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The 20+ Most Useful Compliments in Cantonese

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Being a HongKonger myself, I would say that Hong Kong has nurtured many very beautiful citizens—both in mind and body. To praise us (don’t be shy!), here are twenty of the most useful Cantonese compliments that you can use. And the next time you want to compliment a Cantonese girl, you’ll know very well what to say!

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Table of Contents

  1. Compliments on Looks
  2. Compliments on Work
  3. Compliments on Skills
  4. Compliments on Character / Disposition
  5. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere
  6. What to Expect After Giving Compliments
  7. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. Compliments on Looks

A Pretty Lady

1 - 你好靚

Meaning: “You’re very beautiful.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 leng3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you want to compliment a lady for her appearance, you can say this phrase.

2 - 你好靚仔

Meaning: “You’re very handsome.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 leng3 zai2
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you want to praise a man for his appearance, you can say this compliment in Cantonese.

3 - 你笑得好靚

Meaning: “Your smile is beautiful.”
Romanization: nei5 siu3 dak1 hou2 leng3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When a lady is smiling, you can compliment her with this phrase.

4 - 呢件外套好襯你

Meaning: “This jacket looks nice on you.”
Romanization: ni1 gin6 ngoi6 tou3 hou2 can3 nei5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you want to start a conversation with a lady, but don’t want to be too forward, you can use this phrase.

5 - 件衫好襯你

Meaning: “This shirt looks nice on you.”
Romanization: gin6 saam1 hou2 can3 nei5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you want to start a conversation with a man, but don’t want to be too forward, you can use this phrase.

Check out this list of Compliments You Always Want to Hear for more Cantonese compliments you can use!


2. Compliments on Work

Compliments

6 - 你好叻

Meaning: “You’re smart.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 lek1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone brings up a great idea or solves a problem, you may say this phrase.

7 - 做得好

Meaning: “Great job.”
Romanization: zou6 dak1 hou2
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone completes a task perfectly, you can praise him or her with this phrase.

8 - 你嘅履歷好出色

Meaning: “Your resume is impressive.”
Romanization: nei5 ge3 lei5 lik6 hou2 ceot1 sik1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When your friend sends you her resume and it’s well-written, you can say this phrase.

9 - 你嘅表現超乎我意料之外

Meaning: “You’ve exceeded my expectations.”
Romanization: nei5 ge3 biu2 jin6 ciu1 fu4 ngo5 ji3 liu6 zi1 ngoi6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone manages a difficult project well, you may praise him or her with this phrase.

10 - 你好勁

Meaning: “You’re awesome.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 ging6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone solves a difficult problem for you, you may reply with this phrase.

Do you need more vocabulary for the workplace or talking about your job? CantoneseClass101 has you covered!


3. Compliments on Skills

A Man Seasoning His Dish

11 - 我鍾意你煮嘅嘢食

Meaning: “I love your cooking.”
Romanization: ngo5 zung1 ji3 nei5 zyu2 ge3 je5 sik6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When your special someone cooks for you, you may praise him or her with this phrase.

12 - 你好有品味

Meaning: “You have good taste.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 jau5 ban2 mei6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone shares a great bottle of wine with you, you may compliment him or her with this phrase.

13 - 你好識得講嘢

Meaning: “You have a way with words.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 sik1 dak1 gong2 je5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: After someone offers you a compliment in Cantonese, you may praise him or her back with this phrase.

14 - 你係一個好出色嘅廚師

Meaning: “You’re an excellent cook.”
Romanization: nei5 hai6 jat1 go3 hou2 ceot1 sik1 ge3 cyu4 si1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: You may compliment your cook after an excellent dinner using this Cantonese compliment.

15 - 你影相影得好靚

Meaning: “You are good at taking pictures.”
Romanization: nei5 jing2 soeng2 jing2 dak1 hou2 leng3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone shows you photos that they’ve taken, you may say this phrase.

If you need some ideas on what to compliment someone on, CantoneseClass101 has a vocabulary list for hobbies, and another one for common adjectives.


4. Compliments on Character / Disposition

Positive Feelings

16 - 你嘅內在美仲靚過你嘅外在美

Meaning: “Your inside is even more beautiful than your outside.”
Romanization: nei5 ge3 noi6 zoi6 mei5 zung6 leng3 gwo3 nei5 ge3 ngoi6 zoi6 mei5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone does a good deed, you may praise him or her with this phrase.

17 - 你令我想成為一個更加好嘅人

Meaning: “You make me want to be a better person.”
Romanization: nei5 ling6 ngo5 soeng2 sing4 wai4 jat1 go3 gang3 gaa1 hou2 ge3 jan4
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you’re madly in love with your special someone, you may say this phrase.

18 - 你係一個好好嘅朋友

Meaning: “You are an awesome friend.”
Romanization: nei5 hai6 jat1 go3 hou2 hou2 ge3 pang4 jau5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When your friend accompanies you when you’re down, you can show your appreciation with this compliment.

19 - 你好搞笑

Meaning: “You have a great sense of humor.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 gaau2 siu3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone tells a joke that cracks you up, you may praise him or her with this phrase.

20 - 你好好人

Meaning: “You’re really nice.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 hou2 jan4
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone goes out of his or her way to help you, you may say this to them.

Do you want more vocabulary to enhance your compliments in Cantonese? CantoneseClass101 has a vocabulary list for Cantonese adjectives related to personality, and another to help you talk about feelings!


5. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere

A Man Vowing

Giving compliments is easy—but making them sound genuine takes some effort. Make sure you follow these four rules when you give a compliment!

1. Be Authentic

The most straightforward way to make a compliment sound sincere is to actually be sincere. Before you make a comment or throw out a word of praise, be sure that you’re doing so because it’s truly deserved—not just out of politeness. Imagine how you would feel if someone praised you for things you didn’t do! That’s not gonna be a plus, but a minus!

2. Be Specific

Vague and open-ended compliments can sometimes be undesirable and difficult for the recipient to respond to.

Instead of just saying “You’re awesome,” you can back the compliment with concrete examples and specify which action he or she did that deserves such a compliment. For example: “We’ve been solving this issue for an hour already, but it only took you ten minutes. You’re awesome!”

3. Be Relevant

Timing is essential when it comes to giving out compliments. You can compliment your partner for being a great cook after he or she cooks you a meal, but it may sound a bit awkward if you give such a compliment when you two are cycling.

Context can make a whole lot of difference. Do consider time and place before giving your compliment.

4. Be Concise

When complimenting someone, it’s best to keep your compliment short. Why? If you keep dragging your compliment on, you risk attracting unnecessary attention from others, making your recipient uncomfortable. You may make him or her wonder why you would give such a compliment in the first place!


6. What to Expect After Giving Compliments

A Lady Bowing

What can you expect from a HongKonger after complimenting them? Different people may respond differently, but you can usually expect one of three reactions:

  • “Thank you.”: Saying 多謝 (do1 ze6), or “thank you” in Cantonese, is the most common response after receiving a compliment.
  • “Nah.”: Some people may say 邊度係呢 (bin1 dou6 hai6 ne1) or 唔敢當 (m4 gam2 dong1) to brush off compliments.
  • “Run!”: A few may just get uncomfortable and shy away from compliments altogether.


7. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

What’s your favorite Cantonese compliment? Share with us in the comments, or let us know if there’s another compliment you want to learn!

After mastering Cantonese compliments, it’s time to level up your Cantonese! With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native!

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Getting Angry in Cantonese without Cantonese Curse Words

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Even though Hong Kong might be one of the most polite cities, Hongkongers—like everyone else in the world—do have tempers. Have you ever wondered how to express yourself when you’re angry in Cantonese, especially without needing to use Cantonese swear words? Here at CantoneseClass101.com, we’re introducing the top twenty angry Cantonese phrases. Sit back, “relax,” and learn how to let someone know you’re very angry in Cantonese!

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Table of Contents

  1. Angry Imperatives
  2. Angry Warnings
  3. Angry Blames
  4. Describing How You Feel
  5. The “Whats”
  6. Bonus: How to Calm Yourself Down When You’re Angry
  7. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. Angry Imperatives

Negative Verbs

1- 收聲

Meaning: Shut up.
Romanization: sau1 seng1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone is insulting you and you want him or her to stop and shut up, you can yell this phrase.

2- 停呀

Meaning: Stop it.
Romanization: ting4 aa3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone keeps doing something that annoys you, like poking you, you can shout this phrase to ask him or her to stop.

3- 唔好再講

Meaning: Cut it out.
Romanization: m4 hou2 zoi3 gong2
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone keeps telling you unpleasant things, you can say the above phrase to ask him or her to stop talking.

4- 冇所謂

Meaning: Whatever.
Romanization: mou5 so2 wai6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone keeps asking for your opinion, but you know they’ve made up their mind already, you can just reply with the above phrase in a flat tone.


2. Angry Warnings

Warning

1- 小心講嘢

Meaning: Watch your tongue.
Romanization: siu2 sam1 gong2 je5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone insults you, you can say this to them.

2- 我唔想同你講嘢

Meaning: I don’t want to talk to you.
Romanization: ngo5 m4 soeng2 tung4 nei5 gong2 je5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone makes unsounded criticism toward you and you don’t even want to make an effort to defend yourself, you can reply with the phrase above.

3- 夠喇

Meaning: That’s enough.
Romanization: gau3 laa3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone keeps making inappropriate jokes, this is one of the best angry Cantonese phrases to let them know it’s time to stop.

4- 唔好搞我

Meaning: Don’t mess with me.
Romanization: m4 hou2 gaau2 ngo5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone is plotting against you, you can warn them to back off with this phrase.


3. Angry Blames

Finger-pointing

1- 你都唔聽我講嘢

Meaning: You’re not listening to me.
Romanization: nei5 dou1 m4 teng1 ngo5 gong2 je5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone keeps asking you the same question, you can reply with the phrase above.

2- 唔關你事

Meaning: It’s none of your business.
Romanization: m4 gwaan1 nei5 si6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone asks about your personal life, you can reply with this phrase.

3- 你搞咩鬼呀?

Meaning: What the heck are you doing?
Romanization: nei5 gaau2 me1 gwai2 aa3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone gives you a funny look, you can say this angry phrase to him or her.

4- 你以為你係邊個呀?

Meaning: Who do you think you are?
Romanization: nei5 ji5 wai4 nei5 hai6 bin1 go3 aa3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone tells you that he or she can screw your life over, you can ask them this.

5- 你玩我呀?

Meaning: Are you kidding me?
Romanization: nei5 waan2 ngo5 aa4
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone tells you an obvious lie, you can yell at them with this phrase.


4. Describing How You Feel

Complaints

1- 我好嬲

Meaning: I’m angry.
Romanization: ngo5 hou2 nau1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: Say this when you want someone to know you’re angry.

2- 有冇搞錯

Meaning: This is so frustrating.
Romanization: jau5 mou5 gaau2 co3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone disappoints you, you can reply with the above phrase.

3- 我頂唔順喇

Meaning: I’m fed up with it.
Romanization: ngo5 ding2 m4 seon6 laa3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you can no longer stand your boss, you can say this to him or her.

4- 我好憎佢

Meaning: I hate him / her / it.
Romanization: ngo5 hou2 zang1 keoi5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone asks about your opinion toward a person you hate, you may reply with the above phrase.

5- 我好失望

Meaning: I am very disappointed.
Romanization: ngo5 hou2 sat1 mong6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you’re disappointed over a thing or a person, you can use this phrase.

Do check out our article on adjectives and learn more Cantonese words to describe how you feel!


5. The “Whats”

One Woman Talking Down to Another

1- 咩話?

