"You are Ming Zhang."


November 16, 2017



Why is the first and last names mixed up here?

November 17, 2017


Chinese people like to zoom out before they zoom in, meaning, imagine the last name, it encompasses everyone in your family, but the first name is just yourself. This is the same for the way to date things, they go from year, month, day instead of American's who do month/day/year. Do you see the zooming? :)

November 20, 2017


Panda Dani is right, but the problem here is that people don't understand why the "surname first" rule seems inconsistent. The answer made me think duolingo programmers are quite clever.

Before getting stucked with this question, we were given sentences where the surname and the name were in the correct order (although there are some nuances about Li Hua). In the Zhang Ming infamous case first name and last name are not mixed up, the surname first rule still holds because (accordingly to wikipedia) the Ming surname can be used as a name, while Zhang surname can not.

So this question taught us that sometimes the same symbol could be used as a name and some other times could be used as a surname (like Ming and Zhang) and that in chinese the surname always come first

February 2, 2018


You cannot know for sure which of Ming and Zhang is this case is surname, they both can be uesd as a surname. Zhang, as a matter of fact is among the historical and famous "the most popular hundreds surnames" (百家姓)and is No. 24 of the list, while Ming is 291.

I didn't find your references on wikipedia, please post the link here if you still have it. Frankly, as a native speaker I myself sometimes confused about the English version of a Chinese name, especially when refers to one that is not of politicians or celebrities, i.e. an ordinary individual. There really isn't a way to distinguish between name and surname if they were mixed up as in the given example "Ming Zhang".

Better to stick to the Chinese order familiy name and given name to avoid confusion. As the press does, Yao Ming not Ming Yao, Li Na not Na Li.


August 15, 2018


From general to specific, in other words.

April 19, 2018


Thank you so much for this! I've been wondering why this has been happening forever haha

May 10, 2018


what do u mean

September 13, 2018


We learned as educators of, often Chinese, students to use the words "family name" and "given name"

August 14, 2018


Like your way of thinking it, clever!

August 15, 2018


Because in Chinese the family name(Last) goes before the personal name. This is the opposite of English.

November 18, 2017


Not sure why you were downvoted..

February 12, 2018



September 13, 2018


Only in the Military. The last name is your name, for the most part... USAF Vet☺

January 26, 2019


how do you type the sentence then

January 11, 2018


I put ming zhang and got it wrong

September 19, 2018


Perhaps put the initials in capitals? I put Ming Zhang/Zhang Ming and they are correct.

September 19, 2018


Beacause is confusing me

April 1, 2018


I think they are trying for you to grasp that in English the last name is last. In Chinese that last name is first.

August 4, 2018


Does one symbol mean 2 or 3 different words??

January 26, 2019


This is much easier explaining using Chinese terms, so bear with me for a bit and if there is anything unclear, please comment in a reply.

A word can consist of one character or a 字 zi4. Two 字 form a 词 ci2, which is usually a word as well. Special terms e.g. jargon, words translated from another language especially English, and so on usually have three or more characters as they are "made up" according to how it sounds.

Phrases consist of more characters and there are quite a few types of them.
Standard four-character ones are called 成语 cheng2 yu3, e.g. 五颜六色 meaning colourful, as 五 wu3 - five, 六 liu4 - six and 颜色 yan2 se4 - colours.
Longer phrases come from ancient texts, common sayings, a mixture of these, an evoluton of the language and so on. Some examples of these are 谚语 yan4 yu3、歇后语 xie1 hou4 yu3、名句 ming2 ju4、俗语 su2yu3 and so on.
I would like all these to idioms, proverbs and such in English, but they are more commonly and widely used in Chinese, especially as puns and jokes. In fact, some of the phrases are precisely that: clever, witty sentences that pack a punch and so grew in popularity in all probability.

Hope this helps.

January 27, 2019


In a lot of Eastern Asian& Southeastern Asian countries last name goes before the first name. It's a little bit of a culture shock for people who dont understand the culture first.

January 30, 2019



March 8, 2019


because it is they country and they want to mix they last name and first name

January 3, 2019



June 3, 2018



June 26, 2018



December 16, 2017


what you mean bro

January 11, 2018


I work with many people with Chinese names and it's about 50 / 50 which way they put their name in English. I think the question needs to be rephrased to avoid this being a lottery.

