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Archive for the 'Cantonese Phrases' Category

100 Cantonese Verbs Just for You!

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Verbs are essential in a language—they describe actions or talk about something that happens. 
The more Cantonese verbs you know, the easier it will be for you to master the Cantonese language as a whole. Can’t wait to learn the most common Cantonese verbs? Check out our short guide to verbs in Cantonese below, study our Cantonese verbs list, and let CantoneseClass101.com give you a helping hand!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Cantonese Verbs Overview
  2. Action Verbs
  3. Helping Verbs
  4. Linking Verbs
  5. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Cantonese Verbs Overview

a woman holding magnifying glasses

Unlike many other languages around the globe, Cantonese verbs by themselves indicate no tense. Generally, the timing of a particular event is expressed through the addition of time-establishing adverbs, though there are some situations when the timing is expressed largely through contextual clues and other indicators reliant on the interpretation of the meaning. By adding particles to the sentence, it can be turned into a question or more clearly demonstrate the mood, attitude, and intention of the speaker.

Note that there are written and spoken Cantonese verbs. We’ve used symbols to help you identify which ones are written (w), spoken (s), or applicable to both (ws).

2. Action Verbs

Top verbs
#MeaningChinese CharactersRomanizationExample
1go(ws)heoi3直去

zik6 heoi3

go straight ahead
2eat(s)sik6一家人食早餐。

jat1 gaa1 jan4 sik6 zou2 caan1

The family eats breakfast.
3(w)hek3一家人吃早餐。

jat1 gaa1 jan4 hek3 zou2 caan1

The family eats breakfast.
4drink(s)jam2飲樽裝飲品

jam2 zeon1 zon1 jam2 ban2

drink from a plastic bottle
5(w)hot3喝樽裝飲品

hot3 zeon1 zon1 jam2 ban2

drink from a plastic bottle
6walk(s)haan4女孩行近攝錄機。

neoi5 haai4 haan4 kan5 sip3 luk6 gei1

The girl walks towards the video camera.
7(w)zau2女孩走近攝錄機。

neoi5 haai4 zau2 gan6 sip3 luk6 gei1

The girl walks towards the video camera.
8sleep瞓覺 (s)fan3 gaau3BB喺氈上瞓覺。

bi4 bi1 hai2 zin1 soeng6 fan3 gaau3

The baby sleeps on the blanket.
9睡覺 (w)seoi6 gaau3嬰兒在氈上睡覺。

jing1 ji4 zoi6 zin1 soeng6 seoi6 gaau3

The baby sleeps on the blanket.
10understand(s)ming4我明。

ngo5 ming4

I understand.
11理解 (w)lei5 gaai2我理解。

ngo5 lei5 gaai2

I understand.
12ask(ws)man6大學生問教授問題。

daai6 hok6 sang1 man6 gaau3 sau6 man6 tai4

The university student asks the professor a question.
13run(ws)paau2我跑。

ngo5 paau2

I run.
14think(s)lam2女人諗答案。

neoi5 jan2 lam2 daap3 on3

The woman thinks about the answer.
15(w)soeng2女人想答案。

neoi5 jan2 soeng2 daap3 on3

The woman thinks about the answer.
16know認識 (ws)jing6 sik1認識自己

jing6 sik1 zi6 gei2

know yourself
17help(ws)bong1我幫媽媽洗碗。

ngo5 bong1 maa4 maa1 sai2 wun2

I help my mum wash the dishes.
18take(s)ling1啲人拎咗士多啤梨。

di1 jan4 ling1 zo2 si6 do1 be1 lei2

The people took the strawberries.
19(w)naa4人們拿了士多啤梨。

jan4 mun4 naa4 liu5 si6 do1 be1 lei2

The people took the strawberries.
20use(ws)jung6程式設計員用電腦。

cing4 sik1 cit3 gai3 jyun4 jung6 din6 nou5

The programmer uses the computer.
21work做嘢 (s)zou6 je5女人喺辦公室做緊嘢。

neoi5 jan2 hai2 baan6 gung1 sat1 zou6 gan2 je5

The woman is working at the office.
22工作 (w)gung1 zok3女人正在辦公室工作。

neoi5 jan2 zing3 zoi6 baan6 gung1 sat1 gung1 zok3

The woman is working at the office.
23give(s)bei2老豆畀硬幣個仔。

lou5 dau6 bei2 ngaang6 bai6 go3 zai2

The father gives coins to his son.
24(w)kap1父親給兒子硬幣。

fu6 can1 kap1 ji4 zi2 ngaang6 bai6

The father gives coins to his son.
25talk(s)gong2你講咩?

nei5 gong2 me1

What are you talking about?
26(w)syut3你說甚麼?