Meaning: What?!
Romanization: me1 waa2
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you hear something that astonishes you unpleasantly, you can say the above phrase, which is equivalent to “What?!”

2- 咁又點呀?

Meaning: So what?
Romanization: gam2 jau6 dim2 aa3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone narrow-minded keeps judging you, you can reply with the above phrase.


6. Bonus: How to Calm Yourself Down When You’re Angry

Hands Up

Of course, it’s very understandable that you’ll get cross from time to time—for example, when you’re pissed at your boyfriend or your boss—and that you’ll want to express your emotions and anger instantly. But sometimes, it might be better to calm yourself down instead of releasing all your anger onto the other person, as tension will usually only escalate when you allow your emotions to flow freely. You might end up sabotaging your relationship with the other person instead of actually solving the problem or disagreement you have with them.

So what should you do when you get angry? Consider the following:

  • Take a deep breath: Why not take a deep breath before you reply to the other person or make a comment when you’re angry? Taking a deep breath can help you gain sense and give yourself time and space for a second thought—before you do or say things that you might regret.
  • Take a walk or run: When you get really pissed, why not take a break and get some fresh air? After you’ve released your anger, you might be able to see things in a different light or at least communicate the issue in a more logical manner.
  • Listen to music: Listening to music can help you calm down and prevent your emotions from controlling you. While allowing your emotions to flow freely might sound tempting, you could end up saying or doing things you regret.
  • Write it down: Writing down the incident or thing that made you angry will help you unleash your emotions in a more harmless manner. And if you revisit your writings some time later, you might be able to see things from a different perspective.
  • Reframe your thinking: While changing your point of view from glass-half-empty to glass-half-full might sound cliche, it’s very effective when it comes to calming yourself. When your boss treats you unfairly, instead of getting angry at her, thank her for giving you a lesson and remind yourself not to be like her when you’re a boss one day.
  • Watch a movie: Instead of focusing on the thing or person that makes you angry, you can try distracting yourself by watching movies.


6. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

While it’s totally normal to get angry from time to time, don’t waste too much of your time or energy on the person or thing that vexes you—cherish your time and spend it wisely! If your goal is to better your Cantonese, we do advise you to invest your time with CantoneseClass101.com!

With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native!

Before you go, let us know what you think in the comments. What’s your favorite Cantonese angry phrase from this article? ;) We look forward to hearing from you!

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Celebrating the Buddha’s Birthday in Hong Kong

The Buddha’s Birthday in Hong Kong is a major holiday, and the most important day for Buddhists around the world. In this article, you’ll learn about Buddha’s Birthday traditions, the prevalence of Buddhism in Hong Kong, and pick up some new vocabulary along the way.

Let’s get started!

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1. What is the Birthday of the Buddha?

This is the most important day in 佛教 (fat6 gaau3), or Buddhism, and it’s a time for people to reflect on the Buddha’s teachings, show respect to ancestors, and work on bettering themselves.

The main purpose of celebrating Buddha’s Birthday is to remind people to use the Buddha’s wisdom to wash away the pollution of the inner self and to purify the mind. In particular, Buddhism’s code of ethics guides people to 行善 (hang4 sin6), or “do good deeds,” and elevate the human spirit realm. It also acts as an important force in establishing a harmonious society.

Due to the prevalence of Buddhism in Hong Kong, the government made the Buddha’s Birthday a public holiday in 1998. This allows students and workers to fully participate in the activities and worship rituals, and promotes the further growth of Buddhism here.

2. When is Buddha’s Birthday?

Decorations for Buddha’s Birthday

This holiday takes place on the eighth day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar, meaning that the date of Buddha’s Birthday celebration varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2020: May 7
  • 2021: May 26
  • 2022: May 15
  • 2023: June 2
  • 2024: May 22
  • 2025: May 12
  • 2026: May 31
  • 2027: May 20
  • 2028: May 9
  • 2029: May 27

3. How is Buddha’s Birthday Celebrated?

On the Birthday of the Buddha, Hong Kong temples and monasteries hold special ceremonies and liturgy in honor of the Buddha. The grandest of these is the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, which is considered a holy place for Buddhists.

Here, you’ll find the 天壇大佛 (tin1 taan4 daai6 fat6), or Tian Tan Buddha. This is one of the tallest outdoor bronze sitting Buddhas in the world, and the altar beneath showcases his 舍利子 (se3 lei6 zi2), or “relic.” There are many Chinese-style buildings in the area, making this a great place for sightseeing.

Buddha’s Birthday traditions at the Po Lin Monastery are both solemn and grand. Most notable is the public Buddha bathing ceremony, in which worshippers pour fragrant water on the Buddha statue. People also enjoy gathering to watch the Shaolin Kung Fu performances here, in addition to eating a 齋菜 (zaai1 coi3), or “vegetarian dish.”

In temples all over Hong Kong, you’ll find people burning incense in honor of their ancestors.

4. Why Do They Bathe the Buddha Statue?

As we mentioned, on Buddha’s Birthday, Hong Kong temples perform the Buddha bathing ceremony. There are two main reasons they do this:

1. This is done to purify the mind with the help of Buddha’s wisdom.

2. According to legend, when Buddha was born, nine dragons came from the sky and spat water to bathe him.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Buddha’s Birthday

Tian Tan Buddha

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for Buddha’s Birthday in Hong Kong!

  • 佛教 (fat6 gaau3) — “Buddhism” [n.]
  • 釋迦牟尼 (sik1 gaa1 mau4 nei4) — “Buddha” [n.]
  • 天壇大佛 (tin1 taan4 daai6 fat6) — “Tian Tan Buddha”
  • 佛誕 (fat6 daan3) — “Buddha’s Birthday” [n.]
  • 善信 (sin6 seon3) — “worshipper”
  • 舍利子 (se3 lei6 zi2) — “relic” [n.]
  • 佛堂 (fat6 tong4) — “temple” [n.]
  • 慶典 (hing3 din2) — “celebration” [n.]
  • 齋菜 (zaai1 coi3) — “vegetarian dish” [n.]
  • 行善 (hang4 sin6) — “do good deeds” [v.]

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Cantonese Buddha’s Birthday vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Birthday of the Buddha with us, and that you learned something new today.

What are the most important holidays in your country? Are any of them related to Buddhism? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

To discover even more about Cantonese culture and the language, we recommend that you read the following pages:

To continue learning about Hong Kong and the Cantonese language, create your free lifetime account on CantoneseClass101.com. With tons of fun and effective lessons for learners at every level, there’s something for everyone! Start learning with us, and attain your goals in no time.

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Hong Kong Life Events: Happy New Year in Cantonese and More!

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Important life events are a great opportunity to practice Cantonese. Not only do they give you an opportunity to express your friendliness and caring to your native friends, but they can also serve as very good conversation starters.

Can’t wait to learn Happy New Year in Cantonese, and more? Keep reading for a comprehensive guide to Cantonese life events and messages!

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Table of Contents

  1. Birthday
  2. Chinese New Year
  3. New Year
  4. Other Holidays
  5. Graduation
  6. New Job/Promotion
  7. Retirement
  8. Wedding
  9. Injured/Sick
  10. Pregnancy and Birth
  11. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. Birthday

Happy Birthday

Most Hong Kongers have two birthdays: one expressed in Gregorian format, and the other one based on the lunar calendar. Nowadays, most natives only celebrate their Gregorian birthday, but the older generation may still treat their lunar birthday as the “real birthday,” and hence celebrate that one instead.

If you’re to celebrate a birthday for a local friend, you may want to learn a few birthday messages to say, on top of bringing presents and cake. Here at CantoneseClass101.com, we hope to make learning about Cantonese life event messages both fun and informative!

1- 祝你生日快樂,心想事成

Meaning: I wish you a happy birthday, and that all your wishes come true!
Romanization: zuk1 nei5 saang1 jat6 faai3 lok6, sam1 soeng2 si6 sing4
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

2- 牛一快樂!

Meaning: Happy B-day!
Romanization: ngau4 jat1 faai3 lok6
Format: Applicable to spoken/informal scenarios

3- 青春常駐,年年廿八!

Meaning: Wishing you always (stay) young, like 28 years old, every year!
Romanization: cing1 ceon1 soeng4 zyu3, nin4 nin4 jaa6 baat3
Format: Applicable to spoken/informal scenarios


2. Chinese New Year

There are two new years in Hong Kong: the New Year that everyone celebrates (based on the Gregorian calendar) and the Chinese New Year (based on the lunar calendar). Chinese New Year is a very important holiday in Hong Kong, as well as the Greater China area. We usually greet relatives and friends with the below greetings for Chinese New Year. Familiarize yourself with the common expressions below in exchange for some red packets (if you’re entitled to them)!

Red Packet

1- 恭喜發財!

Meaning: May you have a prosperous New Year!
Romanization: gung1 hei2 faat3 coi4
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

2- 年年有餘!

Meaning: Wishing you prosperity through the years!
Romanization: nin4 nin4 jau5 jyu4
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

3- 身體健康!

Meaning: Wishing you good health!
Romanization: san1 tai2 gin6 hong1
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

4- 萬事如意!

Meaning: Best wishes for the new year!
Romanization: maan6 si6 jyu4 ji3
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

5- 大吉大利!

Meaning: May good fortune be with you!
Romanization: daai6 gat1 daai6 lei6
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

6- 快高長大!

Meaning: May you grow up fast and strong!
Romanization: faai3 gou1 zoeng2 daai6
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

7- 青春常駐!

Meaning: May your youth always be with you!
Romanization: cing1 ceon1 soeng4 zyu3
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

8- 龍馬精神!

Meaning: May you be as energetic as dragons and horses!
Romanization: lung4 maa5 zing1 san4
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

9- 學業進步!

Meaning: May you excel in your studies!
Romanization: hok6 jip6 zeon3 bou6
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

10- 心想事成!

Meaning: May all your wishes come true!
Romanization: sam1 soeng2 si6 sing4
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios


3. New Year

We also celebrate the universal New Year in Hong Kong (and with fireworks!). See below for some Cantonese congratulations you can say to your native friends for the New Year!

Fireworks

1- 新年快樂,恭喜發財!今年煙花勁靚!

Meaning: May you have a happy and prosperous New Year! This year’s fireworks are breathtaking!
Romanization: san1 nin4 faai3 lok6! gung1 hei2 faat3 coi4! gam1 nin4 jin1 faa1 ging6 leng3
Format: Applicable to spoken/informal scenarios

2- 新年快樂!

Meaning: Have a happy New Year!
Romanization: san1 nin4 faai3 lok6
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

3- 祝你新一年健康、快樂。

Meaning: Wishing you health and happiness in the new year.
Romanization: zuk1 nei5 san1 jat1 nin4 gin6 hong1, faai3 lok6
Format: Applicable to written/formal scenarios


4. Other Holidays

Basic Questions

As the city where East meets West, Hong Kong has both Chinese and Western holidays. For example, we celebrate Easter, Christmas, Mid-Autumn Festival, etc. Below are some sentences for you to express your joy and holiday wishes in Cantonese to your friends!

1- 聖誕快樂!

Meaning: Merry Christmas!
Romanization: sing3 daan3 faai3 lok6
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

2- 假期愉快!

Meaning: Happy holidays!
Romanization: gaa3 kei4 jyu6 faai3
Format: Applicable to written/formal scenarios

3- 享受你嘅假期!

Meaning: Enjoy the holidays!
Romanization: hoeng2 sau6 nei5 ge3 gaa3 kei4
Format: Applicable to spoken/informal scenarios


5. Graduation

Most people consider graduation to be a huge milestone—learn the phrases below to wish your friend or loved one a happy graduation!

Graduation Hat

1- 祝福你一路上擁有許多光明美好的機會,且能一一成功把握住它們!

