to leave in a hurry? This is often the go-to phrase when you are looking to leave politely. While this phrase can be quite a mouthful, it is often a farewell phrase that indicates that you are reluctant to leave, but have to do so.
“Wǒ bù dé bù shuō zài jiàn le” translates to ‘I don’t have a choice but to say farewell’.
6. Let’s chat again when you’re free
“Yǒu kòng zài liáo” is a casual way to say farewell to a friend when they are busy at the moment. It translates to ‘let’s chat again when you’re free’. It is often used with close friends when you can see that they may not have the time to converse with you at the moment.
7. Excuse me, I have to leave
A very formal way of farewell is to say “shī péi le”, which translates to ‘excuse me, I have to leave’. You can use this phrase in a formal setting, such as during dinners, when you are saying farewell to important people like your employers. This phrase is not commonly used amongst friends.