A Troublesome Chinese Word: “麻烦(máfan)”!

Learn Chinese Word: 麻烦(máfan)

There is a saying in English that goes, “Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.” In Chinese, this same phrase can be translated as “麻烦没有来找你, 你就永远不要去找麻烦(Máfan méiyǒu lái zhǎo nǐ, nǐ jiù yóngyuǎn búyào qù zhǎo máfan),” or, in brief, “不要自找麻烦(búyào zì zhǎo máfan).” The moral here is, don’t seek out trouble, and in Chinese the perfect word to describe “trouble” is “麻烦(máfan)”!

“麻烦(máfan)” is a very handy word, which literally means “trouble” or “hassle.” Just like the word “方便(fāngbiàn),” “麻烦(máfan)” is also a great word to know because it can be used in so many situations. It is also used both as a noun and a verb in Chinese. When used as a verb, the meaning of “麻烦(máfan)” is similar to “请(qǐng) please,” which Chinese people often use to show courtesy or good manners.
“麻烦(máfan)” as a noun:


Bùhǎoyìsi, gěi nín tiān máfan le.
不好意思,给 您  添   麻烦   了。
I’m so sorry for troubling you.

Gēmenr , wǒ yùdào máfan le!
哥们儿,  我 遇到    麻烦   了!
I’m in trouble, bro!

Tā lǎoshì zhǎo wǒ máfan!
他 老是    找    我  麻烦!
He always makes trouble for me!

“麻烦(máfan)” as a verb:


Máfan nǐ fānyì yíxià zhèjùhuà, hǎoma?
麻烦    你 翻译 一下 这句话, 好吗?
Would you please translate this sentence for me?

Xièxie, máfan nǐ le.
谢谢,麻烦   你 了。
Thank you so much.

What’s more, “麻烦(máfan)” can be used as an adjective meaning “troublesome” or “bothersome.”


Zhèjiàn shìqíng tài máfan le.
这件     事情      太 麻烦   了。
This is so troublesome.

Nǐ zhègerén zhēn máfan!
你  这个人     真    麻烦!
You are so bothersome!

Bànqiānzhèng zhēn máfan!
办签证             真    麻烦!
It is so troublesome to get a visa!

HSK 3 quiz
1. When “麻烦(máfan)” is used as a verb, Chinese people often use it to show _____.
A. Aversion.
B. Frustration.
C. Courtesy.
2. How should you reply when someone says “麻烦你了?(Má fan nǐ le?)”
A. 没关系!(Méi guān xi!)
B. 谢谢!(Xiè xie!)
C. 对不起!(Duì bu qǐ!)

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