Meaning: Wishing that brighter opportunities come your way and you achieve success in all of them!
Romanization: zuk1 fuk1 nei5 jat1 lou6 soeng6 jung2 jau5 heoi2 do1 gwong1 ming4 mei5 hou2 dik1 gei1 wui6, ce2 nang4 jat1 jat1 sing4 gung1 baa2 aak1 zyu6 taa1 mun4
Format: Applicable to written/formal scenarios

2- 展翅高飛吧!

Meaning: Spread your wings and fly!
Romanization: zin2 ci3 gou1 fei1 baa3
Format: Applicable to written/formal scenarios

3- 恭喜你畢業,亦都祝福你下一場旅程!

Meaning: Congratulations on your graduation, and best wishes for your next adventure!
Romanization: gung1 hei2 nei5 bat1 jip6, jik6 dou1 zuk1 fuk1 nei5 haa6 jat1 coeng4 leoi5 cing4
Format: Applicable to spoken/informal scenarios


6. New Job/Promotion

New jobs and promotions are worth celebrating! And in Hong Kong, if your close friends or your boss get promoted, they may treat you to lunch—so be prepared and learn some wise words of congratulations in Cantonese!

Celebration

1- 恭喜恭喜,鴻圖大展,步步高升!

Meaning: Congratulations! Wish you more advancement and progress in the near future!
Romanization: gung1 hei2 gung1 hei2, hung4 tou4 daai6 zin2, bou6 bou6 gou1 sing1
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

2- 祝您在新的仕途上再創輝煌!

Meaning: Hope you will make great success in your new position!
Romanization: zuk1 nei5 zoi6 san1 dik1 si6 tou4 soeng6 zoi3 cong3 fai1 wong4
Format: Applicable to written/formal scenarios

3- 升職快樂!

Meaning: Happy promotion!
Romanization: sing1 zik1 faai3 lok6
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios


7. Retirement

Hong Kongers typically retire between the ages of fifty-five to sixty-five. Do you know what to say when your friend or colleague retires?

Retirement Party

1- 祝您光榮退休!

Meaning: Best wishes as you retire!
Romanization: zuk1 nei5 gwong1 wing4 teoi3 jau1
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

2- 退休也許能改變您生活方式的許多方面,但無法改變您這位非凡的人物。

Meaning: Retirement may change many things in your lifestyle, but nothing can change the wonderful person you are.
Romanization: teoi3 jau1 jaa5 heoi2 nang4 goi2 bin3 nei5 saang1 wut6 fong1 sik1 dik1 heoi2 do1 fong1 min6, daan6 mou4 faat3 goi2 bin3 nei5 ze2 wai2 fei1 faan4 dik1 jan4 mat2
Format: Applicable to written/formal scenarios

3- 希望您很快找出新方式,使您每天能享受當自己老闆的愉快。

Meaning: Hope you’ll soon discover new ways to enjoy each day with all the pleasure of being your own boss.
Romanization: hei1 mong6 nei5 han2 faai3 zaau2 ceot1 san1 fong1 sik1, si5 nei5 mui5 tin1 nang4 hoeng2 sau6 dong1 zi6 gei2 lou5 baan2 dik1 jyu4 faai3
Format: Applicable to written/formal scenarios


8. Wedding

Marriage Proposal

Did you know that guests attending a wedding banquet are expected to give at least HK$800 in the form of red packets at the dinner reception? Further, the newlyweds often give out sweet favors, such as chocolates, before their guests go home.

1- 祝你哋白頭到老,永結同心!

Meaning: May you enjoy every happiness and success during your long life together!
Romanization: zuk1 nei5 dei6 baak6 tau4 dou3 lou5, wing5 git3 tung4 sam1
Format: Applicable to spoken/informal scenarios

2- 恭喜晒!祝你哋幸福!

Meaning: Congratulations! I wish you happiness!
Romanization: gung1 hei2 saai3! zuk1 nei5 dei6 hang6 fuk1
Format: Applicable to spoken/informal scenarios

3- 新婚快樂,早生貴子!

Meaning: Happy marriage and may you have a lovely baby early!
Romanization: san1 fan1 faai3 lok6, zou2 saang1 gwai3 zi2
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios


9. Injured/Sick

Instead of saying “take care” when someone is ill, a more local way to express your concern and care is “Have you went to the doctor’s yet?” See below how to express this in Cantonese, and learn more Cantonese condolences for someone who’s not feeling well.

Little Girl Got Sick

1- 睇咗醫生未?

Meaning: Have you went to the doctor’s yet?
Romanization: tai2 zo2 ji1 sang1 mei6
Format: Applicable to spoken/informal scenarios

2- 早日康復。

Meaning: Get well soon.
Romanization: zou2 jat6 hong1 fuk6
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

3- 保重。

Meaning: Take care.
Romanization: bou2 zung6
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios


10. Pregnancy and Birth

Talking about Age

How do you congratulate your friend’s newborn? Read below for some Cantonese congratulations you can use!

1- 恭喜添丁!

Meaning: Congratulations on the new baby!
Romanization: gung1 hei2 tim1 ding1
Format: Applicable to both written/formal and spoken/informal scenarios

2- 天大喜訊呀!

Meaning: That’s wonderful news.
Romanization: tin1 daai6 hei2 seon3 aa3
Format: Applicable to spoken/informal scenarios

3- 恭喜!祝你們的小寶貝帶來幸福

Meaning: Congratulations! May your baby bring you happiness.
Romanization: gung1 hei2! zuk1 nei5 mun4 dik1 siu2 bou2 bui3 daai3 loi4 hang6 fuk1
Format: Applicable to written/formal scenarios


11. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

We hope you still remember how to express Happy Birthday and Happy New Year in Cantonese!

With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning Cantonese now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native! Before you go, let us know in the comments which of these Cantonese life event messages you’ll be able to practice first! We look forward to hearing from you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Your Guide to Hong Kong Weather and More

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Weather is a crucial element in our everyday lives. Not only does it determine whether you can go for a hike or a football match over the weekend, but it also serves as a very good conversation starter. When looking for a solid way to open a conversation with a stranger in Cantonese, weather is almost fail-proof.

Can’t wait to know more about Hong Kong weather? Keep reading!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Cantonese

Table of Contents

  1. Hong Kong Weather Overview
  2. Key Words and Phrases about Weather in Cantonese
  3. Common Sentences to Talk about the Weather
  4. Bonus: 4 Common Hong Kong Natural Disasters
  5. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. Hong Kong Weather Overview

Falling into the subtropical climate zone, Hong Kong has four seasons: humid spring, rainy summer, invigorating autumn, and cool winter. The average annual temperature is 23°C (73.4°F).

Looking at Hong Kong weather by month, many would agree the best months of Hong Kong weather are November and December, where the temperature is generally comfortable with ample sunshine and pleasant breezes. From May to November, Hong Kong may be subjected to tropical cyclones of various strengths, and occasional showers and thunderstorms.

1- Spring

Spring

From March to May marks the spring season in Hong Kong. You can usually expect showers, fog, and steamy humidity. The temperature in spring typically ranges from 18°C to 25°C (64.4°F to 77°F).

The weather throughout the season can be quite unpredictable—sometimes you get to enjoy a clear blue sky; other times, you may experience sudden heavy rain. Still other times, it might get too foggy, which leads to reduced visibility and temporary suspension of ferry services.

If you’re going to travel to Hong Kong for a short trip in the springtime, it’s wise to bring shorts, t-shirts, and rainwear. As it will turn a bit chilly at night, you should bring a light jacket or coat, and a sweater as well.

2- Summer

Beach

Summer (June to August) brings unbearable heat, rain, and frequent typhoons to Hong Kong. The average temperature is 28°C (82.4°F), but it can often go up to 32°C (89.6°F) or even higher during the daytime. Little breeze, burning sunshine, and extreme humidity can be a nightmare to both locals and travelers. Be sure to arrive prepared with practical phrases to talk about hot weather in Cantonese, and follow our tips below.

Hong Kong is also due for constant threat of showers, typhoons, and thunderstorms in the summer. June has the highest average rainfall, and heat usually spikes in July or August.

If you’re going to travel to Hong Kong for a short trip in the summer, it’s suggested to bring t-shirts, shorts, and dresses. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella as well, to avoid getting wet in the rain.

3- Autumn

Autumn

Autumn (September to November; average temperature 24°C or 75.2°F) is probably the best time to visit Hong Kong. During this time of the year, Hong Kong is cool and dry, with ample sunshine and pleasant breezes—perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking on Lamma Island and standup paddleboarding in Sai Kung!

If you would like to visit Hong Kong in lovely autumn, it’s advised to bring t-shirts, a thin overcoat, and a sweater (particularly toward the end of autumn).

4- Winter

Winter Clothing

Winter in Hong Kong is cool, dry, and cloudy, with occasional cold fronts. The temperature typically ranges from 12°C to 20°C (53.6°F to 68°F), although in recent years, Hong Kong winter has been getting hotter. In 2018, the average temperature went up to 19.1°C (66.4°F) due to global warming and local urbanization.

Still, it’s suggested to bring sweaters, coats, and boots if you’re to visit Hong Kong in the winter months. When a cold front hits Hong Kong, the temperature can drop quickly down to below 10°C (50°F), or even near 0°C (32°F) in the suburbs.

As temperature varies widely in the winter, it’s encouraged to check the Hong Kong Observatory, the Hong Kong government’s weather forecast agency, for up-to-date Hong Kong weather forecasts and tips.


2. Key Words and Phrases about Weather in Cantonese

Weather

All of the following examples are in written Cantonese.

1- 温度

Meaning: temperature
Romanization: wan1 dou6

  • Example Sentence: 温度計上的溫度是甚麼?
  • Romanization: wan1 dou6 gai3 soeng6 dik1 wan1 dou6 si6 sam6 mo1
  • Meaning: What is the temperature on the thermometer?

2- 颱風

Meaning: hurricane
Romanization: toi4 fung1

  • Example Sentence: 颱風從海洋吹到陸地。
  • Romanization: toi4 fung1 cung4 hoi2 joeng4 ceoi1 dou6 luk6 dei6
  • Meaning: The hurricane is blowing in from the sea.

3- 風

Meaning: wind
Romanization: fung1

  • Example Sentence: 正在刮風,我們回家吧。
  • Romanization: zing3 zoi6 gwaat3 fung1, ngo5 mun4 wui4 gaa1 baa6
  • Meaning: The wind is blowing; let’s head home.

4- 雨

Meaning: rain
Romanization: jyu5

  • Example Sentence: 街上正在下雨。
  • Romanization: gai1 soeng6 zing3 zoi6 haa6 jyu5
  • Meaning: The rain is falling on the street.

5- 悶熱

Meaning: muggy
Romanization: mun6 jit6

  • Example Sentence: 今天非常悶熱。
  • Romanization: gam1 tin1 fei1 soeng4 mun6 jit6
  • Meaning: Today is very muggy.

6- 濕度

Meaning: humidity
Romanization: sap1 dou6

  • Example Sentence: 低濕度令空氣感覺乾燥。
  • Romanization: dai1 sap1 dou6 ling6 hung1 hei3 gam2 gok3 gon1 cou3
  • Meaning: With low humidity, the air feels dry.

7- 潮濕

Meaning: humid
Romanization: ciu4 sap1

  • Example Sentence: 八月很潮濕。
  • Romanization: baat3 jyut6 han2 ciu4 sap1
  • Meaning: It’s humid in August.

