Seen regularly around town, many foreigners will notice signs featuring the Chinese characters "禁止 (jìnzhǐ)." From street signs near buildings and public offices, or even on the side of the road these characters are very important to know! They may even save your life one day.
1. 禁止吸烟 (Jìnzhǐ xīyān) No smoking
This sign will look familiar to anyone who has been in a public building before. Expats will certainly recognize the symbol denoting that smoking isn't allowed. But what do the Chinese characters mean? Let's show you an easy and effective way to remember the meaning.
The red circle with the line through it is the first part of the sentence, meaning something is "banned" or "not allowed," which we call "禁止 (jìnzhǐ)" in Chinese. The next two characters "吸烟 (xīyān)" mean "to smoke," so the phrase translates as "smoking is not allowed."
Shìnèi jìnzhǐ xīyān.
室内 禁止 吸烟。
No smoking indoors.
2. 禁止停车 (Jìnzhǐ tíngchē) No parking
The sign literally means "Don't stop here".
lùbiān jìnzhǐ tíngchē
路边 禁止 停车。
No parking on the road sides.
3. 禁止拍照 (Jìnzhǐ pāizhào) No photos
This picture is similar to the previous one. You may see this sign at a movie theater or an art museum. Can you guess what it means? Use the pictures below for help:
That's correct! The characters "禁止拍照 (jìnzhǐ pāizhào)" will tell you that taking photos is not allowed!
Bówùguǎn jìnzhǐ pāizhào.
博物馆 禁止 拍照。
You can't take pictures in the Museum.