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The Perfect Gourmet Guide to Chinese Food

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Food is a type of magic that human beings both enjoy and depend upon for survival. Food brings loved ones together at the same table, where everyone is able to share life, indulge in conversation, and even burst into laughter together. Every family has its own homemade dish that tastes just like home, touching the softest spot of one’s heart.

As a dedicated Chinese learner, I’m sure you’re wondering how authentic Chinese foods taste and about the culture behind them. In this article, we’ll introduce you to several popular Chinese dishes you should try—and we’ll even teach you how to make some easy authentic Chinese food on your own. Make sure you stick around to learn all of the Chinese food secrets you’ve been curious about!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Must-Try Dishes in Chinese Restaurants
  2. Authentic Chinese Food vs. Overseas Chinese Food
  3. Unique Chinese Foods
  4. Food-Related Vocabulary
  5. Bonus: Simple Recipes to Make Authentic Chinese Food at Home
  6. Conclusion

Chinese Buns with Red Stamps on Top

Chinese food can be fascinating—like these Chinese buns with a red stamp on top!

1. Must-Try Dishes in Chinese Restaurants

Here’s a brief list of Chinese foods you need to try next time you’re at an authentic Chinese restaurant. Warning: You’ll be hungry by the time you finish reading about these delicious dishes!

A- Hot Pot – 火锅 (huǒ guō)

Hot Pot is a Chinese food staple that represents the culture of eating together. Everyone sits around a pot prepared with a simmering soup stock, in which people can boil a variety of meats and veggies they have on hand. This is one of the best Chinese comfort foods, especially on a chilly day.

B- Dumplings – 饺子 (jiǎo zi)

You’re probably familiar with dumplings, as cuisines from many regions of the world feature some kind of dumpling. Chinese dumplings are another staple of homemade Chinese food—they’re so important that they’re usually served as the entree for Chinese New Year. In general, dumplings are made with dough wrapped around a filling of minced meat.

C- Mapo Tofu – 麻婆豆腐 (má pó dòu fu)

Mapo Tofu is a famous spicy dish that originated from Sichuan cuisine. You’ve probably heard of it before, as it’s a popular dish overseas. The word 麻 () almost indicates a taste of numbness, which is a unique taste produced by the Sichuan peppercorn, combining perfectly with its spiciness.

D- Dim Sum – 早茶 (zǎo chá)

Several Chinese Dishes

Does it make your mouth water when there is a variety of delicious foods to choose from?

A unique facet of Chinese cuisine, Dim Sum is not a dish; rather, it’s a style of serving food that originated in Canton. In Dim Sum, a variety of bite-sized food portions—ranging from meat and veggies to dessert items—is usually served with tea. Servers usually push a table of these foods around to ask which one you would like to try. Dim Sum is a great (and cost-effective) choice if you want a variety of food that you can share with many people.

E- Congee – 粥 (zhōu)

Congee is one of the most popular Chinese comfort foods, and it can be either sweet or savory. Serving as the base of this dish are grains that have been boiled down and simmered into a dense soup. People sometimes like to add meat and veggies to make it savory, or some sugar to make it a sweet treat. This is also a very healthy Chinese food as boiled grain is easy to digest and warm for your stomach.

2. Authentic Chinese Food vs. Overseas Chinese Food

Chinese Spring Rolls

The famous overseas Chinese spring roll may not be that famous in China!

If you’re ever looking for your hometown food in another country, I bet there will come a point when you’re dumbfounded with the localized food there and cry internally, with pride: “This is not what my home tastes like!”

Similarly, Chinese cuisine dishes that have reached other countries are far from being authentic. 

Here are just a few Chinese foods that are not typical in China:

  • Orange chicken
  • Chow mein
  • Honey walnut shrimp
  • Spring rolls
  • Broccoli-and-beef 

Some native Chinese people may have never even heard of these overseas dishes.

To be fair, there are still a few famous authentic Chinese dishes overseas, such as: 

  • Mapo Tofu
  • Dumplings
  • Sweet and sour soup
  • Kung Pao chicken

However, it’s likely that they’re made differently to suit foreigners’ taste buds. For example, meat that is supposed to be pan-fried in China is deep-fried overseas. In addition, some other dishes may not be as spicy as they are in China, and are more likely to be sweet. 

It’s interesting to see how much food can change culturally and how people’s perception of another country’s cuisine is rather limited.

3. Unique Chinese Foods

Some foods can only be found in one country, and these foods are closely connected to the regional cultures. As a language learner, it’s important for you to be familiar with these dishes because it will show how well you know the native culture! Here are a few unique Chinese cuisine staples that you should know about.

A- Coke-Braised Chicken Wings – 可乐鸡翅 (kě lè jī chì)

This is a unique finger-licking Chinese dish, taking advantage of Coke’s sweetness and using soy sauce to turn it into a savory-sweet BBQ-style sauce. A true reinvented foreign Chinese food! If you ever get the chance to try this dish, don’t miss it! It possesses a unique deliciousness that you’ll never get to try anywhere else. 

B- Fish-Fragrant Eggplant – 鱼香茄子 (yú xiāng qié zi)

Although this dish has “fish” in the name, there’s no fish at all in the ingredients! ‘Fish-fragrant’ is a unique Chinese spice from Sichuan cuisine that offers a good combination of spicy, sweet, and sour flavors. The famous Doubanjiang, a typical Sichuan spicy sauce made from fermented soybeans, is the essence of this whole dish. It will definitely bring your taste buds to another level of spiciness!

C- Mooncake – 月饼 (yuè bǐng)

A Yellow-Colored Mooncake

Mooncakes are shaped just like how they’re named—a moon, indeed!

Mooncake is a traditional Chinese dessert that’s usually eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. This is when the moon is in full shape, symbolizing united families. 

Mooncakes have a soft pastry on the outside and some sort of sweet paste on the inside. They’re named after the moon because of their shape. The typical fillings for mooncakes are red bean paste, lotus seed paste, and taro paste, though there are many more depending on the region.

D- Malatang – 麻辣烫 (má là tàng)

Malatang is a famous Chinese street food that many people consider to be a part of their childhood memories. If you were to ask any Chinese adult if they regularly ate Malatang during their school years, the answer would probably be yes. Malatang is a mixture of different meats and veggies that’s cooked quickly in a spicy sauce; some regions serve this dish with sesame paste in it.

E- Youtiao – 油条 (yóu tiáo)

Youtiao is a deep-fried stick of dough. It’s crispy on the outside with a golden crust, but soft and chewy on the inside. This has been one of the most popular Chinese breakfast dishes for decades, and Chinese people love to couple Youtiao with a bowl of fresh soy milk. It’s as if they were made for each other.

F- Sweet Rice Dessert Dumplings – 汤圆 (tāng yuán)

Sweet rice dessert dumplings are made with glutinous rice flour on the outside, which makes the texture incredibly soft and chewy with a natural sweetness. The filling can vary, though the most common ones are black sesame paste and red bean paste.

4. Food-Related Vocabulary

Now that we’ve whetted your appetite, it’s time to look at some Chinese cuisine vocabulary. We’ll show you the most important words for food and cooking, and give you some practical phrases for ordering food in a restaurant. 

A- Food and Utensils

Food食物 (shí wù)
Rice米饭 (mǐ fàn)
Noodles面条 (miàn tiáo)
Chopsticks筷子 (kuài zi)
Bowl碗 (wǎn)
Spoon勺子 (sháo zi)
Cook做饭 (zuò fàn)
Ingredients食材 (shí cái)

B- Common Phrases for Ordering and Cooking

  • In Chinese: 开饭了。
    Pinyin: Kāi fàn le. 
    In English: “The meal is ready to serve.”
  • In Chinese: 这道菜实在是太好吃了。
    Pinyin: Zhè dào cài shí zài shì tài hǎo chī le. 
    In English: “This dish is truly delicious.”
  • In Chinese: 这道菜可真是色香味俱全啊。
    Pinyin: Zhè dào cài kě zhēn shì sè xiāng wèi jù quán a.
    In English: “This dish has it all: a nice appearance, delicious smell, and taste.”
  • In Chinese: 这道菜可以不放辣吗?
    Pinyin: Zhè dào cài kě yǐ bú fàng là ma? 
    In English: “Can you please not make this dish spicy?”
  • In Chinese: 我今天打算做一些家常菜。
    Pinyin: Wǒ jīn tiān dǎ suàn zuò yī xiē jiā cháng cài. 
    In English: “I am going to make some regular homemade dishes.”
  • In Chinese: 我们可以分开付吗?
    Pinyin: Wǒ men kě yǐ fèn kāi fù ma? 
    In English: “Can we pay separately?”
  • In Chinese: 我可以看一下菜单吗?
    Pinyin: Wǒ kě yǐ kàn yī xià cài dān ma? 
    In English: “May I see the menu?”

5. Bonus: Simple Recipes to Make Authentic Chinese Food at Home

Now, let me share with you the secret Chinese food recipes for two classic dishes. These are comfort food dishes that every single Chinese family just has to cook once in a while. They’re easy and quick to make, and most importantly, they offer the deliciousness of an authentic home-cooked meal! Trust me, if you ask any native Chinese person, these dishes are the taste of home.

A- Authentic Chinese Recipe #1: Stir-Fried Tomatoes and Eggs:  西红柿炒鸡蛋 (xī hóng shì chǎo jī dàn)

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • Sliced green onions or cilantro for garnish
  • Salt
  • Steamed rice or noodles, for serving

Step 1

Beat the eggs well with salt, mixing the yolks and whites perfectly. Pour oil into the pan, heat it up, and pour the eggs in smoothly. Once the eggs have taken a solid shape, quickly stir-fry them into pieces and take them out of the pan.

Step 2

Cut an X into the tomatoes’ skin and boil them in hot water until the skin can be taken off (a process called blanching). It’s also fine to leave the skin on if desired. Then cut the tomatoes into slices.

Step 3

Add ginger into the pan and stir-fry it a little with the oil left in the pan. Use the same pan to stir-fry the tomatoes for about 3-5 minutes until aromatic and the liquid has evaporated a little. Add ketchup, soy sauce, and sugar.

Step 4

Add eggs into the stir-fried tomatoes and stir them occasionally for the tomato juice to be absorbed into the eggs. This should take about a minute.

Step 5

Add some salt to taste. Top with the sliced green onion or cilantro, and serve with steamed rice or noodles.

A Bowl of White Rice with Chopsticks In It

Find a recipe that can perfectly marry that bowl of rice of yours!

B- Authentic Chinese Recipe #2: Chinese Stir-Fried Shredded Potatoes: 炝炒土豆丝 (qiàng chǎo tǔ dòu sī)

Ingredients:

  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chili oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon any type of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Sugar to taste
  • Salt to taste

Step 1

Shred the potatoes and put them in a bowl of cold water. Soak them for at least 20 minutes to get rid of starch (the longer, the crunchier).

Step 2

Cut the carrot and bell pepper into thinly shredded slices, just like the potatoes.

Step 3

Remove the potatoes from water and heat the chili oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add the Sichuan peppercorn and stir-fry it until very aromatic. Drain the Sichuan-peppercorn-flavored oil in a bowl and remove the peppercorns from the pan.

Step 4

Add the Sichuan-peppercorn-flavored oil back into the pan and add the minced garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir-fry them altogether until aromatic. 

Step 5

Add the shredded potatoes, carrot, and bell pepper and cook for about 2 minutes over high heat until all ingredients are cooked but crispy on the outside.

Step 6

Add the soy sauce and vinegar and mix well. Lastly, add some sugar and salt to taste.

6. Conclusion

Are you still hanging in there? Or has your stomach started growling and your mouth watering? If you’re craving some great Chinese food right now, make sure you check the authenticity of any Chinese restaurant you plan on visiting. You want only the best! 

Food represents a country’s culture, so make sure you get familiar with these typical Chinese dishes. Whether you’re a conscientious foodie or a hardworking Chinese learner, ChineseClass101.com is always honored to open the magical gate to the Chinese language and culture for you. 

Here, you’ll be presented with fun and professional resources to help you learn the Chinese language. Our lessons, taught by native Chinese speakers, are designed to make you feel as though you were walking right into China! Why not create your free account today to give it a try?

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A Beginner’s Guide to Chinese Grammar

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What is the backbone of every language? Definitely grammar. 

Using proper grammar showcases your professionalism and respect for others. 

Chinese grammar is rather unique. As opposed to English and the Romance languages which follow a strict structure, Chinese is often perceived by foreigners as not even having grammar. Others claim that Chinese grammar is extremely difficult. 

As an art, the Chinese language has its own unique features and much flexibility in its grammar. If you’ve learned other languages before, you’ll find that learning Chinese grammar won’t be a typical language learning experience; there may be many new concepts that you’ve never even heard of. 

Now, let’s dig into this Chinese grammar guide for beginners. Judge the language for yourself!


Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. General Rules of Chinese Grammar
  2. Special Chinese Grammar Point #1: Particles
  3. Special Chinese Grammar Point #2: Different Modifiers
  4. Special Chinese Grammar Point #3: Formality
  5. Special Chinese Grammar Point #4: Common Adverbs
  6. Special Chinese Grammar Point #5: Common Verbs
  7. Special Grammar Point #6: Negative Sentences
  8. Conclusion

1. General Rules of Chinese Grammar

A Green Belter Karate Woman

Learning new concepts may be challenging, but you will eventually ace them!

Welcome to the first reassuring rule of Chinese grammar: The structure of basic Chinese sentences is Subject-Verb-Object, just like in English. However, other special words, such as adverbs of time, have no fixed location in a sentence; you can put these words anywhere based on how much emphasis you want placed on them. In English, on the other hand, we usually only place words like this at the beginning or end of a sentence.

In Chinese grammar, questions can be formed without the use of interrogative adverbs (like “why” or “who”). You can simply say the statement with a rising intonation, sort of like you can do in informal English (“You ate all the cake?”). 

The best part of Chinese grammar is that you don’t even need to worry about conjugating verbs; you can simply add specific words into the sentence to signify the tense.

Here’s a final tip for beginners: Remember that tones in Chinese can dramatically change the meaning of a word or sentence. Using the wrong tone for even a small word can be the difference between effective communication and total confusion. Keep practicing your spoken Chinese with native Chinese speakers and the language will eventually become a part of yourself

Keeping these basic Chinese grammar rules in mind, let’s get to the more challenging parts of Chinese grammar!

2. Special Chinese Grammar Point #1: Particles

Bright Ideas

Never be afraid of asking questions when you encounter a difficulty.

One of the most interesting components of Chinese grammar structures is the question/exclamation particles. They’re typically placed at the end of a sentence to indicate either a question or an exclamation. Magical, right? Just one simple word, and the purpose and tone of your whole sentence transforms! Now, let’s see how to distinguish between the unfamiliar faces of our new friends.

1. Clause + 吗 (ma

This particle is used to indicate that you require a yes/no answer to your question. 

In Chinese: 明天的派对你还打算去吗?
Pinyin: Míng tiān de pài duì nǐ hái dǎ suàn qù ma? 
In English: “Are you still planning to go to the party tomorrow?”

2. Clause + 吧 (ba

This particle is used to make a suggestion.