8- 結冰

Meaning: ice over
Romanization: git3 bing1

  • Example Sentence: 橋比旁邊的馬路更快結冰。
  • Romanization: kiu4 bei2 pong4 bin1 dik1 maa5 lou6 gang3 faai3 git3 bing1
  • Meaning: Bridges will ice over before the rest of the roadway.

9- 攝氏

Meaning: Celsius
Romanization: sip3 si6

  • Example Sentence: 今天氣溫是攝氏三十度。
  • Romanization: gam1 tin1 hei3 wan1 si6 sip3 si6 saam1 sap6 dou6
  • Meaning: Today’s temperature is 30 degrees Celsius.

10- 雪

Meaning: snow
Romanization: syut3

  • Example Sentence: 下雪的森林。
  • Romanization: haa6 syut3 dik1 sam1 lam4
  • Meaning: The snow is falling in the woods.

11- 彩虹

Meaning: rainbow
Romanization: coi2 hung4

  • Example Sentence: 我看見秀麗的彩虹。
  • Romanization: ngo5 hon3 gin3 sau3 lai6 dik1 coi2 hung4
  • Meaning: I saw a scenic rainbow.

12- 放晴

Meaning: clear up
Romanization: fong3 cing4

  • Example Sentence: 我在等天氣放晴。
  • Romanization: ngo5 zoi6 dang2 tin1 hei3 fong3 cing4
  • Meaning: I am waiting for the sky to clear up.

13- 結冰

Meaning: freeze
Romanization: git3 bing1

  • Example Sentence: 水在玻璃上結冰。
  • Romanization: seoi2 zoi6 bo1 lei1 soeng6 git3 bing1
  • Meaning: The water froze on the glass.


3. Common Sentences to Talk about the Weather

Complaints

To inquire about the weather:

Chinese Character: 天氣點呀?
Meaning: How’s the weather?
Romanization: tin1 hei3 dim5 aa1
Breakdown: 天氣 means “weather,” 點 means “how,” and 呀 is the question mark particle.

To answer the question:

1- 我覺得好熱

Meaning: I feel very hot.
Romanization: ngo5 gok3 dak1 hou2 jit6
Breakdown: 我 means “I,” 覺得 means “feel,” 好 means “very,” and 熱 means “hot.”

2- 我覺得好凍

Meaning: I feel very cold.
Romanization: ngo5 gok3 dak1 hou2 dung3
Breakdown: 凍 means “cold.”

3- 我覺得今日好潮濕

Meaning: I feel very humid today.
Romanization: ngo5 gok3 dak1 gam1 jat6 hou2 ciu4 sap1
Breakdown: 今日 means “today” and 潮濕 means “humid.”

4- 可能會落雨

Meaning: Perhaps it’ll rain.
Romanization: ho2 nang4 wui5 lok6 jyu5
Breakdown: 可能 means “perhaps,” 會 means “will,” and 落雨 means “rain.”

5- 今日太曬喇

Meaning: It is too sunny today.
Romanization: gam1 jat6 taai3 saai3 laa3
Breakdown: 太 means “too,” 曬 means “sunny,” and 喇 is the particle.

To inquire about the temperature:

Chinese Character: 今日幾多度呀?
Meaning: How’s the temperature today?
Romanization: gam1 jat6 gei2 do1 dou6 aa3
Breakdown: 幾多 means “how many,” 度 means “temperature,” and 呀 is the question mark particle.

To answer the question:

Chinese Character: 今日三十二度
Meaning: It’s 32 degrees Celsius today.
Romanization: gam1 jat6 saam1 sap6 ji6 dou6
Breakdown: 三十二 means “thirty-two” and 度 means “degrees Celsius.”


4. Bonus: 4 Common Hong Kong Natural Disasters

Storm Cloud

Typhoon — Hong Kong is frequently hit by typhoons in summer, causing varying degrees of damage and, on rare occasions, injuries and deaths. The typhoon warning system using the designations T1, T3, T8, and T10, indicates the degree of storm intensity.

Landslide — The Hong Kong Observatory and the Geotechnical Engineering Office issue a landslide warning whenever there’s a high risk of landslides due to heavy rainfall.

Flood — Hong Kong sees very heavy rainstorms and has one of the highest average rainfall amounts of all the cities in the Pacific Rim. During particularly heavy storms, floods often occur in rural low-lying areas and natural flood plains.

Wildfire — On average, Hong Kong experiences over 10,000 wildfires each year, which injure or take the lives of more than 600 people. Most wildfires are the result of carelessness or negligence.

Learn more about Hong Kong natural disasters here.


5. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

We hope you’re now much more familiar with Hong Kong weather! Are seasons and weather talk similar in your own country, or very different? Let us know in the comments!

Fancy visiting Hong Kong in the refreshing autumn and want to put some basic Cantonese in your pocket? With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Cantonese

100 Cantonese Adjectives Just for You!

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Adjectives are a very important part of our everyday language. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to describe how pretty the girl sitting next to you is or how spectacular the scenery is.

Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

The more Cantonese adjectives you know, the easier for you to master the Cantonese language. Can’t wait to learn more about Cantonese adjectives? Keep reading and let CantoneseClass101 give you a hand!

Note that we will provide both written and spoken example sentences throughout the article for you. This will help you learn Cantonese adjectives in both forms. We’ve used symbols to help you identify which ones are written (w), spoken (s), or applicable to both (ws).

Now, let’s have some fun with Cantonese adjectives!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Use an Adjective
  2. Adjectives for Dimensions, Sizes, Distance, Number, Frequency, etc.
  3. Adjectives Describing Value, Conditions, etc.
  4. Adjectives Describing Personalities and Feelings
  5. Adjectives Describing Colors, Weather, Taste, Appearance, etc.
  6. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. How to Use an Adjective

Reading

There are three typical ways to use an Cantonese language adjectives in a sentence or phrase.

1- Adjective + 嘅 + Noun

We usually add 嘅 (ge3) between an adjective and a noun. For example, a “huge portion” in Cantonese is 大嘅份量 (daai6 ge3 fan6 loeng6), where 大 means “huge” and 份量 means “portion.”

Other examples include:

  • (s) 開心嘅爸爸 (hoi1 sam1 ge3 baa4 baa1)
    Meaning: “a happy dad”
  • (s) 高嘅小朋友 (gou1 ge3 siu2 pang4 jau5)
    Meaning: “a tall kid”

2- Adjective + Noun

In some instances, we can use an adjective and noun together without adding 嘅 (ge3). This implies we should treat the adjective and the noun as a unit.

Examples:

  • (ws) 大國 (daai6 gwok3)
    Meaning: “a great country”
  • (ws) 窮人 (kung4 jan4)
    Meaning: “poor people” / “the poor”
  • (ws) 高山 (gou1 saan1)
    Meaning: “tall mountain”

3- Noun + Be Verb + Adjective + 嘅

We can also put the noun at the front when we use an adjective in Cantonese. Look at the examples below:

  • Chinese Character: (s) 屋係白色嘅
    Romanization: uk1zi2 hai6 baak6 sik1 ge3
    Meaning: The house is white.
    Breakdown: 屋 is “house”; 係 is “is”; 白色 is “white”
  • Chinese Character: (s) 新書係貴嘅
    Romanization: san1 syu1 hai6 gwai3 ge3
    Meaning: The new book is expensive.
    Breakdown: 新 is “new”; 書 is “book”; 係 is “is”; 貴 is “expensive”


2. Adjectives for Dimensions, Sizes, Distance, Number, Frequency, etc.

Most Common Adjectives

# Chinese Characters Romanization Meaning Example
1 gou1 Tall (ws) 高山 (gou1 saan1)
Meaning: tall mountain
2 dyun2 Short (ws) 短褲 (dyun2 fu3)
Meaning: short pants
3 daai6 Big / Huge (ws) 大事 (daai6 si6)
Meaning: a huge incident
4 fut3 Wide (ws) 闊腳褲 (fut3 goek3 fu3)
Meaning: wide leg pants
5 coeng4 Long (ws) 長褲 (coeng4 fu3)
Meaning: trousers
6 hau5 Thick (ws) 厚多士 (hau5 do1 si2)
Meaning: thick toast
7 sai3 Small / Little (s) 細佬 (sai3 lou2)
Meaning: little brother
8 sau3 Thin (s) 佢好瘦 (keoi5 hou2 sau3)
Meaning: He/she is thin.
9 sam1 Deep (ws) 深山 (sam1 saan1)
Meaning: deep in the mountains
10 zaak3 Narrow (ws) 窄腳褲 (zaak3 goek3 fu3)
Meaning: narrow pants
11 jyun4 Circular / Round (s) 月亮係圓嘅 (jyut6 loeng6 hai6 jyun4 ge3)
Meaning: The moon is round.
12 zik6 Straight (ws) 直線 (zik6 sin3)
Meaning: straight line
13 siu2 Little / Few (w) 數量很少 (sou3 loeng6 han2 siu2)
Meaning: The amount is few.
14 do1 Many / Large (ws) 多數 (do1 sou3)
Meaning: large amount
15 全部 cyun4 bou6 All (ws) 全部人 (cyun4 bou6 jan4)
Meaning: all people
16 一些 jat1 se1 Some (w) 一些人 (jat1 se1 jan4)
Meaning: some people


3. Adjectives Describing Value, Conditions, etc.

Mexican Money

# Chinese Characters Romanization Meaning Example
1 co3 Wrong (s) 錯嘅時間 (co3 ge3 si4 gaan3)
Meaning: wrong time
2 正確 zing3 kok3 Right / Correct (ws) 正確地址 (zing3 kok3 dei6 zi2)
Meaning: correct address
3 hou2 Good (ws) 好人 (hou2 jan4)
Meaning: a good person
4 caa1 Bad / Poor (ws) 成績差 (sing4 zik1 caa1)
Meaning: poor grade
5 naan4 Difficult (s) 法文好難 (faat3 man2 hou2 naan4)
Meaning: French is difficult.
6 ji6 Easy (s) 跟我學廣東話好易 (gan1 ngo5 hok6 gwong2 dung1 waa2 hou2 ji6)
Meaning: Learning Cantonese with me is very easy.
7 san1 New (ws) 新年快樂 (san1 nin4 faai3 lok6)
Meaning: Happy new year.
8 gau6 Old (s) 我間屋好舊 (ngo5 gaan1 uk1 hou2 gau6)
Meaning: My house is really old.
9 peng4 Cheap (s) 好平呀 (hou2 peng4 aa3)
Meaning: really cheap
10 gwai3 Expensive (s) 香港啲樓好貴 (hoeng1 gong2 di1 lau2 hou2 gwai3)
Meaning: Apartments in Hong Kong are very expensive.
11 年青 nin4 cing1 Young (ws) 年青人 (nin4 cing1 jan4)
Meaning: the youth
12 lou5 Old (ws) 老人 (lou5 jan4)
Meaning: the elderly
13 faai3 Fast (s) 我跑得好快 (ngo5 paau2 dak1 hou2 faai3)
Meaning: I run really fast.
14 maan6 Slow (s) 我鍾意慢活嘅概念 (ngo5 zung1 ji3 maan6 wut6 ge3 koi3 nim6)
Meaning: I like the concept of slow-living.
15 有用 jau5 jung6 Useful (s) 學外語好有用 (hok6 ngoi6 jyu5 hou2 jau5 jung6)
Meaning: Learning a new language is very useful.
16 冇用 mou5 jung6 Useless (s) 一定唔可以做個冇用嘅人 (jat1 ding6 m4 ho2 ji3 zou6 go3 mou5 jung6 ge3 jan4)
Meaning: We must not become a useless person.
17 waai6 Bad (ws) 壞習慣 (waai6 zaap6 gwaan3)
Meaning: bad habits
18 乾淨 gon1 zeng6 Clean (s) 乾淨嘅環境 (gon1 zeng6 ge3 waan4 ging2)
Meaning: clean environment
19 污糟 wu1 zou1 Dirty (s) 污糟嘅環境 (wu1 zou1 ge3 waan4 ging2)
Meaning: dirty environment
20 cou4 Noisy (s) 佢好嘈 (keoi5 hou2 cou4)
Meaning: He/she is very noisy.
21 zing6 Quiet (s) 佢好靜 (keoi5 hou2 zing6)
Meaning: He/she is very quiet.
22 joek6 Weak (s) 佢好弱 (keoi5 hou2 joek6)
Meaning: He/She is very weak.
23 強壯 koeng4 zong3 Strong (physically) (s) 強壯嘅BB (koeng4 zong3 ge3 BB)
Meaning: strong baby
24 hung1 Empty (s) 個樽係空嘅 (go3 zeon1 hai6 hung1 ge3)
Meaning: The bottle is empty.