nei5 syut3 sam6 mo1

What are you talking about?
27begin開始 (ws)hoi1 ci2重新開始

cung4 san1 hoi1 ci2

begin again
28watch(s)tai2遊客睇日落。

jau4 haak3 tai2 jat6 lok6

The tourists watch the sunset.
29(w)hon3遊客看日落。

jau4 haak3 hon3 jat6 lok6

The tourists watch the sunset.
30leave離開 (ws)lei6 hoi1離開公司

lei6 hoi1 gung1 si1

leave a company
31become變為 (ws)bin3 wai4變為蝴蝶

bin3 wai4 wu4 dip2

become a butterfly
32hear(s)*

*same character but different pronunciation
teng1我聽到。

ngo5 teng1 dou2

I heard.
33(w)*

*same character but different pronunciation
ting3我聽見。

ngo5 ting3 gin3

I heard.
34wait(ws)dang2遊客等火車。

jau4 haak3 dang2 fo2 ce1

The traveler waits for the train.
35play(s)*

*same character but different pronunciation
waan2我要玩。

ngo5 jiu3 waan2

I need to play.
36(w)*

*same character but different pronunciation
wun6我要玩。

ngo5 jiu3 wun6

I need to play.
37call(ws)daa2打電話

daa2 din6 waa2

make a phone call
38remember記得 (ws)gei3 dak1我記得你。

ngo5 gei3 dak1 nei5

I remember you.
39believe相信 (ws)soeng1 seon3我相信你。

ngo5 soeng1 seon3 nei5

I believe you.
40like鍾意 (s)zung6 ji3我鍾意睇日落。

ngo5 zung1 ji3 tai2 jat6 lok6 

I like watching the sunset.
41喜歡 (w)hei2 fun1我喜歡看日落。

ngo5 hei2 fun1 hon3 jat6 lok6

I like watching the sunset.
42cancel取消 (ws)ceoi2 siu1取消會議

ceoi2 siu1 wui6 ji5

cancel the meeting
43arrive(ws)dou3到了公園

dou3 liu5 gung1 jyun2

arrive at the park
44die(s)sei2佢舊年因為意外死咗。

keoi5 gau6 nin2 jan1 wai6 ji3 ngoi6 sei2 zo2

He died in an accident last year.
45去世 (w)heoi3 sai3他去年在意外中去世。

taa1 heoi3 nin4 zoi6 ji3 ngoi6 zung1 heoi3 sai3

He died in an accident last year.
46rest休息 (ws)jau1 sik1我要休息。

ngo5 jiu3 jau1 sik1

I need to rest.
47cook(ws)zyu2廚房煮食

cyu4 fong2 zyu2 sik6

cook in a kitchen
48feel覺得 (ws)gok3 dak1男孩覺得難過。

naam4 haai4 gok3 dak1 naan4 gwo3

The boy is feeling sad.
49draw畫畫 (ws)waat6 waa2我要畫畫。

ngo5 jiu3 waat6 waa2

I need to draw.
50answer回答 (ws)wui4 daap3回答問題

wui4 daap3 man6 tai4

answer questions
51receive(ws)sau1男人收錢。

naam4 jan2 sau1 cin2

The man receives money.
52plan計劃 (ws)gai3 waak6計劃預算

gai3 waak6 jyu6 syun3

plan the budget
53explain解釋 (ws)gaai2 sik1教授解釋圖表。

gaau3 sau6 gaai2 sik1 tou4 biu2

The professor explains the diagram.
54jump(ws)tiu3能跳過

nang4 tiu3 gwo3

can jump over
55teach(ws)gaau3老師教英文。

lou5 si1 gaau3 jing1 man2

The teacher taught English.
56close(s)saan1大學生閂門。

daai6 hok6 saan1 saan1 mun4

The university student closes the door.
57(w)gwaan1大學生關門。

daai6 hok6 saan1 gwaan1 mun4

The university student closes the door.
58buy(ws)maai5情侶買衣服。

cing4 leoi5 maai5 ji1 fuk6

The couple buys clothes.
59read(ws)duk6讀雜誌

duk6 zaap6 zi3

read a magazine
60wake up(s)*

*same character but different pronunciation
seng2我醒啦。

ngo5 seng2 laa1

I woke up.
61(w)*

*same character but different pronunciation
sing2我醒來。

ngo5 sing2 loi4

I woke up.
62return(s)faan2我返屋企。

ngo5 faan2 uk1 kei2

I return home.
63(w)wui4我回家。

ngo5 wui4 gaa1

I return home.
64kick(ws)tek3踢波

tek3 bo1

kick the ball
65sell(ws)maai6賣電腦

maai6 din6 nou5

sell the computer
66invite邀請 (ws)jiu1 cing2我想邀請你。

ngo5 soeng2 jiu1 cing2 nei5

I want to invite you.
67write(ws)se2我寫。

ngo5 se2

I will write.
68study(ws)hok6我學廣東話。

ngo5 hok6 gwong2 dung1 waa2

I learn Cantonese.
69find(s)wan2我搵你。

ngo5 wan2 nei5

I will find you.
70(w)zaau2我找你。

ngo5 zaau2 nei5

I will find you.
71solve解決 (ws)gaai2 kyut3解決問題

gaai2 kyut3 man6 tai4

solve problems
72introduce介紹 (ws)gaai3 siu6介紹廣東話

gaai3 siu6 gwong2 dung1 waa2

introduce Cantonese
73share分享 (ws)fan1 hoeng2分享意見

fan1 hoeng2 ji3 gin3

share one’s view
74sit(s)*

*same character but different pronunciation
co5我坐。

ngo5 co5

I will sit.
75(w)*

*same character but different pronunciation
zo6我坐。

ngo5 zo6

I will sit.
76participate參加 (ws)caam1 gaa1參加比賽

caam1 gaa1 bei2 coi3

participate in a competition
77sing(ws)coeng3唱歌

coeng3 go1

sing a song
78smile(ws)siu3我笑緊。

ngo5 siu3 gan2

I am smiling.
79cry(s)haam3我喊緊。

ngo5 haam3 gan2

I am crying.
80(w)huk1我在哭。

ngo5 zoi6 huk1

I am crying.
81make(s)zing2我整鞋。

ngo5 zing2 haai4

I make shoes.
82製造 (w)zai3 zou6我製造鞋。

ngo5 zai3 zou6 haai4

I make shoes.
83lie(s)aak1我知道你呃我。

ngo5 zi1 dou3 nei5 aak1 ngo5

I know you lied to me.
84欺騙 (w)hei1 pin3我知道你欺騙我。

ngo5 zi1 dou3 nei5 hei1 pin3 ngo5

I know you lied to me.
85hate(ws)zang1我憎你。

ngo5 zang1 nei5

I hate you.
86afraid(ws)paa3我怕你。

ngo5 paa3 nei5

I am afraid of you.