November 20, 2017



November 29, 2017



January 10, 2018


thank you

January 11, 2018


thank you

January 11, 2018


It's not like a lottery: Ming surname can also be used as a name while Zhang can not (accordingly to wikipedia), so you must put Zhang first. More details in the first comment

February 2, 2018


Agreed. As an ESL teacher I've discovered Chinese students are divided on whether or not the flip their names for English speakers.

February 16, 2018


If the stated name is Ming Zhang, who are we to change it to Zhang Ming? With no context, how are we to know which is the surname?

December 31, 2017


Because Ming surname can also be used as a name while Zhang can not (accordingly to wikipedia). It's like Cooper and Rostenkowski...yeah have to work on my analogies.

February 2, 2018


It would help to have a pronunciation button next to the Chinese translation given on this solution page.

November 26, 2017


Or on the previous page, before we click "complete"

November 29, 2017


Yes please.

November 29, 2017


I understand that in Chinese, surnames are spoken first. However, the question was to translate "You are Ming Zhang" and obviously everyone is having problems with this. A better test question is "You are Mr. Zhang" where it would be obvious to put Zhang before Xian Sheng.

December 31, 2017


People are mentioning that the words are flipped "because the Ming surname can be used as a [first] name", but how are WE supposed to know THAT? I just started this course and know absolutely nothing about Chinese, let alone which names could be used as a first or last name.

June 12, 2018


Can you be consistent??

November 23, 2017


How so? The name order in Chinese and English are different. In English, the correct order is the first name first, then the surname. In Chinese, the correct order is the surname first, then the first name.

December 8, 2017


There is a bug its says write Ming Zhang I do that but it says I was wrong I had to do Zhang Ming

November 24, 2017


That is because in Chinese the surname comes first and Duo is assuming that the English version positions the surname last, so the two names have to be reversed in the translation.

November 30, 2017


Yeah but the pinyin is a direct translation of the chinese characters so why is the pinyin different from the characters here? It would make sense if this was a translation to english but it is just converting pinyin to the formal chinese writing, it is technically not being translated, just rewritten.

December 30, 2017


The last and first names are mixed up

December 2, 2017


While I understand that first and last names are reversed in Chinese, (I knew from japanese, immediately suspected on getting it wrong and discussion confirms here) that fact is never specified here during the training that I saw. Also it's going to remain confusing throughout learning the language even if I remember the principle because duolingos bi-directional translation plus transliteration means that during lessons I'll sometimes need to reverse the order and sometimes not.

January 7, 2018


How do you know if a word is first name or last name? How do you expect a beginner to know?

April 24, 2018


I am confused now... :-(

May 5, 2018


This person's name is Zhang Ming in Chinese, and it should be Zhang Ming in any other language. I am working in an international company, and some of our Chinese employees switch the order of names to make it easier for us. That doesn't really help, cause some switch names and some don't. Some even replace their 'first' name with some Western name, so that - for example - Zhang Ming becomes Tony Zhang. I'm fine with Ming Zhang as the correct answer (though I think it's stupid). But Zhang Ming shouldn't be rated as incorrect. PLEASE FIX!

July 11, 2018


Totally agreed! And Ming Zhang is stupid...

August 15, 2018


Is "叫" always used for "Am/Are/All are etc"? I thought I could miss it because I haven't yet seen a character for "Am/Are" yet? Hope that made sense.

November 20, 2017


Another question I have is this: does the 。signify a full stop? What other grammatical things does Chinese use? E.g. ? , etc. Thanks again.

November 20, 2017


Yes, period 。does mean a full stop. As for the others, e.g. is 比如/例如, etc is 等等.

August 15, 2018


Jiao means "name is". So "am" is an ok translation if followed by a name. But it isn't a general term for "am/are".

November 27, 2017


I am waiting for this to be brought up. As @aliljeholm said, 叫 means "name is", 你叫张明 back translation would be "your name is Zhang Ming".

Translating "you are Ming Zhang" to 你叫张明 is ok, but not practically accurate. Because "are/am" doesn't necessarily mean what ones name is, whereas 叫 does. 叫 as a verb is pretty much like je M'APPELLE or vous VOUS APPELEZ in French, I don't think English has such verb;)

August 15, 2018


How would one know whether Ming Zhang uses the English or the Chinese method of writing their name. If I saw Ming Zhang written, I would assume that Ming is the family name & Zhang the personal name,[ which is how I answered the question, but was marked wrong!]