4. Adjectives Describing Personalities and Feelings

From Joy to Sorrow

# Chinese Characters

Romanization Meaning Example
1 不安 bat1 on1 Anxious (w) 明天考試結果就出來了,我真的很不安 (ming4 tin1 haau2 si3 gik3 gwo2 zau6 ceot1 loi4 liu5 , ngo5 zan1 dik1 han2 bat1 on1)
Meaning: The exam results are coming out tomorrow, and I’m really anxious about it.
2 勤奮 kan4 fan5 Diligent (w) 勤奮的小孩 (kan4 fan5 dik1 siu2 haai4)
Meaning: a diligent kid
3 幽默 jau1 mak6 Humorous (w) 幽默的故事 (jau1 mak6 dik1 gu3 si6)
Meaning: humorous story
4 禮貌 lai5 maau6 Polite (w) 第一次見面時,與對方握手是禮貌的動作 (dai6 jat1 ci3 gin3 min6 si4, jyu5 deoi3 fong1 ak1 sau2 si6 lai5 maau6 dik1 dung6 zok3)
Meaning: It is polite to shake hands when meeting someone for the first time.
5 活躍 wut6 joek3 Active (w) 活躍的孩子 (wut6 joek3 dik1 haai4 zi2)
Meaning: active child
6 誠實 sing4 sat6 Honest (w) 他是個誠實的人 (taa1 si6 go3 sing4 sat6 dik1 jan4)
Meaning: He is an honest person.
7 有趣 jau5 ceoi3 Funny (w) 他不穿褲子跳舞,真有趣 (taa1 bat1 cyun1 fu3 zi2 tiu3 mou5, zan1 jau5 ceoi3)
Meaning: The funny man is dancing without pants.
8 冷靜 laang5 zing6 Calm (w) 那個女人很冷靜 (naa5 go3 neoi5 jan2 han2 laang5 zing6)
Meaning: The woman is calm.
9 mun6 Boring (w) 他很悶 (taa1 han2 mun6)
Meaning: He is boring.
10 正經 zing3 ging1 Serious (ws) 正經的人 (zing3 ging1 dik1 jan4)
Meaning: a serious person
11 害羞 hoi6 sau1 Shy (w) 害羞的小孩 (hoi6 sau1 dik1 siu2 haai4)
Meaning: a shy child
12 善良 sin6 loeng4 Kind (w) 善良的人 (sin6 loeng4 dik1 jan4)
Meaning: a kind person
13 有活力 jau5 wut6 lik6 Energetic (w) 有活力的講者 (jau5 wut6 lik6 dik1 gong2 ze2)
Meaning: an energetic speaker
14 jing4 Cool (s) 我收藏型嘅T恤 (ngo5 sau1 cong4 jing4 ge3 T seot1)
Meaning: I collect cool T-shirts.
15 親切 can1 cit3 Friendly (w) 親切的叔叔 (can1 cit3 dik1 suk1 suk1)
Meaning: a friendly uncle
16 聰明 cung1 ming4 Smart (w) 聰明的孩子 (cung1 ming4 dik1 haai4 zi2)
Meaning: a smart child
17 浪漫 long6 maan6 Romantic (w) 他很浪漫 (taa1 han2 long6 maan6)
Meaning: He is romantic.
18 勇敢 jung5 gam2 Brave (w) 我是一個勇敢的人 (ngo5 si6 jat1 go3 jung5 gam2 dik1 jan4)
Meaning: I am brave.
19 內向 noi6 hoeng3 Introverted (w) 她很內向,不擅與人交際 (taa1 han2 noi6 hoeng3, bat1 sin6 jyu5 jan4 gaau1 zai3)
Meaning: She is introverted and does not know how to socialize.
20 可靠 ho2 kaau3 Reliable (w) 爸爸很可靠 (baa4 baa1 han2 ho2 kaau3)
Meaning: Dad is very reliable.
21 外向 ngoi6 hoeng3 Extroverted (w) 媽媽很外向 (maa4 maa1 han2 ngoi6 hoeng3)
Meaning: Mom is very extroverted.
22 有想像力 jau5 soeng2 zoeng6 lik6 Imaginative (w) 弟弟有想像力 (dai4 dai2 jau5 soeng2 zoeng6 lik6)
Meaning: (My) little brother is imaginative.
23 有耐性 jau5 noi6 sing3 Patient (w) 姐姐有耐性 (ze4 ze1 jau5 noi6 sing3)
Meaning: (My) elder sister is patient.
24 有同情心 jau5 tung4 cing4 sam1 Compassionate (w) 妹妹有同情心 (mui4 mui2 jau5 tung4 cing4 sam1)
Meaning: (My) little sister is compassionate.
25 驕傲 giu1 ou6 Proud (w) 哥哥很驕傲 (go4 go1 han2 giu1 ou6)
Meaning: (My) elder brother is very proud.
26 gui6 Tired (s) 我錄咗成段片,好攰呀 (ngo5 luk6 zo2 seng4 dyun6 pin2, hou2 gui6 aa3)
Meaning: I’m tired after recording this video.
27 肚餓 tou5 ngo6 Hungry (s) 好肚餓呀 (hou2 tou5 ngo6 aa3)
Meaning: I’m so hungry.
28 baau2 Full (s) 好飽呀 (hou2 baau2 aa3)
Meaning: I’m so full.
29 開心 hoi1 sam1 Happy (s) 我好開心呀 (ngo5 hou2 hoi1 sam1 aa3)
Meaning: I’m so happy.
30 傷心 soeng1 sam1 Sad (s) 我好傷心呀 (ngo5 hou2 soeng1 sam1 aa3)
Meaning: I’m so sad.


5. Adjectives Describing Colors, Weather, Taste, Appearance, etc.

Colourful Rings

# Chinese Characters Romanization Meaning Example
1 黑色 hak1 sik1 Black (w) 黑色的手機 (hak1 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: black cellphone
2 藍色 laam4 sik1 Blue (w) 藍色的手機 (laam4 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: blue cellphone
3 灰色 fui1 sik1 Gray (w) 灰色的手機 (fui1 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: gray cellphone
4 綠色 luk6 sik1 Green (w) 綠色的手機 (luk6 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: green cellphone
5 橙色 caang2 sik1 Orange (w) 橙色的手機 (caang2 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: orange cellphone
6 紫色 zi2 sik1 Purple (w) 紫色的手機 (zi2 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: purple cellphone
7 紅色 hung4 sik1 Red (w) 紅色的手機 (hung4 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: red cellphone
8 青色 ceng1 sik1 Cyan-blue (w) 青色的手機 (ceng1 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: cyan-blue cellphone
9 米色 mai5 sik1 Beige (w) 米色的手機 (mai5 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: beige cellphone
10 粉紅色 fan2 hung4 sik1 Pink (w) 粉紅色的手機 (fan2 hung4 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: pink cellphone
11 白色 baak6 sik1 White (w) 白色的手機 (baak6 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: white cellphone
12 黃色 wong4 sik1 Yellow (w) 黃色的手機 (wong4 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: yellow cellphone
13 啡色 fei1 sik1 Brown (w) 啡色的手機 (fei1 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: brown cellphone
14 laang5 Cold (w) 今天很 (gam1 tin1 han2 laang5)
Meaning: It’s cold today.
15 jit6 Hot (w) 今天很 (gam1 tin1 han2 jit6)
Meaning: It’s hot today.
16 溫暖 wan1 nyun5 Warm (w) 今天很溫暖 (gam1 tin1 han2 wan1 nyun5)
Meaning: It’s warm today.
17 潮濕 ciu4 sap1 Humid (w) 今天很潮濕 (gam1 tin1 han2 ciu4 sap1)
Meaning: It’s humid today.
18 saai3 Sunny (w) 今天很 (gam1 tin1 han2 saai3)
Meaning: It’s sunny today.
19 有風 jau5 fung1 Windy (w) 今天有風 (gam1 tin1 jau5 fung1)
Meaning: It’s windy today.
20 天晴 tin1 ceng4 Sunny (w) 今天天晴 (gam1 tin1 tin1 ceng4)
Meaning: It’s sunny today.
21 密雲 mat6 wan4 Cloudy (w) 今天密雲 (gam1 tin1 mat6 wan4)
Meaning: It’s cloudy today.
22 fu2 Bitter (w) 這道菜很 (ze2 dou6 coi3 han2 fu2)
Meaning: This dish is bitter.
23 新鮮 san1 sin1 Fresh (w) 這道菜很新鮮 (ze2 dou6 coi3 han2 san1 sin1)
Meaning: This dish is fresh.
24 haam4 Salty (w) 這道菜很 (ze2 dou6 coi3 han2 haam4)
Meaning: This dish is salty.
25 syun1 Sour (w) 這道菜很 (ze2 dou6 coi3 han2 syun1)
Meaning: This dish is sour.
26 laat6 Spicy (w) 這道菜很 (ze2 dou6 coi3 han2 laat6)
Meaning: This dish is spicy.
27 tim4 Sweet (w) 這道菜很 (ze2 dou6 coi3 han2 tim4)
Meaning: This dish is sweet.
28 得意 dak1 ji3 Cute (s) 好得意呀 (hou2 dak1 ji3 aa3)
Meaning: It’s so cute.
29 核突 wat6 dat6 Ugly (s) 佢好核突 (keoi5 hou2 wat6 dat6)
Meaning: He is so ugly.
30 leng3 Beautiful (s) 林嘉欣好 (lam4 gaa1 jan1 hou2 leng3)
Meaning: Karena Lam is very beautiful.


6. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Improve Pronunciation

Did you learn any new Cantonese adjectives? Is there anything you’re still fuzzy on? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help! To practice, why not write us a paragraph about yourself in the comments using some of these adjectives? We look forward to hearing what you have to say. :)
Want to level up your Cantonese and learn more Cantonese phrases? No worries. With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

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10 Netflix Hong Kong Shows Not to Miss Out On!

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Learning Cantonese is a headache to many—after all, with nine tones and 20k+ characters, Cantonese is one of the most difficult languages to master! But, with the right tools, you can certainly learn Cantonese a lot quicker and more effectively—in this case, those tools would be a great Cantonese course and the best Netflix Hong Kong shows.

Watching shows and movies in Cantonese on Netflix is a great way to sharpen language skills. Without even noticing, you’ll end up understanding the spoken language a lot better, and improve your pronunciation simply because you’ve gained familiarity with Cantonese as a whole.

