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Learn Chinese from the Chinese National Anthem


Just like the Chinese national flag, Chinese national anthems have great symbolic meanings that have a special place in every Chinese person’s heart. The Chinese national anthem 《义勇军进行曲》Yìyǒngjūn jìnxíngqǔ is translated to “March of the Volunteers” in English. It’s a “fight song” in its essence. Both the tune and the lyrics are uplifting, motivating, and powerful. Keep reading, and you’ll get a chance to hear the Chinese national anthem, study the Chinese lyrics and the English lyrics, see the sheet music, and find out the history and some of the “surprising” facts behind the Chinese national anthem!

Chinese Patriotic Illustration with Soldiers and Tiananmen Building

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. The Tune and the Lyrics
  2. The Occasions
  3. The Facts
  4. The Final Words

1. The Tune and the Lyrics

Here is the Chinese anthem 《义勇军进行曲》Yìyǒngjūn jìnxíngqǔ “March of the Volunteers”, the official music video released by the Chinese government:

Below are the lyrics in Chinese and English.


起来(1)!不愿做奴隶的人们!Qǐlái (1) ! Bú yuàn zuò núlì de rénmen! 

把我们的血肉,筑成我们新的长城! Bǎ wǒmen de xuèròu, zhù chéng wǒmen xīn de chángchéng! 

中华民族 (3) 到了最危险的时候,Zhōnghuá mínzú (3) dàole zuì wēixiǎn de shíhòu,

每个人被迫 (5) 着发出最后的吼声。Měi gè rén bèi pò zhe fāchū zuìhòu de hǒushēng. 

起来!起来!起来!Qǐlái! Qǐlái! Qǐlái! 

我们万众一心 (4),Wǒmen wànzhòng-yīxīn (4), 

冒着 (6) 敌人的炮火,前进 (2)  Màozhe (6) dírén de pàohuǒ, qiánjìn (2)

冒着敌人的炮火,前进! Màozhe dírén de pàohuǒ, qiánjìn! 

前进!前进!进! Qiánjìn! Qiánjìn! Jìn!


Stand up! Those who refuse to be slaves!

With our flesh and blood, let’s build our newest Great Wall!

The Chinese Nation is at its greatest peril,

Each one is forced to let out one last roar.

Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!

We are billions of one heart,

Braving the enemies’ fire, March on!

Braving the enemies’ fire, March on!

March on! March on! On!

Now let’s be good Chinese learners and study some of the keywords from the Chinese national anthem lyrics.

  1. 起来 qǐlái “to rise, to get up” [HSK 3 equivalent]

This is the first word in the anthem and is repeated multiple times throughout the song. It means “to get up” or “to rise.” In the national anthem, it’s calling for the people who are 不愿做奴隶 bú yuàn zuò núlì (“not willing to be slaves”) to rise up and fight. 

This is a frequently used word in everyday life, used to mean “to get up (from bed).” For example:

起来了吗?qǐlái le ma?
“Are you up yet?”

你几点起来的?Nǐ jǐ diǎn qǐlái de?
“What time did you get up?”

It’s also commonly used as a verb complement. It’s attached to the end of a verb, describing an action that has the “upward” motion or “starting to get [verb].” Let look at these two examples:

你坐着看不见,站起来。Nǐ zuòzhe kàn bù jiàn, jiù zhàn qǐlái ba.
“You won’t be able to see when sitting down, you’d better stand up.”

天晴了,我的心情也好起来了。Tiān qíng le, wǒ de xīnqíng yě hǎo qǐlái le.
“It’s getting sunny. My mood is also getting better.”

  1. 前进 qiánjìn “march on, move forward”  [HSK 6 equivalent]

This word also appears multiple times in the lyrics. 前 qián means “front, forward,” and 进 jìn means “to enter, to advance.” This is a formal word that’s often used as a military command, asking the troop to “move forward” or “march on.” 

This word is not used as commonly in everyday conversations but in formal reports and literature. Here’s an example:

我们在前进的道路上不断成长。Wǒmen zài qiánjìn de dàolù shàng bùduàn chéngzhǎng.
“We continue to grow along the way (moving forward). “

他突然没有了前进的动力。Tā túrán méiyǒu le qiánjìn de dònglì.
“He suddenly lost the momentum to keep going.”

  1. 中华民族 Zhōnghuá Mínzú “Chinese people/nation” [HSK 4]

You may have heard this word on the CCTV (Chinese Central Television)’s Spring Festival Gala. 中华 Zhōnghuá is a poetically patriotic way to refer to China, with a focus on the people. For example, 华人 huárén is used to refer to people of Chinese origin, especially those who live overseas. 中华 Zhōnghuá  often goes with 民族 mínzú, which means “ethnic group.”

尊老爱幼是中华民族的传统美德。 Zūn lǎo ài yòu shì Zhōnghuá Mínzú de chuántǒng měidé.
“Respecting the old and loving the young is a traditional virtue of the Chinese people.”

中华民族有着很长的历史。Zhōnghuá Mínzú yǒuzhe hěn cháng de lìshǐ.
“The Chinese nation boasts a long history.”

  1. 万众一心 wànzhòng-yìxīn [HSK 6 equivalent] 

This four-character idiom is often used to boost morale and promote patriotism. 万众 wànzhòng literally means “ten thousand people” and figuratively “millions of people.” 一心 yìxīn means “one heart.” Together 万众一心  wànzhòng-yìxīn is used to describe all the people united with a common goal or belief. 

我们万众一心,齐心协力,共度难关。Wǒmen wànzhòng-yìxīn, qíxīn-xiélì, gòngdù nánguān.
“We are all united, working together to get through this difficult time.”

万众一心是通向胜利的第一步。Wànzhòng-yīxīn shì tōng xiàng shènglì de dì yī bù.
“Unity is the first step to victory.”

  1. 被迫 bèi pò “be forced” [HSK 5 equivalent]

The word starts with 被 bèi, indicating a passive voice. 迫 means “to force, to compel.” In the lyrics, the Chinese people are forced to 发出最后的吼声 fāchū zuìhòu de hǒushēng “let out one last roar.”  

In everyday situations, it can be used in sentences like:

由于天气原因,比赛被迫中止。Yóuyú tiānqì yuányīn, bǐsài bèi pò zhōngzhǐ.
“Due to inclement weather, the game was put to a stop.”

被迫上交了自己的手机。 bèi pò shàng jiāo le zìjǐ de shǒujī.
“He was forced to hand over his cell phone.”

  1. 冒着 mào zhe “to brave” “to face dangers” [HSK 4 equivalent]

冒着 mào zhe is a verb that means  “to brave” or “to face dangers” in this context. In the lyrics, it’s asking the Chinese people to brave the enemies’ bombs and bullets and march on – 冒着敌人的炮火,前进! Mào zhe dírén de pàohuǒ, qiánjìn! 

This verb in everyday life is often paired with 雨 “rain.” Such as:

她是冒着雨来的。Tā shì mào zhe yǔ lái de.
“She came in the rain” (showing her determination to come here despite the rain)

Besides the above Chinese words, if you’re also interested in playing this tune, copyrighted sheet music can be found on this Chinese government website. 

