Interjections are commonly used in our daily life which are also known as “叹词 (tàncí)” or “感叹词 (gǎntàncí)” in Mandarin Chinese.

‘Wow’ is one of the many interjections you can use in Mandarin Chinese but there are so many different ways to say ‘wow’ as well.

“哇塞 (wā sāi)” is one way to say ‘wow‘。 This interjection originally came from Taiwan and had the meaning of a curse word. Today, it is used in a friendly manner and has no negative meaning. 哇塞 (wā sāi) is usually used to show you are impressed or surprised. 哇塞 (wā sāi) is an informal phrase you can share with friends. Don’t use it in formal situations, however.

哎呀 (Āiya)

It can be used to express surprise or admiration like something similar to:

“Oh! Wow!” Surprise:

Āiya, tā dōu zhǎng zhème gāo la.

哎呀,她都长这么高啦。

Wow, she has gotten so tall.

“哎呀 (āiya)” can also be used for admiration, to complain or to express one’s doubt, discontent, panic, impatience, and more.

See if you can derive the feeling from the way that “哎呀 (āiya)” is used in the sentences.

  • Āiya, lǎopó, nǐ yòu mǎi yīfu le? Zhè ge yuè nǐ yǐjīng mǎi le sì jiàn yīfu le.

哎呀,老婆,你又买衣服了?这个月你已经买了四件衣服了。

Oh my gosh, are you serious? Honey, did you buy clothes again? You’ve already bought 4 items of clothing this month.

  • Āiya, yéye xīnzàng bìng fāzuò la.

哎呀,爷爷心脏病发作啦。

Oh my god, Grandpa is having a heart attack.

  • Āiya, diànyǐng yǐjīng kāishǐ la, tā zěnme hái méi lái ya.

哎呀,电影已经开始啦,她怎么还没来呀。

Oh shoot! The film has already begun. Why hasn’t she come yet?

Lastly I’ll mention “汗 (hàn).”

It can be used to express a sense of surprise or shock when something exceeds expectations. It’s English equivalent is along the lines of “wow,” “holy cow,” or “oh my!”

Example:

  • Hàn, nǐ jìngrán chī wán le zhème dà yí ge hànbǎo!

汗, 你 竟然 吃 完 了 这么 大 一个 汉堡!

Wow…you actually managed to finish that huge hamburger!

Second, to express a sense of embarrassment.

Example:

  • Hàn a, wǒ jìngrán bǎ yīfu chuān fǎn le.

汗 啊,我 竟然 把 衣服 穿 反 了。

How embarrassing, I had my clothes on backwards.

Last, to express being at a loss for words, or not having any reaction.

Example:

  • Hàn, wǒ zhēn bu zhīdao shuō shénme hǎo le.

汗, 我 真 不 知道 说 什么 好 了。

Oh…I really don’t know what to say.

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