3. Helping Verbs

More Essential Verbs
#MeaningChinese CharactersRomanizationRomanization
87have(ws)jau5我有三隻狗。

ngo5 jau5 saam1 zek3 gau2

I have three dogs.
88not have(s)mou5我冇錢。

ngo5 mou5 cin2

I don’t have money.
89沒有(w)mut6 jau5我沒有錢。

ngo5 mut6 jau5 cin2

I don’t have money.
90can(s)sik1我識彈琴。

ngo5 sik1 taan4 kam4

I can play the piano.
91need(ws)jiu3我要去夏威夷。

ngo5 jiu3 heoi3 haa6 wai1 ji4

I need to go to Hawaii.
92want(ws)haan4我想飲咖啡。

ngo5 soeng2 jam2 gaa3 fe1

I want to drink coffee.
93do(ws)zou6做功課 

zou6 gung1 fo3

do homework
94should應該 (ws)jing1 goi1我應該問問題。

ngo5 jing1 goi1 man6 man6 tai4

I should ask questions.
95willing to(s)hang2我肯講廣東話。

ngo5 hang2 gong2 gwong2 dung1 waa2

I am willing to speak Cantonese.
96願意 (w)jyun6 ji3我願意講廣東話。

ngo5 jyun6 ji3 gong2 gwong2 dung1 waa2

I am willing to speak Cantonese.

4. Linking Verbs

Negative verbs
#MeaningChinese CharactersRomanizationExample
97be(s)hai6我係Olivia。

ngo5 hai6 Olivia

I am Olivia.
98(w)si6我是Olivia。

ngo5 si6 Olivia

I am Olivia.
99not be唔係 (s)m4 hai6我唔係男人。

ngo5 m4 hai6 naam4 jan2

I’m not a guy.
100不是 (w)bat1 si6我不是男人。

ngo5 bat1 si6 naam4 jan2

I’m not a guy.

5. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More 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 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 there’s a verb in Cantonese you still want to know, or if you’re still struggling with anything we covered in this article. We look forward to hearing from you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Cantonese

Your Ultimate Guide to Cantonese Pronouns

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Pronouns can help you better articulate and express your ideas by allowing you to avoid repeating the same nouns over and over again. There are various pronouns in English, such as personal pronouns like “he,” “she,” “it,” “our,” and “theirs”; demonstrative pronouns like “this” and “that”; and indefinite pronouns like “somebody” and “nowhere.” 

These pronouns are very useful when it comes to facilitating communication—think how clumsy it would sound to say “Peter really likes Peter’s own voice and Peter’s own appearance,” and “Sharon and Sharon’s sister are looking for Sharon’s mother!” 

Have you ever wondered what Cantonese pronouns there are? Are you curious to learn how you can use them to communicate your thoughts more effectively? We’ve prepared a list of Cantonese pronouns and respective examples for you. Read on to find out more!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Cantonese Personal Pronouns
  2. Demonstrative Pronouns
  3. Interrogative Pronouns
  4. Indefinite Pronouns
  5. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Cantonese Personal Pronouns

A Group of People

We’ve divided the pronouns into singular (e.g. “I,” “you,” “he,” “she”) and plural (e.g. “we,” “they”) for your easy reference. Note that there isn’t an honorific version of pronouns in Cantonese, and both the words and example phrases below are in spoken form:

1- Singular

Introducing Yourself

1- 你

Meaning: you

Romanization: nei5

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 你鐘意咖啡。
  • Romanization: nei5 zung1 ji3 gaa3 fe1
  • Meaning: You like coffee.

2- 我

Meaning: I

Romanization: ngo5

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我想改變世界。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 goi2 bin3 sai3 gaai3
  • Meaning: I want to change the world.

3- 佢

Meaning: she / he / it

Romanization: keoi5

Note: There are no differences between “he,” “she,” or “it” in Cantonese. You can use 佢 for all circumstances.

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 佢好得意。
  • Romanization: keoi5 hou2 dak1 ji3
  • Meaning: She / He / It is cute.

4-  你嘅

Meaning: your / yours   

Romanization: nei5 ge3

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我好想睇穿你嘅心。
  • Romanization: ngo5 hou2 soeng2 tai2 cyun1 nei5 ge3 sam1
  • Meaning: I want to see right through your heart.

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 係你嘅。
  • Romanization: hai6 nei5 ge3
  • Meaning: It’s yours.

5-  我嘅

Meaning: my / mine

Romanization: ngo5 ge3

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我嘅天堂
  • Romanization: ngo5 ge3 tin1 tong4
  • Meaning: My paradise

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 你係我嘅。
  • Romanization: nei5 hai6 ngo5 ge3
  • Meaning: You are mine.

6-  佢嘅

Meaning: her / his / its / hers

Romanization: keoi5 ge3

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 佢嘅答覆
  • Romanization: keoi5 ge3 daap3 fuk1
  • Meaning: His / her reply

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 唔係佢嘅。
  • Romanization: m4 hai6 keoi5 ge3
  • Meaning: It’s not his / hers.

2- Plural

7- 你哋

Meaning: you guys

Romanization: nei5 dei6

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 你哋無做錯到。
  • Romanization: nei5 dei6 mou4 zou6 co3 dou3
  • Meaning: You guys didn’t do anything wrong.

8- 我哋

Meaning: we / us

Romanization: ngo5 dei6

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我哋係香港人。
  • Romanization: ngo5 dei6 hai6 hoeng1 gong2 jan4
  • Meaning: We are Hong Kongers.