In Chinese: 妈妈,你就放心让我一个人去旅行吧!
Pinyin: Mā ma, nǐ jiù fàng xīn ràng wǒ yī gè rén qù lǚ xíng ba! 
In English: “Mom, please be reassured and let me go travel by myself!”

3. Clause + 呢 (ne)

This particle changes the emphasis on a topic.

In Chinese: 虽然姐姐比我大两岁,但是很多时候都是我在照顾她呢。
Pinyin: Suī rán jiě jie bǐ wǒ dà liǎng suì, dàn shì hěn duō shí hou dōu shì wǒ zài zhào gù tā ne. 
In English: “Even though my sister is two years older than me, I am the one who takes care of her most of the time.”

4. Clause + 啊 (a)

This particle is used to express exclamation in a statement.

In Chinese: 你家可真漂亮啊!
Pinyin: Nǐ jiā kě zhēn piāo liàng a! 
In English: “Your house is so pretty!”

5. Clause + 啦 (la)

This particle is used to add a relaxed tone in an exclamatory sentence. 

In Chinese: 不要担心我啦。
Pinyin: Bú yào dān xīn wǒ la. 
In English: “Don’t worry about me.”

6. Clause + 嘛 (ma)

This particle is used to place emphasis on an overt fact.

In Chinese: 今天雨下得这么大,我怎么可能还出去买菜嘛。
Pinyin: Jīn tiān yǔ xià de zhè me dà, wǒ zěn me kě néng hái chū qù mǎi cài ma. 
In English: “The rain is incredibly heavy today, there is no way I am still going to buy groceries. ”

Additional notes: As you may have noticed above, these particles don’t possess a tone; they’re simply indicated as “light-sounding” in Chinese. All of these particles can also be used in declarative sentences, as well as exclamatory and interrogative sentences depending on how strong the expression is.

3. Special Chinese Grammar Point #2: Different Modifiers

There are three general modifiers that are used in daily conversations, which are: 的 (de), 得 (de), and 地 (de). While they have the same pronunciation, each one is used differently. It may take some time to digest, but they’re fairly straightforward to learn. Don’t be afraid. Just take on the challenge!

1. Subject + 的 (de) + Object

This modifier may be one of the easiest to understand as you can literally translate it to “of.” It indicates a sense of ownership.

In Chinese: 这是我的书。 
Pinyin: Zhè shì wǒ de shū. 
In English: “This book is mine.”

2. Attribute + 的 (de) + Noun

In Chinese: 我哥哥是一个很有雄心壮志的人。
Pinyin: Wǒ gē ge shì yī gè hěn yǒu xióng xīn zhuàng zhì de rén. 
In English: “My older brother is someone who is very ambitious.”

3. Verb + 得 (de) + State

In Chinese: 这支舞她跳得可真美。
Pinyin: Zhè zhī wǔ tā tiào de kě zhēn měi. 
In English: “This dance she is performing is beautifully done.”

4. Adjective + 地 (de) + Verb

In Chinese grammar, many adjectives can function as adverbs when they modify verbs, without changing their form.

In Chinese: 勇敢地前进吧,我会永远支持你的。
Pinyin: Yǒng gǎn de qián jìn ba, wǒ huì yǒng yuǎn zhī chí nǐ de. 
In English: “Just bravely go for it, I will always be there for you. ”

4. Special Chinese Grammar Point #3: Formality

Man and Woman Shaking Hands

A polite person always draws people closer.

Don’t panic just yet. This is a very straightforward but important point in Chinese grammar. As a people that values politeness and formality, the Chinese use two different forms to express “you.” One is more polite, to be used with people whom you need to show more respect such as your elders or mentors. The other one can be casually used with peers and friends.

1. The polite form: 您 (nín)

In Chinese: 奶奶,您最近身体还好吗?
Pinyin: Nǎi nai, nín zuì jìn shēn tǐ hái hǎo ma? 
In English: “Grandma, how has your health been recently?”

2. The casual form: 你 ()

In Chinese: 谢谢你一直以来的陪伴。
Pinyin: Xiè xie nǐ yī zhí yǐ lái de péi bàn. 
In English: “Thank you for always keeping me company.”

5. Special Chinese Grammar Point #4: Common Adverbs

Woman Holding Her Laptop Thinking of Something

Still bewildered about Chinese grammar? Leave your questions in the comments below and we’ll get back to you!

Now that we’ve gone over some basic Chinese grammar rules, let’s dive in deeper with a list of the most common adverbs to make your sentences even more complete. Keep in mind that while these words are considered adverbs in Chinese, they may be of a different part of speech when translated into English.

1. Able to: 会 (huì)

In Chinese: 她五岁就会做饭了。
Pinyin: Tā wǔ suì jiù huì zuò fàn le.
In English: “She was able to cook ever since she was five years old.”

2. Allowed to/Could: 能 (néng)

In Chinese: 请问我能去一下你家的卫生间吗?
Pinyin: Qǐng wèn wǒ néng qù yī xià nǐ jiā de wèi shēng jiān ma? 
In English: “Could I please (Am I allowed to) go to the bathroom at your house?”

3. Also: 也 ()

In Chinese: 我原本也想买这本书。
Pinyin: Wǒ yuán běn yě xiǎng mǎi zhè běn shū. 
In English: “I was also thinking about buying this book. ”

4. Still: 还 (hái)

In Chinese: 我还是很怀念大学的时光。
Pinyin: Wǒ hái shì hěn huái niàn dà xué de shí guāng. 
In English: “I am still nostalgic about my college times.”

5. Too: 太 (tài)

In Chinese: 你弹钢琴的样子实在是太迷人了。
Pinyin: Nǐ tán gāng qín de yàng zǐ shí zài shì tài mí rén le. 
In English: “The way you play the piano is honestly way too attractive.”

6. Very: 很 (hěn)

In Chinese: 我家有一个很大的游泳池。
Pinyin: Wǒ jiā yǒu yī gè hěn dà de yóu yǒng chí. 
In English: “There is a very big swimming pool in my house.”

6. Special Chinese Grammar Point #5: Common Verbs

Verbs are one of the most important parts of speech, so it’s crucial that you know the most common ones and how to use them. 

1. To have / To possess: 有 (yǒu)

In Chinese: 我家有一只很可爱的小狗。
Pinyin: Wǒ jiā yǒu yī zhī hěn kě ài de xiǎo gǒu. 
In English: “I have a very cute doggie at home.”

2. To be somewhere: 在 (zài)

In Chinese: 你给我打电话的时候我正在外面。
Pinyin: Nǐ gěi wǒ dǎ diàn huà de shí hou wǒ zhèng zài wài mian. 
In English: “I was outside when you were calling me. ”

3. To be: 是 (shì)

In Chinese: 她是一个特别内向的人。
Pinyin: Tā shì yī gè tè bié nèi xiàng de rén. 
In English: “She is a very introverted person.”

4. To go: 去 ()

In Chinese: 我最好的朋友邀请我今天去她家吃饭。
Pinyin: Wǒ zuì hǎo de péng you yāo qǐng wǒ jīn tiān qù tā jiā chī fàn. 
In English: “My best friend invited me to go and eat at her place today.”

5. To come: 来 (lái)

In Chinese: 不管他来我家多少次,都永远记不住路。
Pinyin: Bù guǎn tā lái wǒ jiā duō shǎo cì, dōu yǒng yuǎn jì bú zhù lù. 
In English: “No matter how many times he came to my house, he will never remember the directions.”

7. Special Grammar Point #6: Negative Sentences

There are two words that can be used to form a negative sentence: 不 () and 没 (méi). Remember that these are not interchangeable and have different usages.

1. Subject + 不 () + Verb

Use this structure to indicate that you don’t want to do something (or that you just won’t do it). 

In Chinese: 我是不会出国留学的。
Pinyin: Wǒ shì bú huì chū guó liú xué de. 
In English: “I won’t go study abroad.”

2. Subject + 不 () + Verb

This structure can be used to say that someone is not in the habit of doing something.

In Chinese: 我不喜欢熬夜。
Pinyin: Wǒ bù xǐ huan áo yè. 
In English: “I don’t like to stay up late.”

3. 不 () + Adjective

This structure expresses the negation of an adjective.

In Chinese: 她觉得自己不好看。
Pinyin: Tā jué de zì jǐ bù hǎo kàn. 
In English: “She thinks she is not pretty.”

4. Subject + 没(有)(méi yǒu) + Verb + Object

Use this structure to negate actions in the past or future. 

In Chinese: 我没去打篮球。
Pinyin: Wǒ méi qù dǎ lán qiú. 
In English: “I didn’t go play basketball.”

In Chinese: 我还没吃饭呢。
Pinyin: Wǒ hái méi chī fàn ne. 
In English: “I haven’t eaten yet.”

5. Subject + 没有 (méi yǒu) + Verb + Object

This structure is used to indicate that you don’t have something.

In Chinese: 抱歉,我没有多余的笔。
Pinyin: Bào qiàn, wǒ méi yǒu duō yú de bǐ. 
In English: “Sorry, I don’t have an extra pencil.”

Learning Stuff

Spare some time every day to study a language, and you will certainly improve over time!

8. Conclusion

Now take a deep breath. Have you gotten used to these basic Chinese grammar rules? If you’re still struggling with something, don’t worry. Learning a new language is like embracing a new lifestyle; only when you gradually integrate it into your daily life will you be able to master Chinese.

Of course, we couldn’t include everything about Chinese grammar here—there’s so much more that’s worth exploring. ChineseClass101 is honored to share with you our large pool of Chinese grammar resources, language and culture lessons, and other effective learning materials. We’re here to assist you and help you succeed in your language learning journey. If you want to bring yourself to the next level, don’t hesitate to create your free lifetime account today!

If you have any questions about what we went over today, feel free to leave us a comment. We’ll get back to you with useful information!

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Classic Chinese Quotes You Need to Know

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How many times have you used a popular quote to express something? Being able to apply someone else’s words to our own lives is just so convenient!

But quotes hold so much more potential when you learn them in another language. Studying Chinese quotes can be an excellent way to improve your language skills, gain cultural insight, and learn to see the world through other people’s eyes.

In China, people love to use Chinese quotes and proverbs in their daily conversations. Using one effectively can convey the heart of one’s thoughts, making any conversation a little more meaningful. The Chinese quotes we’ve listed in this article will not only enrich your conversations, but also help you think a little deeper and advise you on your own path in life—they are the epitome of human wisdom, after all. 

Let’s dive right into these classic Chinese quotes. To learn them for a lifetime, remember to keep them in your heart rather than in your brain!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Quotes About Success
  2. Quotes About Life
  3. Quotes About Time
  4. Quotes About Love
  5. Quotes About Family
  6. Quotes About Friendship
  7. Quotes About Food
  8. Quotes About Health
  9. Quotes About Language Learning
  10. Quotes About Studying
  11. Conclusion

1. Quotes About Success

Do you have big plans for the future, or maybe an upcoming project you’re concerned about? Read through these Chinese quotes on success for an extra jolt of motivation!

A Man Jumping on a Cliff

Success never comes easily.

良好的开端,等于成功的一半。

Pinyin: Liáng hǎo de kāi duān, děng yú chéng gōng de yī bàn.

Literal translation in English: “Well begun is half done.”

Meaning: A successful beginning is a significant step toward ultimate success.

Source: This quote is from the famous Athenian philosopher, Plato.

要做的事情总找得出时间和机会;不愿意做的事情也总能找得出借口。

Pinyin: Yào zuò de shì qing zǒng zhǎo de chū shí jiān hé jī huì; bú yuàn yì zuò de shì qing yě zǒng néng zhǎo de chū jiè kǒu. 

Literal translation in English: “You will always find the time and opportunities for the things you truly want to achieve; you can always make excuses for things you don’t want to do.”

Meaning: If you truly want to do something, you will always manage to achieve it, with no excuses. 

Source: Unknown.

没有最好,只有更好。

Pinyin: Méi yǒu zuì hǎo, zhǐ yǒu gèng hǎo. 

Literal translation in English: “There is no such thing called ‘being the best,’ there is only ‘to be better’.”

Meaning: We should always seek to improve ourselves, no matter how much we achieve.

Source: Unknown.

2. Quotes About Life

Life can be peaceful, exciting, wonderful, or quite difficult—and sometimes all of those things at once! Wherever you are in your life journey, we think you’ll be inspired by these Chinese quotes about life.


生活就像一面镜子,你对他笑,他就对你笑;你对他哭,他也对你哭。

Pinyin: Shēng huó jiù xiàng yī miàn jìng zi, nǐ duì tā xiào, tā jiù duì nǐ xiào; nǐ duì tā kū, tā yě duì nǐ kū.

Literal translation in English: “Life is just like a mirror: he will smile back to you if you smile, he will cry back if you cry first.”

Meaning: Our attitude determines the way our life goes. 

Source: This quote is originally from the famous British novelist, William Makepeace Thackeray.

生活不是一场赛跑,生活是一场旅行,要懂得好好欣赏每一段的风景。

Pinyin: Shēng huó bú shì yī chǎng sài pǎo, shēng huó shì yī chǎng lǚ xíng, yào dǒng dé hǎo hǎo xīn shǎng měi yī duàn de fēng jǐng. 

Literal translation in English: “Life is not a race; life is a journey, and you need to appreciate every piece of the scenery.”

Meaning: We need to appreciate every chapter of our life. 

Source: Unknown.

3. Quotes About Time

Time is what binds us to our own mortality, and there are several Chinese language quotes on the topic. Take a look!


种树最好的时机是二十年前,其次就是现在。

Pinyin: Zhǒng shù zuì hǎo de shí jī shì èr shí nián qián, qí cì jiù shì xiàn zài.

Literal translation in English: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

Source: This quote is translated from the book Dead Aid, written by Dambisa Moyo.

我把别人喝咖啡的时间用在工作上。

Pinyin: Wǒ bǎ bié rén hē kā fēi de shí jiān yòng lái gōng zuò shang. 

Literal translation in English: “When other people are drinking coffee, I am working.”

Meaning: We have to use our time effectively, even when others are relaxing.

Source: This quote is originally from the famous Chinese writer, poet, and literary critic, Lu Xun.

时间就像海绵里的水,只要愿挤,总还是有的。

Pinyin: Shí jiān jiù xiàng hǎi mián lǐ de shuǐ, zhǐ yào yuàn jǐ, zǒng hái shì yǒu de.

Literal translation in English: “Time is just like the water in a sponge; it will come out as long as you make the effort to squeeze it.”

Meaning: Time can always be saved as long as you try hard enough.

Source: This quote is originally from the famous Chinese writer, poet, and literary critic, Lu Xun.

4. Quotes About Love

Are you in love? Or maybe you’re a hopeless romantic? Either way, we think you’ll enjoy reading these Chinese quotes on love.

Men and Women Forming Hearts with Their Hands

Cherish the love you have.

爱之深,责之切。

Pinyin: Ài zhī shēn, zé zhī qiè. 

Literal translation in English: “The deeper the love is, the harsher the reproaches are.”

Meaning: Love makes people care so much that they’re willing to hurt the other person’s feelings if it’s for their own good.

Source: This quote is originally from part of the ancient Chinese text called Strategies of the Warring States.

两情若是长久时,又岂在朝朝暮暮。

Pinyin: Liǎng qíng ruò shì cháng jiǔ shí, yòu qǐ zài zhāo zhāo mù mù. 

