Our lesson today is for absolute beginners to the Chinese language, which means that even if you don't know any Chinese you should still find it accessible enough to pick up some of the basics. In it we cover two useful verbs you can use to tell others what you are thinking and feeling. And as a bonus, we also cover a useful phrase for apologizing in Chinese, either so you can apologize yourself, or so you can demand satisfaction from everyone around you.

New to Popup Chinese and not sure what we have in store? This lesson is for absolute beginners to the Chinese language, but if you're a more advanced student don't worry: we have hundreds of lessons at your difficulty level in our Chinese lesson archive. Just create a free account for yourself and you'll get full access totally free of charge. So create your own free account today and let us know what you think of our stuff.
 said on
May 26, 2012
why can't i use bu hao yi si in 'not a good idea'?
 said on
May 27, 2012
@townsquare,

The short answer is bu4hao3yi4si5 is a set phrase meaning sorry.

The more specific answer is bu4hao3yi4si5 also has other usages. However, if we split the phrase apart and look at it closely, it means bu4 hao3 -- not good, yi4si5 -- meaning or intention, so the literal translation of bu4hao3yi4si5 is "not a good meaning or intention". "Idea" is usually "zhu2yi4", so for "not a good idea", we say "huai4 zhu2yi4".

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
June 8, 2012
Can I use 不好意思 to scold my children? For example, if my son is starting be rude to the Chinese tutor, can I say 不好意思 to describe his behavior? I am not clear about how to use this phrase to describe behavior since we don't really do that in English. Thanks! I love your podcast.
 said on
June 8, 2012
@ McMahon.Jen

In my experience, which is far more limited than say Echo's, you could use 不好意思 in the context of saying 'Sorry' then follow up with something describing your child's behavior。 “不好意思,他很淘气!" You don't even need to really follow it up though, just saying 不好意思 if someone complains about your kid's behavior or if you see him doing something bad will convey that you are apologizing about it :).

Hopefully that helps, but we'll let the experts weigh in.
 said on
June 9, 2012
@McMahon.Jen,

In that situation, the best way would be 没有礼貌 (bad manners). For 不好意思, one usually uses it to refer to himself, like 这样真不好意思 (this is so embarrassing),我真不好意思 (i'm so embarrassed).

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
June 9, 2012
See, good thing Echo weighed in :). Otherwise you'd sound like a total American attempting to speak Chinese haha.
 said on
June 9, 2012
@McMahon.Jen,

You also can say 不好意思 in the context of saying 'excuse me'. For example, when there is a man stand in your way, and you want him to move, you can say 不好意思, then he'll move.

--Amber

amber@popupchinese.com
 said on
June 11, 2012
Wonderful! I am so excited. I can learn two difficult languages at the same time.
 said on
September 21, 2012
I keep equating 不好意思 to the American slang of... "my bad".
 said on
January 19, 2013
what is the difference between 不好意思 and 抱歉 ?
 said on
January 19, 2013
@dragonfly,

不好意思 is more colloquial, so you will hear it more on the street.

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com

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