2. The Occasions

As the solemn symbols of the country, the Chinese national anthem《义勇军进行曲》Yìyǒngjūn jìnxíngqǔ and the Chinese flag 五星红旗 Wǔxīng-Hóngqí “the five-star red flag” often go together in formal ceremonies. In Chinese, this procedure is called 升国旗,奏国歌 Shēng guóqí, zòu guógē. “Raise the national flag, and play the national anthem.” People are encouraged to sing along with the music.

Globally, the national anthem is played with the flag being raised at international sporting events such as the Olympics 奥运会Àoyùnhuì.

3 Men at an Award Ceremony

Nationally, the national anthem is played when the flag is being raised at the Beijing Tiananmen Square daily precisely at sunrise, performed by the PLA (People’s Liberation of Army). You can find the daily flag-raising ceremony timetable on this website.

Tiananmen, Beijing

At higher administrative levels in China, the anthem is played at political occasions, such as on the 国庆节 Guóqìng jié “National Day” celebration, 人大会议 rén dà huìyì National People’s Congress meeting, etc.

Chinese Congress Building with Chinese Flags

In primary and secondary public schools and some government organizations, there is a weekly 升旗仪式 shēng qí yíshì “flag-raising ceremony” where the national anthem is played while the flag is being raised on the pole while the students or employees sign the national anthem. 

3. The Facts

  • The Chinese national anthem was initially created for a movie.

In 1934, 田汉 Tián Hàn “Tian Han” wrote a poem that was intended for part of a script for the movie 风云儿女 Fēngyún érnǚ Children of the Troubled Times,” a movie about a Chinese intellectual fighting the Japanese occupation of the northeast part of China. 

In 1935, 聂耳 Niè Ěr “Nie Er” composed music for the words, which was eventually recorded as a song for the movie.

In 1949, the song “March of the Volunteers” was used as the Chinese national anthem for the first time at the World Peace Council, and was finally chosen to be the official anthem by the Communist party a few months before the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949.

A Photograph of the Composer and Lyricist of the Chinese Anthem
  • “The March of Volunteers” was performed in Chinese by an American artist.

In 1940, Paul Robeson, a college-educated polyglot and artist, started performing “March of Volunteers” in Chinese at a large concert in New York City. Together with the lyricist Tian Han, they translated the Chinese into English, and recorded the song as 起来 Qǐlái “Chee Lai,” which was performed multiple times at major international events.

In 1966, the song 东方红 Dōngfāng hóng “The East is Red” replaced “March of Volunteers” as the chairman 毛泽东 Máozédōng Mao Zedong‘s effort to promote his image and idealizes himself. The song was later adapted to a movie with the same title, “The East is Red.” It wasn’t until 1970 that “March of Volunteers” became the national anthem again. 

  • The law protects the Chinese national anthem and flag.

In 2017, the Chinese national anthem law was passed, stating on what occasions the national anthem should be played, how the official recordings provided by the government (see linked site above) are the only ones allowed to be played, and what the consequences of insulting the national anthem, such as altering the lyrics or singing it in a distorted way, were. 

The law remains controversial, especially in Hong Kong. You can read more about it here.  

4. The Final Words

It’s amazing how much you can learn about a language and its culture from a national anthem, isn’t it? Next time you hear the Chinese national anthem, try translating the lyrics and see if you can remember the words discussed in this article! 

Don’t forget whenever you need a little extra help, is always here! Explore the abundant vocabulary lists, practice with audio recordings and speak with more confidence. It’s never too late to join!  

If you’d like to further boost your Chinese skills and learn with specific goals, you can always upgrade to Premium PLUS subscription and get 1-on-1 coaching from your own private teacher, who will customize a Chinese learning pathway just for you!

Ask your teacher about personalized exercises, assignments, and audio samples; they would be more than happy to find the right materials for you. On top of that, feedback and necessary corrections will always be ready for you within 2 business days. Find your private teacher now on!

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Essential Classroom Phrases in Chinese


Imagine you are sitting in a Chinese classroom with Chinese students at a Chinese high school. Would you be able to use proper classroom greetings to greet your teacher and classmates in Mandarin Chinese? Would you be able to understand your Chinese teacher’s classroom command phrases? Would you have enough Chinese classroom vocabulary words and phrases to communicate with classmates and teachers? Would you have confidence in your Chinese grammar skills to produce phrases and express yourself accurately and freely? 

If any of your answers are “no,” you’ve come to the right place! In this article, you will learn all about Chinese classroom phrases and school-related basic Chinese words and phrases. Our goal is to make your Chinese language learning easy, fun, and meaningful!

Empty Classroom

No time to read the whole article? No problem. Check out our Back to School cheat sheet for Chinese basic phrases and vocabulary with a school and classroom theme for a quick reference!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Use Classroom Greetings
  2. Understand Instructions from Teachers
  3. Comments and Feedback
  4. Ask Questions to Teachers and Classmates
  5. Talk about Favorite Subjects
  6. Check for School Supplies
  7. Last But Not Least

1. Use Classroom Greetings

1 – Formal Greetings in a Classroom

Traditionally in Chinese primary schools and secondary schools, students and teachers greet each other formally at the beginning and end of a class. As soon as the teacher enters the classroom, a student whose role is 班长 (bānzhǎng) “class leader” orders the whole class to stand up and greet the teacher in chorus. Although it might not be this formal in your Mandarin Chinese class, it’s good to know what these phrases mean! 

Usually, the greetings at the beginning of the class go in the order below:

    ➢ 老师: 上课!Lǎoshī: Shàngkè!
    “Teacher: Class begins!”
  • 班长:起立!Bānzhǎng: Qǐlì!
    “Class leader: Stand up!”
    ➢ 老师:同学们好!Lǎoshī: Tóngxuémen hǎo!
    “Teacher: Hello, students!”
  • 全班同学:老师好!Quán bān tóngxué: Lǎoshī hǎo!
    “Whole class: Hello, teacher! ”

At the end of a class, the greetings are similar:

    ➢ 老师: 下课!
    Lǎoshī: Xiàkè!
    “Teacher: Class ends!”
  • 班长:起立!Bānzhǎng: Qǐlì!
    “Class leader: Stand up!”
    ➢ 老师:同学们再见!Lǎoshī: Tóngxuémen zàijiàn!
    “Teacher: Goodbye, students!”
  • 全班同学:老师再见!Quán bān tóngxué: Lǎoshī zàijiàn!
    “Whole class: Goodbye, teacher! “

Note: in this article 
marks teacher phrases
marks student phrases 

2 – Informal Greetings on Campus

Nowadays, more and more schools choose not to adopt the rigid formal classroom greetings shown above. Instead, the teacher gets right to teaching without greetings or very informal greetings. However, outside a classroom on the school campus, students are still expected to greet their teachers to show respect. When it comes to students greeting each other, it gets casual. 

Here are some scenarios of informal greetings between a student and a teacher, and between two students.

Scenario #1: 夏雨 (Xià Yǔ) “Yu Xia,” a student sees his teacher 刘老师 (Liú lǎoshī) “Teacher Liu” in the hallway before the first bell rings.

  • 夏雨: 刘老师好!Xià Yǔ: Liú lǎoshī hǎo!
    “Yu Xia: Hello, Mr. Liu.”
    ➢ 刘老师: 早!Liú lǎoshī: Zǎo!
    “Teacher Liu: Morning!”

Scenario #2: 夏雨 (Xià Yǔ) Yu Xia sees his teacher 刘老师 (Liú lǎoshī) Mr. Liu while waiting on the bus to go home.