Do you want to learn Cantonese on Netflix, while also learning more about the Hong Kong culture? Here are ten Netflix Hong Kong shows for you to work through in your spare time!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Table of Contents

  1. S Storm
  2. Vulgaria
  3. Initial D
  4. Cold War
  5. Royal Tramp
  6. The Midnight After
  7. A Complicated Story
  8. Justice, My Foot!
  9. Sixty Million Dollar Man
  10. OCTB
  11. Bonus: More Cantonese TV Shows and Movies!
  12. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. S Storm

  • Cantonese Title: S風暴
  • Romanization: S fung1 bou6
  • Director: David Lam
  • Stars: Louis Koo; Julian Cheung; Vic Chou

S Storm is a 2016 crime action movie, and the second film in the Storm film series, following 2014’s Z Storm.

Currently one of the best Cantonese Netflix films, S Storm depicts a classic run-in between the Independent Commission Against Corruption (a.k.a. ICAC) and the Hong Kong Police Force, which was triggered by the murder of the trader by a lone assassin. William Luk from ICAC refuses to disclose any information regarding the murder case to Julian Cheung, the chief investigator of the case from the Hong Kong police, even though he witnessed the incident.

The story continues to unfold as the police uncover that the murder case was actually tied to illegal bookmaking on football betting, and an international crime syndicate…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 廉政公署
    Romanization: lim4 zing3 gung1 cyu5
    Meaning: Independent Commission Against Corruption
  • Character: 貪污
    Romanization: taam1 wu1
    Meaning: Corruption
  • Character: 兇殺案
    Romanization: hung1 saat3 ngon3
    Meaning: Murder case
  • Character: 犯罪
    Romanization: faan6 zeoi6
    Meaning: Commiting a crime
  • Character: 調查
    Romanization: diu6 caa4
    Meaning: Investigation


2. Vulgaria

  • Cantonese Title: 低俗喜劇
  • Romanization: dai1 zuk6 hei2 kek6
  • Director: Ho-Cheung Pang
  • Stars: Chapman To; Kristal Tin; Ronald Cheng

Looking for Cantonese films on Netflix to make you laugh? Vulgaria is a 2012 comedy that tells the story of how a divorced movie producer strives to fulfill his daughter’s dream of seeing him being interviewed by a major HK TV broadcaster, despite the fact that he’s poor and struggling to make alimony payments to his ex-wife…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 喜劇
    Romanization: hei2 kek6
    Meaning: Comedy
  • Character: 女兒
    Romanization: neoi5 ji4
    Meaning: Daughter
  • Character: 監製
    Romanization: gaam1 zai3
    Meaning: Movie producer
  • Character: 婚姻
    Romanization: fan1 jan1
    Meaning: Marriage
  • Character: 電影
    Romanization: din6 jing2
    Meaning: Movie


3. Initial D

Best Ways to Learn

  • Cantonese Title: 頭文字D
  • Romanization: tau4 man4 zi6 D
  • Director: Andrew Lau; Alan Mak
  • Stars: Shawn Yue; Edison Chen; Jay Chou

Initial D, released in 2005, is an action film adapted from the Japanese Initial D manga series. The movie is about Takumi Fujiwara, a high school student, who has decided to focus on drift racing after winning his first competition. This is a sport he unknowingly perfects while delivering tofu with his father’s Toyota AE86…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 父親
    Romanization: fu6 can1
    Meaning: Father
  • Character: 豆腐
    Romanization: dau6 fu6
    Meaning: Tofu
  • Character: 漂移
    Romanization: piu1 ji4
    Meaning: Drifting
  • Character: 汽車
    Romanization: hei3 ce1
    Meaning: Car
  • Character: 擊敗
    Romanization: gik1 baai6
    Meaning: Defeat


4. Cold War

  • Cantonese Title: 寒戰
  • Romanization: hon4 zin3
  • Director: Longman Leung; Sunny Luk
  • Stars: Aaron Kwok; Tony Ka Fai Leung; Charlie Yeung

Cold War—the opening film at the 17th Busan International Film Festival—is a 2012 Hong Kong police thriller film. Its name derives from the code name used in the police operation, and the film has a sequel called Cold War 2.

During the investigation of a missing Hong Kong Police Force van, they find that the terrorists possess detailed knowledge of the police’s procedures and can always plan several steps ahead. In the absence of the Chief Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner M.B. Lee leads an operation code-named “Cold War,” and declares a state of emergency…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 警隊
    Romanization: ging2 deoi2
    Meaning: Police force
  • Character: 副處長
    Romanization: fu3 cyu3 zoeng2
    Meaning: Deputy Commissioner
  • Character: 行動
    Romanization: hang4 dung6
    Meaning: Operation
  • Character: 贖金
    Romanization: suk6 gam1
    Meaning: Ransom
  • Character: 代號
    Romanization: doi6 hou6
    Meaning: Code name


5. Royal Tramp

  • Cantonese Title: 鹿鼎記
  • Romanization: luk6 ding2 gei3
  • Director: Jing Wong
  • Stars: Stephen Chow; Man Cheung; Chingmy Yau

Royal Tramp is a 1992 comedy based on Louis Cha’s novel The Deer and the Cauldron, and it stars the famous Stephen Chow, who played the protagonist Wai Siu-bo.

The story revolves around Wai Siu-bo, resourceful and cunning, who was made a member of the Heaven and Earth Society after rescuing its leader. Yet he performs poorly in his first assignment, and is subsequently made a servant to the very person the Heaven and Earth Society aim to overthrow…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 機智
    Romanization: gei1 zi3
    Meaning: Smart
  • Character: 決鬥
    Romanization: kyut3 dau3
    Meaning: Battle
  • Character: 皇帝
    Romanization: wong4 dai3
    Meaning: Emperor
  • Character: 皇宮
    Romanization: wong4 gung1
    Meaning: Royal Palace


6. The Midnight After

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  • Cantonese Title: 那夜凌晨,我坐上了旺角開往大埔的紅VAN
  • Romanization: naa5 je6 ling4 san4, ngo5 co5 soeng5 liu5 wong6 gok3 hoi1 wong5 daai6 bou3 dik1 hung4 VAN
  • Director: Fruit Chan
  • Stars: Suet Lam; Lam Wong; Cheuk-Ling Tin

The Midnight After is a 2014 satirical horror comedy film based on the web-novel Lost on a Red Mini Bus to Taipo. The movie begins with seventeen people taking a Hong Kong minibus to Tai Po. After the minibus enters a tunnel, a passenger notices that the traffic has disappeared and the city is quieter than usual….

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 凌晨
    Romanization: ling4 san4
    Meaning: Midnight
  • Character: 小巴
    Romanization: siu2 baa1
    Meaning: Minibus
  • Character: 隧道
    Romanization: seoi6 dou6
    Meaning: Tunnel
  • Character: 消失
    Romanization: siu1 sat1
    Meaning: Disappear
  • Character: 神秘
    Romanization: san4 bei3
    Meaning: Mysterious


7. A Complicated Story

  • Cantonese Title: 一個複雜故事
  • Romanization: jat1 go3 fuk1 zaap6 gu3 si6
  • Director: Kiwi Chow
  • Stars: Jacky Cheung; Zhi-Ying Zhu; Stephanie Che

A Complicated Story is a 2013 film based on the novel with the same title. It’s about Liu Yazi, a student from Mainland China in a Hong Kong University, who has decided to become a surrogate mother to pay for her brother’s medical expenses. However, she’s asked to terminate the contract during her pregnancy… One of the best Cantonese dramas on Netflix for language learners.

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 複雜
    Romanization: fuk1 zaap6
    Meaning: Complicated
  • Character: 代孕
    Romanization: doi6 jan6
    Meaning: Surrogacy
  • Character: 合約
    Romanization: hap6 joek3
    Meaning: Contract
  • Character: 秘密
    Romanization: bei3 mat6
    Meaning: Secret
  • Character: 學生
    Romanization: hok6 saang1
    Meaning: Student


8. Justice, My Foot!

  • Cantonese Title: 審死官
  • Romanization: sam2 sei2 gun1
  • Director: Johnnie To
  • Stars: Stephen Chow; Anita Mui; Man-Tat Ng

Justice, My Foot! is a 1992 film about a lawyer called Sung. Sung is intelligent and excellent in speech. By leveraging his talents and skills, he quickly becomes the best lawyer in the region. And he’ll do whatever it takes to win the case—even neglecting right and wrong. But, because of this, none of his newborns survive more than a year…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 言語
    Romanization: jin4 jyu5
    Meaning: Speech
  • Character: 狀師
    Romanization: zong6 si1
    Meaning: Lawyer (ancient Chinese)
  • Character: 正義
    Romanization: zing3 ji6
    Meaning: Justice
  • Character: 賄賂
    Romanization: kui2 lou6
    Meaning: Bribery
  • Character: 勸告
    Romanization: hyun3 gou3
    Meaning: Persuasion


9. Sixty Million Dollar Man

  • Cantonese Title: 百變星君
  • Romanization: baak3 bin3 sing1 gwan1
  • Director: Jing Wong; Wai Man Yip
  • Stars: Stephen Chow; Gigi Leung; Man-Tat Ng

Sixty Million Dollar Man is a 1995 comedy, and one of the great Cantonese movies on Netflix of this genre. It revolves around a rich kid studying in Hawaii. Arrogant and powerful, he enjoys fooling people around him. Things change, however, when he meets a beautiful young lady…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 作弄
    Romanization: zok3 nung6
    Meaning: Trick
  • Character: 夏威夷
    Romanization: haa6 wai1 ji4
    Meaning: Hawaii
  • Character: 富有
    Romanization: fu3 jau5
    Meaning: Rich
  • Character: 迷戀
    Romanization: mai4 lyun2
    Meaning: Obsess
  • Character: 同學
    Romanization: tung4 hok6
    Meaning: Classmate


10. OCTB

  • Cantonese Title: 反黑
  • Romanization: faan2 hak1
  • Director: Jones Soong Pounh Chong
  • Stars: Jordan Chan; Danny Chan; Ken Wong

OCTB, which stands for Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, is a 2017 drama series that takes you back to the 1980s and shows you what would happen when an undercover detective crosses paths with familiar faces in the mafia underworld…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 黑社會
    Romanization: haak1 se5 wui2
    Meaning: Underworld
  • Character: 臥底
    Romanization: ngo6 dai2
    Meaning: Undercover
  • Character: 酒吧
    Romanization: zau2 baa1
    Meaning: Bar
  • Character: 手槍
    Romanization: sau2 coeng1
    Meaning: Handgun
  • Character: 警署
    Romanization: ging2 cyu5
    Meaning: Police station


11. Bonus: More Cantonese TV Shows and Movies!

Genres of Movies

Craving more Cantonese TV shows and movies after watching the ones above? Check out our recommendations on Hong Kong TV shows and movies!


12. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

We hope that you enjoy these shows improve your Cantonese along the way! Which of these Cantonese shows on Netflix do you want to watch first and why? Do you have any favorite Hong Kong media to share? Let us know in the comments!

With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native!

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元宵節: The Chinese Lantern Festival in Hong Kong

The Chinese Lantern Festivals that take place in Hong Kong each year are quite a sight, and offer an exhilarating experience! Traditionally based on many Chinese legends and stories, this holiday is a time to be with loved ones, admire beautiful Chinese lanterns, and maybe even find or reunite with your true love.

In this article, you’ll learn all about the Hong Kong Spring Lantern Festival, from its traditional meaning to modern-day celebrations.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

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1. What is the Chinese Lantern Festival in Hong Kong?

In Chinese culture, the Lantern Festival, or 元宵節 (jyun4 siu1 zit3), is considered a time of passion and romance. This holiday also goes by the name of “Chinese Valentine’s Day.”

This is because, in ancient times, young girls were not allowed to go out except during the Lantern Festival on this day. So unmarried men and women took this opportunity to meet, and lovers to reunite.

