We read with interest Hongyuan Wang's article ‘Loans to the Middle Kingdom revisited’ (ET77 Jan 04). This is a response to, and continuation of, Elizabeth Malischewski's 1987 article ‘Loan words to the Middle Kingdom’ in ET12, the author expresses the hope that this description ‘might serve as a useful addition to’ it (Wang 2004:47). We are as delighted to see the topic revisited after sixteen years as the editor, who states that Wang's article is ‘a valued addition to our series on English, China, China English, and Chinglish, and to Malischewski's original piece’ (McArthur 2004:2). However, we found that quite a number of words listed in the article are not loanwords, because of misunderstandings regarding loan word and loan translation in English and wailaici and wailaiyu, equivalents of loanword in a broader sense in Chinese, as a result of which his classification of the borrowings is confusing. The article has also tended to over-simplify the complex situation of such borrowings in Chinese and as such is misleading. We would like in this paper to clarify some of the misunderstandings and offer a brief introduction to the study of English borrowings in Chinese, a field which began c.1913 with the publication of Evan Morgan's Chinese New Terms & Expressions in Shanghai.