  • 夏雨: 刘老师再见!Xià Yǔ: Xú lǎoshī zàijiàn!
    “Yu Xia: Goodbye, Mr. Liu”
    ➢ 刘老师: 再见!Liú lǎoshī: Zàijiàn!
    “Teacher Liu: Goodbye!”

Scenario #3: 夏雨 (Xià Yǔ) “Yu Xia” walks in the classroom while her friend and classmate 王明一 (Wáng Míngyī) “Mingyi Wang” is finishing up his homework.

Boy Frustrated with Homework
  • 夏雨: 早啊!赶作业呢?Xià Yǔ: Zǎo a! Gǎn zuòyè ne?
    “Yu Xia: Morning! Still working on your homework?”
  • 王明一: 嗯。还有一页。Wáng Míngyī: En. Háiyǒu yí yè.
    “Mingyi Wang: Yeah. One more page to go.”

Scenario #4: 夏雨 (Xià Yǔ) “Yu Xia” says goodbye to 王明一 (Wáng Míngyī) “Mingyi Wang” as she gets off the bus.

  • 夏雨: 我走了。明天见。Xià yǔ: Wǒ zǒule. Míngtiān jiàn.
    “Yu Xia: I’m leaving now. See you tomorrow.”
  • 王明一: 拜拜!Wáng Míngyī: Báibái!
    “Mingyi Wang: Byebye!”
    Linguistic Iinsight

Greetings好 (hǎo) “good”Time + 好 (hǎo)
Title + 好 (hǎo) 
早上Zǎoshang hǎo.
“Good morning.” (lit. “Morning good.”)
老师好。Lǎoshī hǎo.
“Hello, teacher.” (lit. “Teacher good.”)
Parting Expressions见 (jiàn) “to see” Time + 见 (jiàn)
Place + 见 (jiàn)
明天Míngtiān jiàn.
“See you tomorrow.
“学校Xuéxiào jiàn.
“See you at school.” 

2. Understand Instructions from Teachers

Teachers play a key role in learning. Knowledge and skills are delivered by teachers through their instructions. There is nothing more important than understanding the teacher and following his or her instructions. In this section, we’ll take a close look at command phrases teachers are most likely to use in a class.

Female Asian Teacher

1 – Instructions and Commands

    ➢ 请拿出课本。Qǐng ná chū kèběn.
    “Please take out your textbook.”
    ➢ 请翻到第五十页。Qǐng fān dào dì wǔshí yè.
    “Please turn to page fifty. “
    ➢ 请看黑板。Qǐng kàn hēibǎn.
    “Please look at the blackboard.”
    ➢ 请跟我读。Qǐng gēn wǒ dú.
    “Please read after me.”
    ➢ 请仔细听。Qǐng zǐxì tīng.
    “Please listen carefully.”
    ➢ 不要说话。Búyào shuōhuà.
    “Do not talk.”
    ➢ 举手回答。Jǔ shǒu huídá.
    “Raise your hand to answer (the question).”
    ➢ 小组讨论一下。Xiǎozǔ tǎolùn yíxià.
    “Discuss within your group.”
    ➢ 把作业交上来。Bǎ zuòyè jiāo shànglái.
    “Hand in your homework.”
    ❖ Cultural note: 请 (qǐng) makes a polite command. But since teachers are higher on the social hierarchy, they don’t always use 请 (qǐng) with their students. 

2 – Questions and Check-ins

    ➢ 懂了吗?Dǒngle ma?
    “Understand now?”
    ➢ 听明白了吗?Tīng míngbái le ma?
    “Did you understand what I said?”
    ➢ 有没有问题?Yǒu méiyǒu wèntí?
    “Questions? “
    ➢ 你同意吗?Nǐ tóngyì ma?
    “Do you agree?”
    ➢ 确定吗?Quèdìng ma?
    “Are you sure?”
    ➢ 谁想来试试?Shéi xiǎnglái shì shi?
    “Who wants to give it a try?”

3 – Comments and Feedback

    ➢ 不错。Búcuò.
    “Not bad.”
    ➢ 非常好。Fēicháng hǎo. 
    ➢ 很棒。Hěn bàng.
    ➢ 很有新意。Hěn yǒu xīnyì.
    “Very creative.”
    ➢ 不完全对。Bù wánquán duì.
    “Not entirely true.”
    ➢ 不准确。Bú zhǔnquè.
    “Not accurate.”
    ➢ 你再想想。Nǐ zài xiǎng xiǎng.
    “Think about it more.”
    ❖ Cultural note: Teachers from older generations tend to be more harsh and direct with negative comments, while younger teachers tend to use more gentle approaches when offering feedback. If you’re going to attend school in China, especially for those of you with prior education from the West, be aware of and prepared for the cultural differences. Read this article to learn more about the schooling differences between China and America. 

3. Ask Questions to Teachers and Classmates

It’s okay to not understand Chinese classroom phrases, all you have to do is to ask! Here are some useful phrases to ask questions to your Chinese teachers and classmates.

Students Raising Hands

1 – Asking Teachers for Clarification

  • 老师,能再说一遍吗? Lǎoshī, néng zài shuō yí biàn ma?
    “Teacher, can you say it again?”
  • 老师,能说慢一点吗?Lǎoshī, néng shuō màn yì diǎn ma?
    “Teacher, can you say it slower?”
  • 老师,我有一个问题。Lǎoshī, wǒ yǒu yí gè wèntí.
    “Teacher, I have a question.”
  • 老师,我没听懂。Lǎoshī, wǒ méi tīng dǒng.
    “Teacher, I didn’t understand.”
  • 老师,[WORD] 是什么意思?Lǎoshī, [WORD] shì shénme yìsi?
    “Teacher, what does [WORD] mean?”

2 – Asking Classmates for Help

  • 老师说了什么?Lǎoshī shuō le shénme?
    “What did the teacher say?”
  • 老师让我们干什么?Lǎoshī ràng wǒmen gàn shénme?
    “What did the teacher want us to do?”
  • [X] 字怎么写?[X] zì zěnme xiě?
    “How do you write [X]?”
  • 这个怎么读?Zhège zěnme dú?
    “How do you read this?”
  • 你能教我一下吗?Nǐ néng jiào wǒ yíxià ma?
    “Can you teach me?”
  • 今天的家庭作业是什么?Jīntiān de jiātíng zuòyè shì shénme?
    “What’s the homework for today?”

4. Ask for Leave of Absence and Explain Tardiness

Students are expected to report their absence to the teacher at least one day ahead of time. When arriving late, they are supposed to explain the reason for their tardiness. Here are some phrases for your reference to prepare you for these situations.

For Absence 

  • 明天我得请假。Míngtiān wǒ děi qǐngjià.
    “I have to ask for a leave of absence tomorrow.”
  • 我不舒服,明天想请假。Wǒ bù shūfú, míngtiān xiǎng qǐngjià.
    “I don’t feel well. I’d like to ask for a leave of absence tomorrow.”
  • 老师,我能跟您请个假吗?Lǎoshī, wǒ néng gēn nín qǐng gè jiǎ ma?
    “Teacher, may I ask for a leave of absence?”