Literal translation in English: “Durable love keeps without living together day and night.”

Meaning: True love can withstand long distances.

Source: This quote is from the famous Chinese poet, Qin Guan, from the Song dynasty.

喜欢是放肆,爱是克制。

Pinyin: Xǐ huān shì fàng sì, ài shì kè zhì. 

Literal translation in English: “Liking someone is to be free, loving someone is to control yourself.”

Meaning: True love needs restriction and sacrifice.

Source: Unknown.

如果你想要被爱,就要去爱,并要让自己值得被爱。

Pinyin: Rú guǒ nǐ xiǎng yào bèi ài, jiù yào qù ài, bìng yào ràng zì jǐ zhí dé bèi ài. 

Literal translation in English: “If you would be loved, love, and be loveable.” 

Meaning: Only when we deserve love are we able to be loved.

Source: This quote is originally from Benjamin Franklin.

5. Quotes About Family

Family is one of the most important aspects of life, even if they can be hard to get along with sometimes. Read these Chinese quotes about family to gain some cultural insight on family in Chinese culture.

Family Going to Watch Movies

Remember to always have some quality family time no matter how busy you are.

家永远是我们温暖的避风港。

Pinyin: Jiā yǒng yuǎn shì wǒ men wēn nuǎn de bì fēng gǎng. 

Literal translation in English: “Our home will always be the warmest harbor.”

Meaning: Families are always there to support us.

Source: Unknown.

人生就是旅途,不管我们漂到哪,最终还是会回到家。

Pinyin: Rén shēng jiù shì lǚ tú, bù guǎn wǒ men piāo dào nǎ, zuì zhōng hái shì huì huí dào jiā. 

Literal translation in English: “Life is a journey; no matter how far we go, we will eventually return to home.”

Meaning: We will always miss our home no matter where we go.

Source: Unknown.

6. Quotes About Friendship

True friends are one of life’s greatest joys and necessities. Can you relate to these Chinese quotes on friendship?

Four Women Standing with Each Other

True friends will always be there for you.

时间会替你筛选出那些真正属于你身边的人。

Pinyin: Shí jiān huì tì nǐ shāi xuǎn chū nà xiē zhēn zhèng shǔ yú nǐ shēn biān de rén. 

Literal translation in English: “Time will help you screen the friends who really belong to you.”

Meaning: True friends will always stand by you, no matter what happens. 

Source: Unknown.

有福同享,有难同当。

Pinyin: Yǒu fú tóng xiǎng, yǒu nàn tóng dāng. 

Literal translation in English: “Share the happiness together, go through the hardship together.”

Meaning: Friends go through everything together, both the good and the bad. 

Source: This quote is originally from a Chinese novel from the Qing dynasty, called Officialdom Unmasked

7. Quotes About Food

Who doesn’t love to enjoy some good food? Here are a couple of Chinese sayings and quotes about food we think you’ll relate to!

Foods on the Table
We can never live without delicious food, can we?

人是铁,饭是钢,一顿不吃饿得慌。

Pinyin: Rén shì tiě, fàn shì gāng, yī dùn bù chī è de huāng. 

Literal translation in English: “Humans are iron, food is steel, you have to eat to stay away from hunger.”

Meaning: Meals give strength and nourishment to the human body and therefore cannot be skipped.

Source: Unknown.

好吃不过饺子。

Pinyin: Hǎo chī bú guò jiǎo zi.

Literal translation in English: “Nothing is more delicious than dumplings.”

Meaning: Chinese people dearly enjoy dumplings as their traditional food.

Source: Unknown.

8. Quotes About Health

Staying in good health should be the top priority in one’s life, because it allows you to fulfill other goals! These Chinese health quotes express the importance of maintaining good health. 

    → Of course, even our best efforts can fail when it comes to health. See our vocabulary list of Common Health Concerns and be prepared for the next time you’re not feeling well.
A Patient and a Doctor
Without health, we can’t really do anything else!

身体是革命的本钱。

Pinyin: Shēn tǐ shì gé mìng de běn qián. 

Literal translation in English: “Your health is the necessity of the revolution.”

Meaning: Health always comes first.

Source: This quote is originally from Chairman Mao

健康是一个人最大的财富。

Pinyin: Jiàn kāng shì yī gè rén zuì dà de cái fù.

Literal translation in English: “The greatest wealth is health.”

Meaning: Health is the most valuable thing.

Source: This quote is originally from the Roman poet Virgil, who proposed that one’s well-being is essential to human happiness.

9. Quotes About Language Learning

Have you reached a plateau in your language learning and need some inspiration? You’re in the right place!


掌握另一种语言就是拥有第二个灵魂。

Pinyin: Zhǎng wò lìng yī zhǒng yǔ yán jiù shì yōng yǒu dì èr gè líng hún.

Literal translation in English: “To have another language is to possess a second soul.”

Meaning: Learning another language allows you to see the world through new eyes and makes you a more open-minded person. In a sense, it adds depth to who you are.

Source: This is originally from Charlemagne, who was also Emperor of the Romans and united the majority of Western and Central Europe.

语言是这世界上最强大的武器。

Pinyin: Yǔ yán shì zhè shì jiè shang zuì qiáng dà de wǔ qì.

Literal translation in English: “Languages are the most powerful weapon in the world.”

Meaning: Languages can become powerful if used correctly.

Source: Unknown.

10. Quotes About Studying

It can be really hard to sit down and study, we know! Hopefully the following quotes will help you see studying as something beautiful, and not something to be dreaded.

A Woman Reading Book while Standing on a Train

Study hard whenever you can.

读书要眼到、口到、心到、手到、脑到。

Pinyin: Dú shū yào yǎn dào, kǒu dào, xīn dào, shǒu dào, nǎo dào.

Literal translation in English: “While reading a book, it is important to use your eyes, mouth, heart, hands, and brain.”

Meaning: When we read books, it is better to read, speak out loud, understand it with our heart, look up references and make notes, and think about it all at the same time. 

Source: This quote is originally from the famous Chinese writer, poet, and literary critic, Lu Xun.

好好学习,天天向上。

Pinyin: Hǎo hǎo xué xí, tiān tiān xiàng shàng. 

Literal translation in English: “Study hard and move up everyday.”

Meaning: Study hard and try to improve.

Source: This quote is originally from Chairman Mao. 

11. Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed discovering some insightful philosophical ideas from these classic Chinese quotes. Now, contemplate on them; soon enough, you’ll be able to integrate them into your daily Chinese conversations. Whether you warm your loved one’s heart with Chinese love quotes or use Chinese quotes about language learning to motivate yourself, these words of wisdom are sure to benefit your life. 

Of course, ChineseClass101.com always has more resources than you know. The quotes we outlined in this article are only the basics; by exploring our website and clicking on the links provided throughout the article, you can learn so much more Chinese! 

ChineseClass101 will always serve as your beacon during your Chinese language learning journey!

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Chinese Business Phrases: How to Talk Like a Professional

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Whether you’re a student seeking the opportunity to live and work in China, an international company employee who has been transferred to the branch office in China, a specialist who deals with clients or partners in China, or simply a Chinese language enthusiast who’s eager to expand your vocabulary, knowing some essential business phrases in Chinese will benefit you professionally, socially, and financially.

In this article, we’ll present you with fifty common Chinese business phrases and patterns (with examples, key vocabulary, and notes) to use in different business circumstances in China. Be it a job interview, a business meeting, or a chat with coworkers and clients, you’ll be prepared to handle it in smooth business Chinese. 

Now, let’s get down to business!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Nail a Job Interview
  2. Interact with Coworkers
  3. Sound Smart in a Meeting
  4. Handle Business Phone Calls and Emails
  5. Go on a Business Trip
  6. Learn More on ChineseClass101.com

1. Nail a Job Interview

Job Interview

Going to a job interview well-prepared is your first step toward career success. 

Keep in mind that Chinese culture values humbleness and respect toward seniors (those who are older than you or who have more experience). In a job interview, it’s important to show good manners in front of your interviewers and to impress them with solid facts and stats, instead of big, empty words. 

Here are some useful Chinese business phrases that will help you find a job in China:

A- Talking About Yourself 

The following Chinese phrases for business interviews will help you introduce yourself to your interviewer and tell them about your experience. 

1. 您好,我是 ___。/ 我叫 ___。

Pinyin: Nínhǎo, Wǒ shì ___. / Wǒ jiào ___.
Translation: “Hello, I am ___.” / “My name is ___.”

Note: 
您 (nín) is a polite form for “you.” It’s recommended to use 您 (nín) to address your interviewer.

2. 这是我的简历。

Pinyin: Zhè shì wǒ de jiǎnlì.
Translation: “This is my resume.”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 简历 (jiǎnlì) – “resume”

3. 我有过___的经验。

Pinyin: Wǒ yǒuguò ___ de jīngyàn.
Translation: “I have had the experience of ___.”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 经验 (jīngyàn) – “experience” 

Example:
我有过电话推销的经验。(Wǒ yǒuguò diànhuà tuīxiāo de jīngyàn.)
“I’ve had the experience of telemarketing.”

4. 我会___。

Pinyin: Wǒ huì ___.
Translation: “I can ___.”

Example:
我会说汉语和德语。(Wǒ huì shuō Hànyǔ hé Déyǔ.)
“I can speak Chinese and German.”

5. 我擅长___。

Pinyin: Wǒ shàncháng ___.
Translation: “I’m good at ___.”

Example:
我擅长制作表格。(Wǒ shàncháng zhìzuò biǎogé.)
“I’m good at making spreadsheets.”

6. 我曾经获得___。

Pinyin: Wǒ céngjīng huòdé ___.
Translation: “I have been awarded ___.”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 曾经 (céngjīng) – “once”
  • 获得 (huòdé) – “to earn” / “to acquire”

Example:
我曾经获得年度优秀员工的称号。(Wǒ céngjīng huòdé niándù yōuxiù yuángōng de chēnghào.)
“I have been awarded the title of ‘Employee of the Year’.”

B- Polite Phrases

Here are some useful phrases you can use to thank your interviewer, ask questions, and let your interviewer know that you want to keep in touch. 

7. 谢谢您给我面试的机会。

Pinyin: Xièxiè nín gěi wǒ miànshì de jīhuì.
Translation: “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to come in for an interview.”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 机会 (jīhuì) – “opportunity”

Note:
This phrase can be used at the beginning or the end of the interview.

8. 对不起,能再说一遍吗?

Pinyin: Duìbuqǐ, néng zài shuō yí biàn ma?
Translation: “I’m sorry, could you say it again?”

9. 冒昧地问一下___。

Pinyin: Màomèi de wèn yíxià ___. br>
Translation: “Excuse me for asking ___.”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 冒昧 (màomèi) – “presumptuous” 

Example:
冒昧地问一下,这个职位的薪水范畴是多少?(Màomèi de wèn yíxià, zhège zhíwèi de xīnshuǐ fànchóu shì duōshao?)
“Excuse me for asking, but what’s the salary range for this position?”

10. 期待您的答复。

Pinyin: Qīdài nín de dáfù.
Translation: “Look forward to your reply.”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 答复 (dáfù) – “reply” / “response” 

Note: 
This phrase could also be used as an ending phrase in other circumstances, such as in an email.

2. Interact with Coworkers

A Man and Two Women in an Office

Even though your Chinese workers are likely to speak English, it’s still a good idea to make an effort to speak Chinese in the office. It will help you build relationships inside the company and learn both professional skills and the Chinese language quickly. Following are some practical business phrases in Chinese for communicating with your coworkers.

A- Asking for Help

11. 能帮我一下吗?

Pinyin: Néng bāng wǒ yíxià ma?
Translation: “Could you give me a hand?”

12. 这个怎么用?

Pinyin: Zhège zěnme yòng?
Translation: “How do I use this?”

13. 您有空教我一下吗?

Pinyin: Nín yǒukòng jiāo wǒ yíxià ma?
Translation: “Do you have time to show me briefly?”

Key Vocabulary: 

  • 有空 (yǒukòng) – “to have time”

Note: 
So far, we have three phrases ending with 一下 (yíxià), which literally means “a bit.” It’s attached to verbs or verb phrases in colloquial language to soften the command or request.

B- Expressing Gratitude and Giving Compliments

14. 太谢谢你了。

Pinyin: Tài xièxie nǐ le.
Translation: “Thank you so much!”

15. 辛苦了。

Pinyin: Xīnkǔ le.
Translation: “Thank you for working hard.”

Note: 
This is a common but untranslatable phrase used to express gratitude for someone who is working for you. The literal translation is “It was hard work,” but it could also translate as “Thank you for working hard.”

16. 你太厉害了!

Pinyin: Nǐ tài lìhai le!
Translation: “You’re so good!”

Key Vocabulary: 

  • 厉害 (lìhai) – “awesome”

17. 我要多向你学习。

Pinyin: Wǒ yào duō xiàng nǐ xuéxí.
Translation: “I need to learn a lot from you.”

C- Socializing After Work

Asian Woman and Caucasian Man at a Party

18. 下班后有安排吗?

Pinyin: Xiàbān hòu yǒu ānpái ma?
Translation: “Do you have plans after work?”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 安排 (ānpái) – “arrangement” 

19. 我请你___。

Pinyin: Wǒ qǐng nǐ ___.
Translation: “I’ll buy you ___.” / “My treat to have ___.”

Example: 
我请你喝奶茶。(Wǒ qǐng nǐ hē nǎichá.)
“I’ll buy you milk tea.”

20. 我可以搭你的顺风车吗?

Pinyin: Wǒ kěyǐ dā nǐ de shùnfēng chē ma?
Translation: “Can I hitch a ride with you?”

Key Vocabulary: 

  • 顺风车 (shùnfēng chē) – [slang] This is a vehicle that offers a free ride (usually to people the driver knows).

3. Sound Smart in a Meeting

Business Phrases

Meetings are an indispensable part of office life. While they’re often perceived as boring or stressful, they can also be your ticket to promotion. Through meetings, opinions and ideas are shared and discussed, which gives you opportunities to show your talent, hard work, and dedication. 

In conjunction with proper Chinese business meeting etiquette, the following phrases will help you sound smart in front of your supervisors and clients.

A- Expressing Opinions

Giving your opinion on something is a cornerstone of effective business communication. Here are some useful phrases to help you do so. 

21. 我觉得___。

Pinyin: Wǒ juéde ___.
Translation: “I feel/think ___.”

22. 我个人认为___。

Pinyin: Wǒ gèrén rènwéi ___.
Translation: “I personally think/consider ___.”

23. 我同意/不同意这个看法。

Pinyin: Wǒ tóngyì /bù tóngyì zhège kànfǎ.
Translation: “I agree/don’t agree with this view.”

Key Vocabulary: 

  • 看法 (kànfǎ) – “view” / “opinion” 

Making Suggestions
Don’t be afraid to speak up during the business meeting with suggestions!

24. 我建议___。

Pinyin: Wǒ jiànyì ___.
Translation: “I suggest ___.”

25. 要不这样吧___。

Pinyin: Yàobu zhèyàng ba ___.
Translation: “How about this ___.”

Example:
要不这样吧,您先考虑几天。(Yàobu zhèyàng ba, nín xiān kǎolǜ jǐ tiān.)
“How about this, you think about it for a few days.”

B- Making Negotiations

Here are a couple of phrases you’re going to need for Chinese business negotiations.

