In my previous article I gave you a headache with the Family Tree in the Chinese language. Now let’s see other titles and how to address people. I have divided everything into specific categories, in order to make them easier to memorise.


  • 先生 (xiān sheng, Mr.)
  • 女士 (nǚ shì, Ms.)
  • 太太 (tài tai, Mrs.)
  • 小姐 (xiǎojiě, Miss)

How to ask someone their name?

  • 名字 (míng zi) = Name
  • (xìng) = Surname
  • 姓名 (xìng míng) = Full name

Addressing males

先生 (xiān shēng) = the right way to address a male in China. A married woman can use the same expression to mean husband.  先生  is also used when referring to very good scholars.

Addressing females

女士 (nǚ shì) = Ms. is the right way to address to a female in China. As for a married woman, 太太 (tài tai) = Mrs. is the best word to use when addressing her. 太太  also means wife when the husband says it. In addition to this, you can use 小姐 (xiǎo jiě), which means Miss.

Addressing friends and acquaintances

  • 大哥 (dà gē) = Older brother (close to your age, but older)
  • 大姐 (dà jiě) = Older sister (close to your age, but older)
  • 叔叔 (shū shu) = Uncle (a man of around your father’s age)
  • 阿姨 (ā yí) = Aunt (a woman who is around your mother’s age)
  • 爷爷 (yé ye) = Grandfather (a man who is around your grandfather’s age)
  • 奶奶 (nǎi nai) = Grandmother (a woman who is around your grandmother’s age)

Introducing your partners/husband/wife/girlfriend/etc.

  • 先生 (xiān sheng) = Mr.
  • 太太 (tài tai) = Mrs.
  • 小姐 (xiǎo jie) = Miss
  • 男朋友 (nán péng you) = Boyfriend
  • 女朋友 (nǚ péng you) = Girlfriend

Informal questions

  • 你叫什么名字 (nǐ jiào shén me míng zi) = What’s your name? (lit. you call what name?)
  • 我叫 (wǒ jiào…) = My name is…

How to ask someone’s family name (polite manner)

  • 您贵姓 ?(nín guì xìng) = What is your surname?
  • 怎么称呼您 ?(zěnme chēnghu nín) = How should I call you?

Professional Titles

  • 医生 (yī shēng)/ 大夫 (dài fu; old fashion) = Doctor
  • 护士 (hù shi) = Nurse
  • 主席 (zhǔ xí) = Chairperson
  • 校长 (xiào zhǎng) = Principal
  • 总统 (zǒng tǒng) = President
  • 经理 (jīng lǐ) = Manager
  • 总经理 (zǒng jīng lǐ) = General Manager (short version: )
  • 师傅 (shī fu) = Master (somebody skillful)/Taxi driver
  • 老师 (lǎo shī) = Teacher
  • 教授 (jiào shòu) = Professor
  • 律师 (lǜ shī) = Lawyer
  • 法官 (fǎ guān) = Judge
  • 警察 (jǐng chá) = Police officer
  • 秘书 (mì shū) = Secretary
  • 主任 (zhǔ rèn) = Director (of a government department)
  • 司机 (sī jī) = Driver (generic)
  • 博士 (bó shì) = Doctor (Ph.D)

Now we are (almost) done with all titles and addressing name in Chinese. As usual, please try to memorise those that you use more in your daily routine. Afterwards you can tackle the whole list.


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