For Tardiness

  • 抱歉。我迟到了。Bàoqiàn. Wǒ chídào le.
    “Sorry I’m late.”
  • 不好意思,我迟到了。我能进来吗?Bù hǎoyìsi, wǒ chídàole. Wǒ néng jìnlái ma?
    “Sorry I’m late. May I come in?”
  • 老师对不起,我起晚了。Lǎoshī duìbùqǐ, wǒ qǐ wǎn le.
    “Sorry, teacher. I got up late.”
  • 路上堵车, 所以我来晚了。Lùshàng dǔchē, suǒyǐ wǒ lái wǎn le.
    “The traffic was bad, that’s why I arrived late.”

5. Talk about Favorite Subjects

Chinese elementary and secondary schools rotate between 6-8 subjects every day, focusing heavily on academics. Since subjects in universities and colleges vary to a great extent depending on the major, let’s take a look at some middle and high school subjects

语文 yǔwénChinese
英语 yīngyǔEnglish
数学 shùxuéMath
体育 tǐyùPhysical Education
音乐 yīnyuèMusic
物理 wùlǐPhysics
生物 shēngwùBiology
化学 huàxuéChemistry
历史 lìshǐHistory
地理 dìlǐGeography
政治 zhèngzhìPolitics 

Here are some sentence patterns to talk about school subjects.

  • 我最喜欢 [SUBJECT]。Wǒ zuì xǐhuān [SUBJECT].
    “I like [SUBJECT] the best”
  • 我 [SUBJECT] 不好。 Wǒ [SUBJECT] bù hǎo.
    “I’m good at [SUBJECT].”
  • 明天有 [SUBJECT] 课。 Míngtiān yǒu [SUBJECT] kè.
    “Tomorrow we have [SUBJECT].”
  • 后天有 [SUBJECT] 考试。Hòutiān yǒu [SUBJECT] kǎoshì.
    “The day after tomorrow, we have a [SUBJECT] test.”
  • 下节课是 [SUBJECT]。Xià jié kè shì [SUBJECT].
    “Next class is [SUBJECT].”
  • 你的 [SUBJECT] 老师是谁?Nǐ de [SUBJECT] lǎoshī shì shéi?
    “Who is your [SUBJECT] teacher?”

6. Check for School Supplies 

You can’t go to school without any school supplies! They are must-know words if you are going to school in China. Let’s learn all the essential school and classroom supplies in Chinese.

Colorful School Supplies

书包 shūbāobackpack
笔记本 bǐjìběnnotebook
铅笔 qiānbǐpencil
马克笔 mǎkèbǐmarker
圆珠笔 yuánzhūbǐballpoint pen
橡皮 xiàngpíeraser
笔袋 bǐdàipencil bag
卷笔刀 juànbǐdāopencil sharpener
剪刀 jiǎndāoscissors
水壶 shuǐhúwater bottle
饭盒 fànhélunch box

Here are some sentence patterns to talk about school supplies.

  • 你带[SUPPLY] 了吗?Nǐ dài [SUPPLY] le ma?
    “Did you bring [SUPPLY]?”
  • 我的[SUPPLY] 不见了。Wǒ de [SUPPLY] bújiàn le.
    “My [SUPPLY] is missing.”
  • 能借我用一下你的[SUPPLY] 吗?Néng jiè wǒ yòng yīxià nǐ de [SUPPLY] ma?
    “Can I borrow your [SUPPLY] ?”
  • 你的[SUPPLY] 哪儿买的?真好用。Nǐ de [SUPPLY] nǎ’er mǎi de? Zhēn hǎo yòng.
    “Where did you buy your [SUPPLY]? It’s so good.”

7. Last But Not Least 

If you enjoy learning through blog articles like this, get on’s blog to explore more practical Chinese phrases, expressions, culture and more!

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Creative Ways to Improve Your Chinese Conversation Skills


Being able to speak and converse with native speakers is the ultimate goal of many Chinese learners. You may find numerous Chinese language learning materials to learn Chinese vocabulary and grammar and improve reading and writing skills, but not so much to improve your Chinese conversation skills. Bringing your Chinese to the next level takes a little more than diligence and time. 

You may have tried to immerse yourself in a Chinese language learning environment, you may have set up a goal of practicing 10 minutes of Chinese every day, and you may even be learning from a Chinese native speaker. These are great tactics to improve your Chinese speaking. What you may not have are a few tips and tricks to step up your game at a faster speed. In this article, you will find effective strategies, practical tips, and useful phrases to help you achieve the goal of speaking Chinese fluently and naturally. 

Woman and Man Talking on the Street

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Build Your Language Portfolio
  2. Get Familiar with Common Chinese Reaction Phrases
  3. Try Chinese Filler Words
  4. Be Brave to Start a Conversation in Chinese
  5. Have Your Answers Ready for Common Questions
  6. Last But Not Least

1. Build Your Language Portfolio

Do you love cheat sheets? They’re definitely a great tool to make fast progress in language learning. Think of building your language portfolio as creating a set of cheat sheets for yourself by collecting all the words and phrases that are most relevant to you. 

When choosing the phrases and expressions for your language portfolio, you should consider things you are likely to talk about (name, hometown, family, work, hobbies, etc.), topics and areas you’re interested in (foods, sports, arts, etc.) and more importantly, select the language style that fits you. Consider your age, gender, and the image you want to present as the main factors. You may choose to use simpler words to be clear and approachable or try out more advanced phrases to sound more sophisticated. You may choose to use modal particles to express your emotions and feelings or leave them alone altogether to be a straight talker. Don’t forget building your language portfolio is an ongoing project. You can adjust and update your profile as time goes by. After all, you are the one who decides what goes in your language portfolio! 

In the rest of this article, we’ll help you come up with ideas for your language portfolio with some everyday Chinese words and phrases that will come in handy in a variety of contexts and social situations. You’ll find notes on the phrases that only fit certain groups of people or in certain situations. 

2. Get Familiar with Common Chinese Reaction Phrases 

Sometimes, finding the right response phrases to someone’s story in a second language is even harder than telling the story. Many language learners have had the experience of coming up with awkward reaction phrases in conversations that are either too formal or directly translated from their native language. Memorizing some of the most common reaction phrases will be of great help for smoother conversations.

To express excitement or give a compliment, try to use: 

  • 太好了!Tài hǎo le! “Great!”
    • A: 我被录取了!”I got accepted!”
    • B: 太好了!”Great!”
  • 真棒!Zhēn bàng! “Excellent!”
    • A: 你看看,我写得怎么样?”Look, how’s my writing?”
    • B: 真棒!”Excellent!”
  • 赞!”Liked!” “Kudos (to you)!” 
    • Post: 第一次钢琴表演 (with a picture) dì yī cì gāngqín biǎoyǎn “Firsts piano recital” 
    • Comment: 赞!👍 Zàn!  “Kudos!” 
    Note: 赞 comes from an Internet slang expression, which is usually used by younger generations.
Woman Jumping in the Air

To express empathy, try to use: 

  • 太倒霉了。Tài dǎoméi le! “So unlucky!”
    • 真可怜。Zhēn kělián. “So pitiful.” 
      • 可惜了。Kěxī le. “What a shame.”

      Girl Comforting a Friend at School

      To show a neutral acknowledgment, try to use:

      • 好的。Hǎo de. “Okay./ Got it.”
      • 嗯,好。En, hǎo. “Okay./Got it.”
        Note: Younger females tend to reduplicate 嗯 to make it 嗯嗯 to sound more friendly. 
      • 行,我知道了。Xíng, wǒ zhīdàole. “Ok. Noted.”
        Note: Often said by people of supervising roles to subordinates.

