January 23, 2018



Alright, since I'm not seeing a sign anyone is going to read this and change/explain/add audio for this any time soon, let me help anyone who comes here confused:

抱歉 is pronounced "Bàoqiàn!" and it's translation is "Sorry!" If you need to hear it out loud, you just copy paste that bad boy into Google Translate, and click the audio button. It'll help you out. This makes 抱歉 a synonym of 对不起, Duìbùqǐ, which is the translation all of you were actually expecting to see here.

Bàoqiàn is very commonly used, just like Duìbùqǐ, and both show up in my NPCR coursebooks very early on, so I can testify as an intermediate learner via the old fashion brick-and-mortar learning path that you really should learn and use both of them.

...You just shouldn't be left to a situation where you're seeing bàoqiàn a single time with no explanation and no audio and no helpful drills to identify or remember it. Derp!

In the context of this lesson, both words/phrases (Bàoqiàn and Duìbùqǐ) are functionally identical. You can even say "I'm very sorry!" by slapping a 我很 (Wǒ hěn) in front of either. No difference! Later, when you learn words meaning "to feel" such as 觉得, you'll also be able to say "I feel sorry" using either expression. So don't get scared, synonyms are your friend!

Is one stronger than the other? Is one more formal than the other? Ehhhhhh.... Yeah. Yeah, if things go terribly, terribly wrong, you should probably whip out a 对不起, Duìbùqǐ. It's the 'bigger' word for the bigger mistakes.

Technically, at some distant and advanced point in your learning career, you can use 抱歉 as an adverb to mean 'with sorry-ness' aka 'apologetically' or 'regretfully', in a way you can't use 对不起. Then you can effectively say something like, "I bowed apologetically to the audience." As far as I'm aware, that's the only real difference, and it very obviously doesn't matter to us right here right now.

Have fun!

November 15, 2018


Seriously-- so helpful. I've been living in Taiwan for 7 years and never noticed 抱歉. The explanation is everything, particularly explaining the peculiar absence of duibuqi and also the fact that baoqian can be used as an adverb. This is the kind of commentary I need as an amateur student of Chinese.

December 1, 2018



December 25, 2018


Thank you, this was very helpful for me

November 21, 2018


Thank you very much, I hadn't seen that word in 2 years of chinese here in University.. I gave you 6 lingots for your explanation :)

December 28, 2018


This was incredibly helpful! Thanks!

January 13, 2019



December 30, 2018


Thank you so much! I was so confused when I saw this, as I have been studying Chinese for years and I've never seen or heard this!

January 10, 2019


Thank you Spydrouge

February 5, 2019


Thanks man

February 14, 2019


Thanks so much for the explanation!

February 20, 2019


This was awesome!

March 1, 2019


Thank you for detail explainantion. It was badly needed as I was seeing this 'Bàoqiàn' word for the first time. It is always good to know synonym but when it appears all of sudden without any prior explainantion then it creates little confusion. Thanks again.

April 3, 2019


Thank you! Xie xie!

April 4, 2019


Thank you very very much, that was an amazing explanation! (DL, pls learn from this)

April 5, 2019


Hence it is also used when say, someone, A, has done something bad to another person, B, who hasn't done anything wrong or even helped him/her. We say A 对不起 B.

September 21, 2018


thanks! but isn't the first word in this sentence previously taught to translate to "correct"? or maybe I'm mixing it up with it?

February 23, 2018


对 does indeed mean "right" or "correct". I do not no why they use it here, but this is a phrase I've learned before, too...

April 10, 2018


Apparently 对 can also mean "face", and 不起 means cannot or "not within one's power".

July 19, 2018


I provided exact translation. However, there are also alternatives, such as:

  • 不好意思! (To indicate modesty when apologizing)
  • 很抱歉! (Full polite statement)
  • 抱歉! (Short-hand polite statement)
July 30, 2018


Are we just not going to talk about how these characters aren't taught individually, they show up nowhere else, they aren't otherwise integrated into the lesson, and the only reason anyone knows the answer is by mousing over 'sorry' to see 抱歉 is a translation of it?

November 8, 2018


It would be very helpful if ALL of the words and characters were taught with not only sounds but meanings as well. This is not my first experience of discovering new terms without any background in only one question.

November 13, 2018


I don't know how to say this - any help in pinyin would be appreciated! Also I think mobile device and computer questions might be different after reading the comments. I'm looking for pinyin for the short hand "Sorry!" translation. I can't write characters - dui bu qi (haha)

November 13, 2018


The hanyupinyin is dui4 bu4 qi3 and it'd be good to have the Chinese keyboard if you're going to take this course. :)

November 14, 2018


was looking for bao qian

November 16, 2018


Ah sorry, that is bao4 qian4. Note when listening to duolingo's audio is to hear the full sentence before hovering over characters (in PC) as some have more than one pronunciation or hanyupinyin e.g. 好which as hao3 means good and as hao4, a hobby 爱好or something you are, say interested in, so hao4 xue2 好学.

Thank you also to Spydrouge for the clarification. That is what I meant and it is easily found in the mobile keyboard settings>input language as well. Select simplified for what is used in this course and mainland China, Southeast Asia and Traditional for what is used in Taiwan and the older generation of the Diaspora worldwide, before the Simplified system came into place.

November 16, 2018


For reference, KX3 means you should figure out how to enable the input of pinyin-> Chinese characters on your computer (or mobile device, depending on what you're using). The procedure for doing it is usually very straightforward. If you're on Windows 10, you're trying to get to "Advanced Keyboard Settings" and to add a language to your language bar. Google will lead the way on how to conduct the procedure, ask Google! This ability to input pinyin can be called "enabling the Chinese Keyboard"—even if you obviously didn't go out and buy a different physical keyboard for it or anything.

November 15, 2018


thank you. very helpful

November 16, 2018


These characters are new to me. I chose them because the alternative(s) were definitely wrong.

October 20, 2018



October 30, 2018


The correct answer is not available as an option

October 20, 2018


对不起 was not accepted, and there is no way to know that 抱歉 was intended. A sorry this vague MUST accept both!

November 24, 2018


No sound on mine.

October 4, 2018


We find across most languages with many of it's commonest short phrases and as such don't warrant literal translation. In chinese and japanese their is a strong issue of honour or 'face' as it is known. To offend others is to ''lose face" or to "not 'afford'" the loss of honour.

November 15, 2018


Thank you!! 谢谢!

March 21, 2019

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