However, this holiday isn’t as big in Hong Kong as it is in mainland China. In fact, people in Hong Kong don’t have much passion for the Lantern Festival. This is partially because the Lantern Festival isn’t a public holiday. Besides, Hong Kong was under British colonial rule for almost one hundred years, and they’ve gotten used to Valentine’s Day already.

Despite this, during the Lantern Festival, Hong Kong families will still get together and eat dumplings.

2. Chinese Lantern Festival Dates

Paper Lanterns For the Spring Lantern Festival in Hong Kong

The Lantern Festival is celebrated each year on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar, or 正月十五 (zing1 jyut6 sap6 ng5) in Cantonese. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date on the Gregorian calendar for the next ten years.

  • 2020: February 8
  • 2021: February 26
  • 2022: February 15
  • 2023: February 5
  • 2024: February 24
  • 2025: February 12
  • 2026: March 3
  • 2027: February 20
  • 2028: February 9
  • 2029: February 27

3. How is Chinese Valentine’s Day Celebrated?

Chinese Man Hanging a Spring Lantern Festival Lantern with Grandson

There are many colorful and exciting festivities for the Lantern Festival in Hong Kong, though the most important thing is for families and loved ones to be with each other.

During the Chinese Lantern Festival, Hong Kong locals admire beautiful lanterns. A grand Lantern Carnival is held in Hong Kong every year, offering many programs including lantern displays, ethnic dance, traditional stage arts, and even a fireworks show. There’s also a lighting-up ceremony and game booths for families to enjoy together.

Another favorite activity is to 猜燈謎 (caai1 dang1 mai4), or solve riddles that are written on lanterns. Trying to solve the lantern riddle gives people something to think about while admiring the lanterns.

During the Lantern Festival, you can also see the lively dragon and lion dances. 舞獅 (mou5 si1), or the lion dance, is a kind of traditional performing art with martial arts techniques. To perform it, two dancers are dressed in lion costumes, one wearing the head and the other wearing the lower body. This lion jumps and rolls to the tune of music from gongs and drums, full of energy. Keep in mind that the lion in the Chinese lion dance is very different from lions in Western cultures, so if you have a chance, please enjoy it!

As we mentioned earlier, the Spring Festival is a perfect time to be with loved ones. Many Hongkongers get together with family members to enjoy a nice meal together, including 湯圓 (tong1 jyun2), or the glutinous rice ball. You may recall that glutinous rice balls are also eaten during the Winter Solstice celebration because they symbolize unity and reunion; people consume them during the Lantern Festival for the same reason.

4. Chinese Love Stories

How many people through the ages have looked toward the sky at night, hungering for love, and imagining their own future? And how many writers through the ages have wanted to express the genuine feelings of being human?

Some people say that Chinese people aren’t very romantic by nature. However, some of the most beautiful love stories come from Chinese culture and folklore.

Two of the most popular Chinese love stories are those of the Butterfly Lovers and of the Cowherd and the Weaver. Why not read up on these yourself?

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for the Spring Lantern Festival

Glutinous Rice Balls

Are you ready to review some of the Cantonese vocabulary words we saw in this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for this holiday!

  • 元宵節 (jyun4 siu1 zit3) — Lantern Festival
  • 舞獅 (mou5 si1) — lion dance
  • 正月十五 (zing1 jyut6 sap6 ng5) — the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar
  • 猜燈謎 (caai1 dang1 mai4) — solve riddles that are written on lanterns
  • 彩燈 (coi2 dang1) — paper lantern
  • 元宵綵燈會 (jyun4 siu1 coi2 dang1 wui5) — Lunar New Year Lantern Carnival
  • 掛燈籠 (gwaa3 dang1 lung4) — hang lantern
  • 湯圓 (tong1 jyun2) — glutinous rice ball
  • 月圓之夜 (jyut6 jyun4 zi1 je6) — full moon night
  • 舞龍 (mou5 lung4) — dragon dance
  • 花燈 (faa1 dang1) — colorful lantern

To hear the pronunciation of each word or phrase, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Cantonese Spring Lantern Festival vocabulary list.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the Lantern Festival in Hong Kong is an essential component of traditional Chinese culture and is a celebration you don’t want to miss experiencing.

What are your thoughts on this Chinese holiday? Is there a Valentine’s Day celebration in your country? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re interested in learning more about Chinese or Cantonese holidays, you may find the following pages useful:

And for more information on Cantonese culture in general, check out these pages:

Whatever your reasons for taking an interest in Cantonese culture or learning the language, know that CantoneseClass101.com is the best place to expand your knowledge and improve your skills! With tons of lessons for learners at every level, there’s something for everyone.

What are you waiting for? Create your free lifetime account today and learn Cantonese like never before.

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Complete Guide of Cantonese Conjunctions and Connecting Words

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Conjunctive adverbs are a crucial part of every language. They allow us to connect our thoughts, make comparisons, and string together sentences. There are various Cantonese conjunctions you can choose from to formulate your ideas. Trust us when we say that learning Cantonese conjunctions is one of the best things you’ll ever do for your language-learning!

Without further ado, let’s go through Cantonese conjunctions in detail below!

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Table of Contents

  1. Cantonese Conjunction Overview
  2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts (And)
  3. Conjunctions to Express Condition (If)
  4. Conjunctions to Express Causality (So)
  5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition (But)
  6. Conjunctions to Express Purpose (So that)
  7. Conjunctions to Express Progression (Not only)
  8. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. Cantonese Conjunction Overview

Sentence Patterns

“Conjunction” is 連接詞 (lin4 zip3 ci4) in Cantonese.

A conjunction, in grammar, is a part of speech that connects words, phrases, or clauses. It helps us to express our ideas and thoughts in a more coherent way. Like “but,” “and,” “so,” and “because” in English, there are specific words used to connect our thoughts in Cantonese. Below we have classified the Cantonese conjunctions into several categories based on their purposes and meanings.


2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts (And)

Connect

1- 和

Meaning: And
Romanization: wo4
Usage: Formal; usually used only in writing; interchangeable with 跟 and 與

  • Example Sentence: 我和Ron是好朋友。
  • Romanization: ngo5 wo4 “Ron” si6 hou2 pang4 jau5
  • Meaning: Ron and I are good friends.

2- 跟

Meaning: And
Romanization: gan1
Usage: Formal; usually used only in writing; interchangeable with 和 and 與

  • Example Sentence: 我跟Hermione是同學。
  • Romanization: ngo5 gan1 “Hermione” si6 tung4 hok6
  • Meaning: Hermione and I are classmates.

3- 與

Meaning: And
Romanization: jyu5
Usage: Formal; usually used only in writing; interchangeable with 和 and 跟

  • Example Sentence: 我與Tom是敵人。
  • Romanization: ngo5 jyu5 “Tom” si6 dik6 jan4
  • Meaning: Tom and I are enemies.

4- 及

Meaning: And
Romanization: kap6
Usage: Formal; usually used only in writing; unlike the more universal “and”s introduced above, we seldom use 及 with pronouns

  • Example Sentence: 我喜歡艾迪瑞德曼祖迪羅
  • Romanization: ngo5 hei2 fun1 ngaai6 dik6 seoi6 dak1 maan6 kap6 zou2 dik6 lo4
  • Meaning: I like Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law.

5- 同

Meaning: And
Romanization: tung4
Usage: Informal; more common in spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence: 今晚我同Hagrid食飯。
  • Romanization: gam1 maan5 ngo5 tung4 “Hagrid” sik6 faan6
  • Meaning: I will be having dinner with Hagrid tonight.

6- 或

Meaning: Or
Romanization: waak6
Usage: More common in written Cantonese

  • Example Sentence: 她希望和Ron或Viktor跳舞。
  • Romanization: taa1 hei1 mong6 wo4 “Ron” waak6 “Viktor” tiu3 mou5
  • Meaning: She is hoping to dance with Ron or Viktor.

7- 或者

Meaning: Or
Romanization: waak6 ze2
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 她可能被分到葛來分多、史萊哲林、雷文克勞或者赫夫帕夫。
  • Romanization: taa1 ho2 nang4 bei6 fan1 dou3 got3 loi4 fan1 do1, si2 loi4 zit3 lam4, leoi4 man4 hak1 lou4 waak6 ze2 hak1 fu1 paak3 fu1
  • Meaning: She might be assigned to Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff.

8- 還是

Meaning: Or
Romanization: waan4 si6
Usage: More common in written Cantonese

  • Example Sentence: 你喜歡Ginny還是Cho?
  • Romanization: nei5 hei2 fun1 “Ginny” waan4 si6 “Cho”
  • Meaning: Do you like Ginny or Cho?


3. Conjunctions to Express Condition (If)

1- 除非

Meaning: Unless
Romanization: ceoi4 fei1
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 除非你來,否則我是不會去的。
  • Romanization: ceoi4 fei1 nei5 loi4, fau2 zak1 ngo5 si6 bat1 wui5 heoi3 dik1
  • Meaning: I am not going unless you come with me.

2- 如果

Meaning: If
Romanization: jyu4 gwo2
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 如果Harry是“那個活下來的女孩”,結果會是甚麼?
  • Romanization: jyu4 gwo2 “Harry” si6 “naa5 go3 wut6 haa6 loi4 dik1 neoi5 haai4 ”, git3 gwo2 wui5 si6 sam6 mo1
  • Meaning: What would happen if Harry is “the girl who lived?”

3- 即使

Meaning: Even if
Romanization: zik1 si2
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 即使下雨我也要去。
  • Romanization: zik1 si2 haa6 jyu5 ngo5 jaa5 jiu3 heoi3
  • Meaning: I will still go even if it rains.

4- 只要

Meaning: If only
Romanization: zi2 jiu3
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 只要永不放棄就能成功。
  • Romanization: zi2 jiu3 wing5 bat1 fong3 hei3 zau6 nang4 sing4 gung1
  • Meaning: We can succeed if only we don’t give up.


4. Conjunctions to Express Causality (So)

Question Mark

1- 因為

Meaning: Since
Romanization: jan1 wai6
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese; interchangeable with 由於

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): Vincent和Gregory因為肚餓吃了蛋糕。
  • Romanization: “Vincent” wo4 “Gregory” jan1 wai6 tou5 ngo6 hek3 liu5 daan2 gou1
  • Meaning: Vincent and Gregory ate the cakes since they were hungry.

2- 由於

Meaning: Since
Romanization: jau4 jyu1
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese; interchangeable with 因為

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 由於他身體不好,所以不能上課。
  • Romanization: jau4 jyu1 taa1 san1 tai2 bat1 hou2, so2 ji5 bat1 nang4 soeng5 fo3
  • Meaning: He can’t make it to school since he’s ill.

3- 因此

Meaning: So
Romanization: jan1 ci2
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 情人節快到了,因此很多人買禮物。
  • Romanization: cing4 jan4 zit3 faai3 dou3 liu5, jan1 ci2 han2 do1 jan4 maai5 lai5 mat6
  • Meaning: Valentine’s Day is approaching, so a lot of people have bought presents.

4- 於是

Meaning: So
Romanization: jyu1 si6
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 他沒有準時出現,於是我們決定先出發。
  • Romanization: taa1 mut6 jau5 zeon2 si4 ceot1 jin6, jyu1 si6 ngo5 mun4 kyut3 ding6 sin1 ceot1 faat3
  • Meaning: He didn’t arrive on time, so we decided to head out first.


5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition (But)

A Woman Holding Her Mouth

1- 但是

Meaning: But
Romanization: daan6 si6
Usage: More common in written Cantonese; interchangeable with 可是

  • Example Sentence: 我想看電視,但是還沒有寫完作業。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 hon3 din6 si6, daan6 si6 waan4 mut6 jau5 se2 jyun4 zok3 jip6
  • Meaning: I want to watch TV, but I haven’t finished my homework.