January 11, 2018


Just fix this already. We all KNOW names are sometimes flipped. There is zero consistency to this and it is needlessly punitive. JUST FIX IT.

February 16, 2018


Why is the first name mixed up with the last name I just wrote the first name last and the last name first and I got it wrong That's my my problem here it's pretty confusing??

March 19, 2018


You r right

March 19, 2018


To clear it up: The surname always comes before the name (what we think of as the first name) in Chinese. As others have said before, Ming and Zhang can both be surnames in China, but only Ming is considered a first name. Also, Ming comes before Zhang in the English translation similar to how the first name comes before the last name in European countries. I hope that you'll find this helpful.

June 13, 2018


That's like six in a row wrong because I am trying to translate words i haven't learned yet

June 15, 2018


”叫“ is implying called, while “是” is are/is So the answer should either be "你是张明。 Or the question should be "You're called Ming Zhang"

June 22, 2018


My issue is that in English we don't change the order of Chinese people's names. Yao Ming doesn't go by Ming Yao in America.

January 3, 2019


为什么“张明”? 当我说“Qin Guose" 是我的名字 (秦国色),不”Guose Qin"

November 16, 2017


Because in Chinese the name order is "Family name+ First name", not "First + last name"

November 17, 2017


True--though it's also true that many Chinese speakers do not switch these when giving their names in English. E.g. retired basketball player Yao Ming is 姚明 in Chinese i.e. he doesn't refer to himself as "Ming Yao."

November 17, 2017


Personal choice shouldn't be taken into account imo. For an absolute beginner, I feel that this is being taught correctly. They need to understand that Chinese and English name orders are not the same.

November 18, 2017


Ok thx

November 17, 2017


If this was a comment you want us all to understand, could you also put it in English for the beginners? thanks

November 29, 2017


This is sum bull ❤❤❤❤ - ming zhang

March 17, 2018


You just need to properly listen and see. In Japan and China, Last Name(Sirname or family name) is written or spoken first then comes the First Name. Only Very close friend or family member uses the first name to each other otherwise they call by their last name or Full Name(here also last name first then first name). This is to maintain politness and dicipline.

April 3, 2018


I was right yet I got it wrong

May 16, 2018



June 2, 2018


Junkook mean

June 9, 2018



June 10, 2018


Ciao belli

June 20, 2018


الله يعينا

July 6, 2018


Its wrong, please fix it

July 29, 2018


you have to give us the meaninig of the characters before this exam

August 8, 2018


Why the same question before was correct and this is wrong?

August 31, 2018


i hate correct solutions cause that kind of means i got it right but got marked wrong

September 13, 2018


Why are the questions so inconsistent with which must go first in English? I get some correct and some incorrect just because of surname/first name.

January 11, 2019


I keep putting it backwards

January 19, 2019


I totally get the surnam coming befor the first. Its just, what thay have given to me is, " You ARE Ming Zhang. " I just don't understand why the correct way would be you or your CALLED Zhang Ming.

January 30, 2019


Please review this phrase, please contact is wrong written

February 11, 2019


This is so confusing

February 23, 2019


The correct answer is wrong

February 25, 2019


What does "jiao" mean?

March 8, 2019


مرة صعبب

March 26, 2019


Question: Why the f*** are the first sentences about people's names? Useless characters to start with.

April 7, 2019


i think instead of "you are zhang ming" it should've been "your name is ming zhang" or "you are called ming zhang"

April 11, 2019


zhang ming. not ming zhang

April 17, 2019


Chinese put their "last" name first! They put their family name first. So if the Chinese answer really should be "你叫张明", then the English is "You are Zhang Ming". But instead you put "You are Ming Zhang" so it's no wonder I thought the answer was "你叫明张" >_<

February 18, 2018


English sentence should be You are Zhang Ming. Please fix it

March 13, 2018


Ho boy, is doing this course with stroke type stressful.

September 13, 2018



November 30, 2018


got wrong because put no period

November 27, 2017


I do not know know why this is wrong

December 2, 2017


It says its wrong when its right

January 2, 2018


My chinese friend helped me with this but i still got it wrong and now i dont think hes chinese

February 7, 2018


zhang ming and ming zhang are the same!

February 12, 2018


theres no way to aubmit my roght answer here! one word is flat out missing

March 9, 2018



March 20, 2018


That is so hard

April 1, 2018
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