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 佢同我哋講佢係警察。
  • Romanization: keoi5 tung4 ngo5 dei6 gong2 keoi5 hai6 ging2 caat3
  • Meaning: He told us he is a cop.

9-  佢哋

Meaning: they / them

Romanization: keoi5 dei6

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 佢哋係醫生。
  • Romanization: keoi5 dei6 hai6 ji1 sang1
  • Meaning: They are doctors.

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 你其實都好關心佢哋。
  • Romanization: nei5 kei4 sat6 dou1 hou2 gwaan1 sam1 keoi5 dei6
  • Meaning: Actually, you care about them.

10- 你哋嘅

Meaning: your / yours (plural)

Romanization: nei5 dei6 ge3

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 發揮你哋嘅創意。
  • Romanization: faat3 fai1 nei5 dei6 ge3 cong3 ji3
  • Meaning: Let your imagination go wild.

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 呢啲係你哋嘅。
  • Romanization: ni1 di1 hai6 nei5 dei6 ge3
  • Meaning: These are yours.

11- 我哋嘅

Meaning: our / ours

Romanization: ngo5 dei6 ge3

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我哋嘅字典
  • Romanization: ngo5 dei6 ge3 zi6 din2
  • Meaning: Our dictionary

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 字典係我哋嘅。
  • Romanization: zi6 din2 hai6 ngo5 dei6 ge3
  • Meaning: The dictionary is ours.

12-  佢哋嘅

Meaning: their / theirs

Romanization: keoi5 dei6 ge3

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 佢哋嘅文化
  • Romanization: keoi5 dei6 ge3 man4 faa3
  • Meaning: Their culture

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 可能係佢哋嘅。
  • Romanization: ho2 nang4 hai6 keoi5 dei6 ge3
  • Meaning: Maybe it’s theirs.

2. Demonstrative Pronouns

Image Gallery

1- 呢個

Meaning: this

Romanization: ni1 go3

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 呢個係我嘅電話。
  • Romanization: ni1 go3 hai6 ngo5 ge3 din6 waa2
  • Meaning: This is my cell.

2- 嗰個

Meaning: that

Romanization: go2 go3

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 嗰個人
  • Romanization: go2 go3 jan4
  • Meaning: That person

3- 呢啲

Meaning: these

Romanization: ni1 di1

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 呢啲珍珠好韌㗎。
  • Romanization: ni1 di1 zan1 zyu1 hou2 jan6 gaa3
  • Meaning: These bubbles are very chewy.

4- 嗰啲

Meaning: those

Romanization: go2 di1

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 嗰啲蟬嘅聲音, 我覺得好好聽㗎。
  • Romanization: go2 di1 sim4 ge3 sing1 jam1, ngo5 gok3 dak1 hou2 hou2 teng1 gaa3
  • Meaning: I love the sound of those cicadas. 

5- 呢度

Meaning: here

Romanization: ni1 dou6   

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 呢度係香港。
  • Romanization: ni1 dou6 hai6 hoeng1 gong2
  • Meaning: Hong Kong is here.

6- 嗰度

Meaning: there

Romanization: go2 dou6

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 嗰度好靚。
  • Romanization: go2 dou6 hou2 leng3
  • Meaning: It’s beautiful there.

3. Interrogative Pronouns

Basic Questions

1- 乜嘢

Meaning: what

Romanization: mat1 je5

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 乜嘢係通貨膨脹呀?
  • Romanization: mat1 je5 hai6 tung1 fo3 paang4 zoeng3 aa3
  • Meaning: What is inflation?

2- 邊個

Meaning: who

Romanization: bin1 go3

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 邊個超級英雄係最強㗎呢?
  • Romanization: bin1 go3 ciu1 kap1 jing1 hung4 hai6 zeoi3 koeng4 gaa3 ne1 
  • Meaning: Who is the strongest superhero?

3- 邊個嘅

Meaning: whose

Romanization: bin1 go3 ge3

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 部電話係邊個嘅?
  • Romanization: bou6 din6 waa6 hai6 bin1 go3 ge3
  • Meaning: Whose phone is it?

4- 幾時

Meaning: when

Romanization: gei2 si4

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 幾時得閒呀?
  • Romanization: gei2 si4 dak1 haan4 aa3
  • Meaning: When are you free?

5- 邊度

Meaning: where

Romanization: bin1 dou6 

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 邊度有廁所呀? 
  • Romanization: bin1 dou6 jau5 ci3 so2 aa3
  • Meaning: Where is the toilet?

6- 點樣

Meaning: how

Romanization: dim2 joeng2

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 應該點樣準備呢?
  • Romanization: jing1 goi1 dim2 joeng2 zeon2 bei6 ne1
  • Meaning: How should I prepare?

7- 點解

Meaning: why

Romanization: dim2 gaai2 

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 點解想做呢份工?
  • Romanization: dim2 gaai2 soeng2 zou6 ni1 fan6 gung1
  • Meaning: Why do you want this job?

4. Indefinite Pronouns

A Blank Paper

As opposed to English, there isn’t a set of pronouns in Cantonese with the fixed prefixes of “every-,” “any-,” or “some-.” As such, we’ve instead included the Cantonese equivalents of common indefinite pronouns below:

1- 所有嘢

Meaning: everything

Romanization: so2 jau5 je5

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 所有嘢都會同老婆交代。
  • Romanization: so2 jau5 je5 dou1 wui3 tung4 lou5 po4 gaau1 doi6
  • Meaning: I will tell my wife everything.

2- 所有人

Meaning: everybody

Romanization: so2 jau5 jan4

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 所有人都鐘意你。
  • Romanization: so2 jau5 jan4 dou1 zung1 ji3 nei5
  • Meaning: Everybody likes you.