26. 这个价格我们没办法接受。

Pinyin: Zhège jiàgé wǒmen méi bànfǎ jiēshòu.
Translation: “We can’t accept this price.”

Key Vocabulary: 

  • 没办法 (méi bànfǎ) – “have no way” / “can’t”
  • 接受 (jiēshòu) – “to accept”

27. 如果贵公司愿意___我们就___。

Pinyin: Rúguǒ guì gōngsī yuànyì___wǒmen jiù___.
Translation: “If your company is willing to___we will then___.”

Note:
贵公司 (guì gōngsī) literally means “honorable company,” and it’s an honorific term to refer to the company you’re speaking with.

Key Vocabulary: 

  • 愿意 (yuànyì) – “willing to”
  • 如果……就……(rúguǒ… jiù…) – “if…then…” 

C- Giving Presentations

Have you been asked to present in front of your supervisor, coworkers, or clients? The following phrases will help you give a smooth presentation in Chinese.

28. 请看这个图表。

Pinyin: Qǐngkàn zhège túbiǎo.
Translation: “Please look at this chart.”

29. 我来汇报一下上个月的公司业绩。

Pinyin: Wǒ lái huìbào yīxià shàng ge yuè de gōngsī yèji.
Translation: “Let me give a report on the company’s performance last month.”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 汇报 (huìbào) – “to report”
  • 业绩 (yèji) – “performance” 

30. 请各部门配合我们的工作。

Pinyin: Qǐng gè bùmén pèihé wǒmen de gōngzuò.
Translation: “Each department, please cooperate with us.”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 部门 (bùmén) – “department”
  • 配合 (pèihé) – “to cooperate” 

4. Handle Business Phone Calls and Emails

Black Telephone

Impress your clients and colleagues by using the following phrases when making phone calls and writing emails. 

A- Phone Phrases

31. 你好,我是___ / 这里是___。

Pinyin: Nǐhǎo, wǒ shì ___  / zhèli shì ___.
Translation: “Hello, this/here is ___.”

Note:
Use your name or title after 我是 (wǒ shì), meaning “I am.” Use your office name after 这里是 (zhèli shì), meaning “here is.”

32. 您好,请问是___吗?

Pinyin: Nínhǎo, qǐngwèn shì ___ma?
Translation: “Hello, may I ask if this is ___?”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 请问 (qǐngwèn) – “May I please ask…”

33.  ___在吗?

Pinyin: ___zài ma?
Translation: “Is ___ here?”

Example:
刘主管在吗?(Liú Zhǔguǎn zài ma?)
“Is Director Liu here?”

34. 我是。有什么可以帮你的吗?

Pinyin: Wǒ shì. Yǒu shénme kěyǐ bāng nǐ de ma?
Translation: “Speaking. How can I help you?”

35. 好的,没问题

Pinyin: Hǎo de, méi wèntí.
Translation: “Okay, no problem.”

36. 我们___见。

Pinyin: Wǒmen___jiàn.
Translation: “See you ___.”

Example:
我们下周一见。(Wǒmen xià zhōuyī jiàn.)
“See you next Monday.”

B- Email Phrases

Here are a few business Chinese email phrases you can use when corresponding with colleagues or clients.

37. 尊敬的 ___

Pinyin: Zūnjìng de ___
Translation: “Honorable ___”

Note:
This polite prefix is used to address someone in formal situations.

38. 请注意查收。

Pinyin: Qǐng zhùyì cháchōu.
Translation: “Please check (your inbox for the above-mentioned subject).”

Note:
This is used to remind someone that an important document has been or will be sent soon, so they should be ready to check their inbox.

39. 如有疑问,请随时和我们联系。

Pinyin: Rú yǒu yíwèn, qǐng suíshí hé wǒmen liánxì.
Translation: “If you have any questions, please contact us any time.”

Key Vocabulary:
随时 (suíshí) – “at any time”
联系 (liánxì) – “to contact”

40. 祝好。

Pinyin: Zhù hǎo.
Translation: “Best regards.”

Note:
This is a simple and generic letter ending that is appropriate in both business and casual settings.

5. Go on a Business Trip

Man and Woman at an Airport

Business trips can be exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. Things will go a lot smoother if you know a few essential Chinese business phrases for the trip, especially if you’re traveling to China with colleagues who don’t speak Chinese and rely on your language skills! 

A- Before the Trip

41. 我需要订___

Pinyin: Wǒ xūyào dìng ___.
strong>Translation: “I need to book ___.”

Example:
我需要订三个大床房。(Wǒ xūyào dìng sān ge dàchuáng fáng.)
“I need to book three queen bedrooms.”

Note: 
In China, the most common hotel rooms are:

  • 双床房 (shuāngchuáng fáng) – “double single beds”
  • 大床房 (dàchuáng fáng) – “big bed,” i.e. “queen-size bed” 
  • 套房 (tàofáng) – “suite”

42. 这是我们的行程单, 请过目

Pinyin: Zhè shì wǒmen de xíng chéng dān, qǐng guòmù.
Translation: “This is our itinerary, please have a look.”

Note: 
过目 (guòmù) literally means “to pass one’s eyes,” and it’s a formal way to ask someone to check something. It’s often used with people of higher social status, such as supervisors and clients.

B- During the Trip

43. 你好,我是___公司的___,很高兴认识你。

Pinyin: Nǐhǎo, wǒ shì ___ gōngsī de ___. Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nǐ.
Translation: “Hello, I’m ___ from ___ company. Nice to meet you.”

44. 这是我的名片。

Pinyin: Zhè shì wǒ de míngpiàn.
Translation: “This is my business card.”

Key Vocabulary: 

  • 名片 (míngpiàn) – “business card”

45. 谢谢你们送我们回酒店。

Pinyin: Xièxie nǐmen sòng wǒmen huí jiǔdiàn.
Translation: “Thank you for driving us back to our hotel.”

46. 你好,我有预订,名字是___。

Pinyin: Nǐhǎo, wǒ yǒu yùdìng, míngzi shì ___.
Translation: “Hello, I have a reservation under the name ___.”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 预订 (yùdìng) – “reservation”

47. 明天的会议几点开始?

Pinyin: Míngtiān de huìyì jǐdiǎn kāishǐ?
Translation: “When does tomorrow’s meeting start?”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 会议 (huìyì) – “meeting” / “conference”
  • 几点 (jǐdiǎn) – “(lit.) what o’clock” / “what time”

48. 附近有可以游览的地方吗?

Pinyin: Fùjìn yǒu kěyǐ yóulǎn de dìfang ma?
Translation: “Are there any places that we could tour around in this area?”

Key Vocabulary:

  • 附近 (fùjìn) – “nearby”
  • 游览 (yóulǎn) – “to tour” / “to go sightseeing”

C- At the End of the Trip

49. 感谢各位的热情招待。

Pinyin: Gǎnxiè gèwèi de rèqíng zhāodài.
Translation: “Thank you everyone for your hospitality.”

Key Vocabulary:
热情 (rèqíng) – “warm” / “cordial”
招待 (zhāodài) – “hospitality”

50. 我们合作得很愉快,期待下次再见。

Pinyin: Wǒmen hézuò de hěn yúkuài, qīdài xiàcì zàijiàn.
Translation: “It was pleasant working with you, hope to see you again.”

Key Vocabulary:
愉快 (yúkuài) – “pleasant”
期待 (qīdài) – “to look forward to”

Jobs

6. Learn More on ChineseClass101.com

Did we cover all the business phrases you wanted to learn in this article? If you’d like to learn more, check out our Business Chinese for Beginners lesson series and learn more business phrases with audio, downloadable lesson notes, and question-answering from our certified teachers. 

Remember: On ChineseClass101.com, we have weekly updated learning resources in various forms, from flashcards, to vocabulary lists, to podcasts, and even to video lessons. You can choose whatever works for you! 

Need to boost your Chinese in a short amount of time for your next business meeting in China? No problem! Check out our Premium PLUS subscription to get customized learning paths and one-on-one instruction from your own personal teacher.

Happy learning! 

About the author: Influenced by her grandfather, Yinru has shown interest in languages and teaching since early childhood. After getting her degrees in English and Education, Yinru moved to the US and continued her career as a Mandarin teacher. 

Yinru enjoys travelling, photography, and introducing Chinese food to her non-Chinese friends.

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Learn Chinese: YouTube Channels to Help You Thrive

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YouTube: A paradise full of creative content to relax your brain. 

But did you know you can also learn Chinese on YouTube? Who wouldn’t want to learn a language the fun way, especially when you could educate yourself on the culture, too? 

You’re in luck! We’ve done the research for you and narrowed down the top ten Chinese YouTube channels for learners of the language. We’ve included channels on a variety of topics, so you can immerse yourself in the language and culture while watching something that really interests you!

Woman Reading Book While Standing on a Bus

It’s time to switch up your study method and tune into some fun videos!

Binge on these Chinese YouTube channels, and you’ll find yourself making incredible progress without studying so hard. However, we recommend taking notes and pausing sometimes to give yourself some time to digest any new knowledge you come across. 

In this article, I’ve included Chinese YouTube channels for every learner level, from beginner to advanced. So feel free to click that “subscribe” button on your favorite channels to learn Mandarin Chinese through YouTube on a daily basis!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. 杰里德JARED
  2. Kevin in Shanghai
  3. LIT 我的海漂时代
  4. MYBY孟言布语
  5. Grace Mandarin Chinese
  6. OMG XIAOBA
  7. Mamahuhu
  8. Learn Chinese with Litao
  9. 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris
  10. ChineseClass101
  11. Conclusion

1. 杰里德JARED

Elderly Woman Laughing

Why not take a break from studying and laugh at a funny YouTube video?

Category: Language and Culture
Level: Beginner/Casual
Example Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxy082834no

Jared is a Canadian who lives in Shanghai. He presents Chinese culture in the most hilarious way, and in such a manner that only native Chinese people would really understand. He also speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently, with almost no accent. Throughout his videos, you can clearly see the process of how a foreigner adapts to the Chinese culture, and you’ll sometimes see his own struggles in studying Chinese.

If you’re also a foreigner staying in China, you’ll definitely find his channel relatable. In this example video, he makes a funny comparison of him just arriving in China vs. him years later. 

Be careful: You may fall in love with his unique sense of humor.

2. Kevin in Shanghai

Category: Native Chinese Speaking & Culture Learning
Level: Intermediate-Advanced
Example Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1Iz-Zz0pyQ

Kevin is a native Chinese speaker, who’s also a friend of Jared; some fans like to joke about them being a couple, which is very entertaining. If you love them both, be sure to check out their collaboration videos. Kevin’s YouTube channel is the perfect place for advanced Chinese learners to practice both listening and reading, as well as broaden their horizons with useful vocabulary and popular slang

In this example video, he does a dramatic but hilarious comparison between Western habits and Chinese habits in both Chinese and English.

3. LIT 我的海漂时代

A Woman Playing Musical Instrument

Embrace Chinese culture

Category: International Chinese people’s life abroad
Level: Beginner-Intermediate
Example Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dSDYCFWZh4&feature=emb_logo

我的海漂时代 (wǒ de hǎi piào shídài) literally means “my time staying abroad.” The Chinese YouTube videos on this channel depict the lives of Chinese people overseas, and are targeted toward international Chinese students and Chinese-American audiences. If you’re also Chinese and were raised overseas, and if you want to get to know your own language a little better, you won’t stop saying “Wow, that’s me!” while watching. 

In this example video, you’ll see what it’s like for American-born Chinese people to challenge themselves by calling their parents in only Chinese for the first time. This video sheds light on those who have a language barrier standing between them and their families.

4. MYBY孟言布语

Category: Culture
Level: Beginner-Intermediate
Example Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0oE5idcWNE

Dog Facing the Electric Fan

You know you love it when something makes you laugh!

This YouTube channel was created by two foreigners, Dayday and Blair, who have been staying in China for a long time. Their videos are filmed in a mixture of Chinese and English, and they discuss many interesting and random cultural problems. This means that you can efficiently learn a variety of vocabulary words and phrases by listening to their conversations.

In this example video, we can see that they perfectly understand the struggles of studying Chinese, as professional non-native Chinese speakers themselves. They also provide helpful tips on how to learn Chinese and overcome common difficulties. 

5. Grace Mandarin Chinese

Category: Language
Level: Beginner-Intermediate
Example Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5cr18UGK2Y

If you want to watch content all about how to speak Chinese, YouTuber Grace is a native Chinese speaker whose videos are dedicated to teaching basic Chinese for beginners. She covers everything from pronunciation and grammar to vocabulary and short phrases. She teaches each concept with such patience and articulates everything in a way that’s perfect for beginners. Her content is easy to follow, and is sometimes illustrated with interesting cuts from films. 

If you’re a brand-new Chinese learner, Grace Mandarin Chinese may be a good fit for you.

6. OMG XIAOBA

Food

Is your mouth watering by just looking at these delicious foods?

Category: Chinese food
Level: Beginner
Example Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1guqGrQDBng

Xiaoba is a foreigner who lives in China and is passionate about cooking, especially Chinese food. This Chinese YouTube cooking channel is vlog-style, and each video features him cooking all kinds of Chinese food. Well, who doesn’t love food? If you’re a foodie and love cooking (just like me!), be sure to check out his videos to learn basic Chinese for daily conversations while acquiring some Chinese recipes to try out!

7. Mamahuhu

Category: Western cultures vs. Chinese culture
Level: Beginner-Intermediate
Example Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=p7tIln7Hz-c&feature=emb_logo

Mamahuhu in Chinese is 马马虎虎, meaning “sloppy,” and it’s a very common idiom that Chinese people use. Here, Mamahuhu is a hilarious YouTube channel that features short comedy series created by a multinational group of people who live in China. 

They create high-quality and professionally filmed videos that reflect a mixture of Western and Chinese culture. If you’re a foreigner who is planning to stay in China, definitely check out Mamahuhu on YouTube beforehand and check back again after you’ve moved. How many things are just so relatable? 

8. Learn Chinese with Litao

Category: Language
Level: Beginner
Example Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Chp_Y3GP5c

Learn Chinese with Litao is a channel specifically designed for beginners. The native Chinese speaker Litao articulates everything in Chinese perfectly, and explains the basics in detail. 

His videos are designed to provide a quick and efficient learning system for beginners, so if you’re just starting out and are desperate to improve your Chinese rapidly, check out his YouTube channel—you won’t be disappointed! Most importantly, his courses are based on HSK, the Chinese Proficiency Test used in China.

9. 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris

Category: Culture
Level: Beginner-Intermediate
Example Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUv321Aw9ro

Chris has been staying in China for more than seven years and is fluent in five languages. As a professional language learner himself, he speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently. 

He often provides helpful studying tips and talks about English concepts in Chinese. This makes the content very relevant and a great resource for native English speakers who want to practice both their listening and reading abilities in Chinese.

Other than that, he is also passionate about exploring interesting social topics on his YouTube channels. For example, he once went to a top Chinese university and talked with students there to investigate how good their English is.

10. ChineseClass101

Category: Language and Culture
Level: All levels
Example Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dv2Z-MVb2Gc

ChineseClass101

Make ChineseClass101 your best friend and you won’t regret it! 

