Ask For Everything With 6 Basic Cantonese Question Words

Cantonese Question Words Ling App - city

Ready to dive into the world of Cantonese Question Words? Let’s get started!

Have you ever tried to make it through a full day in Hong Kong without asking a single question? It may seem like a fun challenge, but trust me, it’s no easy feat. From finding your way around the bustling city streets to asking for the price of a cool shirt you see in a street vendor, asking questions is essential to navigating daily life in Hong Kong. So, if you’re up for a challenge, give it a try. But be warned; there are a few things you won’t be able to do without using a single question, such as asking for directions, ordering food, or even buying a ticket for public transportation.

Let’s take the simple task of going out for food, for example. Without using a single question, how would you even begin to navigate the vast array of food options in Hong Kong? Would you know what to order? How would you know what’s spicy, what’s vegetarian, or what’s the restaurant’s specialty? It’s a daunting task, to say the least. But fear not, because, in this article, we’re going to explore the Cantonese question words that will help you to ask all the right questions and make the most out of your time in Hong Kong.

Knowing how to formulate questions in any language is essential, but it’s especially important in a city like Hong Kong, where Cantonese is the dominant language. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, being able to ask questions in Cantonese will help you to connect with the locals and gain a deeper understanding of the culture. In this article, we’ll cover the basic question words in Cantonese, including what they mean, how to use them, and some common phrases you can use in everyday situations.

But wait, there’s more! What if you want to discover other parts of this incredible language? Well, at Ling, we have a very complete blog where you can explore more topics than you can probably think of: Do you want to know how to say good morning in Cantonese? We can teach you. Counting in Cantonese? We’ve got that! Slang Words in Cantonese? Don’t tell anyone, but we can also teach you that!

For now, if you’re ready to take on the challenge of navigating Hong Kong without asking a single question, or if you’re simply looking to improve your Cantonese language skills, this article is for you. Get ready to ask all the right questions and unlock the full potential of your time in Hong Kong.

Cantonese Question Words - Try to go a day without making questions. Pretty hard, right?

Cantonese Question Words You Must Know

Picture this: I’m in the middle of one of the world’s shopping capitals, Hong Kong, surrounded by incredible stores and countless opportunities to buy anything my heart desires. But there’s just one problem: I can’t ask for the price of anything, as I don’t know any Cantonese questions. It’s like being stranded on a desert island with a pile of treasure but no way to access it. I know I want something, but I have no idea how much it costs or how to ask for it. It’s like a comedy of errors, but with shopping.

The last time I visited Hong Kong, this exact scenario played out several times, and I missed out on buying things that I really wanted because I didn’t know how to ask for the price. It was frustrating, to say the least. But it was also a wake-up call. I realized that I needed to learn the Cantonese question words that are essential for navigating everyday situations in Hong Kong. And so, I set out on a mission to learn as much as I could about Cantonese question words.

In this chapter, I’m going to share the Cantonese question words that you must know if you want to shop, eat, and communicate with ease in Hong Kong. These question words will help you to ask for prices and the Cantonese currency as well as services, find your way around the city, order food, and so much more.

Along with the list of simple question words (such as “How?”), I’ll also include a few examples of the word being used in a sentence, so you can understand how to apply it in your daily Cantonese conversation.


Want to know how your friend got that great car? Use this question word and ask him!

How?如何?Ru2 he2 ? 
How are you?你好嗎? Ni3 hao3 ma2 ? 
How do you do it?你怎麼做呢? Ni3 zen3 me zuo4 ne ? 
How much is it?多少錢? Duo1 shao3 qian2 ? 
How did you get here?你是怎麼來到這裡? Ni3 shi4 zen3 me lai2 dao4 zhe4 li3 ? 
How old are you?你今年多大? Ni3 jin1 nian2 duo1 da4 ?
Cantonese Question Words - clock


What would be of us if we didn’t use the question word “When”? We would be late for meetings (which is not a good work culture in Hong Kong, mind you), miss movies at the cinema, and could not get together with our friends!

When?什麼時候?Shen2 me shi2 hou4 ?
When did you arrive?你什麼時候到達?Ni3 shen2 me shi2 hou4 dao4 da2 ?
When are you leaving?你什麼時候走?Ni3 shen2 me shi2 hou4 zou3 ?
When will you arrive?你什麼時候到?Ni3 shen2 me shi2 hou4 dao4 ?
When is the next train?下班火車是幾點?Xia4 ban1 huo3 che1 shi4 ji1 dian3 ?
When do you close?你什麼時候關門?Ni3 shen2 me shi2 hou4 guan1 men2 ?
When is it?什麼時候?Shen2 me shi2 hou4 ?


