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How to say "Of course" or "Duh" in Mandarin | Learn Chinese the Taiwanese Way

Updated: Jun 3, 2022

逐字稿 Transcript:

(00:00:00) Intro

Hi 大家好, my name is Andy. I'm the host of Podcast "台味中文 Learn Chinese, the Taiwanese Way." Today I'm going to teach you how to say "of course" and "duh" in Mandarin.

For example, when your friend asks you something obvious like "are bananas yellow" and you're like "Duh?" Or when your partner asks you "Do you love me?" and you're like, "Of course, I love you!"

Do you know how to say these in Mandarin? If you don't know, it's fine. Because today I'm exactly gonna teach you how!

(00:00:33) 當然 Of course

Let's start with the more common and the more polite word, 當然.

當然 is usually translated into English as "Of course." We use it to tell the other person what they said is obvious or not surprising.

Let's say you and your friend are talking about a billionaire, 億萬富翁, a billionaire.

And your friend asks you,


(tā hěn yǒu qián ma)

(Is he rich?)

And you think obviously he's rich. He just bought a super expensive condo in the center of Taipei. So you can say,


(dāng rán! tā zuì jìn zài tái běi gāng mǎi xià yì jiān háo zhái, tā dāng rán hěn yǒu qián)

(Of course! He recently just bought a luxury condo in Taipei. Of course he's rich.)

(00:01:30) 當然不是 of course not

Let's look at another situation. Let's say you're walking down the street with your friend, and you bump into another person you know, and the person asks you two,


(nǐ men shì qíng lǚ ma)

(Are you two a couple?)

Because you two are just friends, you can say


(bú shì la, wǒ men zhǐ shì péng yǒu la)

(Nope, we're just friends.)

But if you feel embarrassed by the question or you feel the need to make it clear that you're just friends, you can say,


(dāng rán bú shì !wǒ men zhǐ shì péng yǒu la)

(Of course not! We're just friends.)

(00:02:16) How to say "of course I love you" in Mandarin

Ok, now let's go back to the example at the start of the video. When your partner asks you


(nǐ ài wǒ ma ?)

(Do you love me?)

How can you say, "Of course I love you" in Mandarin?


(wǒ dāng rán ài nǐ !)

(Of course, I love you!)

Ok, enough with the cheesy example. Let's move on!

(00:02:49) Use 當然 to give permission

You can also use 當然 to give permission. In this case, 當然 means a strong yes.

Let's say, when your friend came visit you at your house, and he asks,


(wǒ kě yǐ yào yì bēi shuǐ ma ?)

(Can I have a water?)

You can say


(dāng rán !wǒ lái ná gěi nǐ 。)

(Of course! let me get you some.)

In this example, there's no rudeness implied in this 「當然」. You simply gave your permission, and you're even implying that your friend shouldn't be shy about asking. I think in English, it's the same thing.

(00:03:30) 當然不行! Of course not!

Also, if you wanna be cheeky with your friend, you can even say,


(dāng rán bù xíng... méi yǒu la !wǒ lái ná gěi nǐ 。)

(Of course not...nah I'm just joking! Let me get you some.)

「當然不行」 means "of course not" or "of course you can't." You can also say 「當然不可以 」which means the same. "當然不行 of course not" sounds like a strong NO. It means "obviously you can't"

But then if you add a 「沒有啦!」, the person will know you're just joking. 「沒有啦!」 here means "Nah, I'm just joking" You can also say,「沒有啦!我開玩笑的。」(Nah, I'm just joking.)

(00:04:25) How to say duh in Mandarin? Option 1 當然!

Ok, we've seen many examples of "of course." Let's move on to "duh."

Duh and of course are similar, but you know, duh is much ruder, and it implies the person is annoyed at what was said, or they simply just think what was said is dumb.

Of course you can use 當然, but to show your annoyance, you have to use a different tone.

For example, Someone asks you,


(dì qiú shì yuán de ma ?)

(Is the Earth round?)

If you think this question is stupid, you can say,


([fān bái yǎn] dāng rán)

([eye-rolling] Duh!)

(00:05:10) Option 2 還要問嗎?

If you don't think 當然 can express how annoyed you are, let's look at more options. What else can mean "duh" in Mandarin? I have a couple.

The first one is 「還要問嗎?」. 還要問嗎 can be translated as "do you really need to ask?" You may also hear 「這還要問嗎?」 "Do you really need to ask this?"

Let's say you're a big fan of Lady Gaga, but your friend doesn't know who Lady Gaga is, and he asks,

「Lady Gaga很有名嗎?」

(Lady Gaga hěn yǒu míng ma ?)

(Is Lady Gaga famous?)

You can say,


(hái yào wèn ma ?tā shì guó jì jù xīng ye !)

(Duh! She's an international superstar!)

(00:06:13) Option 3 不然呢?

Let's move on to the next one. The next one is 「不然呢?」. 不然呢 means "otherwise what would it be?" There's a lot of variations. You may also hear 「不然咧?」「啊不然呢?」「啊不然咧?」

Let's say your friend is asking a stupid question like,


(dì yī cì yuē huì jiù gēn duì fāng shuō 『wǒ ài nǐ 』huì hěn qí guài ma ?)

(Is it weird to say "I love you" to the person on the first date?)

If you wanna say duh it's super weird, you can say,


(bù rán ne? bù rán nǐ yào nà ge rén yě shuō wǒ yě ài nǐ ma? bài tuō, cái dì yī cì yuē huì yē!)

(Duh? Or do you want the person to tell you "I love you too?" Come on, it's just the first date!)

(00:07:24) Option 4 廢話

Ok, if you think even this one is not strong enough, I can teach you another one.

The next one is 「廢話!」

廢話 means nonsense. I think 廢話 is the closest to duh in terms of rudeness.

Let's say your friend is about to give your dog some chocolate, and you stop him. And he asks,


(gǒu bù néng chī qiǎo kē lì ma ?)

(Can't dogs eat chocolate?)

Let's say you're a bit angry, and you say,


(fèi huà !suǒ yǐ nǐ bú yào gěi tā chī la !)

(Duh! So don't give it to him!)

Because in this case, the situation is making you nervous, so I think you can say 廢話 without offending your friend.

But in general, in other cases, I wouldn't recommend you use 廢話/duh too much because it just sounds dismissive or patronizing... It's just not polite!

Like in English, don't say duh too much to a person, otherwise you might offend him.

(00:08:32) Summary

Ok let's do a little summary.

「當然」 is the equivalent for "Of course" in Mandarin. It's not a rude word in general, just don't say it in a rude tone.

But if you wanna show you're annoyed or impatient, you wanna say "duh," you can say 「還要問嗎?」、「不然呢?」、「廢話!」.

Of course, it's important to be nice to people right?


(duì bié rén hǎo yì diǎn dāng rán hěn zhòng yào ,duì ba ?)

So just remember these phrases aren't polite, and make sure you don't overuse it even with your close friends.

Alright, that's it for today! Thank you for watching this video.

If you enjoy this video please click like 按讚 and subscribe 訂閱.

And make sure you check out my two podcasts "Learn Chinese the Taiwanese way" and "Lychee Mandarin." These two podcasts are designed to help you immerse yourself in Taiwanese Mandarin and improve your listening skills. So make sure you check it out.

那我們下次再見,掰掰! Until next time, bye!

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