Cutout paper composition of yellow signboard with exclamation mark

Expression words


One of the most amazing elements in Cantonese has to be its expressions. It’s very common that even native speakers (including myself) can’t tell you what they really mean. Here’s the list of expression words with the best interpretation.

嚟㗎 lai4 gaa2

  • To make a counter statement
  • To correct a false statement
"They are actually Americans"
keoi5 hai6 mei5 gwok3 jan4 lai4 gaa2

啦 laa1

  • To be persuasive
  • To be defensive
"Please don't mess around"
m4 hou2 waan2 laa1

喇 laa3

  • To make an announcement
  • To inform someone about something
"I have finished my meal"
ngo5 sik6 jyun4 faan6 laa3

喎 wo3

  • When you realized something
  • To make a counter statement
hai6 wo3

㗎 gaa2

  • To express a curiosity
  • To get reassurance
  • Question form of possessive word
"What is your work timetable like?"
nei5 ge3 gung1 zok3 si4 gaan1 biu2 hai6 dim2 gaa2

"What is it like?" 
hai6 dim2 gaa2 

嫁 gaa3

  • To make your point clear
  • To reiterate something
  • Question form of possessive word
"The piece of paper is not mine"
zoeng1 zi2 m4 hai6 ngo5 gaa3

嘩 waa1

  • To be surprised
  • Wow
"Wow. Flowers look beautiful."
waa1 di1 faa1 hou2 leng3

哎吔 aai1 jaa1

  • Ouch
  • Oh no!
"Ouch. Very painful."
aai1 jaa1 hou2 tung3
哎吔 好痛

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