2- 可是

Meaning: But
Romanization: ho2 si6
Usage: More common in written Cantonese; interchangeable with 但是

  • Example Sentence: 我跟Severus不熟,可是他一直針對我。
  • Romanization: ngo5 gan1 “Severus” bat1 suk6, ho2 si6 taa1 jat1 zik6 zam1 deoi3 ngo5
  • Meaning: I don’t know Severus well, but he has been picking on me.

3- 但係

Meaning: But
Romanization: daan6 hai6
Usage: Can be used in spoken Cantonese only

  • Example Sentence: 但係好貴喎。
  • Romanization: daan6 hai6 hou2 gwai3 wo3
  • Meaning: But that’s expensive.

4- 不過

Meaning: But
Romanization: bat1 gwo3
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Spoken Cantonese): 個手術好成功,不過病人未醒。
  • Romanization: go3 sau2 seot6 hou2 sing4 gung1, bat1 gwo3 beng6 jan4 mei6 seng2
  • Meaning: The surgery was successful, but the patient is still unconscious.

5- 雖然

Meaning: Although
Romanization: seoi1 jin4
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 他雖然年紀小,但是跑步卻很快。
  • Romanization: taa1 seoi1 jin4 nin4 gei2 siu2, daan6 si6 paau2 bou6 koek3 han2 faai3
  • Meaning: Although he is young, he runs fast.

Note: As opposed to English, it’s common to use both “although” and “but” in Cantonese, as demonstrated in the example sentence.


6. Conjunctions to Express Purpose (So that)

Improve Listening

1- 以

Meaning: So as to
Romanization: ji5
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 他正在積蓄金錢以備晚年。
  • Romanization: taa1 zing3 zoi6 zik1 cuk1 gam1 cin4 ji5 bei6 maan5 nin4
  • Meaning: He is saving up so as to prepare for retirement.

2- 為了

Meaning: To
Romanization: wai4 liu5
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 他積極準備是為了順利地通過考試。
  • Romanization: taa1 zik1 gik6 zeon2 bei6 si6 wai4 liu5 seon6 lei6 dei6 tung1 gwo3 haau2 si3
  • Meaning: He is working hard to pass the exam.


7. Conjunctions to Express Progression (Not only)

“Plus” Sign

1- 不但

Meaning: Not only
Romanization: bat1 daan6
Usage: More common in written Cantonese; interchangeable with 不僅

  • Example Sentence: Hedwig不但是我的信使,更是我的朋友。
  • Romanization: “Hedwig” bat1 daan6 si6 ngo5 dik1 seon3 si2, gang3 si6 ngo5 dik1 pang4 jau5
  • Meaning: Not only does Hedwig deliver my mail, but she is also my friend.

2- 不僅

Meaning: Not only
Romanization: bat1 gan2
Usage: More common in written Cantonese; interchangeable with 不但

  • Example Sentence: 不僅他一個人有這種想法。
  • Romanization: bat1 gan2 taa1 jat1 go3 jan4 jau5 ze2 zung2 soeng2 faat3
  • Meaning: He is not the only one who thinks like that.

3- 而且

Meaning: Also
Romanization: ji4 ce2
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 我的作業做完了,而且全部正確。
  • Romanization: ngo5 dik1 zok3 jip6 zou6 jyun4 liu5, ji4 ce2 cyun4 bou6 zing3 kok3
  • Meaning: Not only have I completed all my tasks, but they are also all correct.

4- 況且

Meaning: Additionally; not to mention
Romanization: fong3 ce2
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Spoken Cantonese): 送快件太貴喇,況且易碎品嚟㗎喎。
  • Romanization: sung3 faai3 gin2 taai3 gwai3 laa3, fong3 ce2 ji6 seoi3 ban2 lei4 gaa3 wo3
  • Meaning: Sending a package by carrier is too expensive, and not to mention, this object is very fragile.


8. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Improve Listening Part 2

We hoped you enjoyed learning about Cantonese conjunctions with us. Did you learn something new? Let us know in the comments!

Want to level up your Cantonese after mastering Cantonese conjunctions? No worries. With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning Cantonese now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native!

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Guide to Cantonese Customs and Etiquette

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Some say manners and etiquette are outdated and no longer matter in this day and age—why bother to care about how others think or feel? Why don’t we just “be our true self” and “show our personality?”

However, decent manners and etiquette are never out of style. They’re the cornerstone of civilization. Without them, a society will become disorganized; its members will demonstrate disrespect for one another and ultimately lead to chaos, insults, falsehoods, and many more unpleasant consequences.

That’s why we’ve set out to help you learn Cantonese customs and etiquette in Hong Kong for your time here.

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Table of Contents

  1. Why Manners and Etiquette Matter to You
  2. Concepts Related to Manners in Hong Kong
  3. Dining Etiquette in Hong Kong
  4. Gift Giving Etiquette in Hong Kong
  5. Do’s and Don’ts - Transportation in Hong Kong
  6. Bonus: How to Greet in Hong Kong
  7. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. Why Manners and Etiquette Matter to You

Thanks

Manners Maketh Man.

Manners tell who you truly are and represent your inner self, while etiquette sets out a guideline on how you’re expected to behave in public. They touch on every aspect of our lives.

Things like saying 多謝 (do1 ze6) or “thank you” when someone offers help, greeting a colleague with 早晨 (zou2 san4) or “good morning,” and offering your seat to the elderly show that you care about and respect others.

Understanding the social etiquette in Hong Kong will come in handy when you’re making a new friend or interacting with the locals. By demonstrating your respect and avoiding behaviors that are deemed “offensive,” your relationships with them will be more sound and smooth.


2. Concepts Related to Manners in Hong Kong

1- 面 (min2)

(min2) is a unique concept in Chinese society. This concept of cultural etiquette in Hong Kong describes one’s status, dignity, and integrity. You can also refer to 面 (min2) as the feeling of being respected and honored by others.

This is a crucial concept in Hong Kong society. Further, a similar concept that will help you foster your relationships with the locals is 畀面 (bei2 min2), meaning:

  • The ability to hold back when criticizing someone to make that person feel respected.
  • Taking actions to demonstrate your admiration and regard for that person.

面 (min2) is closely tied to a number of unique concepts governing the culture of Hong Kong and Chinese communities:

  • 關係 (gwaan1 hai6) meaning “relationship.”
  • 中庸 (zung1 jung4) which is a prevailing mindset from Confucianism of not going for the extremes, both in terms of praise and criticism.
  • 人情 (jan4 cing4) which is a sense of human touch and affection/owing someone a favor. Feel free to click the above links if you want to know more.

2- Respect for Seniors

According to Hong Kong social etiquette, age usually determines seniority. In family settings, it’s expected that everyone will respect the elder ones in accordance with filial piety, a deeply rooted virtue in many Southeast Asian countries. HongKongers usually worship their ancestors at least twice a year, which stems from the belief that children are indebted to their parents forever.


3. Dining Etiquette in Hong Kong

Chinese Food

If you’re going to dine at a traditional Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong, tables will typically be large and round to accommodate a group of friends or family. Most dishes are shared instead of à la carte, and they’re placed in the center of the table where everyone gets to take a portion of the dishes.

General Food Manners & Restaurant Etiquette in Hong Kong

  • DON’T put your hand below or above someone else’s hand while taking the food from a serving plate.
    DO wait until the other person finishes grabbing his or her food before you start taking yours.
  • DON’T take food from the serving plates and put it into your mouth directly.
    DO put it into your bowl first before you eat.
  • If you like only a part of the dish, DON’T look for your favorite part on the serving plate.
    DO this only while it’s in your bowl.
  • DO leave bits of food on your plate to show that you were satisfied.
    DON’T leave your plate empty, because the host may think you didn’t have enough food.
  • DON’T spin your table counterclockwise; always spin it clockwise.

Hygiene

Chopsticks

  • DON’T point at someone or something with your chopsticks.
  • DON’T use your own chopsticks to grab food from the serving plate.
    DO use “public chopsticks” (chopsticks that are placed at the center of the table for grabbing the food).
  • DO place your chopsticks on the rest provided if you’re not using them.
  • DON’T shake your chopsticks if they’re wet from soup.
  • DON’T place your chopsticks across each other.
  • DON’T put your chopsticks in your rice bowl in an upright position; this is only done at funerals.

Tea

  • DO open the lid of the teapot or place the lid upside-down if you would like to request more tea.
  • DO tap your fingers several times by your cup to thank a person for pouring tea for you.
  • DON’T take the first sip; wait for the senior host to do so first.


4. Gift Giving Etiquette in Hong Kong

Gift

If you’re invited to someone’s house in Hong Kong, you’re expected to bring a gift with you. Check out the guidelines below:

  • DON’T present four gifts, as “four'’ sounds similar to “death” in Cantonese. If you would like to bring multiple gifts with you, try three (similar to “life” in Cantonese), eight (similar to “prosperity” in Cantonese) or nine (similar to “eternity” in Cantonese).
  • DO make sure you hand your gift over with both hands.
  • DO insist on handing over the gift. Sometimes the host may refuse the gift a couple of times before accepting it. This is part of the traditional Hong Kong culture.
  • DON’T wrap your gift in white or black, as they’re considered unlucky colors.
    DO try lucky colors like red or gold instead.
  • DON’T unwrap the gift on the spot.
  • DON’T pick clocks or watches as gifts. “Giving a clock” in Cantonese sounds like attending a funeral.
  • DON’T pick shoes as gifts, as the Cantonese word for “shoes” sounds like “rough,” which suggests bad luck.


5. Do’s and Don’ts - Transportation in Hong Kong

Bad Phrases

General Manners on Public Transportation (Bus, MTR, etc.)

  • DO keep quiet and be considerate. Avoid obstructive behavior and public displays of affection.
  • DON’T eat, drink, or smoke on public transportation.
  • DO give up your seat to the elderly, pregnant women, the disabled, and families with babies.
  • DON’T litter.
  • DON’T take up more than one seat.

MTR Map

MTR: Hong Kong’s Railway System

  • DO have your Octopus card or ticket ready before you go through the gate in the MTR station. MTR is one of the busiest train systems in the world. Trains come in every minute during rush hour and take on around 4.6-million passengers every day. If you only search for your ticket or card at the gate, you’ll definitely feel the pressure from other impatient commuters.
  • DO stand on the right side of the escalator to allow other commuters to walk on the left.
  • DO let passengers get off before entering the MTR carriage.
  • DON’T lean up against the poles, as other passengers will need to hold onto the poles.
  • Even if you’re yet to arrive at your destination, DO let people out when you’re at a stop and DON’T stand at the doorway.
  • DO pull your legs in to avoid tripping other commuters.
  • DO move inside the train compartment.


6. Bonus: How to Greet in Hong Kong

Business Phrases

When it comes to social etiquette in Hong Kong, there aren’t many special gestures (such as bowing) for when you greet someone in Hong Kong. Simply saying Cantonese greeting words will do:

  • Cantonese character: 你好
  • Romanization: nei5 hou2
  • Meaning: “Hello” (formal)
  • Cantonese character: 哈囉
  • Romanization: haa1 lo3
  • Meaning: “Hello” (informal)

If you would like to express your enthusiasm in meeting someone, you can wave your hands while saying hello to him or her. Avoid hugging, bowing, or kissing on the cheek.

To know more about how to appropriately greet someone in Hong Kong, check out our article on How to Say Hello in Cantonese!


7. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Want to level up your Cantonese and learn more Cantonese phrases? No worries. With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you learned anything new about etiquette in Hong Kong. Are etiquette rules here similar or very different than those in your country? We look forward to hearing from you!

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