Don’t we all love sales and discounts! So how do you say 10% off in Chinese?

Answer: 九折 – which directly translates as “9-discount”. It means that the discounted price is 90% of the original price.

“20% off’ would be 八折, which directly translates as “8-discount”. It means that the discounted price is 80% of the original price.

So Chinese works backwards (in the same way as many other things, such as names, dates, addresses etc)! What a surprise!

If you think about it, expressing discounts in this way is a real time-saver. We can calculate the discounted price directly from the discount rate, instead of first subtracting the rate from 100% and then doing the calculation. It helps us calculate the price faster, and speed is important when you are bargaining.

Let’s look at some comparisons in calculating the discounted price, assuming that we are buying a video game which originally costs $100.

Discount in English Calculation Discount in Chinese Calculation

5% off $100x(100%-5%)=$95 9-5折 $100×95%=$95

10% off $100x(100%-10%)=$90 9折 $100×90%=$90

15% off $100x(100%-15%)=$85 8-5 折 $100×85%=$85

20% off $100x(100%-20%)=$80 8折 $100×80%=$80

25% off $100x(100%-25%)=$75 7-5折 $100×75%=$75

30% off $100x(100%-30%)=$70 7折 $100×70%=$70

35% off $100x(100%-35%)=$65 6-5折 $100×65%=$65

40% off $100x(100%-40%)=$60 6折 $100×60%=$60

50% off $100x(100%-50%)=$50 半價 (half price) $100 / 2 = $50

60% off $100x(100%-60%)=$40 4折 $100×40%=$40

70% off $100x(100%-70%)=$30 3折 $100×30%=$30

80% off $100x(100%-80%)=$20 2折 $100×20%=$20

90% off $100x(100%-90%)=$10 1折 $100×10%=$10

100% off (free!!) $100x(100%-100%)=$0 免費 (free) $100×0%=$0

By the time you reach this part of this article, I hope you have grasped the word 折 which means discount. It will come in very handy and possibly save you lots of money later on. To learn how it’s pronounced and written in correct sequence, please click here.

折 also commonly means “to fold” or “to snap”. The written construction of the word 折 is a left-right structure. The left side is a common radical, which represents the hand. We can deduce from the way it’s written that the word originally means an action carried out by hand.

The Radical is an important element in the Chinese writing system. We will discuss this in more detail in the future. Meanwhile, you will find links to some more useful information on Chinese numbers below.

Remember to check back here again! See you next time~