A useful phrase to use with busy people!

Busy busy busy! It’s so common in our society to face co-workers, friends and even family who are just too slammed to talk or meet-up.

In the below video, we see this very situation between husband and wife. Watch out at the end for a helpful little phrase, which you can use when you’re facing someone who’s too busy to chat…

你先忙吧 / nǐ xiān máng ba

It breaks down as below:

  • 你 / nǐ = you
  • 先 / xiān = first; prior; to go ahead
  • 忙 / máng = busy; rushed
  • 吧 / ba = suggestive modal particle (i.e. “OK?”)

So literally this means: “Go ahead and be busy”. In English that might come across as sarcastic and snarky, but the meaning that is conveyed is: “Go work, I know you’re busy.”

Try to use this phrase next time you face a busy Chinese speaker. You might just stop them in their tracks and grab their attention, despite how busy they are!

For more FREE videos to help with your Mandarin studies, visit us on YouTubeFacebook at and Twitter @lingo_bus. Finally visit our website at Lingobus.com

Original post by Sarah Soulié

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