      Woman Holding Up an Okay Gesture

      To react when you are surprised and skeptical at the same time, try to use: 

      • 啊?不会吧?Á? Búhuì ba? “What? That can’t be true.”
      • 怎么可能?Zěnme kěnéng? “How is that possible?” 
      • 你确定吗?Nǐ quèdìng ma? “Are you sure?”

      Man Pointing at His Phone

      To announce that you just had the “A-ha” moment, try to use:

      • 啊,我明白了!A, wǒ míngbái le! “Ah, I see!/Ah, I got it now!” 
      • 原来如此!Yuánlái rúcǐ! “That’s why!/ That makes sense now!” 
      • 哦!原来是这样!O, yuánlái shì zhèyàng! “Oh! That explains it!” 

      Man in Front of Blackboard with Light Bulbs

        ➜ Interested in more reaction phrases and other intermediate-level phrases? Find out more in this article

      3. Try Chinese Filler Words

      Filler words are a sound or words people make to indicate that they’re thinking and not finished speaking. Using filler words is another secret weapon to speak more like a Chinese native. They’re usually short and easy to say, but the hard part is how to intentionally incorporate them into your everyday conversations. Add these phrases to your portfolio and remind yourself to use them in place of the filler words in your native language. 

      • 那个…nèige…“Umm…/Well…”

      This one is probably the most infamous one due to its pronunciation similarity to the n-word in English, as well as the high frequency of usage. It’s often used before talking about difficult or awkward situations or when someone is thinking about what to say next. 

        ➢ 那个,我有一件事想告诉你。Nèigè, wǒ yǒu yī jiàn shì xiǎng gàosù nǐ. “Well, I want to tell you something.”
        ➢ 我要一个薯条,还有那个……鸡肉堡。Wǒ yào yīgè shǔtiáo, háiyǒu nèigè… jīròu bǎo. “I want an order of French fries, and ummm…chicken burger.” 

      • 然后 rànhòu “and then”

      Originally, it’s a conjunction used to describe what is happening next. In spoken Chinese, it has evolved into something that people say to connect thoughts that may not be sequential. Although it’s not grammatically correct, it’s still very commonly used and good to know. 

      Compare the following two sentences below and find out which one is used as a filler. 

        ➢ 我先吃了一个鸡蛋,然后喝了一口牛奶。Wǒ xiān chīle yīgè jīdàn, ránhòu hēle yīkǒu niúnǎi.
        “First I ate an egg, and then I took a drink of milk.” 
        ➢ 我不喜欢鸡蛋,然后我也不喜欢牛奶。Wǒ bù xǐhuān jīdàn, ránhòu wǒ yě bù xǐhuān niúnǎi.
        “I don’t like eggs, and I don’t like milk either.”
        Note: This one is used as a filler word. However, if you prefer to sound more “proper”, avoid using it this way.
      • 那什么 nèishénme “uh…” 

      This filler word is used to ease into a topic that may be awkward to speak about or when your brain suddenly goes blank.

        ➢ 他什么都好, 就是……那什么,头有点儿大。Tā shénme dōu hào, jiùshì … nèi shénme, tóu yǒudiǎnr dà. “He’s fine in every way, it’s just that his head is too big.” 
        ➢ 你帮我拿一下,那什么,垃圾袋。Nǐ bāng wǒ ná yīxià, nèi shénme, lājī dài. “Help me grab the uh…garbage bag.” 

        ➜ Find this interesting? Check out a comprehensive list of filler words here

      4. Be Brave to Start a Conversation in Chinese 

      There’s a Chinese saying that goes 万事开头难 wànshì kāitóu nán, translated as “everything is hard at the beginning”. When it comes to conversing in Chinese, you may have to take the initiative because most Chinese people are shy and like to keep their distance, although they may be dying to talk with you. Here are some polite and tried-and-true questions for starting up conversations with strangers. You’ll also find possible responses under the questions.

      • 请问怎么称呼您?Qǐngwèn zěnme chēnghu nín? “How should I address you?”
        Note: Very polite and somewhat formal. 
      • 我姓吴。你可以叫我小吴。Wǒ xìng Wú. Nǐ kěyǐ jiào wǒ xiǎo Wú. “My surname is Wu. You can call me Xiao Wu.”
        Note: It’s common to call younger colleagues 小 xiǎo + family name, “little + family name”.
      • 叫我安娜就好。Jiào wǒ Ānnà jiù hǎo. “Just call me Anna.” 
        Note: Many Chinese names are hard to pronounce for foreigners, therefore younger Chinese people are likely to introduce themselves with the English name they picked for themselves.  
      • 我可以坐这儿吗?Wǒ kěyǐ zuò zhèr ma? “May I sit here?”
        • 当然可以。Dāngràn kěyǐ. “Of course.” 
        • 不好意思,这儿有人了。Bù hǎoyìsi, zhèr yǒu rén le. “I’m sorry, it’s taken.” 
      • 你的手机壳好酷。在哪儿买的?Nǐ de shǒujī ké hǎo kù. Zài nǎr mǎi de? “Your phone case is so cool. Where did you get it?”
        • 是吗?谢谢。网上买的。Shì ma? Xièxiè. Wǎngshàng mǎi de. “Oh really? Thanks. I got it online.” 
      • 你吃的是什么?看上去很好吃。Nǐ chī de shì shénme? Kàn shàngqù hěn hào chī. “What are you eating? It looks delicious.”
        • 我吃的是墨西哥卷饼。Wǒ chī de shì Mòxīgē juǎn bǐng. “I’m eating a (Mexican) taco. “
        • 这个是玛格丽特披萨。Zhège shì mǎgélìtè pīsa. “This is Margarita pizza. “
      • 你是做什么工作的?Nǐ shì zuò shénme gōngzuò de? “What do you do?”
        • 我在外企工作。Wǒ zài wàiqǐ gōngzuò. “I work for a foreign company.”
        • 我是教英语的。Wǒ shì jiāo Yīngyǔ de. “I teach English.”
        ➜ To learn more ways to start conversations, check out this article

      5. Have Your Answers Ready for Common Questions

      When meeting for the first time, there are certain questions people like to ask that are predictable. To give yourself more confidence, have those answers ready. It wouldn’t hurt to rehearse them before important occasions like a job interview or meeting future in-laws! 

      Heads-up: Be prepared for very personal questions, especially from 大爷大妈 dàyé dàmā (“uncles and aunties” – elderly women and men). When you feel uncomfortable, just show them your most charming smile and try to change the subject with the conversation starter phrases listed above!  