3- 邊度

Meaning: everywhere

Romanization: bin1 dou6 

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 邊度都見到你。
  • Romanization: bin1 dou6 dou1 gin3 dou2 nei5
  • Meaning: You’re everywhere.

4- 一啲嘢

Meaning: something

Romanization: jat1 di1 je5

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 如果二零一九年要捨棄一啲嘢,我最想捨棄一啲壞習慣。
  • Romanization: jyu4 gwo2 ji6 ling4 jat1 gau2 nin4 jiu3 se2 hei3 jat1 di1 je5, ngo5 zeoi3 soeng2 se2 hei3 jat1 di1 waai6 zaap6 gwaan3
  • Meaning: If I must let go of something in 2019, I want to let go of my bad habits.

5- 一啲人

Meaning: somebody

Romanization: jat1 di1 jan4   

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 係一啲人嘅問題。
  • Romanization: hai6 jat1 di1 jan4 ge3 man6 tai4
  • Meaning: That’s somebody’s problem.

6- 某啲地方

Meaning: somewhere

Romanization: mau5 di1 dei6 fong1 

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 某啲地方一定有所犧牲。
  • Romanization: mau5 di1 dei6 fong1 jat1 ding6 jau5 so2 hei1 sang1
  • Meaning: There will be sacrifices somewhere.

7- 冇嘢

Meaning: nothing

Romanization: mou5 je5

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我冇嘢講。
  • Romanization: ngo5 mou5 je5 gong2
  • Meaning: I have nothing to say.

8- 冇人

Meaning: no one

Romanization: mou5 jan4  

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 冇人係完美。
  • Romanization: mou5 jan4 hai6 jyun4 mei5
  • Meaning: No one is perfect.

9- 冇地方

Meaning: nowhere

Romanization: mou5 dei6 fong1

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 冇地方住
  • Romanization: mou5 dei6 fong1 zyu6
  • Meaning: I got nowhere to live.

10- 乜嘢

Meaning: anything

Romanization: mat1 je5 

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 乜嘢都有可能。
  • Romanization: mat1 je5 dou1 jau5 ho2 nang4
  • Meaning: Anything is possible.

11- 乜人

Meaning: anyone

Romanization: mat1 jan4   

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 乜人都可以申請。
  • Romanization: mat1 jan4 dou1 ho2 ji5 san1 cing2
  • Meaning: Anyone can apply.

12- 乜嘢地方

Meaning: anywhere

Romanization: mat1 je5 dei6 fong1

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我乜嘢地方都可以瞓得着。
  • Romanization: ngo5 mat1 je5 dei6 fong1 dou1 ho2 ji5 fan3 dak1 zoek6
  • Meaning: I can fall asleep anywhere.

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

Improve Listening

Cantonese pronouns are extremely useful in our daily conversations, and we hope by now you’ve memorized some Cantonese pronouns and are ready to use them. Do check out our articles on Cantonese nouns and Cantonese adjectives as well, and be sure to let us know in the comments if you have any questions! 

Want to level up your Cantonese after mastering Cantonese pronouns? 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 - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Your Guide to Cantonese Word Order

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Word order refers to the order in which words are structured to form a sentence. One example is the “Subject + Verb + Object” pattern in English. One can not speak, read, or write properly without knowing how to put sentences together. 

That’s why we’ve decided to introduce you to Cantonese word order and grammar. Let CantoneseClass101.com be your guide to mastering Cantonese!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Cantonese Word Order Overview
  2. Basic Word Order with Subject, Verb, and Object
  3. Word Order with Prepositional Phrases
  4. Word Order with Modifiers
  5. How to Form a Negative Sentence
  6. Bonus: Translation Exercises
  7. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Cantonese Word Order Overview

Improve Pronunciation

Cantonese word order is fairly flexible and may be said to follow the pattern “Subject + Verb + Object,” which is the same basic word order in English. As there are so many ways to structure a sentence in Cantonese, some think that Cantonese is very difficult—especially HongKongers who love to “not follow the grammar” and throw words around.

But don’t worry. In addition to the most common sentence patterns we’ll cover below, you can always learn Cantonese word order by chatting with the locals or reading more examples on CantoneseClass101.com. The key to mastering a language is not being afraid to make mistakes. After all, it’s from mistakes that we learn the most!

Now, let’s look closer at this pattern of word ordering in Cantonese…

2. Basic Word Order with Subject, Verb, and Object

Cinema

The basic word order for English is subject (S), verb (V), and object (O). If we break down the English sentence “I watch a movie,” we can see that the subject “I” is presented first. This is followed by the verb “watch,” and then finally, the object “movie” is positioned last. We’ve removed the particles here to keep it simple.

“Subject + Verb + Object” is the basic word order for sentences in both English and Cantonese.

Now let’s compare that same sentence, “I watch a movie,” with the Cantonese translation: 我睇戲” (ngo5 tai2 hei3). If we break down the Cantonese sentence, we see that the subject 我 (ngo5), meaning “I,” comes first. Then comes the verb 睇 (tai2), meaning “watch.” And finally, we have the object 戲 (hei3), meaning “movie.”

Below is a summary of the basic word order in Cantonese:

1 – Subject (S) + Verb (V) + Object (O)

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我睇戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 tai2 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watch (a) movie.”

We’ll keep using the above example sentence, 我睇戲 (ngo5 tai2 hei3), and expand upon it throughout the article for better illustration.

3. Word Order with Prepositional Phrases

A Question Mark

Now we’ll expand the basic Cantonese word order “S + V + O” with prepositional phrases (e.g. “when,” “where,” or in “in what way”).

2 – S + Time (T) + V + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜睇戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tai2 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched a movie last week.”

