How to Say Excuse Me in Chinese

Posted by Julia Song on Dec 30, 2015

excuse me in Chinese Mandarin

How western country say "excuse me".

Western people say "excuse me" more often than we do in China, where "excuse me" is only used to apologize when one has done something wrong or hurt someone else. In contrast, Westerners might say it when they want to leave a party early ("Will you excuse me? I need to leave"), or to ask the way ("Excuse me, could you help me find…"), to get in a word ("Excuse me! I would like to say something!") or even if they cough or sneeze while having conversation ("Oh, excuse me!"). They also say "thank you" more readily.

The translation of "excuse me" in Chinese.

In Chinese, there are different expressions for "excuse me." It can be translated into: Dǎ rǎo le (打扰了)、Shī péi yí huìr(失陪一会儿)、Duì bú zhù (对不住)、Láo jià (劳驾)、Qǐnɡ yuán liànɡ , Dǎ rǎo yí xià(请原谅;打扰一下)、Qǐnɡ yuán liànɡ , Duì bù qǐ (请原谅;对不起)、Qǐnɡ zài shuō yī biàn (请再说一遍)。Which one to choose depends on the different situation.

Example 1:

Excuse me for a moment (Shī Péi Yí Huìr) 失陪一会儿

失陪(Shī Péi):Excuse me, I need to leave.

This expression is very polite. So Chinese people usually say it during a formal meeting or dinner.

A:失陪一会儿。

Shī Péi Yí Huìr(Excuse me for a moment.)

B: 好的。

Hǎo de (OK)

Example 2:

Excuse me (Qǐnɡ Wèn). Can I send a parcel here?

qǐnɡ wèn , wǒ ké yǐ zài zhè lǐ jì bāo mɑ ?

请问,我可以在这里寄包吗?

Example 3:

Please excuse me(Yuán Liànɡ) if I have been inconsiderate in any way.

bú dào zhī chù qǐnɡ yuán liànɡ

不到之处请原谅

Example 4:

Excuse me(Shù Wǒ Mào Mèi )for my abrupt questions.

shù wǒ mào mèi tí chū zhè xiē wèn tí

恕我冒昧提出这些问题

Chinese politeness culture.

From above, we can see that "excuse me is more often used for apologizing than would be similar to saying "sorry for..." But the expression to use depends on the situation because in China there are rules for various kinds of politeness. It is awkward for Chinese people to admit when they are at fault. Therefore when they have to, they always choose some inconspicuous ways. That is why there are different translations for "excuse me" in Chinese.


About The Author

Julia Song

Julia Song is a Chinese learning teacher at Hanbridge Mandarin. Julia Song excels at linguistic pedagogy and one-on-one instruction with 8 years teaching experience and her cheerful attitude and close attention to her students' progress make her an excellent Mandarin teacher for students of all levels.

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