      • 你会说中文吗?Nǐ huì shuō zhōngwén ma? “Do you speak Chinese?  
        • 会说一点儿。Huì shuō yìdiǎnr. “I can speak a little.”
          Note: Even when you can speak fluently, use this to sound humble and leave a good impression. 
        • 能听懂一些,但是说得不好。Néng tīng dǒng yīxiē, dànshì shuō de bù hǎo. “I understand some, but can’t speak very well.” 
      • 你来中国多久了?Nǐ lái Zhōngguó duōjiǔ le? “How long have you been in China?” 
        • 两年了。Liǎng nián le. “Two years already.” 
        • 不久,半年多。Bùjiǔ, bànnián duō. “Not long, over half a year.” 
      • 你是做什么工作的?Nǐ shì zuò shénme gōngzuò de? “What do you do for a living?” 
        • 我是教英语的。Wǒ shì jiào Yīngyǔ de. “I teach English.”
        • 我还在找工作。Wǒ hái zài zhǎo gōngzuò. “I’m still job hunting.” 
      • 你爸爸妈妈身体还好吗?Nǐ bàba māma shēntǐ hái hǎo ma? “How are your parents doing (health-wise)?” 
        • 很好。谢谢关心。Hěn hǎo. Xièxiè guānxīn. “Good. Thank you for asking about them.” 
        • 不如以前了。Bùrú yǐqián le. “Not as good as before.” 
        ➜ Want to learn more? check out the 10 most commonly asked questions and how to answer them in Chinese here

      6. Last But Not Least

      The list for language portfolio phrases goes on. But I believe you will have a great headstart with the phrases we showed you. Now it’s time for you to try creating a language portfolio for yourself. 

      Below is a sample of a language portfolio for a full-time student in her 20s. Note all the phrases are picked from those that would fit her age, gender, occupation, and speech style. 

      Introducing Your Name我叫刘小莉。
      Wǒ jiào Liú Xiǎolì. 
      Nǐ kěyǐ jiào wǒ Xiǎo Lì.
      My name is Liu Xiaoli.
      You can call me Xiaoli.
      Introducing Occupation我是大学生。
      Wǒ shì dàxuéshēng.
      Wǒ xué kuàijì zhuānyè.
      I’m a college student.
      I major in accounting.
      Talking about Hobbies我喜欢唱歌。
      Wǒ xǐhuān chànggē.
      Wǒ de àihào shì lǚyóu.
      I like to sing.
      My hobby is travelling. 
      Asking for the Name你叫什么名字?
      Nǐ jiào shénme míngzì?
      Zěnme chēnghu nín?
      What’s your name?
      How should I address you?
      Zěnme chēnghu nín? is more formal and polite, often used with people of higher social status
      Asking about Work你是做什么工作的?
      Nǐ shì zuò shénme gōngzuò de?
      Gōngzuò máng ma? 
      What work do you do?
      Have you been busy with work?
      Asking about Family你爸爸妈妈身体还好吗?
      Nǐ bàba māmā shēntǐ hái hǎo ma?
      Nǐ háizi duōdà le?
      How are your parents?
      How old is your child?
      ContextReaction PhrasesTranslationNote
      Feeling Surprised真的吗?
      Zhēnde ma?
      Really? Versatile, can be used to respond to good or bad news.
      What? Often used to react to bad news. Rising tone. 
      Feeling Excited太棒了!
      Tài bàng le!
      Yay!Can sound a bit childish. Often accompanied by a “victory” hand gesture. 
      Feeling Skeptical不会吧?
      Bú huì ba?
      That can’t be true.
      Nǐ quèdìng ma? 
      Are you sure?
      Feeling Empathetic太倒霉了。
      Tài dǎoméi le. 
      So unlucky!
      Hǎo kělián.
      Poor thing. 

      When having conversations with Chinese native speakers, don’t forget to utilize the conversation skills you are already using when speaking in your own language, such as show interest in the person you are speaking with, learning their name and using it repeatedly, paying attention to body language, etc. 

      Need more ideas for your language portfolio but don’t know where to look? Head on over to the vocabulary lists on Adjust or add to the lists with phrases that are relevant to you. 

      Need someone to check your portfolio?  Get the Premium PLUS subscription on ChineseClass101 and enjoy the 1-on-1 coaching from your own private teacher, who can add or adjust your Chinese conversation portfolio and practice with you!

      While you’re there, ask your teacher about personalized exercises, assignments, and audio samples. They would be more than happy to find the right materials for you. On top of that, feedback and necessary corrections will always be ready for you within two business days. Find your private teacher and learn to speak Chinese now on!

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese

      20+ Questions and Phrases to Start a Conversation in Chinese


      If you are an introvert like me, you might feel nervous in many social situations where you have to make conversations with total strangers. You might also be uncomfortable with the presence of awkward silence during conversations and struggle to find what to say next to keep the conversation going. As if it’s not challenging and nerve-racking enough, you have to start conversations in the Chinese language!

      Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll show you how to start conversations in Chinese with more than 20 phrases to ask questions and make comments on basic conversation topics. In addition to the conversation starters, you’ll learn the most common responses to those starters, so you know what to say when asked these questions and will be more prepared for conversations and social interactions with Chinese native speakers.

      Want to know how you can make the best use of this article? Pick your favorite phrases and questions from the list below, create your own Chinese conversation starter cheat sheets, and review them before you go!

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
      1. A Few Tips
      2. Mingling and Socializing
      3. First Day of School/Work
      4. First Date
      5. Reconnecting with a Friend
      6. Conclusion

      1. A Few Tips

      Here are some general tips on how to break the ice and get conversations going with people you don’t know or just met, regardless of which language you’re using. Rehearse the conversation starters at home and make sure you present them in the most natural way. It may also be helpful to tell them you just started to learn Chinese.

        ★ Ask people’s names and say them correctly and frequently.
        ★ Give specific and sincere compliments.
        ★ Ask questions and show genuine interest in the topic.
        ★ Mention something you may have in common.
        ★ Ask for help.

      Just like Dale Carnegie reiterated in his famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People, the most important rule is to make other people feel important. Keep this golden rule in mind no matter what social setting you’re in, and you will benefit a lot from it.

      Guy in Suit in Front of a Muscled Shadow

      2. Mingling and Socializing

      Imagine you’re invited to a party where you don’t know anybody but the host, but the host is busy entertaining all guests and can’t chat with you. How would you survive for the rest of the party? Striking up conversations with strangers is not easy and requires interpersonal and conversational skills. But once you get conversations started, you are on your way to winning new friends and starting new relationships!

      People Talking and Laughing at a Party

      Here are some basic Chinese conversation example phrases you can use to start a conversation with people around you at a party:

      • 你们是怎么认识[host] 的?
        Nǐmen shì zěnme rènshi [host] de?)
        “How did you meet/know the [host]?”

      You might get the following responses:

        ❖ 我和他/她是同事。
        (Wǒ hé tā/tā shì tóngshì.)
        “He/She and I are colleagues.”
        ❖ 他/她是我同学。
        (Tā/tā shì wǒ tóngxué.)
        “He/She is (was) my classmate.”

      Food is a great topic to talk about. An excellent choice for starting a conversation. 

      • 你吃的是什么?看上去很好吃。
        Nǐ chī de shì shénme? Kàn shàngqù hěn hào chī.)
        “What are you eating? It looks delicious.”

      A few example responses include:

        ❖ 我吃的是墨西哥卷饼。
        (Wǒ chī de shì Mòxīgē juǎn bǐng.)
        “I’m eating a (Mexican) taco. “
        ❖ 这个是玛格丽特披萨。
        (Zhège shì mǎgélìtè pīsa.)
        “This is Margarita pizza. ”

      Asking how long it takes for someone to get to this place is another common and small talk question in Chinese.

      • 你住的离这儿远吗?
        Nǐ zhù de lí zhèr yuǎn ma?)
        “Do you live far from here?”

      You don’t have to give an accurate answer if you’re uncomfortable, simply replying with a 挺远的 (tǐng yuǎn de) “pretty far” or 不远 (bù yuǎn) “not far” is enough. 