From beginner to advanced, casual to professional, the ChineseClass101 YouTube channel provides a variety of resources for learners at every stage in their journey. You’ll never get tired of our materials, which are filled with fun storytelling and visuals. Not only does our channel teach you about the art of the Chinese language itself, but also guides you on how to live your life more productively in a Chinese culture. For example, we cover topics such as how to find a job in China or where to find free Chinese gifts. 

We constantly update our content, which is taught by the most professional native teachers who thoroughly explain each point of a Chinese lesson. What are you waiting for? Check out our free YouTube content and don’t forget to hit that “subscribe” button!

11. Conclusion

It’s always fun to learn through vivid Chinese YouTube videos that trigger your brain to memorize things better. Guess what? Not only does ChineseClass101 have a fun YouTube channel, but we also have enjoyable online classes! There, we offer free content almost every week, and you’ll be able to learn the most up-to-date facts about the Chinese language and culture. 

Hundreds of thousands of people have joined us already. Do you want to become one of them? Embark on our journey today and you’ll be the next Chinese master!

Before you go, let us know in the comments what your favorite YouTube channel is! We look forward to hearing from you.

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Chinese Final Particles: Signals for Tone of Voice

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Let’s take a look at these three sentences:

  • 你坐啊。(Nǐ zuò a.)
  • 你坐吧。(Nǐ zuò ba.)
  • 你坐嘛。(Nǐ zuò ma.)

They all have the same “sentence stem,” which is made up of the subject 你 (),  or “you,” and the action verb 坐 (zuò), meaning “to sit.” The last word in each sentence (a/ba/ma) is a particle, which doesn’t carry referential meaning, and therefore has no direct translations. Literally, these three sentences could all translate as: “You sit.” 

However, the Chinese particles at the end of each sentence drastically change the speaker’s mood and attitude. Final particles in Chinese can, for example, express that the speaker is feeling excited, making a polite suggestion, or being a little pushy and forceful.

Particles at the end of a sentence or question in Chinese are called final particles, also known as Chinese modal particles, as they indicate the speaker’s mood. Sentence-final particles can imply one’s attitude and intention in an indirect and subtle way, while at the same time making the speech colloquial. They’re often in a neutral tone, with no tone mark. 

In this article, you’ll learn some of the most commonly used final particles in Chinese and how to use them properly in different contexts. Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Most Common Final Particles Used in Sentences
  2. Most Common Final Particles Used in Questions
  3. Comparison of Chinese Sentence Ending Particles
  4. Conclusion

1. Most Common Final Particles Used in Sentences

Note: Since there are barely any modal particles in English, we’ll provide the translations in the example sentences below with the indicated meanings, instead of the literal meanings. 

1- 啊 (a)

A- Usage 1: indicating excitement, exclamation, or a sense of urgency from the speaker

Kid with Open Mouth

Example:

  • 好香啊!
    Hǎo xiāng a!
    “It smells so good!”

This Chinese particle is used when you’re amazed at how great something smells, whether it’s food, flowers, or anything else with an aroma. Adding the particle 啊 (a) is the equivalent of saying “wow” in this context.

  • 我不知道啊!
    Wǒ bù zhīdào a!
    “I honestly don’t know!”

The 啊 (a) after 我不知道 (Wǒ bù zhīdào), or “I don’t know,” gives more flavor to the sentence. An example situation of when you could say this is if everyone is looking at you, but you honestly have no idea why!

  • 你快说啊!
    Nǐ kuài shuō a!
    “Say it, hurry!”

This could be used to ask someone to tell you something you need to know right now. For example, when a police officer interrogates a suspect, or a teenage girl is eager to find out more about her crush.

B- Usage 2: listing a number of things in colloquial language

啊 (a) is attached after someone has listed a number of things.

  • 动物园里有大象啊,老虎啊,狮子啊等等。
    Dòngwùyuán lǐ yǒu dàxiàng a, lǎohǔ a, shīzi a děngděng.
    “In the zoo, there are elephants, tigers, lions, and so on.”
  • 他擅长各种运动。比如说跑步啊,游泳啊,骑车啊,打篮球什么的。
    Tā shàncháng gèzhǒng yùndòng. Bǐrú shuō pǎobù a, yóuyǒng a, qíchē a, dǎ lánqiú shénme de.
    “He’s good at all kinds of sports, such as running, swimming, biking, playing basketball, and things like these.”

2- 了 (le)

了 (le) is considered one of the most difficult Chinese particle words to use. This is because it’s such a versatile and flexible word that it comes in many different forms and can be used in a variety of situations. 

When put at the end of a sentence (not as part of a sentence pattern), the particle 了 (le) has two major functions:

A- Usage 1: indicating completed actions and past events

Now, Yesterday, Tomorrow Signs
  • 今天早上我喝咖啡了。
    Jīntiān zǎoshang wǒ hē kāfēi le.
    “This morning, I drank coffee.”

Because Chinese verbs don’t conjugate, 了 (le) is often used as a marker for “past tense.” However, you need to be careful with the 就要……了 (jiù yào …le) pattern, meaning “about to….” This pattern is used for future events or actions. 

In order to confirm the time an action took place (or will take place), always check the time phrases and context, which is how the Chinese language works in terms of tenses. 

Like in our example, the time phrase 今天早上 (jīntiān zǎoshang), meaning “this morning,” lets the listener know that this is a completed action.

B- Usage 2: indicating change of status or state

For example, this may not be something you want to tell your friend, even if it’s true:

  • 你胖了。
    Nǐ pàng le.
    “You gained weight.”

The “you”‘ is in a different condition now. “You” were thinner when I last saw “you.” 

  • 下雨了。
    Xiàyǔ le.
    “It’s starting to rain.”

下雨 (xiàyǔ) means “to rain.” With the final particle 了(le), the sentence indicates that the weather is changing. It wasn’t raining, but now it is. 

3- 啦 (la)

A- Usage 1: can be viewed as the combination of 了 (le) and 啊 (a)

When we say the Chinese particles 了 (le) and 啊 (a) together quickly, it sounds like 啦 (la). As a result, it could indicate completed actions and change of state, with a tone of exclamation.

For example:

你胖了 (nǐ pàng le) without any more modal particles is usually a very neutral statement, even though it could hurt someone’s feelings. But when you say it with the particle 啦 (la), you’re making a big deal of it. 

  • 你胖啦! 
    Nǐ pàng la!
Big Belly

It’s almost like saying: “OMG, you gained weight!”

If your friend gets mad, you’re absolutely guilty. 

  • 今天早上我喝咖啡啦!
    Jīntiān zǎoshang wǒ hē kāfēi la!

You could use the sentence above when you haven’t had coffee for years, and finally this morning, you had some coffee. One could definitely feel the excitement, as well as the caffeine in you, when you say: 今天早上我喝咖啡啦!

B- Usage 2: 啦 can also be used as a soft imperative to urge someone to do something 

This usage is very common in Taiwanese Mandarin.

Example:

  • 再吃点啦。
    Zài chī diǎn la.
    “Eat more.”

The sentence above is urging someone to eat more, but with good intentions. It’s typically used by a parent to their child, or a host to guests at a homemade dinner

4- 吧 (ba)

吧 (ba) is one of the few very common, yet easy-to-use, final particles in Chinese. Great for boosting your confidence after wrapping your mind around all the complicated particles.

A- Usage 1: making suggestions

Example:

  • 我们走吧。
    Wǒmen zǒu ba.
    “Let’s go.”

Without 吧 (ba), 我们走 (wǒmen zǒu), which literally translates as “we go,” sounds a bit harsh, like making a command. By adding the 吧 (ba) at the end, the tone of voice gets softened. It still tells the other person to go, but in a more polite way, almost like making a suggestion.

  • 这样吧,我们先取消这个会议。
    Zhèyàng ba, wǒmen xiānqǔ xiāo zhège huìyì.
    “How about this? We’ll cancel this meeting for now.”

The phrase 这样吧 (zhèyàng ba) is often used to bring up a solution in a humble way, without sounding bossy.

B- Usage 2: indicating that the speaker is accepting something half-heartedly

Example: 

  • 那好吧。
    Nā hǎo ba.
    “Alright then.”

If you don’t like someone’s idea, but can’t quite think of a better solution, this is the phrase to use. 

  • 行吧,你想取消就取消。
    Xíng ba, nǐ xiǎng qǔxiāo jiù qǔxiāo.
    “Okay then, if you want to cancel it, cancel it then.”

行吧 (xíng ba) is used to okay something you’re not thrilled about, but don’t mind trying.

5- 哦 (o)

哦 (o) is used more by females than by males as a modal particle, since it adds a tone of softness, friendliness, and sometimes even intimacy to the speech.  

  • 小心哦。
    Xiǎoxīn o.
    “Be careful, okay?”

小心 (xiǎoxīn) means “be careful.” By adding the particle 哦 (o), the tone becomes more gentle and sweet. A strict father may tell you 小心 (xiǎoxīn), while a loving mother may tell you 小心哦 (xiǎoxīn o).

  • 不要忘了给我打电话哦。
    Búyào wàng le gěi wǒ dǎ diànhuà o.
    “Don’t forget to give me a call, alright?”

This is something a girl would tell her boyfriend, or a worrying mother would tell her son who’s going abroad for new adventures. 

6- 呢 (ne)

As a sentence final article, 呢 (ne) can soften the tone while emphasizing a fact, usually when trying to convince someone of something.

  • 还早呢。不用担心。
    Hái zǎo ne. Búyòng dānxīn.
    “It’s still early. Don’t worry.”

“It’s still early” is the fact. “Don’t worry” is what you’re trying to convince the other person to do.  

  • 一百多块呢。还是别买了。
    Yìbǎi duō kuài ne. Háishì bié mǎi le.
    “It’s over a hundred kuai. We’d better not buy it.”

块 (kuài) is the colloquial way to say 元 (yuán), the official unit name for Chinese currency

“It’s over a hundred kuai” is the fact. “Don’t buy it” is what you’re trying to tell the other person to do. 

7- 嘛 (ma)

This final particle is used when the speaker thinks something is obvious. 

Be careful using this particle, because in some situations, it could sound condescending, pushy, and impatient. 

  • 这个很简单嘛。
    Zhège hěn jiǎndān ma.
    “This is so simple.”

Without the particle 嘛 (ma), 这个很简单 (zhège hěn jiǎndān) is a neutral statement meaning “This is simple.” With the 嘛 (ma), it could imply that “This is so simple, you don’t get it?” or “This is so simple, I can solve it in only a few seconds.”

  • 你快点嘛!
    Nǐ kuàidiǎn ma!
    “Hurry up, will you?”

In this context, 嘛 (ma) makes the speaker sound very impatient, like a father yelling at his son to keep him from missing a flight

2. Most Common Final Particles Used in Questions

Chinese final particles are not only used in sentences, but also in questions. Here are some common Chinese question particles:

1- 吗 (ma)

Unlike the 嘛 (ma) we mentioned above, this 吗 (ma) is a question marker that turns a sentence into a yes-or-no question.

Woman Holding a Yes and a No Card

这是一只猫(Zhè shì yī zhī māo.)  is a sentence meaning “This is a cat.” When we attach 吗 (ma) to the end of the sentence, it becomes a question.

  • 这是一只猫吗?
    Zhè shì yī zhī māo ma?
    “Is this a cat?”

By itself, 她会说英语。 (Tā huì shuō Yīngyǔ.) means “She speaks English.” Look at what happens when we add 吗 (ma):

  • 她会说英语吗?
    Tā huì shuō Yīngyǔ ma?
    “Does she speak English?”

2- 啊 (a)

啊 (a) can be used at the end of a sentence, and at the end of a question, to express surprise or excitement in colloquial speech.

  • 你没去啊? 
    Nǐ méi qù a?
    “You didn’t go?”

By adding 啊 (a), it indicates that the speaker is surprised about the fact that “you didn’t go.”

  • 你到底什么意思啊?
    Nǐ dàodǐ shénme yìsi a?
    “What on earth do you mean?”

The speaker is clearly angry here, using the adverb 到底 (dàodǐ) “on earth” and the Chinese exclamation particle 啊 (a) to intensify his tone. 

3- 吧 (ba)

When used in questions, 吧 (ba) softens the tone like it does in sentences. But at the same time, it’s soliciting agreement from the listener, similar to the tag questions in English. An answer is expected from the listener. 

  • 他走了吧?
    Tā zǒu le ba?
    “He left, didn’t he?”

Notice that there are two particles in a row in this sentence. 了 (le) to indicate completed actions, and 吧 (ba) to ask a question that he’s pretty sure he knows the answer to. 

If we switch 吧 with 吗, the question becomes 他走了吗? (Tā zǒu le ma?) In this case, the speaker doesn’t know if “he has left” or not. He’s simply asking a question he’s not sure about. 

  • 今晚不会下雨吧?
    Jīnwǎn búhuì xiàyǔ ba?
    “It won’t rain tonight, right?”

The speaker may be seventy percent sure it won’t rain tonight, but still wants to double-check with the listener. 

4- 呢 (ne) 

When used in questions, 呢 (ne) can be used in a few ways.

A- Usage #1: after a topic is brought up, attach 呢 (ne) to another subject to ask “How about …?” 

  • 我很好。你呢?
    Wǒ hěn hǎo. Nǐ ne?
    “I’m very good. How about you?”
  • 他爸爸去世了。他妈妈呢?
    Tā bàba qùshì le. Tā māma ne?
    “His dad passed away. How about his mom?”

B- Usage  #2: meaning “where”

woman looking over the horizon with hand over forehead

Simply put 呢 (ne) after a subject whose whereabouts you’d like to know. 

  • 小明呢?
    Xiǎo Míng ne?
    “Where is Xiaoming?”
  • 我的手机呢?
    Wǒ de shǒujī ne?
    “Where is my phone?”

C- Usage #3: softening the tone in a question of choices

  • 我要不要去呢?
    Wǒ yào búyào qù ne?
    “Should I go or not go?”

This has the same meaning as 我要去吗?(Wǒ yào qù ma?) in which 吗 is used to indicate that it’s a yes-or-no question, while in 我要不要去呢?the choices have been given: 要 (yào) or 不要 (búyào), and the 呢 at the end softens the tone. 

  • 你有没有考虑过我的感受呢?
    Nǐ yǒu méiyǒu kǎo lǜ guò wǒ de gǎnshòu ne?
    “Have you ever thought about my feelings?”

The literal translation is: “You have or have not thought about my feelings?” 呢 (ne) is untranslatable as it only helps to soften the tone. 

3. Comparison of Chinese Sentence Ending Particles

Now let’s revisit the three sentences at the beginning of this article. Can you tell what tone of voice they could carry and in what situation they may be used?

Chair

1. 你坐啊。(Nǐ zuò a.)
2. 你坐吧。(Nǐ zuò ba.)
3. 你坐嘛。(Nǐ zuò ma.)

Sentence 1 with the final particle 啊 (a) could be used when you’re visiting your friend, and he or she asks you to take a seat and make yourself at home. It’s like saying: “Sit, make yourself comfortable.”

Sentence 2 with the final particle 吧 (ba) could be used by your supervisor who’s inviting you to sit in his office when he needs to speak with you in private. It’s like saying: “Grab a seat. We need to talk.” He’s trying to be nice by making a suggestion with 吧 (ba). 

