Common typos in Cantonese

A list of common typos in written Cantonese.

The writing system of Cantonese uses traditional Chinese characters. For typos caused by merged simplified characters, please refer to 簡化合併字表 and 簡化同形字表.

Jyutping Characters Explanations & Criteria
bei2 比畀俾 All pronounced bei2,while
  • 比 means “compare”
  • 畀 means “give”, “passive voice marker”.
  • 俾 is a rare word, mostly used for translations or proper nouns such as 俾斯麥.
dei2/dei6 地哋 Both have the pronunciation of dei6 and:
  • 哋 can only by used in plural pronouns such as 我哋 and 佢哋.
  • 地 means “ground”. “place” etc. It has another pronunciation dei2 for adjectives, e.g. 神神地.
di1/dit1 Dd 滴尐啲 All pronounced di1 or dit1. If meaning “a tiny amount”, the character should be 啲, the rest characters are deprecated.
duk1 篤督㞘㧻涿 All pronunced duk1, among which
  • 㞘 means “the end”, “tailing”. E.g. 行到㞘.
  • 㧻 is a verb, meaning “poke”, “prod”.
  • 涿 is a classifier, as in 一涿屎, 一涿尿.
  • 督 means “supervise”, “monitor” as in 監督.
  • 篤 means “firmly believe” as in 篤信, 篤定.
fan3 瞓訓 All pronounced fan3, among which
  • 瞓 means “sleep”, e.g. 瞓覺.
  • 訓 means “training” as in 訓練, 訓教 etc.
faan1 翻返番 Each can be pronounced faan1, among which
  • 翻 means “across”, “climb”
  • 返 means “return”, “go to” or aspect marker. E.g. 返工, 整返好佢. It can also be pronounced as faan2.
  • 番 means “times” or “foreign”.
gam2/gam3 噉咁 Both have the meaning of “such”, “so”, among which
  • 噉 is pronounced gam2, it is a pronoun as in 噉樣嘅話.
  • 咁 is an adverb, meaning “so” as in 咁犀利, and is pronounced gam3.
gau6 舊嚿 Both are pronounced gau6
  • 嚿 is a classifier, meaning “chunk”, “piece”.
  • 舊 means “old”.
ge3 既嘅噶
  • 嘅 is pronounced ge3, posessive marker. E.g. 我嘅書
  • 既 is pronounced gei3. E.g. 既然.
  • 噶 is pronounced got3, onomatopoeia.
go2/go3 嗰個果
  • 嗰 is a determiner, pronounced go2 E.g. 嗰個人 meaning “that person”.
  • 個 is a classifier, pronounced go3. E.g. 一個人.
  • 果 is pronounced gwo2, meaning “fruit”.
haa2/haa5 吓下
  • 吓 is a modal, pronounced haa2, E.g. “吓?係真嘎?”, “係噉嘅咩吓?”.
  • 下 means “down” when pronounced haa6, e.g. 下面. When pronoucned haa5 it means “times”, e.g. 畀我睇下, 試下先.
hai6 係系喺繫
  • 係 is a copula, pronounced hai6
  • 系 is pronounced hai6, meaning “series” e.g. 系列
  • 喺 is a preposition, pronounced hai2, meaning “at”, “in”, as in 我喺度.
  • 繫 is pronounced hai6, meaning “contact”, “connect”.
je5 野嘢 Both are pronounced je5, while:
  • 嘢 is a noun, meaning “things”.
  • 野 is a adjective, e.g. 野外.
lai4/lei4/loi4 來嚟黎
  • 來 is pronounced loi4, e.g. 將來, 未來.
  • 嚟 is pronounced lai4 or lei4, meaning “come”, e.g. 過嚟.
  • 黎 is pronounced lai4, E.g. 黎明 .
mou4/mou5 無冇 Both are negation words, among which
  • 無 is pronounced mou4.
  • 冇 is pronounced mou5 .
nam2/lam3 諗惗冧
  • 諗 is pronounced nam2, meaning “think”
  • 惗 is pronounced as nam2, a character variant of 諗, its usage is deprecated.
  • 冧 is pronounced lam3, meaning “collapse”, e.g. 冧屋, 冧樓.
sai2 使駛洗 All pronounced sai2, while:
  • 使 means “use” as in 使用, 使錢, 唔使客氣. It has another pronounciation si3 which means “mission”, “ambassy”, e.g. 使者, 信使, 大使館.
  • 駛 means “drive”, e.g. 駕駛.
  • 洗 means “clean”, “wash”, e.g. 洗衫.
saai3 曬晒嗮哂
  • 曬 is pronounced saai3, means “to bask in the sun”, e.g. 曬太陽.
  • 晒 is pronounced “saai3”, it is an adverb and an aspect marker. E.g. 食晒飯.
  • 嗮 is a character variant of “晒” also pronounced saai3, its usage is deprecated.
  • 哂 is pronounced can2, meaning “tease”, “ridicule”, e.g. 哂笑.
zo2 左唨咗 all pronounced zo2, among which
  • 左 means direction “left”, e.g. 左手.
  • 咗 is a perfective aspect marker, e.g. 食咗飯.
  • 唨 is a variant of 咗, its usage is deprecated.
zyu3/zyu6/zoek3/zoek6 著住着
  • 著 is pronounced zyu3, e.g. 著作, 著名.
  • 住 is pronounced zyu6, it can be an auxillary verb such as 袋住先. It can also be a verb meaning “live”, e.g. 居住.
  • 着 has two pronounciations, when pronounced zoek3 it is a verb, meaning “wear” as in 着衫. When pronounced zoek6 it means “start”, “begin”, e.g.着火, 着色. Note that it can also be a continuous aspect marker in Mandarin, e.g. “唱着歌”.