Say It Right Series
speak chinese like a native

How to say 'no' in this situation

Posted by xiaophil June 19, 2011 in the Group I Have a Question.

As the father of a lovely young girl, I have found that many, many strangers in China think it is a normal thing to outstretch their arms and say, "Let me hold her."  I respectfully do not want to let strangers hold my little girl.  What is the best way to say no in this instance?  I feel like 不可以 (you may not) is a bit stern for little old ladies, but perhaps I'm paying too much attention to the English translation.  I can't say 不要 because they don't want to give me anything.  Saying 别抱她 would certainly be too harsh.  Perhaps a string of 不不不? Or 对不起 left with an implied no?  What would Chinese say?

PS: I usually say my daughter cries when strangers hold her.  This works, but I would like to know an honest method, if there is one.

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