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Answer to Why are Chinese Surnames So “贵(guì)” Expensive?

Nov. 30, 2015

In the test, “姓(xìng)” refers to one’s surname, or family name. When asking somebody’s “姓(xìng),” we usually add “贵(guì)” out of politeness and to show our respect.

However, to answer the question, we shouldn’t add “贵(guì)” as a way of showing our humility. We can reply in this way: “我姓…(Wǒ xìng …)” If we use the word “贵姓(guìxìng),” we should be sure to add “免(miǎn)” at the beginning, which is another way to show modesty. So in our test, A is not a proper reply, but both B and C would be suitable.

In addition, there are generally two ways to ask about somebody’s name in Chinese:

1. Common form

Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?
你 叫    什么      名字?
What is your name?

Example:

Liú Lì:   Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?
刘 丽:你  叫    什么     名字?
Liu Li: What’s your name?

Mǎ Wén: Wǒ jiào Mǎ Wén.
马   文:  我   叫   马   文。
Ma Wen: My name is Ma Wen.

2. Polite form

Nín guì xìng?
您   贵   姓?
May I ask your family name please?

Example:

Liú Lì:  Nín guì xìng?
刘 丽:您   贵   姓?
Liu Li: May I ask your family name please?

Mǎ Wén: Wǒ xìng mǎ./Miǎnguì xìng mǎ.
马   文:  我   姓    马 /    免贵      姓    马。
Ma Wen: My family name is Ma.

To learn more about using and asking about names in Chinese, check out the following related posts:

What’s your name?

Introduce Yourself (Beginner)

“贵(Guì)”- Show Your Respect (in Chinese Way)

Top 7 ways for making self-introduction in Chinese

May I have your name? (Beginner) 您贵姓?(初级)

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