Sentence 3 with the final particle 嘛 (ma) could be used by your mom urging you to sit after having told you many times. It’s like saying: “Please sit down for me!”

Well done. Now let’s try to put some more Chinese final particles after the sentence stem 你坐 (nǐ zuò).

4. 你坐哦。Nǐ zuò o. 
5. 你坐吗?Nǐ zuò ma? 
6. 你坐了啊?Nǐ zuò le a? 

Sentence 4 with the final particle 哦 (o) could be used by your new girlfriend acting sweet on you, telling you to sit next to her. It’s like saying: “Sit, my dear.” 

Sentence 5 is a question with the final particle 吗 (ma). It’s simply asking: “Are you going to sit?” in a neutral tone. 

In question 6, there are two final particles. The first one is 了(le), possibly indicating that something happened in the past. The next one is 啊 (a), asking a question with strong emotion. In a question, it likely carries a tone of surprise. 

坐 (zuò) as a verb could translate either as “to sit” or “to ride.” So 你坐了啊 could either be saying: “You sat? Really?” or “You’ve ridden in it? Oh wow.” 

4. Conclusion

Understanding Chinese ending particles and knowing how to use them in different settings takes a lot of time and immersion

If you’re a beginner, my advice is to keep your ears open for these particles, but try to stay away from them when you speak. If you use them correctly, your Chinese will sound very native and impressive, for sure. But if you put them in the wrong settings, you could embarrass yourself and your listeners. Think of the particles as the garnishments in cooking. For a great chef who knows his basics, his dish tastes fantastic even without fancy plates or flowers! 

Once you’re more comfortable and confident speaking Chinese, try out some of the particles with your friends who are willing to correct you. Eventually, you’ll be able to add different flavors to your speech with the proper final particles. 

Don’t forget that simulating immersion with our lessons is what ChineseClass101.com strives to do. You can listen to our audio lessons while commuting, before you sleep, after your work, or anytime you want. Download our app or go to our website to enjoy our free lessons!  

How did you like this lesson? Is there anything about Chinese final particles you still need clarification on? Let us know in the comments; we look forward to hearing from you!

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How to Say Goodbye in Chinese in Any Situation

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We come across so many people throughout the course of our human journey, where so many hellos and goodbyes take place. These phrases may seem basic, but they play a significant role in starting and ending things properly. The good news is that, as a language-learner, you’ve probably mastered how to say hello in Chinese by now (if not, check out our article and start learning today)!

But knowing how to say goodbye in Chinese is just as important. Choosing the best Chinese word for goodbye in a given situation will make your communication smoother, make you sound more like a native speaker, and improve the quality of your relationships. In Chinese culture, we have a variety of ways to say goodbye depending on how formal/casual the situation is, and a number of other factors.

If you’re interested in learning how to say goodbye in Chinese and want to enrich your conversations or relationships, keep on reading! Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE!(Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. The Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye
  2. More Specific Ways to Say Goodbye
  3. Untranslatable Goodbye Phrases in Chinese
  4. Bonus: Sad Ways to Say Goodbye (Breakups, Graduations, and More)
  5. Conclusion

1. The Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye

Most Common Goodbyes

To start, we’re going to show you the most popular Chinese goodbye phrases and how to use them properly.

1 – 

再见 (zài jiàn) is a formal Chinese expression that’s equivalent to the English word “goodbye.” It’s often used during formal occasions and is more preferred by the older generations. In some contexts, it can indicate feelings of sadness. 

  • In Chinese: 再见
  • Pinyin: zài jiàn
  • Literal meaning: See you again.
  • In English: “Goodbye.”

One situation in which you would use this phrase is when you’re leaving school: 

In Chinese: 刘老师再见。
Pinyin: liú lǎo shī zài jiàn 
In English: “Goodbye, Teacher Liu.”

2 –

Interestingly, 拜拜 (bái bái) is a direct translation of the English word “bye-bye,” which explains why its  pronunciation in Chinese is nearly identical to “bye-bye.” However, it’s rather casual and won’t be found in any traditional Chinese dictionaries. This word is often used among people of the younger generations.

  • In Chinese: 拜拜
  • Pinyin: bái bái 
  • In English: “Bye-bye.”

You might use this phrase after a day of hanging out with your friends:

In Chinese: 拜拜,改天再联系。
Pinyin: bái bái, gǎi tiān zài lián xì 
In English: “Bye-bye, I will talk to you another day.”

2. More Specific Ways to Say Goodbye

A College Student Waving Goodbye to Her Friends

Goodbyes can vary depending on the scenario…remember to find out the best option for your particular situation!

1 – 

  • In Chinese: [明天]见。
  • Pinyin: [míng tiān] jiàn 
  • In English: “See you [tomorrow].” 

You might use this phrase after the school day is over, while you’re getting ready to go home:

In Chinese: 那我先回家了,明天见。
Pinyin: nà wǒ xiān huí jiā le, míng tiān jiàn 
In English: “I’m going home now, see you tomorrow.”

2 –

  • In Chinese: 失陪。
  • Pinyin: shī péi 
  • Literal meaning: “You will lose my company.”
  • In English: “Excuse me.”

You would use this phrase if you had to answer an emergency phone call during a business meeting:

In Chinese: 我需要接个紧急电话,失陪了。
Pinyin: wǒ xū yào jiē gè jǐn jí diàn huà, shī péi le 
In English: “Excuse me, I need to answer an emergency call.”

3 –

  • In Chinese: 我得先走一步了。
  • Pinyin: wǒ děi xiān zǒu yī bù le
  • Literal meaning: “I will have to take one step ahead.”
  • In English: “I will have to take a leave now.”

You would use this phrase if you had to leave a party early because of an emergency:

In Chinese: 抱歉,我得先走一步了,家里有急事。
Pinyin: bào qiàn, wǒ děi xiān zǒu yī bù le, jiā lǐ yǒu jí shì 
In English: “Sorry, I will have to leave now, there is an emergency at home.”

A Businesswoman Scratching Her Head in Confusion

Find the right words and don’t let other people think you are being rude during a formal occasion.

4 –

  • In Chinese: 告辞。
  • Pinyin: gào cí 
  • In English: “I have to leave.”

You can use this Chinese goodbye anytime you need to leave somewhere in a hurry. 

In Chinese: 我还有事,就先告辞了。
Pinyin: wǒ hái yǒu shì, jiù xiān gào cí le 
In English: “I have something else to do, I have to leave now.”

Close-up of a Woman Talking on the Telephone

Call your old friends once in a while to show them some warmth.

5 –

  • In Chinese: 常联系。
  • Pinyin: cháng lián xì 
  • In English: “Let’s keep in touch.”

You might use this phrase if you just saw an old friend whom you hadn’t seen in a long time, talked a while, and need to leave now:

In Chinese: 以后常联系,我一直都在。
Pinyin: yǐ hòu cháng lián xì, wǒ yī zhí dōu zài 
In English: “Let’s keep in touch later, I will always be there.”

6 –

  • In Chinese: 有空再聊。
  • Pinyin: yǒu kōng zài liáo 
  • Literal meaning: “Let’s talk again when I’m free.”

This is a handy phrase to use if your friend is talking nonstop, but you have to go do something:

In Chinese: 抱歉,我现在有点忙,咱们有空再聊。
Pinyin: bào qiàn, wǒ xiàn zài yǒu diǎn máng, zán men yǒu kòng zài liáo 
In English: “Sorry, I am a bit busy right now. Let’s talk again when I’m free.”

7 –

  • In Chinese: 祝你以后一切顺利。
  • Pinyin: zhù nǐ yǐ hòu yī qiē shùn lì 
  • In English: “I wish you all the best in the future.”

Your friend got a great job offer abroad, and will leave soon:

In Chinese: 祝你以后在英国一切顺利。
Pinyin: zhù nǐ yǐ hòu zài yīng guó yī qiē shùn lì 
In English: “I wish you all the best in the future in England.”

8 – 

  • In Chinese: 一会儿见。
  • Pinyin: yī huìr jiàn 
  • In English: “See you later.” 

Imagine you ran into a friend while doing errands, and you know you’ll see them later at a party that night. You might say: 

In Chinese: 一会儿派对见。
Pinyin: yī huìr pài duì jiàn 
In English: “I will see you later at the party.”

3. Untranslatable Goodbye Phrases in Chinese

Every language is really a form of art, and as such, each one has its own unique elements. Unsurprisingly, there are multiple ways to say goodbye in Chinese that are hard to translate. As unique as they are, learning them will definitely help you sound more like a native!

1 –

  • In Chinese: 一路顺风。
  • Pinyin: yī lù shùn fēng 
  • Literal meaning: May you travel in the same direction with the wind.
  • In English: “Have a safe trip on the way home.”

Some family members who traveled far to visit you will be leaving soon to go home, so you might say:

In Chinese: 路上注意安全,一路顺风啊。
Pinyin: lù shàng zhù yì ān quán, yī lù shùn fēng a
In English: “Watch out on the way back and have a safe trip.”

2 –

  • In Chinese: 后会有期。
  • Pinyin: hoù huì yǒu qī
  • In English: “We will be able to see each other again someday.” 

You would use this phrase if your friend was moving abroad:

In Chinese: 有机会我去国外找你,后会有期哦。
Pinyin: yǒu jī huì wǒ qù guó wài zhǎo nǐ, hòu huì yǒu qī o
In English: “I will go visit you abroad if there is a chance. We will be able to see each other again someday.”

3 –

  • In Chinese: 回头见。
  • Pinyin: huí tóu jiàn
  • Literal meaning: “See you again when I turn my head around.”
  • In English: “I will see you again another day.” 

You would use this phrase if you just met a classmate during summer break, and you’ll be seeing each other in school soon:

In Chinese: 回头学校见。
Pinyin: huí tóu xué xiào jiàn 
In English: “I will see you again another day at school.”

4 –

  • In Chinese: 保重。
  • Pinyin: bǎo zhòng
  • Literal meaning: “Keep your weight.”
  • In English: “Take care.” 

A parent might say this to their child who’s leaving for college:

In Chinese: 你在大学照顾好自己,多保重。
Pinyin: nǐ zài dà xué zhào gù hǎo zì jǐ, duō bǎo zhòng 
In English: “You need to take care of yourself in college.”

5 –

  • In Chinese: 辛苦了。
  • Pinyin: xīn kǔ le
  • In English: “Thank you for your hard work.” 

You might say this to your coworkers after a long day of work:

In Chinese: 谢谢大家今天的付出,你们辛苦了。
Pinyin: xiè xie dà jiā jīn tiān de fù chū, nǐ men xīn kǔ le
In English: “Thank you for everyone’s hard work today.”

4. Bonus: Sad Ways to Say Goodbye (Breakups, Graduations, and More)

Soon-to-be High School Graduates Running Down the Stairs in Excitement

We should never forget the beautiful memories with our friends even after graduation.

1 – 

  • In Chinese: 祝你前途似锦,一切珍重。 
  • Pinyin: zhù nǐ qián tú sì jǐn, yī qiè zhēn zhòng 
  • In English: “I wish you a bright future and take care.” 

This is something you would say to your friends and other classmates after graduation: 

In Chinese: 祝你前途似锦,一切珍重,毕业后常联系。
Pinyin: zhù nǐ qián tú sì jǐn, yī qiè zhēn zhòng, bì yè hòu cháng lián xì 
In English: “I wish you a bright future and take care, let’s keep in touch after graduation.”

2 –

  • In Chinese: 是时候画上一个圆满的句号了。
  • Pinyin: shì shí hou huà shàng yī gè yuán mǎn de jù hào le 
  • Literal meaning: “It is time to write a period for it.”
  • In English: “It is time to say goodbye.”

You would say this to someone if you thought it was time to end your relationship:

In Chinese: 是时候给我们的感情画上一个圆满的句号了。
Pinyin: shì shí hou gěi wǒ men de gǎn qíng huà shàng yī gè yuán mǎn de jù hào le 
In English: “It is time to write a period for our relationship.”

3 –

  • In Chinese: 希望我们有缘再见。
  • Pinyin: xī wàng wǒ men yǒu yuán zài jiàn 
  • In English: “We will meet each other again as destiny leads us.”

You would use this phrase when parting ways with someone you befriended on a road trip:

In Chinese: 世界这么大,希望我们有缘再见。
Pinyin: shì jiè zhè me dà, xī wàng wǒ men yǒu yuán zài jiàn 
In English: “Hopefully we will meet each other again as destiny leads us in this big world.”

5. Conclusion

How do you say goodbye in Chinese? 

You should have many possible answers now, but always remember to customize your answer based on your situation. You never know when it will be your last chance to say goodbye to someone, so cherish every opportunity you have and make sure to say your Chinese goodbyes in the most appropriate way. Try your best to express how much you cherish your loved ones any time you’re apart, and let these goodbyes reach their full potential!

Anyway, it’s not time to say goodbye to ChineseClass101 yet! Don’t forget that there is still so much more to learn about the Chinese language. ChineseClass101.com can make you a conversation master through our unique lessons for learners at every level—trust me, it will be the experience of a lifetime. Embark on this fun language-learning journey with us, and I’m sure you’ll never want to say goodbye!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you say goodbye in your language! We look forward to hearing from you.

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Is Chinese Hard to Learn? (And How to Love it Anyway)

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You’re interested in learning Mandarin Chinese, but rumor has it that it’s the most difficult language in the world. You start to have second thoughts. 

You’re not alone. To a lot of people, especially those who speak a Romance language, the Chinese language not only “sounds Greek,” but worse. The mysterious symbols, the absence of an alphabet, the hard-to-pronounce sounds, the Yin and Yang, and the ancient philosophies behind the language…the list goes on. 

Is Chinese hard to learn? Maybe. But should it keep you from moving forward? 

Definitely not! 

Chinese is a beautiful language. Imagine if the Chinese language were a woman—stunning, exotic, seemingly distant. You want to pursue her, but there’s a voice whispering in your ear that she’s out of your league. Would you give up right away, without even trying? 

Never! 

With the proper motivation, strategies, perseverance, and a few tips (which I’ll provide you with in this article), you can have a wonderful relationship with Chinese that will make everybody else jealous!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Getting to Know Chinese: The Easy Parts and the Difficult Parts
  2. Getting Serious: Start Off on the Right Foot
  3. A Little Professional Help Goes a Long Way

1. Getting to Know Chinese: The Easy Parts and the Difficult Parts

Now you’re officially on a date with Chinese. Here are some things you should know about her.

A- What’s the easy part of Chinese?

Grammar.

That’s right. Grammar is the easiest thing about Chinese. Here’s why:

i. Distinctions between tenses and moods are vague, with no verb conjugations. 

Chinese is a highly contextual language. Whether an action has happened, is happening, or will happen is usually indicated by time phrases and particles. 

For example, 爱 (ài) is a verb that means “to love.”

Book Pages Making a Heart Shape
    ➢ 我爱中文。(Wǒ ài Zhōngwén.)
    “I love Chinese.”

Basic simple tense.

    ➢ 我曾经爱过中文。(Wǒ céngjīng àiguò Zhōngwén.)
    “I used to love Chinese.”

Key words: 曾经 (céngjīng), meaning “at one time,” and the particle (guò), which marks an action that has been completed.

Together, they suggest that this is an event that happened in the past. The literal translation is: “I at one time loved Chinese.”