Note 1: Time can either be placed in front of or after the subject, though it’s more common to place time after the subject. For example, 上個禮拜我睇戲 (soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 ngo5 tai2 hei3) also works.

Note 2: Time and duration are placed differently in Cantonese sentences. We’ll cover duration later in this article. 

3 – S + T + Manner (M) + V + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊睇戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 tai2 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched a movie last week with my friends.”

4 – S + T + M + Place (P) + V + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊喺戲院睇戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tai2 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched a movie at the cinema last week with my friends.”

Note: Place can either be placed in front of or after prepositions of manner, though it’s more common to place it after. For example, 我上個禮拜喺戲院同朋友一齊睇戲 (ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 tai2 hei3) also works.

4. Word Order with Modifiers

A Plus Sign

Modifiers usually modify nouns. In Cantonese, they are often adjectives, determiners (e.g. “this,” “that”), or numerals (e.g. “one,” “two,” “three”).

Now let’s further expand our sentence with modifiers!

5 – S + T + M + P + V + Determiners (De) + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊喺戲院睇咗呢場戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tai2 zo2 ni1 coeng4 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched this movie at the cinema last week with my friends.”

6 – S + T + M + P + V + De + Numerals (N) + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊喺戲院睇咗呢一場戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tai2 zo2 ni1 jat1 coeng4 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched this (one) movie at the cinema last week with my friends.”

Note: We don’t have “these” or the plural of “this” in Cantonese. We use numerals directly to tell how many there are of something.

7 – S + T + M + P + V + De + N + Duration (Du) + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊喺戲院睇咗呢一場兩個鐘頭嘅戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tai2 zo2 ni1 jat1 coeng4 loeng5 go3 zung1 tau4 ge3 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched this two-hour-long movie at the cinema last week with my friends.”

8 – S + T + M + P + V + De + N + Du + Adjective (A) + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊喺戲院睇咗呢一場兩個鐘頭好精彩嘅戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tai2 zo2 ni1 jat1 coeng4 loeng5 go3 zung1 tau4 hou2 zing1 coi2 ge3 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched this stunning two-hour-long movie at the cinema last week with my friends.”

Note: We sometimes break the sentence into two parts if it’s too long. For instance, we could split the sentence above as follows:

  • Format: S + T + M + P + V + De + N + A + O, V + Du
  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊喺戲院睇咗呢一場好精彩嘅戲,睇足兩個鐘頭。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tai2 zo2 ni1 jat1 coeng4 hou2 zing1 coi2 ge3 hei3, tai2 zuk1 loeng5 go3 zung1 tau4

5. How to Form a Negative Sentence

a Lady Expressing

Forming negative sentences in Cantonese is easy. In most cases, we just need to add the character for “no,” which is 唔 (m4), in front of the verb.

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我唔睇戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 m4 tai2 hei3
  • Meaning: “I don’t watch a movie.”

6. Bonus: Translation Exercises

Pencil & Paper

Try to arrange the words in the correct order! 

[Note that: 1. English tenses are ignored in this exercise as there is no such concept as tense in Cantonese. 2. You may find the answers in the last paragraph of this section.]

Ex 1-

Words: 你 (romanization: nei5; meaning: “you”); 蘋果 (romanization: ping4 gwo2; meaning: “apple”); 食 (romanization: sik6; meaning: “eat”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Ex 2-

Words: 你 (romanization: nei5; meaning: “you”); 蘋果 (romanization: ping4 gwo2; meaning: “apple”); 食 (romanization: sik6; meaning: “eat”); 好食嘅 (romanization: hou2 sik6 ge3; meaning: “delicious”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Ex 3-

Words: 你 (romanization: nei5; meaning: “you”); 蘋果 (romanization: ping4 gwo2; meaning: “apple”); 食 (romanization: sik6; meaning: “eat”); 唔 (romanization: m4; meaning: “don’t”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Ex 4-

Words: 錢 (romanization: cin2; meaning: “money”); 借 (romanization: ze3; meaning: “borrow”); 我 (romanization: ngo5; meaning: “I”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Ex 5-

Words: 錢 (romanization: cin2; meaning: “money”); 借 (romanization: ze3; meaning: “borrow”); 我 (romanization: ngo5; meaning: “I”); 噚日 (romanization: cam4 jat6; meaning: “yesterday”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Ex 6-

Words: 錢 (romanization: cin2; meaning: “money”); 借 (romanization: ze3; meaning: “borrow”); 我 (romanization: ngo5; meaning: “I”); 噚日 (romanization: cam4 jat6; meaning: “yesterday”); 問朋友 (romanization: man6 pang4 jau5; meaning: “from a friend”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Ex 7-

Words: 好靚嘅 (romanization: hou2 leng3 ge3; meaning: “beautiful”); 一個 (romanization: jat1 go3; meaning: “one”); 我 (romanization: ngo5; meaning: “I”); 今日 (romanization: gam1 jat6; meaning: “today”); 見到 (romanization: gin3 dou2; meaning: “see”); 手袋 (romanization: sau2 doi2; meaning: “handbag”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Answers

Ex 1- 你食蘋果。

Ex 2- 你食好食嘅蘋果。

Ex 3- 你唔食蘋果。

Ex 4- 我借錢。

Ex 5- 我噚日借錢。/ 噚日我借錢。

Ex 6- 我噚日問朋友借錢。/ 噚日我問朋友借錢。

Ex 7- 我今日見到一個好靚嘅手袋。

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

Improve Listening

Cantonese word order isn’t that difficult after all, right? It might sound complicated at first, but if you’re patient and learn one step at a time, you’ll be able to master Cantonese word order before you know it!

Is there anything that’s still not clear to you? Is the sentence structure in Cantonese similar or different from that in your native language? Let us know in the comments! 

