Guide on How to Say “Sign” in Chinese

Learning how to say common words like “sign” in different languages is a great way to broaden your linguistic skills and cultural understanding. In Chinese, a widely spoken language with several regional variations, knowing how to say “sign” can be very useful. In this guide, we will explore both formal and informal ways of expressing this word in Chinese. Regional variations will be mentioned if necessary, but the focus will primarily be on the standard Mandarin Chinese used in mainland China and around the world.

Formal Ways to Say “Sign” in Chinese

1. The formal way to say “sign” in Chinese is “标志” (biāozhì). This term refers to a visible indication or symbol that conveys information or provides guidance. It is commonly used in official contexts, such as traffic signs or warning signs.

Example: 请注意标志,这是一个停车区域。(Qǐng zhùyì biāozhì, zhè shì yīgè tíngchē qūyù.)
(Please pay attention to the sign, this is a parking area.)

2. Another formal word for “sign” is “征兆” (zhēngzhào), which refers to a sign or omen that indicates something in the future. This term is more commonly used in a figurative sense and is often associated with predictions or fortune-telling.

Example: 这些乌云是暴风雨的征兆。(Zhèxiē wūyún shì bàofēngyǔ de zhēngzhào.)
(These dark clouds are a sign of a storm.)

Informal Ways to Say “Sign” in Chinese

1. In informal contexts, such as everyday conversations, you can use the term “标牌” (biāopái) to refer to a sign or notice. This term is commonly used to describe signs seen on buildings, streets, or public places.

Example: 你看到那个标牌了吗?(Nǐ kàndào nàgè biāopái le ma?)
(Did you see that sign?)

2. When referring to a signboard, you can use the term “招牌” (zhāopái), which specifically applies to signs used for advertising or indicating the name of a business or establishment.

Example: 这家店的招牌很引人注目。(Zhè jiā diàn de zhāopái hěn yǐnrénzhùmù.)
(The signboard of this shop is very eye-catching.)

Tips for Using “Sign” in Chinese

1. When referring to a specific type of sign, such as a traffic sign, it is helpful to include the term that describes the type of sign after the word for “sign”. For example, “交通标志” (jiāotōng biāozhì) means “traffic sign”.

2. Pay attention to the tone of voice when using these phrases. As with any language, the tone can change the meaning of a word or phrase. Make sure to listen to native speakers and mimic their tone for accurate pronunciation and meaning.

3. Practice using these words naturally in everyday conversations. The more you incorporate them into your language learning journey, the more comfortable and confident you will become.


In this guide, we have explored various ways to say “sign” in Chinese. From formal terms like “标志” (biāozhì) and “征兆” (zhēngzhào) to informal expressions such as “标牌” (biāopái) and “招牌” (zhāopái), you now have a range of vocabulary to communicate effectively in different situations. Remember to practice these phrases regularly and pay attention to the correct tone when speaking Chinese. Learning how to say common words like “sign” not only enhances your language skills but also enriches your understanding of Chinese culture. Enjoy your language journey!

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