    ➢ 我一直爱着中文。(Wǒ yìzhí àizhe Zhōngwén.)
    “I’ve been in love with Chinese the whole time.”

Key words: 一直 (yìzhí), meaning “always,” and the particle (zhe), which marks an ongoing action or a continuous state. 

Together, they make this sentence equivalent to one in the present perfect continuous tense. The literal translation is: “I always have been loving Chinese.” 

Learning Chinese saves you the pain of reciting patterns of different tenses and the verb conjugation chart (which I have been through, miserably). All you need to know is a handful of time phrases and particles. A lot simpler than English, by comparison.

ii. Nouns don’t have gender or plural forms. 

There’s no need to memorize the gender of every new noun you learn. And there are no plural forms, either. To express plurality in Chinese, simply use adjectives or a number plus measure words, before nouns.

For example, 苹果 (píngguǒ) means “apple.”

One and a Half Apples
    ➢ 你有一个苹果。(Nǐ yǒu yí ge píngguǒ.)
    “You have one apple.”

Key word: 一个 (yí ge), meaning “one count.”

    ➢ 我有很多苹果。(Wǒ yǒu hěn duō píngguǒ.)
    “I have many apples.”

Key word: 很多 (hěn duō), meaning “many.” 

The Chinese language doesn’t care if an apple is a girl or a boy, or whether you have one apple or many. 苹果(píngguǒ), “apple,” is just 苹果 (píngguǒ).

iii. The word order is the same as that in English. 

The sentence structure in Chinese is the same Subject + Verb + Object pattern that’s used in English. 

For example, to say “I love apples” in Chinese, simply translate it word-for-word, in the same order.

我 () + 爱 (ài) + 苹果 (píngguǒ)。
Subject + Verb + Object
“I” + “love” + “apples.”

2- What’s the difficult part of learning Chinese? 

To build a relationship that’s going to last, you’ll also need to be ready to face some hardships. What makes Chinese so hard to learn? To give you a heads-up, here are two major challenges you may encounter when learning Chinese:

i. Chinese Characters

At first glance, Chinese writing looks breathtaking. But get ready for this attraction to mellow down once you sit down and get serious about studying 汉字, or “Chinese characters.” Mastering these enchanting symbols will take commitment and time:

  • One, you need to memorize the pronunciation of a character. 
  • Two, you need to memorize the meanings of that character. 
  • Three, you need to match the pronunciation, the meaning, and how the character looks. 
  • And four, you need to know which stroke comes first when writing it. 

Many learners find Chinese characters hard to learn, and so they only learn Pinyin. You may get away with knowing only Pinyin in everyday conversations, which we’ll talk more about later in this article, but if your goal is to be able to read and write—and eventually work and live in China—you have to learn Chinese characters.

Snack on Shelves

Do you know what you’re getting at a grocery store in China?

Don’t get me wrong. Chinese characters are by no means impossible to learn. All I’m trying to do is get you mentally prepared. Hopefully, when the time comes, you’ll go: Hey, learning Chinese characters is not that hard after all!  

ii. Tones

Let’s move on to the speaking and listening part, which shouldn’t be underestimated either. 

A quick way to tell if someone is a native Chinese-speaker or not is to listen and find out if he or she hit the tones right. Even people who have lived in China and have studied Chinese for a while are vulnerable to making tonal mistakes

Some quick facts about Chinese tones:

Every Chinese word comes with tones. There are five tones in total:

  • The first tone is high and flat, like a robot talking in a high pitch. 
  • The second tone is a rising tone, as if you were asking a question. 
  • The third tone starts low, and dips down even lower before it goes up. 
  • The fourth tone drops sharply from a high pitch. 
  • The fifth tone is light and fast. 

Don’t worry, it’ll take some time to identify the five tones of various pitches, duration, and contour. And that’s not even taking into account the immersion and practice it’ll take to say every single word with accuracy in conversations.

The second “unfair” fact about Chinese tones is that one syllable often has multiple tones. With each tone, that syllable becomes a different word with totally different meanings.

For example:

    ➢ 吻 (wěn) with the third tone means “to kiss.”
    问 (wèn) with the fourth tone means “to ask.”

Make sure you say it with the fourth falling tone when you want to ask someone a question: 我可以问你一下吗?(Wǒ kěyǐ wèn nǐ yīxià ma?) Otherwise, you’d end up asking: “May I kiss you?” or 我可以吻你一下吗 (Wǒ kěyǐ wěn nǐ yīxià ma?

Here’s another:

    ➢ 熊猫 (xióngmāo) means “panda,” with the first syllable in the second tone. 
    胸毛 (xiōngmáo) means “chest hair,” with the first syllable in the first tone.

Make sure you say “Chinese pandas are cute” with the correct tones: 中国的熊猫很可爱。(Zhōngguó de xióngmāo hěn kěài.) This way, you won’t get a bunch of eye rolls from saying: “Chinese chest hair is cute.” or 中国的胸毛很可爱。(Zhōngguó de xiōngmáo hěn kěài.)

Guy Scratching Head Looking Baffled

You’d probably be like: “What did I say?”

2. Getting Serious: Start Off on the Right Foot

So glad you’re still reading! That means you’re serious about learning Chinese, which is the attitude we want. 

It’s important to look in the right places when you first start. Depending on how much time you have, start gathering the following learning materials and tools and go through them either simultaneously, or one at a time. 

A- Pinyin Chart ᠆ Your Secret Pronunciation Weapon

We briefly mentioned 拼音, or “Pinyin,” earlier in this article. Pinyin is the romanization system for Chinese characters. It literally means “spell sound.” Pinyin wasn’t developed until the 1950s, and was created to help learners identify Chinese characters and remember how to pronounce them. It’s primarily used by school-aged children in China and non-native language-learners. 

This is how Pinyin works in a nutshell: One Chinese character has one syllable. One syllable spelled by Pinyin is usually made of a consonant, a vowel, and a tone mark. 

Many of the consonant and vowel sounds in Pinyin are close to, or even the same as, the ones in English, but some are different. All Pinyin letters and sounds can be found in our Pinyin chart, which is a great learning tool that you’ll be using frequently, especially as a beginner. Getting familiar with the Pinyin chart is something you should do when you first start learning Chinese. 

B- Common Core Words – Your Daily Love Notes

You should also start building your vocabulary from Day 1. Start with the most common everyday words in Chinese, and memorize a few every day, or every week, at your own pace. 

Not sure where to find the common core words? Here’s a page on which you’ll find the most frequently used Chinese words.  

You should start with something easy, such as memorizing the numbers from 1 to 10. As your vocabulary expands, you may find yourself slowing down, only being able to learn five a day instead of ten. This is totally fine and normal. The number of words you learn every day doesn’t matter. What matters is that you know how to use them in context and in real-life situations. Luckily, all the words on the page we recommended above come with sample sentences, so you can better understand each word and how to use them properly. 

With these common words, you can create your own vocabulary lists, make flashcards, and learn at any time, anywhere. Don’t forget to review them periodically. 

C- Study Plans and Motivation – Show How Much You Care

Roses, Sweets in a Box and a Note

i. How to Make Study Plans

There’s a saying in Chinese that goes: 磨刀不误砍柴工 (módāo bú wù kǎncháigōng). It means that sharpening your axe before chopping wood will save you time and effort. Making study plans is like taking the time to sharpen your axe. 

When making study plans, take two factors into consideration: #1, how much time you would like to contribute to learning Chinese, and #2, what level you’d like to achieve. 

Once you’ve squared these two questions away, the next step is to make day-to-day plans. For instance, study for ten minutes every day on your commute, memorize words about colors by next week, find time over the weekend to chat with your Chinese friends or language partner in Chinese only. For your study to really work, it needs to be specific and tangible. 

ii. How to Keep Yourself Going

A goal without a plan is just a wish. A plan without motivation is doomed to fail. 

As another popular Chinese saying goes: 不忘初心,方得始终 (bú wàng chūxīn, fāng dé shǐzhōng). It means that one should not forget why they started. Their goals can only be met with this in mind.

When feeling frustrated or defeated, think about what brought you here. Do you still remember why you started learning Chinese? What motivated you in the first place? 

In the meantime, take a moment to review what you’ve achieved. Sometimes we’re so busy moving forward, and forget to look back. Think about why you started and how far you’ve come along. This will help you refresh your weary heart and pump up your motivation again.  

3. A Little Professional Help Goes a Long Way

Even with the easiest language in the world, studying it on your own is challenging. When you feel aimless and frustrated, all you need is a map, or someone who knows the way, to point you in the right direction.

Blind-folded Man Walking on an Imaginary Bridge

ChineseClass101.com has been designed to fulfill that guiding role. 

    ★ We have FREE lessons and resources in various forms: podcasts, videos, PDFs, flashcards, and more. You can pick the way to learn that works best for you.
    ★ Our lessons cover all levels, from absolute beginner to advanced. With weekly updated lessons, you’ll never run out of learning materials.
    ★ Whenever you have a question, post it in the comment section; our teachers will explain it until you understand, without judgement.
    ★ If you’re determined to reach a certain level of proficiency in a relatively short amount of time, try out a Premium PLUS account. You’ll have a learning path designed only for you, as well as your own personal tutor!

Have you started learning Chinese already, or already mastered another language? What tips would you offer brand-new learners of Chinese? 

All in all, falling in love with Chinese is easy. Maintaining this relationship requires effort, though. How far down the road you get really depends on you and how you learn. 

Whenever you feel like giving up, remind yourself that everything you do to learn Chinese will be worth it. One day, you’ll be able to chat with locals with ease. And one day, when people ask you if Chinese is hard to learn, you’ll tell them: “No, it’s not that hard. I did it. You can too!” 

Wedding Bouquet with a Couple in the Background

恭喜! (Gōngxǐ!) – “Congratulations!”

About the author: Influenced by her grandfather, Yinru has shown interest in languages and teaching since early childhood. After getting her degrees in English and Education, Yinru moved to the US and continued her career as a Mandarin teacher. 

Yinru enjoys travelling, photography, and introducing Chinese food to her non-Chinese friends.

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Master the Essential Chinese Questions and Answers

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As a language-learner, it’s important to ask yourself: “Why am I even learning this language?”

Many people learn a new language to interact with people from a different cultural background, in hopes of having a meaningful conversation. And questions are a fantastic tool for learning more about someone and their culture! 

“Question” in Chinese is 问题 (wèn tí). Remember that you should never be afraid to ask a 问题 (wèn tí), even if you can’t ask it perfectly. Not being able to speak your mother tongue may be tough, but as long as you try your best to keep a conversation flowing with genuine questions and a smile on your face, most people will be friendly enough to lend you their ears and open their hearts to talk with you. 

All in all, being able to ask questions is a huge help when you run out of words. It gives others the opportunity to talk about themselves, and it shows them that you’re curious and want to know more about them.

In this article, we’ll be providing you with the most essential phrases for daily life and up-to-date ways of both asking and answering questions in Chinese. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be on your way to becoming a professional conversation-starter!

Without further ado, our list of the most common Chinese questions and answers.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. What’s your name?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. Do you speak Chinese?
  4. How long have you been studying Chinese?
  5. Have you been to China?
  6. How is ___?
  7. Do you like [the country’s] food?
  8. What are you doing?
  9. What’s wrong?
  10. How much is it?
  11. Conclusion

1. What’s your name?

First Encounter

There are two ways to form this question. The first one is the general way of speaking, and the second one is more polite and appropriate when speaking to an elder. In China, significant respect should be shown in your conversations with elders.

Question #1

In Chinese: 你叫什么名字?
Pinyin: Nǐ jiào shén me míng zi?
In English: “What is your name called?”
Additional Notes: Sometimes, people shorten it to 你叫什么 (Nǐ jiào shén me), meaning “What are you called?”

Question #2

In Chinese: 怎么称呼您?
Pinyin: Zěn me chēng hū nín?
In English: “How should I address you?”

Answer Pattern #1

In Chinese: 我的名字是[杰克]。
Pinyin: Wǒ de míng zì shì [Jié kè].
In English: “My name is [Jack].”

Answer Pattern #2

In Chinese: 我叫[贝拉]。
Pinyin: Wǒ jiào [Bèi lā].
In English: “I am called [Bella].”

2. Where are you from?

A Woman Holding a Globe

Wherever your hometown is, we are all from the same big Earth!

The Question

In Chinese: 你从哪里来? 
Pinyin: Nǐ cóng nǎ lǐ lái?
In English: “Where are you from?”

Answer Pattern #1

In Chinese: 我来自[北京]。
Pinyin: Wǒ lái zì [Běi jīng].
In English: “I come from China.”

Answer Pattern #2

In Chinese: 我从[上海]来。
Pinyin: Wǒ cóng [Shàng hǎi] lái.
In English: “I am from [Shanghai].”

Answer Pattern #3

In Chinese: 我是[加州人]。
Pinyin: Wǒ shì [Jiā zhōu rén].
In English: “I am a [Californian].”

3. Do you speak Chinese?

The leLter Q in a Speech Bubble

Most people enjoy answering questions because almost everyone enjoys expressing themselves!

The Question:

In Chinese: 你会说[中文]吗? 
Pinyin: Nǐ huì shuō [Zhōng wén] ma?
In English: “Do you speak [Chinese]?”

Typical Answer #1

In Chinese: 我会说一点。
Pinyin: Wǒ huì shuō yī diǎn.
In English: “I can speak a little bit.”

Typical Answer #2

In Chinese: 我的中文说得还不错。
Pinyin: Wǒ de Zhōng wén shuō de bú cuò.
In English: “I can speak Chinese pretty well.”

Typical Answer #3

In Chinese: 我不怎么会说。
Pinyin: Wǒ bù zěn me huì shuō.
In English: “I can barely speak it.”

4. How long have you been studying Chinese?

A Man Studying Hard in a Library

To master something truly requires you to pour your heart into it.

The Question

In Chinese: 你学习[中文]有多久了? 
Pinyin: Nǐ xué xí [Zhōng wén] yǒu duō jiǔ le?
In English: “How long have you been studying [Chinese]?”

The Typical Answer Pattern

In Chinese: 学了有[三](个)月 / 年 / 周 / 天了。
Pinyin: Xué le yǒu [sān] (gè) yuè / nián / zhōu / tiān le.
In English: “It’s been [three] months / years / weeks / days.”
Additional Notes: 个 () is a quantifier for “months” in this case. Without it, the sentence would sound weird in Chinese. There’s an abundance of quantifiers that play a huge role in the Chinese language. 

The Typical Answer

In Chinese: 我刚刚开始学习。
Pinyin: Wǒ gāng gāng kāi shǐ xué xí.
In English: “I just got started.”

Introducing Yourself

5. Have you been to China?

The Question

In Chinese: 你去过[中国]吗?
Pinyin: Nǐ qù guò [Zhōng guó] ma?
In English: “Have you been to [China]?”

Typical Answer #1

In Chinese: 我去[中国]旅游过。
Pinyin: Wǒ qù [Zhōng guó] lǚ yóu guò.
In English: “I went to [China] on a trip.”

Typical Answer #2

In Chinese: 我曾在[美国]留过学。
Pinyin: Wǒ céng zài [Měi guó] liú guò xué.
In English: “I once studied in [the United States] for a while.”

Typical Answer #3

In Chinese: 我在那里呆过一阵。
Pinyin: Wǒ zài nà lǐ dāi guò yī zhèn.
In English: “I visited there for a while.”