After learning Cantonese word order, do you want to take your Cantonese to the next level? 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 - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

The Ultimate Guide to Telling Time in Cantonese

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Telling time is part of everyday life, and it’s one of the essential conversation skills you need to learn when studying a new language. Want to learn how to tell time in Cantonese? No worries—we’ve got you covered! But before we start learning about telling time in Cantonese, let’s go over how to ask for the time and other time-related questions.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. How to Ask for the Time
  2. How to Tell Time in Cantonese
  3. Words that Refer to the Time of the Day
  4. Time Adverbs
  5. Bonus: Time Proverbs and Sayings
  6. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. How to Ask for the Time

A Clock

1- 而家幾點呀?

Meaning: What time is it?

Romanization: ji4 gaa1 gei2 dim2 aa3

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Notes: The phrase 幾點 (gei2 dim2) literally means “How many hours?” In conversational Cantonese, it’s common to add the word 而家 (ji4 gaa1), meaning “now,” at the beginning of the sentence. Note that the actual Cantonese noun for “time” is 時間 (si4 gaan1) and 幾點呀 (gei2 dim2 aa3) actually equates to “when” in English. So if someone invited you to an event and you’d like to know when it’ll be, just ask 幾點呀 (gei2 dim2 aa3).

2. How to Tell Time in Cantonese

Time

The method we use for telling the time in Cantonese is very similar to how a clock works. We use numbers in Cantonese that correspond to the numbers on an hour- and minute-hand clock.

1- Hours

The numbers one to twelve are used primarily when we talk about hours. To say what time it is (in hours), we add the number (1 – 12) to 點 (dim2): 十點 (sap6 dim2). 

十 (sap6) is “10” in Cantonese, so 十點 (sap6 dim2) is essentially ten o’clock. The only exception is two o’clock, where we use 兩 (loeng5) instead of 二 (ji6).

  • 1 o’clock: 一點 (jat1 dim2)
  • 2 o’clock: 兩點 (loeng5 dim2)
  • 3 o’clock: 三點 (saam1 dim2)
  • 4 o’clock: 四點 (sei3 dim2)
  • 5 o’clock: 五點 (ng5 dim2)
  • 6 o’clock: 六點 (luk6 dim2)
  • 7 o’clock: 七點 (cat1 dim2)
  • 8 o’clock: 八點 (baat3 dim2)
  • 9 o’clock: 九點 (gau2 dim2)
  • 10 o’clock: 十點 (sap6 dim2)
  • 11 o’clock: 十一點 (sap6 jat1 dim2)
  • 12 o’clock: 十二點 (sap6 ji6 dim2)

Example Sentence: 而家十二點。

Meaning: It’s now 12 o’clock.

Romanization: ji4 gaa1 sap6 ji6 dim2

Format: Spoken Cantonese

2- Minutes

Telling the time in Hong Kong is easy: you’re always running late. The rule of thumb is to say the hour plus 點 (dim2), as explained in the section above, followed by the number of minutes past the hour. 

Like the United States, Hong Kong follows a twelve-hour cycle in which the time repeats itself in both the morning and afternoon.

Structure

To express both hours and minutes, say the hour first as mentioned in the section above, then add the number (1 to 59) to 分 (fan1). Note that for 1 through 9, we’ll add “0” in front of the number; for example, 2:02 is 兩點零二分 (loeng5 dim2 ling4 ji6 fan1).

  • 1:05: 一點零五分 (jat1 dim2 ling4 ng5 fan1)
  • 2:12: 兩點十二分 (loeng5 dim2 sap6 ji6 fan1)
  • 3:15: 三點十五分 (saam1 dim2 sap6 ng5 fan1)
  • 4:28: 四點二十八分 (sei3 dim2 ji6 sap6 baat3 fan1)
  • 5:30: 五點三十分 (ng5 dim2 saam1 sap6 fan1)
  • 6:33: 六點三十三分 (luk6 dim2 saam1 sap6 saam1 fan1)
  • 7:37: 七點三十七分 (cat1 dim2 saam1 sap6 cat1 fan1)
  • 8:44: 八點四十四分 (baat3 dim2 sei3 sap6 sei3 fan1)
  • 9:46: 九點四十六分 (gau2 dim2 sei3 sap6 luk6 fan1)
  • 10:50: 十點五十分 (sap6 dim2 ng5 sap6 fan1)
  • 11:51: 十一點五十一分 (sap6 jat1 dim2 ng5 sap6 jat1 fan1)
  • 12:59: 十二點五十九分 (sap6 ji6 dim2 ng5 sap6 gau2 fan1)

Example Sentence: 而家係七點三十七分。

Meaning: It’s now 7:37.

Romanization: ji4 gaa1 hai3 cat1 dim2 saam1 sap6 cat1 fan1

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Quarters

There are alternative ways to express quarters (e.g. the :15-, :30-, and :45-minute marks) in Cantonese. 

In addition to the structure introduced above, you can also use 三 (saam1) to replace 十五分 (sap6 ng5 fan1) for “:15”; 半 (bun3) to replace 三十分 (saam1 sap6 fan1) for “:30,” and 九 (gau2) to replace 四十五分 (sei3 sap6 ng5 fan1) for “:45.”

  • 10:15 : 十點三 (sap6 dim2 saam1)
  • 5:30 : 五點半 (ng5 dim2 bun3)
  • 6:45 : 六點九 (luk6 dim2 gau2)

Example Sentence: 而家係十點三。

Meaning: It’s now 10:15.

Romanization: ji4 gaa1 hai6 sap6 dim2 saam1

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Note that the actual word for “minute” in Cantonese is 分鐘 (fan1 zung1).