Another very important question is “where.” Are you lost? “Where are you going”?

Where?在哪裡?zai4 na3 li3 ? 
Where are you going?你要去哪裡? ni3 yao4 qu4 na3 li3 ? 
Where is that?哪裡是? na3 li3 shi4 ? 
Where is the hospital?醫院在哪裡? yi1 yuan4 zai4 na3 li3 ? 
Where is the nearest cafe?最近的咖啡館在哪裡? zui4 jin4 de ka1 fei1 guan3 zai4 na3 li3 ? 
Where did you get that?你是在哪裡拿到的? ni3 shi4 zai4 na3 li3 na2 dao4 de ?


Imagine this: you’re invited to a party, but you’re worried your ex will be there. Use this question word to ask who is going to the party and make sure it won’t be uncomfortable.

Who?誰?Shui2 ?
Who did that?誰做的?Shui2 zuo4 de ?
Who are you?你是誰?Ni3 shi4 shui2 ?
Who is there?誰在那兒?Shui2 zai4 na4 er2 ?


Another important question is “what,” and you can use it to ask what your Cantonese friends want to have for dinner! Order food in Cantonese for a friend by asking them what they like.

What?什麼?Shen2 me ?
What did you do?你做了什麼?Ni3 zuo4 liao3 shen2 me ?
What is that?那是什麼?Na4 shi4 shen2 me ?
What is it made of?它是什麼做的?Ta1 shi4 shen2 me zuo4 de ?
What do you want?你想要什麼?Ni3 xiang3 yao4 shen2 me ?
What did you say?你說什麼?Ni3 shuo1 shen2 me ?
What time is it?現在是幾奌?Xian4 zai4 shi4 ji1 奌 ?
What are you talking about?你在說什麼?Ni3 zai4 shuo1 shen2 me ?
What day is today?今天是什麼日子?Jin1 tian1 shi4 shen2 me ri4 zi3 ?


Last but not least, the question word “why” can be used to simply ask why we are learning all of this! And the answer is: “because it is fun!”

Why?為什麼?Wei2 shen2 me ? 
Why did you do that?你為什麼這麼做? Ni3 wei2 shen2 me zhe4 me zuo4 ? 
Why is it closed?為什麼關閉? Wei2 shen2 me guan1 bi4 ? 
Why did you come at this time?你怎麼這個時候過來? Ni3 zen3 me zhe4 ge4 shi2 hou4 guo4 lai2 ? 
Why are you going that way?你為什麼要走那條路? Ni3 wei2 shen2 me yao4 zou3 na4 tiao2 lu4 ? 
Why is it broken?為什麼壞了? Wei2 shen2 me huai4 liao3 ?

Over To You

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the chapter on Cantonese question words, and now it’s time to put your new knowledge to the test. Are you ready to get your hands dirty and start using these words in real-life situations? I know it can be intimidating at first, but trust me, the more you practice, the easier it will become.

You may get some strange looks at first as you stumble over the words and your accent isn’t quite 100%, but don’t worry; that’s all part of the learning process. Take note of the sound and Cantonese pronunciation. Remember, practice makes perfect, and the more you use these words, the more confident you’ll become. And before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a pro.

So, don’t be afraid to start using these question words in the context of your everyday conversations. Ask for directions, order food, and haggle for the best price at the market. The locals will appreciate your effort to speak their language, and you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the culture and people of Hong Kong.

And who knows, you may even start to pick up some local slang and expressions along the way. Before you know it, you’ll literally be speaking true Cantonese. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start practicing your Cantonese question words today!

Learn Cantonese With Ling

If you’re serious about mastering Cantonese question words, then it’s time to take your learning to the next level with the Ling app. With a wide range of interactive exercises, games, and lessons, you’ll be able to practice your Cantonese anytime, anywhere.

Whether you’re on the go or sitting at home, the Ling app is the perfect tool to help you improve your Cantonese language skills. So, what are you waiting for? Download the app today and start your Cantonese language learning journey!

Trust me, your ability to listen and communicate with the locals will drastically improve, and you’ll be able to get the most out of your time in Hong Kong. Plus, who knows, you may even impress your friends with your newfound Cantonese skills.

So, what are you waiting for? Download the Ling app and let the learning begin!

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