6. How is ___?

Two People with Smiley Cardboard Boxes on Their Heads Giving the Thumbs-up Sign

If you enjoy something, you’d better give it a big thumbs-up!

You can create several simple Chinese questions and answers using the patterns below. Learning this versatile phrase is a good idea! 

The Question

In Chinese: [中国]怎么样? 
Pinyin: [Zhōng guó] zěn me yàng?
In English: “How is [China]?”

Typical Answer #1

In Chinese: 特别好。
Pinyin: Tè bié hǎo.
In English: “Very good.”

Typical Answer #2

In Chinese: 还不错。
Pinyin: Hái bú cuò.
In English: “Not bad.”

Typical Answer #3

In Chinese: 不怎么样。 
Pinyin: Bù zěn me yàng.
In English: “Not that great.”

7. Do you like [the country’s] food?

The Question

In Chinese: 你喜欢[中国]菜吗? 
Pinyin: Nǐ xǐ huān [Zhōng guó] cài ma?
In English: “Do you like [Chinese] food?”

Typical Answer #1

In Chinese: 我特别爱吃[中国]菜。 
Pinyin: Wǒ tè bié ài chī [Zhōng guó] cài.
In English: “I love [Chinese] food very much.”

Typical Answer #2

In Chinese: 我不是很喜欢[中国]菜。
Pinyin: Wǒ bú shì hěn xǐ huān [Zhōng guó] cài.
In English: “I don’t enjoy [Chinese] food all that much.”

Typical Answer #3

In Chinese: 还好。
Pinyin: Hái hǎo.
In English: “It’s not bad.”

8. What are you doing?

These basic questions and answers in Chinese can be very useful, especially if you’ve made a new friend and want to know what they’re up to. 

Question #1

In Chinese: 你在干嘛呢? 
Pinyin: Nǐ zài gàn ma ne?
In English: “What are you doing?”

Question #2

In Chinese: 你在忙些什么呢?
Pinyin: Nǐ zài máng xiē shén me ne?
In English: “What are you busy with?”

The Typical Answer Pattern

In Chinese: 我(最近)在(忙)……
Pinyin: Wǒ (zuì jìn) zài (máng) …
In English: “(Recently,) I am (busy with)…”
Additional Notes: The words in parentheses can be omitted depending on the situation.

9. What’s wrong?

A Little Kid Holding Pencils and Pouting

Do you wonder what’s wrong with this adorable kid? Learn how to ask in Chinese!

The Question

In Chinese: 有什么不对吗?  
Pinyin: Yǒu shén me bú duì ma?
In English: “What’s wrong?”

Typical Answer #1

In Chinese: 没什么大不了的。
Pinyin: Méi shén me dà bù liǎo de.
In English: “Nothing important.”

Typical Answer #2

In Chinese: 我心情不太好。 
Pinyin: Wǒ xīn qíng bú tài hǎo.
In English: “I am not in a good mood.”

10. How much is it?

Stacks of Coins with Different Symbols on Top

Always think twice: is the stuff you’re going to buy worth it?

The Question

In Chinese: 这个多少钱?
Pinyin: Zhè gè duō shǎo qián?
In English: “How much is it?”

In Chinese: 这个怎么卖?
Pinyin: Zhè gè zěn me mài?
In English: “How do you sell this?”

The Typical Answer

In Chinese: 三十五元一个。 
Pinyin: Sān shí wǔ yuán yī gè.
In English: “35 yuan each.”
Additional Notes: The answer to this question is usually the direct number of the cost.

11. Conclusion

After studying these useful formulas and sets of Chinese questions and answers, you must be starting to get the hang of both asking and answering questions in Chinese. Of course, there’s no fixed recipe for any language as it’s more of an expressive artform. Try to customize your own answers based on the sentence structures we provided you. We also recommend that you practice in front of the mirror.

Before you go, why not start practicing what you’ve learned today in the comments section? Write out and answer a few of the questions from this article, or let us know if there are any questions and answers in Chinese you still want to know! We look forward to hearing from you.

Devote some time and effort to practicing conversations about these topics. Effective communication not only requires proper content and decent sentence structures, but also the right facial expressions, tones, emotions, and so much more. A well-developed conversation can go so much deeper than you think! 

Now, have some unshakable faith in yourself, just as much as we do: you can become a master of Chinese conversation! We have tons of free resources in Chinese for you, no matter your current level. Explore our website to make the most of your Chinese studies. 

Let’s spread our wings and soar together at ChineseClass101.com, your happiest language-learning paradise!

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How to Pass HSK, the Mandarin Chinese Proficiency Test

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Are you curious about what level your Chinese is at?

Would you like to be certified in your Chinese language abilities? 

Are you thinking about applying for a job or a college program in China? 

Do you need motivation to push your Chinese to the next level? 

If you’ve ever wondered about these questions, it’s probably time for you to look into a Chinese proficiency test called the HSK exam.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Step 1: Knowing the HSK Exam
  2. Step 2: Understanding the Six Levels and Finding Your Own Level
  3. Step 3: Drilling for the HSK Exam
  4. Step 4: Using ChineseClass101.com to Help You Prepare for and Pass the HSK Exam
  5. Conclusion

Step 1: Knowing the HSK Exam

Taking the HSK Test

1- What is the HSK exam?

HSK stands for 汉语水平考试 (Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì), which means “Mandarin Proficiency Test.” It’s a standardized test for non-native Chinese-speakers to assess their language abilities in daily, academic, and professional life. 

The test has six levels, with Level I being the most basic and Level VI being the most advanced. 

There’s a listening section and a reading section in levels I and II. From Level III and up, there’s an additional writing section; in addition, the Chinese characters will not be marked with Pinyin, as they are in levels I and II. All of the Chinese characters are in simplified Chinese. 

The HSK exam does not test on speaking. If you’re interested in testing your Chinese speaking skills, there’s a separate test for that: HSKK.

2- Why should I consider taking the HSK exam?

Taking the HSK Chinese proficiency test and getting the certificate can benefit you as a Chinese-learner in a few ways, by:

1. Providing a more tangible way to monitor your learning progress and performance (this is especially true for self-taught Chinese-learners). 

2. Opening doors to study at Chinese universities. Many colleges in China require that foreign student applicants pass the HSK IV. 

3. Offering an advantage over other candidates when seeking employment in China. Even though not every employer in China requires their foreign employees to have an HSK certificate, having one will definitely work in your favor.

3- Who is eligible to take the HSK exam, and how much does it cost?

Any non-native speakers, such as foreign students or overseas Chinese, are eligible to take the test.  

There are fees to take the HSK exam. Level 1 costs 150 RMB, which is about twenty American dollars, and it’s 100 RMB more for each level higher.

4- When and where can I take the HSK exam?

You can take the HSK exam any time throughout the year. There are usually one or two tests every month. Check out the HSK exam dates in 2020 here

The test can be paper-based or Internet-based. There are many HSK test centers inside and outside of China, where you can choose to take the paper-based test or Internet test. To find a test center near you, click here

Once you’re ready for the test, register by following the steps on this chart

Language Skills

Step 2: Understanding the Six Levels and Finding Your Own Level 

Level I

HSK Level I requires test-takers to know 150 Chinese words and very basic grammar patterns. At this level, there’s a listening section and a reading section. There will be both multiple choice and true-or-false questions. The test lasts about 40 minutes.

Basic vocabulary and daily expressions are used in the questions. For example, the reading section of HSK Level I tests one’s understanding of simple sentences, such as: 

她很喜欢这本书。
Tā hěn xǐhuān zhè běn shū.

他在睡觉吗? 
Tā zài shuìjiào ma?

我们明天坐火车去。
Wǒmen míngtiān zuò huǒchē qù.

(Translations: “She likes this book very much.” “Is he sleeping?” “We’re taking a train there tomorrow.”)

Level II

HSK Level II requires test-takers to know 300 words and related grammar patterns. The test also has a listening and reading part. The duration is about 55 minutes.

At this level, you should have the ability to conduct daily communications such as giving self-introductions, describing weather and moods, making comparisons, etc. 

Below is an example of a dialogue in the listening section of Level II: 

– 小王,你女朋友呢?
Xiǎo Wáng , nǐ nǚpéngyou ne?

– 她没来。她下午要考试。
Tā méilái . Tā xiàwǔ yào kǎoshì.

Question: 

小王的女朋友为什么没来?
Xiǎo Wáng de nǚpéngyou wèishénme méilái?

On the answer sheet, you’re provided with three possible answers in multiple choice format:

A. 要上班  yào shàngbān
B. 要考试 yào kǎoshì
C.  要开会 yào kāihuì

(The correct answer is B.)

Level III

To be able to pass HSK Level III, test-takers are expected to know 600 words and related grammar patterns. 

From this level up, there’s an additional writing section. For the writing section, you’ll be writing in Chinese characters on paper, or typing Chinese characters with Pinyin on a computer, depending on which form of the test you choose. In addition, Chinese characters will not be marked with Pinyin. The duration of a Level III test is about 90 minutes.

Language skills tested at this level include asking other people for suggestions, using conjunction words to express opinions, using specific measure words, being able to express present/past/future events, etc.

Here’s an example of a writing task:

Put the words and phrases below in the correct sentence order. 

妹妹, 最, 吃, 我, 苹果, 爱. 

Note that there’s no Pinyin on any of the Chinese characters.

(The correct sentence order is: 我妹妹最爱吃苹果。[Wǒ mèimei zuì ài chī píngguǒ.], meaning “My younger sister loves to eat apples the most.”)

Level IV

For HSK Level IV, test-takers are expected to master 1200 words. With a listening section, a reading section, and a writing section, the test will be about 105 minutes.

In the listening section, each sentence and dialogue will only be read one time. The materials used in the reading section are more in-depth than those for previous levels. 

If you have the ability to read Chinese newspapers and magazines, and carry out conversations on a wide variety of topics with native Chinese speakers, you should consider taking this level. 

It’s also worth pointing out that passing HSK Level IV is one of the requirements for non-native Chinese-speakers to study in Chinese universities.

Going to College in China

Here’s an example of a passage used in the reading section:


什么是真正的朋友?不同的人总有不同的理解。

我的理解是:在需要帮助的时候,朋友会勇敢地站出来,及时帮你走出困境, 解决问题;在受伤难过的时候, 朋友会陪在你身边,逗你开心让你快乐; 无论你是穷人还是富人,真正的朋友永远值得你的信任。

And your understanding of the passage will be tested by the questions:

1. 根据这段话,朋友可以帮你: 
A. 获得爱情  B. 照顾家人 C. 解决难题  D. 走出贫穷 

2. 这段话主要介绍的是: 
A. 困难 B. 亲情 C.爱情 D. 友情

(The correct answers are 1. C and 2. D.)

Level V

Anyone wanting to take this level should have at least 2500 Chinese words in their word bank. With the questions being more complicated, it takes about 125 minutes in total to finish the test.  

Below is an example question from the Level V listening section.

On your answer sheet, you’ll see:

A: 男的手机坏了
B: 男的下载了一个没有声音的视频
C. 男的下载了一个新软件
D. 男的没有开电脑的声音

In the audio recording, you’ll hear:

男: 你帮我看看? 这个视频怎么没有声音。 
女: 我看看。是你下载的吗? 
男: 是啊,有画面但是没有声音。 
女: 怪不得听不到声音,你的电脑调成静音了。 

问:根据对话,可以知道什么?

(The correct answer is D.)

Level VI

In addition to the 5000 Chinese words that test-takers need to know to consider taking this level, how difficult is the highest level of the Mandarin proficiency test?

Let’s find out by looking at the writing section of HSK Level VI. 

First, you have 10 minutes to read a story with 600 to 1000 words. While reading the story, you’re not allowed to take notes

When the 10 minutes are up, this story will be taken away from you, leaving you 35 minutes to paraphrase the story in about 400 words.

You’re only supposed to paraphrase the story, not give your own opinions. 

As intimidating as Level VI seems, once you’ve passed and earned the certificate of HSK Level VI, your  Chinese is officially as good, or even better, than that of average Chinese native speakers!

Celebrating Passing HSK VI)

Step 3: Drilling for the HSK Exam

After you find your own level and register for the exam, follow the steps below to make the most of your HSK test preparation and drills:

1. Go to the HSK official website chinesetest.cn and study the outlines of the six levels very closely. In the outlines, you’ll find information about what language skills are required at each level, which vocabulary words and grammar points will be tested, plus a complete mock test with answers. 

2. Once you have all the language skills listed in the outlines, take the mock tests. It’s very important to treat them like real exams. Find a place where you won’t be interrupted and take the exams within the time limit.

3. The next thing to do, which is also a great learning method, is to collect the questions you got wrong. Put them in categories and find out where your weaknesses are. Is it a certain sentence pattern or grammar point? Or do you need to work on your reading speed? Can you improve your listening scores by doing more listening practice? 

4. When you’re done with one mock test, search for more mock tests and do at least two tests every week until your test date.

Studying Hard Every Night

Step 4: Using ChineseClass101.com to Help You Prepare for and Pass the HSK Exam

Preparing for the HSK exam on your own takes a lot of planning, research, hard work, and discipline. Don’t forget that ChineseClass101.com has abundant learning resources that can make preparing for the HSK exam at any level twice as efficient.

ChineseClass101.com

1- Vocabulary

In addition to our frequently updated vocabulary lists that cover a wide range of topics, our lists of the 100 and 2000 core words will gradually bring you up to speed on vocabulary as high as HSK Level V.  

2- Listening

Can’t find listening materials that are appropriate for your level? Look no further! ChineseClass101.com has hundreds of lessons with audio for you, from the absolute beginner level to the advanced level. You’ll find dialogues recorded by native speakers, with scripts, lesson notes, vocabulary lists, and grammar points. You’ll never run out of listening practice materials!  

3- Reading

The fact that Chinese has a non-romanized writing system makes reading even more challenging than it is in other languages. We have special lessons designed to improve your reading skills and prepare you for reading in daily life. Check out this reading comprehension lesson for intermediate-level students here. 

4- Writing

The downside of studying on your own is that you don’t have constant guidance on your learning path. Having personalized advice is especially important when it comes to writing. The good news is that with a Premium PLUS subscription, you can get one-on-one interaction with an assessment from our certified teachers. They’ll answer all your questions, develop personalized learning programs based on your needs, and of course, correct anything you write in Chinese. Try it out and submit your Chinese self-introduction in writing now

5- Speaking and More…

The HSK doesn’t have a speaking section, unless you take the separate HSKK to get credentials just for your Chinese-speaking skills. Whether you’re taking the speaking test or not, ChineseClass101.com offers you the tools you need to master everyday communication.

Asking for Directions in Chinese

With a Premium subscription, you’ll be able to record your own speech to compare with that of a native speaker, so you can work on your accent and pronunciation. With a Premium PLUS subscription, you’ll get feedback on your speaking assignments from your personal teacher right away. The best part? You can do it anywhere, any time, at an affordable price! 

5. Conclusion

Everyone can pass the HSK exam when they’re well-prepared. If you have more questions about the HSK exam, or you’d like to know how our site can help you with it, don’t hesitate to visit us at ChineseClass101.com and leave us a message! 

Happy Chinese learning, and good luck on your test!

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