3. Words that Refer to the Time of the Day

Woods in the Morning

1- 上晝

Meaning: a.m. / morning

Romanization: soeng6 zau3

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example

  • Sentence / Phrase: 上晝六點
  • Romanization: soeng6 zau3 luk6 dim2
  • Meaning:  6 o’clock a.m.

2- 下晝

Meaning: p.m. / afternoon

Romanization: haa6 zau3

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 下晝十一點
  • Romanization: haa6 zau3 sap6 jat1 dim2
  • Meaning: 11 p.m.

3- 晏晝

Meaning: noon

Romanization: aan3 zau3

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 晏晝十二點
  • Romanization: aan3 zau3 sap6 ji6 dim2
  • Meaning: 12:00 noon

4- 早上

Meaning: morning

Romanization: zou2 soeng6

Format: Written Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我在早上緩步跑。
  • Romanization: ngo5 zoi6 zou2 soeng6 wun4 bou6 paau2
  • Meaning: I jog in the morning.

5-  晚上

Meaning: evening

Romanization: maan5 soeng6

Format: Written Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我白天勤力工作,所以晚上放鬆。
  • Romanization: ngo5 baak6 tin1 kan4 lik6 gung1 zok3, so2 ji5 maan5 soeng6 fong3 sung1
  • Meaning: I work hard during the day, so I relax in the evening.

6-  白天

Meaning: daytime 

Romanization: baak6 tin1

Format: Written Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我白天勤力工作,所以晚上放鬆。
  • Romanization: ngo5 baak6 tin1 kan4 lik6 gung1 zok3, so2 ji5 maan5 soeng6 fong3 sung1
  • Meaning: I work hard during the day, so I relax in the evening.

7-  夜晚

Meaning: nighttime   

Romanization: je6 maan5

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 已經到夜晚。
  • Romanization: ji5 ging1 dou3 je6 maan5
  • Meaning: It’s already nighttime.

4. Time Adverbs

Alarm Clocks

1- 同時

Meaning: meanwhile

Romanization: tung4 si4

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我同時睇緊電視。
  • Romanization: ngo5 tung4 si4 tai2 gan2 din6 si6
  • Meaning: Meanwhile, I am watching TV.

2- 而家

Meaning: right now

Romanization: ji4 gaa1

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 而家係十二點五十九分。
  • Romanization: ji4 gaa1 hai3 sap6 ji6 dim2 ng5 sap6 gau2 fan1
  • Meaning: It’s now 12:59.

3- 之前

Meaning: before

Romanization: zi1 cin4

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 之前係我錯。 
  • Romanization: zi1 cin4 hai6 ngo5 co3
  • Meaning: I was wrong (before).
  • Note: As there’s no past tense for verbs in Cantonese, we use 之前 (zi1 cin4) to indicate an action that happened in the past.

4- 之後

Meaning: after / later

Romanization: zi1 hau6

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 你話之後會搵我。 
  • Romanization: nei5 waa6 zi1 hau6 wui5 wan2 ngo5
  • Meaning: You promised you will find me later.

5- 就嚟

Meaning: soon

Romanization: zau6 lai4

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我就嚟到。 
  • Romanization: ngo5 zau6 lai4 dou3
  • Meaning: I will be arriving soon.

6- 就快

Meaning: almost

Romanization: zau6 faai3

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 就快有十年歷史。 
  • Romanization: zau6 faai3 jau5 sap6 nin4 lik6 si2
  • Meaning: It’s almost ten years old.

7- 夠鐘

Meaning: It’s time

Romanization: gau3 zung1

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 夠鐘,停筆。 
  • Romanization: gau3 zung1, ting4 bat1.
  • Meaning: It’s time, pens down.

8- 好耐

Meaning: a long time

Romanization: hou2 noi6

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 好耐冇見。 
  • Romanization: hou2 noi6 mou5 gin3
  • Meaning: It’s been a long time since we last met.

9- 一早

Meaning: earlier on

Romanization: jat1 zou2

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我一早就同你講唔得。 
  • Romanization: ngo5 jat1 zou2 zau6 tung4 nei5 gong2 m4 dak1
  • Meaning: I told you earlier on that it wouldn’t work.

10- 盡快

Meaning: as soon as possible

Romanization: zeon6 faai3

Format: Spoken Cantonese

Example:

  • Sentence / Phrase: 你盡快嚟。 
  • Romanization: nei5 zeon6 faai3 lai4
  • Meaning: Please come as soon as possible.

5. Bonus: Time Proverbs and Sayings

Improve Listening

1- 好久不見

Meaning: Long time no see.

Romanization: hou2 gau2 bat1 gin3

Format: Written Cantonese

2- 時間就係金錢

Meaning: Time is money.

Romanization: si4 gaan3 zau6 hai6 gam1 cin4

Format: Spoken Cantonese

3- 光陰如箭

Meaning: Time flies.

Romanization: gwong1 jam1 jyu4 zin3

Format: Spoken / Written Cantonese

4- 寸金難買寸光陰

Meaning: An inch of gold will not buy an inch of time.

Romanization: cyun3 gam1 naan4 maai5 cyun3 gwong1 jam1

Format: Spoken / Written Cantonese

5- 時間可以治療一切

Meaning: Time heals all wounds. 

Romanization: si4 gaan3 ho2 ji5 zi6 liu4 jat1 cit3

Format: Spoken / Written Cantonese

Do you want to learn how to tell dates as well? Check out our article on dates here!

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

Basic Questions

Learning how to tell time is important—but it’s equally crucial to cherish your time and spend it wisely. If your goal is to better your Cantonese, we do advise you to invest your time in 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 in the comments what time it is where you are, in Cantonese! It’ll be good practice. 😉 We look forward to hearing from you!

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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!

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

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!

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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!

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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. 🙂

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