How to say may I? (point at chair, door) in Chinese: Kěyǐ Ma?

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How to say may I? (point at chair, door) in Chinese: Kěyǐ Ma?

Learning Chinese for travel or study? Let’s try this term:

To say may I? (point at chair, door) in Chinese: Kěyǐ Ma?
Say it out loud: “Kuh Ee Ma?

You can learn how to say may I? (point at chair, door) and over 220 other travel-friendly words and phrases with our inexpensive, easy-to-use Chinese language cheat sheets. We can help you make your next trip to another country even more fun and immersive. Click below!

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Some more helpful words in our Chinese Courtesy/Questions category:

...the bathroom – Xǐshǒujiān  (She Show Jyen)
come with me – Gēn Wǒ Lái  (Gun Wo Lai)
do you speak english? – Nǐ Huì Shuō Yīngwén Ma  (Nee Hway Shwo Ing Wen Ma)
excellent – Tǐng Hǎo  (Ting Hao)
excuse me – Dǎrǎo Yīxià  (Da Rao Ee Shya)
excuse me (to get past) – Qǐng Ràng Yīxià  (Ching Rang Ee Shya)
good / bad – Hǎo / Bùhǎo  (Hao / Boo Hao)
how do you say…? – ...Zěnme Shuō?  (...Dze Me Shwo?)
how much is this? – Zhègè Duōshǎo Qián?  (Jay Guh Dwo Shao Chyen?)
may I? (point at chair, door) – Kěyǐ Ma?  (Kuh Ee Ma?)
maybe – Yǒu Kěnéng  (Yo Kuh Nuhng)
no problem – Méi Shì  (May Shr)
please – Qǐng  (Ching)
sorry – Duìbuqǐ  (Dway Boo Chee)
thank you – Xièxiè!  (Shiye Shiye!)
thanks – Xiè Lā!  (Shiye La!)
what is that? – Nà Shì Shénme?  (Na Shr Shuh Muh?)
where is… – ...Zài Nǎ'r?  (...Dzai Nar?)
yes / no – Shì Búshì / Bùshì  (Shr / Boo Shr)
you are welcome – Búkèqì  (Boo Kuh Chee)

And here’s how to say may I? (point at chair, door) in other languages!

Arabic–Men Fadlek  (men fad lek)
Chinese–Kěyǐ Ma?  (Kuh Ee Ma?)
Croatian–mogu ja?  (moe goo yah?)
Czech–Můžu?  (moo zoo?)
Finnish–voinko?  (vo in koh?)
French–Puis je?  (peej)
German–kann ich…  (kahn iH)
Italian–posso  (poh sew)
Japanese–Ii Desuka?  (Ee Dess Kah?)
Korean–Sillyehapnida.  (Shil Le Ham Ni Da.)
Polish–mogę?  (mo' geh?)
Portuguese–Posso?  (poh soo?)
Russian–mozhno?  (moh zhnah?)
Spanish–puedo?  (pway doh)
Swahili–naweza  (na weh za)
Thai–… Dai Mai?  (… DAI mai?)
Turkish–buyurun  (booh ya rahn)
Vietnamese–Tôi Có Thể...?  (Toy Caw Te…?)

It doesn't matter how tired you are, or how many chairs are available in your host's house or near a group of people in a restaurant. You do not just plop yourself on a chair. It is just not polite. But if you start with the phrase "may I? (point at chair, door)" (Kěyǐ Ma?), then unless the chair is taken, everyone will happily nod and allow you to join their group.

More courtesy questions are available on our instant access to the Chinese Language Set.

Contributor

Fred Bane
Biography: Fred Bane is a media producer and translator living in Nanjing China. Since graduating with a BA in International Relations from American University in 2007, Fred has lived in Vietnam and then China, where he received a Masters in Ethnography from Nanjing University in 2012. Fred currently works for a non-profit organization involved in education and cultural exchange, and moonlights as a Chinese-English medical translator.
Born: Portland, Oregon, USA
Location: Nanjing, China
Website : Ameson Education and Culture Exchange Foundation

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