      To give a more specific answer to that question, you may say:

        ❖ 挺远的。坐地铁30分钟。
        (Tǐng yuǎn de. Zuò dìtiě sānshí fēnzhōng.)
        “Pretty far. It takes 30 minutes on the subway train. ”
        ❖ 还行。我打车10分钟就到了。
        (Hái xíng. Wǒ dǎchē shí fēnzhōng jiù dào le.)
        “It’s alright. I took a taxi and I got here in 10 minutes.”
        ❖ 很近。我走路来的。
        (Hěn jìn. Wǒ zǒulù lái de.)
        “Very close. I walked here.”

      Asking someone what they do is not rude in Chinese culture. So you can start your conversation by asking:

        Nǐ shì zuò shénme gōngzuò de?)
        “What do you do?”

      You don’t have to give a detailed report of what exactly you do and what organization you’re in. Here are some responses you might be able to use when asked this question.

        ❖ 我在外企工作。
        (Wǒ zài wàiqǐ gōngzuò.)
        “I work for a foreign company.”
        ❖ 我是教英语的。
        (Wǒ shì jiāo Yīngyǔ de.)
        “My job is teaching English.”
        ❖ 我是设计师。
        (Wǒ shì shèjìshī.)
        “I’m a designer.”

      After you start a conversation with a couple of rounds of questions and answers, you can try to break the ice even more by offering help. 

      • 我去拿点儿吃的。你需要什么吗?
        Wǒ qù ná diǎnr chī de. Nǐ xūyào shénme ma?)
        “I’m going to get something to eat. Do you need anything?”

      The other person might say:

        ❖ 不用了, 谢谢。
        (Bùyòng le, xièxiè.)
        “No, thanks.”
        ❖ 我跟你一起去吧。
        (Wǒ gēn nǐ yīqǐ qù ba.)
        “Let me go with you.”

      3. First Day of School/Work

      The first day at a new school or a new job can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. You’ll meet new people and familiarize yourself with a new environment. Knowing what questions to ask and how to approach people politely is the key to making a good first impression. In this section, you will learn some must-know phrases for Chinese beginners. 

      Kid with Backpack Arriving at School

      Don’t be embarrassed by the fact that you’re a newcomer and you don’t know everything. Start your conversations by introducing yourself and/or asking questions, such as:

      • 你好。我叫[name]。这是我第一天上班/上学。请问怎么称呼您?
        Nǐ hǎo. Wǒ jiào [name]. Zhè shì wǒ dì yī tiān shàngbān/shàngxué. Qǐngwèn zěnme chēnghu nín?)
        “Hi, my name is [name]. It’s my first day working/studying here. How should I address you?”

      In just a few sentences, you greet the other person, tell them your name and your situation, and politely ask for their name. It is the perfect way to be part of the organization.

      People may respond to your question as follows:

        ❖ 我姓王,你可以叫我小王。
        (Wǒ xìng Wáng, nǐ kěyǐ jiào wǒ Xiǎo Wáng.)
        “My last name is Wang. You can call me Little Wang. “
        ❖ 免贵姓周。
        (Miǎn guì xìng Zhōu.)
        “My last name is Zhou. “

      Note: 免贵姓[last name] is a polite and formal set phrase to introduce your last name. 

      • 你好。我叫马克。
        (Nǐ hǎo. Wǒ jiào Mǎkè.)
        “Hi. My name is Mark. ”

      You can also use a general greeting to get someone’s attention and ask your question right away.

      • 你好。请问[place/thing/person]在哪儿?
        Nǐ hǎo. Qǐngwèn [place/thing/person] zài nǎr?)
        “Hello. I’m new and don’t really know my way around here. Where can I find [place/thing/person]? ”

      The next two questions are perfect conversation starters for lunchtime, which is a great opportunity to socialize with your classmates or coworkers:

      • 我可以坐这儿吗?
        Wǒ kěyǐ zuò zhèr ma?)
        “Can I sit here?”
      • 你要一起去吃午餐吗?
        Nǐ yào yīqǐ qù chī wǔcān ma?)
        “Would you like to go to lunch together?”

      People may respond to the “may-I-sit-here” question with:

        ❖ 当然可以。
        (Dāngrán kěyǐ.)
        “Of course you can.”
        ❖ 不好意思,这里有人了。
        (Bù hǎoyìsi, zhè li yǒurén le.)
        “Sorry, someone took this seat.”

      You may get responses to the “go-to-lunch-together” question such as:

        ❖ 好啊,走吧。
        (Hǎo a, zǒu ba.)
        “Sure, let’s go.”
        ❖ 我一会儿再去。你先去吧。
        (Wǒ yīhuǐr zài qù. Nǐ xiān qù ba.)
        “I’ll go later. You go ahead.”

      Asking how long someone has been doing something is not only a good conversation starter but also a good way to get to know people.

      • 你在这儿工作/上学多久了?
        Nǐ zài zhèr gōngzuò/shàngxué duōjiǔ le?)
        “How long have you been working/studying here?”

      Compliments work like a charm in most situations. You can make yourself sound more genuinely interested and impressed by following them up with questions such as “Where did you get it?”

      • 你这个裙子/衬衫真好看。在哪儿买的?
        Nǐ zhège qúnzi/chènshān zhēn hǎokàn. Zài nǎr mǎi de?)
        “Your dress/shirt looks really nice. Where did you get it?”

      4. First Date

      Nobody wants to spoil the first date! Doing some homework ahead of time will help calm your nerves and make your time together more enjoyable.

      A Couple Having Dinner Together

      Here are some safe and fun things to talk about on your first date:

      • 你今天真美/帅。我特别喜欢你的发型/项链/鞋子/香水。
        Nǐ jīntiān zhēn měi/shuài. Wǒ tèbié xǐhuān nǐ de fǎxíng/xiàngliàn/xiézi/xiāngshuǐ.)
        “You look so beautiful/handsome today! I especially like your hair/necklace/shoes/cologne.”

      If your date looks like they’ve spent quite some time dressing up (or even if they don’t!), tell them how great they look! Find a particular item on them to make your compliment more meaningful.

      If your date is Chinese, take into account that they may not take the compliments like Westerners do. Instead, they might say something to deny or disagree like:

      • 没有没有,我随便穿的。
        (Méiyǒu méiyǒu, wǒ suíbiàn chuān de.)
        “No no, I just picked something out quickly without thinking much about it.”

      For the younger generations who are influenced by Western culture, they may thank you for the compliment with a shy smile.

      Once the ice is broken, here are some great questions you can ask to get to know more about each other.

      • 你是在哪里长大的?
        Nǐ shì zài nǎlǐ cháng dà de?)
        “Where did you grow up?”
      • 你有宠物吗?
        Nǐ yǒu chǒngwù ma?)
        “Do you have any pets?”
      • 你最喜欢的演员/歌手/明星是谁?
        Nǐ zuì xǐhuān de yǎnyuán/gēshǒu/míngxīng shì shéi?)
        “Who’s your favorite actor/singer/celebrity?”
      • 你休息的时候喜欢做什么?
        Nǐ xiūxi de shíhòu xǐhuān zuò shénme?)
        “What do you like to do in your free time?”

      5. Reconnecting with a Friend

      As we settle into romantic relationships, new friendships, family, and careers, we seem to have less time for friends we already made. If you have friends that you’d like to keep, you need to have frequent and regular check-ins and interactions. Let’s say you haven’t talked to your friend Karen for a few months; what would you say in a text to reconnect with her?

