Key Learning Point (Preview):
意思 (yìsi): n. meaning
Have you ever heard some conversation between Chinese people saying "意思yisi"? The word "意思 (yìsi)" is commonly used in Chinese, and it literally refers to "meaning". However, it has different meanings in different situations.
First, let's start with an interesting conversation between native Chinese speakers.
Nǐ zhège rén zhēn yǒu yìsi.
A: 你 这个 人 真 有 意思。
Bù hǎo yìsi, gāngcái ràng nǐ jiànxiào le
B: 不 好 意思， 刚才 让 你 见笑 了。
Do you really understand what they mean? Do not worry, we will explain the five different meanings of 意思 below.
zhè bù diànyǐnɡ tǐng yǒu yìsi de.
这 部 电影 挺 有 意思 的。
The film is very interesting.
Tā lǎoɡōnɡ tǐng yǒu yìsi de, zǒng ài jiǎng xiàohua.
她 老公 挺 有 意思 的，总 爱 讲 笑话。
Her husband is very funny. He loves to tell jokes.
When 意思yisi appears in expression "不好意思 (bù hǎo yìsi),", it means"sorry" or "excuse me." When you do something wrong but it's not serious, you can use "不好意思 (bù hǎo yìsi)" to show that you're sorry for bothering or troubling someone.
Bù hǎo yìsi, wǒ wànɡ le ɡěi nǐ huí diàn huà
Jane: 不 好 意思，我 忘了 给 你 回 电话
Sorry, I forgot to call you back.
Alice: 没 关系。
It doesn't matter.
Bù hǎo yìsi, wǒ ɡānɡ ɡānɡ méi tīnɡ dào qiāo mén shēnɡ
不 好 意思，我刚刚没听到敲门声
Sorry, I did not hear your knocking just now.
Bù hǎo yìsi, zhè me wǎn le hái dǎ rǎo nǐ
不 好 意思，这么晚了还打扰你。
Sorry for bothering you so late.
Zhège lǐwù sònggěi nǐ, yìdiǎnr xiǎoyìsi, bié kèqi.
John: 这个 礼物 送给 你，一点儿 小意思，别 客气。
This small gift is for you. You don't need to say anything.
Tā duì nǐ yǒu yì si
He is coming on to you./ He has a crash on you.
kàn tāde biǎoqínɡ, yǒudiǎn bùxiǎnɡ bānjiā de yìsi
看 他的 表情，有点 不想 搬家 的 意思。
I can tell from his expression, he seems does not want to move.
nǐ yuánliànɡ le wǒde ɡuòcuò, zhēn ɡòu yìsi.
你 原谅 了 我的 过错，真 够 意思.
It was most generous of you to forgive me
nǐ zhēn ɡòu yì si 。
你 真 够 意思。
You are such a good feller.
Now do you really understand what 意思 mean in different situations? What does 意思mean in the conversation in the beginning? Tell us in comment below. If you would like to learn more useful experssions in daily life. Feel free to contact us to schedule a free 1-on-1 Chinese lesson with our experienced Chinese teachers.