Toll Free - U.S.& Canada:  1-800-791-9386   Hong Kong:  800-902-058   Australia:  1-800-779-835
Free online Chinese learning support
  • Follow us on Facebook!
  • Watch Our YouTube Videos!
  • Follow us on Twitter!
  • Follow us on WeChat!
    Follow Us in WeChat by Scanning!
    Follow Us in "WeChat"
    by Scanning
  • Follow us on LinkedIn
  • Explore Our Instagram Videos & Photos!
United Kingdom:  0-800-086-8969   Germany:  0-800-180-0341   Singapore:  800-130-1652
France:  0-805-080-689   Spain:  900-838-906    

筷子礼仪五知道 Five Things You Must NOT Do with Chopsticks (Beginner)

Nov. 8, 2015

筷子 (kuàizi): n. chopsticks

涵养 (hányǎng): n. good behavior

As you are doing business with Chinese people, you may have used "筷子 (kuàizi) chopsticks." But do you know the taboos of using this dining tool? The following list has five things you must know about the use of "筷子 (kuàizi) chopsticks." 

1. Never use your index finger wrong with "筷子 (kuàizi) chopsticks"

Hold "筷子 (kuàizi) chopsticks" with your "大拇指 (dàmǔzhǐ) thumb," "中指 (zhōngzhǐ) middle finger," "无名指 (wúmíngzhǐ) ring finger," and "小拇指 (xiǎomǔzhǐ) little finger," but be sure not to point your "食指 (shízhǐ) index finger" at others. It is widely acknowledged in China that when someone is about to swear, they tend to point their "食指 (shízhǐ) index finger" at others. So if you let your "食指 (shízhǐ) index finger" point to other guests at the table, it is perceived as being impolite.

2. Never hold "筷子 (kuàizi) chopsticks" in your mouth

Do not hold "筷子 (kuàizi) chopsticks" in your mouth and suck them.It is regarded as lack of "涵养 (hányǎng) good behavior." Besides, if you suck on the "筷子 (kuàizi) chopsticks," you are very likely to make strange noises, which is often quite annoying.

3. Never use only one "筷子 (kuàizi) chopstick"

Do not get what you want to eat with only one chopstick. It is well-recognized that both "筷子 (kuàizi) chopsticks" are always used together. But when you use only one of them to get something really small, it is like sticking up your "中指 (zhōngzhǐ) middle finger" to someone in Western culture. 

4. Never put your "筷子 (kuàizi) chopsticks" in a bowl of rice

Do not put your "筷子 (kuàizi) chopsticks" in the middle of a bowl of rice before eating. This is an action employed when you want to pay your respects to your ancestors who have passed away. 

5. Never hit a bowl or plate with "筷子 (kuàizi) chopsticks"

Do not use your "筷子 (kuàizi) chopsticks" to hit the bowl or the plate, even when you feel bored. That's what beggars do when they beg for food.


Key Learning Points:

筷子 (kuàizi): n. chopsticks


Hěnduō wàiguórén rènwéi yòng kuàizi hé xué hǎo Zhōngwén yíyàng kùnnan. 
很多        外国人       认为     用    筷子   和  学 好      中文          一样    困难。
Many foreigners think that skillfully using chopsticks is as hard as learning Chinese.

涵养 (hányǎng): n. good behavior


Zhāng Míng: Mǎ Kè, tīngshuō nǐ zuìjìn zài xuéxí lǚyóu hànyǔ.      
张       明:   马  克,听说       你 最近  在  学习  旅游   汉语。
Zhang Ming: Mark, I heard that you are taking travel Chinese courses recently.

Mǎ Kè: Duì. Zhōngwén lǎoshī hái tèbié qiángdiào le  lǚyóu zhōng de hányǎng wèntí.     
马  克:对。 中文        老师    还  特别   强调        了  旅游    中     的   涵养       问题。
Bǐrú shuō, búyào zài jiànzhùwù shàng luàntúluànhuà.      
比如 说,  不要   在   建筑物      上       乱涂乱画。
Mark: Yes. My Chinese teacher emphasizes good behavior when travelling. For example, do not scrawl on the buildings during your trip.

生词 (shēngcí) Vocabulary:

大拇指 (dàmǔzhǐ): n. thumb

食指 (shízhǐ): n. index finger

中指 (zhōngzhǐ): n. middle finger

无名指 (wúmíngzhǐ): n. ring finger

小拇指 (xiǎomǔzhǐ): n. little finger

Want to survival in China?See here.

Business Chinese

Chinese Culture

General Chinese (Beginner Level)

General Chinese (Intermediate Level)

Got questions? Take a free 1-to-1 lesson with one of our professional teachers by signing up below:

search no result

By clicking Submit, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
Your email address and phone number


PS – Could you please post your you tube videos on youku also? They are invisible in China!

Great work –
Yours is one of the rare websites that (a) is accessible in China without a vpn and (b) allows us to LISTEN and DOWNLOAD the audio of simple sentences spoken at a normal speed.

For me both of these are important – and most Chinese learning websites fail miserably in this.

Many do not allow downloads of mp3 – pretty useless since one needs to hear this often – like a child – so that one can say it confidently (I listen to this on my way to office)

Incidentally I live in China and hence try to learn sentences that I can actually use in daily life (something that oddly enough, most Chinese learning websites do not do – they instead focus on atrocious sentences that people rarely say in this country!).

Do keep up the good work – and do post more such basic short sentences.

Also – could you please add a male voice over? I know that theoretically this should not matter, but in practice, women in China do say things differently.

Hi Sthitapragnya. Thank you very much for your suggestions. I’m glad you like our materials. We will try to post more useful resources. (●’◡’●)

Best Points I would like to share ……

you are being way too hard on yourself. same tinhgs happened at each of the Spanish courses I took. the students clammed up. Are they not allowed to speak in Chinese as a rule of the college? or department? we cheated and spoke in English just to feel safer . oh, well your blogs are hysterical. keep it up and remember we are not laughing at you but with you

I am not positive where you are getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or working out more. Thank you for great information I was searching for this info for my mission.

This forum needed shaknig up and you’ve just done that. Great post!

How to say “a pair of chopstick” in Chinese?

Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much more consideration. I’ll probably be again to read much more, thanks for that info.

We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with valuable info to work on. You have done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

Great site, keep up the good effort chaps.

Hi, nice to hear from you! In Chinese, you can say “一双筷子 (yì shuāng kuàizi)” to refer to “a pair of chopstick.”

Write a comment

Your Name: 
Your Email:  Your email address will not be published.
Verification Code:  Verification Code Unclear? Try another one
By clicking Submit, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
Email This Article
Recipients' email addresses:
(separate recipients with comma)
Your name:
Your e-mail address (optional):
Your message (optional):
Verification Code:
By clicking Send, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

FREE Mandarin E-book
Sign up for a free trial now!
Get more information about our Chinese lessons through live chat
Get a FREE live 1-to-1 lesson and FREE e-books. Complete the form below:

search no result

By clicking Submit, you agree to our
Terms of Service
and Privacy Policy.
Your email address and phone number