      Here are some ideas:

      • 这个周末有空聚一聚吗?
        (Zhège zhōumò yǒu kòng jù yī jù ma?)
        “Hey, do you have time to get together this weekend?”
      • 好久不见了。有空给我打电话!(
        Hǎojiǔ bùjiàn le. Yǒu kòng gěi wǒ dǎ diànhuà!)
        “It’s been a while. Give me a call when you have a chance.”
      • 什么时候出来吃饭?
        Shénme shíhòu chūlái chīfàn?
        “When can we go have dinner together?”

      The sentences above are directly asking your friend to reconnect by seeing or talking to each other. You can also send a text out of the blue to ask for opinions. For example,

      • 你帮我看看哪个好看。蓝色的还是紫色的?
        (Nǐ bāng wǒ kàn kan nǎge hǎokàn. Lán sè de háishì zǐsè de?)
        “Help me choose which one looks better. The blue one or the purple one?”

      You can also ask silly questions that will lead to a corny joke. Here’s an example (a good one!)

      • You: 请问,1和0谁比较节俭?
        Qǐngwèn,yī hé líng shéi bǐjiào jiéjiǎn?)
        “Who is more thrift? 1 or 0?”
          Karen: 谁啊?(Shéi a?)

        You: 1啊,因为零花钱。(
        Yī a, yīnwèi línghuāqián.)
          “1, because 0 spends money.”

      Note: 零花钱 (línghuāqián) is a phrase that means “pocket money,” but it’s used as a pun in this joke with 零  (líng) “zero” being a person who 花钱 (huāqián)  “spends money.”

      Chinese Money - 1 Yuan

      6. Conclusion

      I hope you have collected enough phrases for basic Chinese conversations from this article to make your own cheat sheet. The more you practice, the better you will get. The most important thing is to take the first step, and don’t worry too much about what other people think of you!

      While preparing yourself for your next party and working on getting more fluent in Chinese, take advantage of the abundant amount of vocabulary lists on Practice with audio recordings and speak with more confidence. 

      If you’d like to further boost your Chinese skills and learn with specific goals, you can always upgrade to Premium PLUS subscription and get 1-on-1 coaching from your own private teacher, who will customize a Chinese learning pathway just for you!

      Ask your teacher about personalized exercises, assignments, and audio samples. They would be more than happy to find the right materials for you. On top of that, feedback and necessary corrections will always be ready for you within two business days. Find your private teacher now on!

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese

      Talk About Countries and Nationalities in Chinese


      “What country are you from?” 
      “Are you American?”
      “Can you speak Chinese?”

      Get ready for these incoming questions when you go to China, especially when you don’t look Chinese, or don’t sound Chinese. As annoying as they might sound, these are actually great icebreaker questions to strike a conversation, and get to know people.

      Knowing how to tell people about your nationality, and understanding the questions about nationalities in Chinese are one of the first things Chinese learners should learn. It’s also a good idea to learn a few other common nationalities, so you can make friends wherever you go! In this article, you’ll find useful phrases about nationalities in Chinese, and other related phrases for travelers!

      Two Men Having a Conversation

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
      1. Top 10 Countries and Nationalities in China
      2. How to Ask People About Their Nationality
      3. How to Tell People About Your Nationality
      4. Bonus: Countries, Cities and Languages
      5. Before You Go

      1. Top 10 Countries and Nationalities in China

      The very first must-know word in Chinese that’s related to countries and nationalities is of course - China 中国 Zhōngguó.
      Here’s an easy formula to say nationality in Chinese:

      China + 人 rén
      “China + person”

      For example, the people who are from China, Chinese citizens or Chinese nationals, are called 中国人 Zhōngguó rén.

      Top 10 Foreign Visitors to China By Nation 

      To learn more about nationalities in Chinese, let’s first find out what the top nationalities that visit China are. According to this survey, the top 10 foreign visitor arrivals to China for sightseeing in 2017 by nations, are listed below. See if you can find your nationality in this chart.

      World Flags

      1.🇰🇷 韩国 Hánguó
      “South Korea”
      2.🇷🇺 俄罗斯 Éluósī
      3.🇺🇸 美国 Měiguó
      “United States of America”
      4.🇲🇾 马来西亚 Mǎláixīyà
      5.🇯🇵 日本 Rìběn
      6.🇹🇭 泰国 Tàiguó
      7.🇮🇳 印度尼西亚 Yìndùníxīyà
      8.🇸🇬 新加坡 Xīnjiāpō
      9.🇨🇦 加拿大 Jiānádà
      10.🇦🇺 澳大利亚 Àodàlìyà

      To turn these countries into nationalities, all you need to do is add rén after the country name.

      1.🇰🇷 韩国 Hánguó
      “South Korea”
      🇰🇷 韩国人 Hánguó rén
      “South Korean”
      2.🇷🇺 俄罗斯 Éluósī
      🇷🇺 俄罗斯人 Éluósī rén
      3.🇺🇸 美国 Měiguó
      “United States of America”
      🇺🇸 美国人 Měiguó rén
      4.🇲🇾 马来西亚 Mǎláixīyà
      🇲🇾 马来西亚人 Mǎláixīyà rén
      5.🇯🇵 日本 Rìběn
      🇯🇵 日本人 Rìběn rén
      6.🇹🇭 泰国 Tàiguó
      🇹🇭 泰国人 Tàiguó rén
      7.🇮🇳 印度尼西亚 Yìndùníxīyà
      🇮🇳 印度尼西亚人 Yìndùníxīyà rén
      8.🇸🇬 新加坡 Xīnjiāpō
      🇸🇬 新加坡人 Xīnjiāpō rén
      9.🇨🇦 加拿大 Jiānádà
      🇨🇦 加拿大人 Jiānádà rén
      10.🇦🇺 澳大利亚 Àodàlìyà
      🇦🇺 澳大利亚人 Àodàlìyà rén

      2. How to Ask People About Their Nationality 

      To ask someone about their nationality, or where they are from, there are a few common ways. 

      1. 你是哪国人?Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén?

      Literal translation: You are which country person?
      Natural translation: Which country are you from?

      Note: This question is specifically asking for 国 guó “country”. There is a more general way to ask where someone is from, which applies to all, from hometown to home country. See question #3 below. 

      2. 你是哪个国家的?Nǐ shì nǎge guójiā de?

      Literal translation: You belong to which country?
      Natural translation: Which country are you from?

      Note: This is a casual variation of 你是哪国人?Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén? Both of them are used to ask about someone’s home country. 

      3.  你是哪里人?/ 你是哪儿人?Nǐ shì nǎlǐ rén?/ Nǐ shì nǎr rén?

      Literal translation: You are where person?
      Natural translation: Where are you from?

      Note: 哪里 nǎlǐ and 哪儿 nǎr both mean “where”, and they are interchangeable. People from the north part of China tend to use 哪儿  (nǎr)  more often, and people from the south part of the China prefer to use 哪里 (nǎlǐ).  

      4. 你来自哪里?Nǐ láizì nǎlǐ?

      Literal translation: You come from where?
      Natural translation: Where do you come from?

      Note: The word 来自 láizì is a formal way of saying “to come from.” You would often hear it being used in a self-introduction to a group of people, such as in a class, workshop, on stage, or other relatively formal settings.

      Woman Making a Speech

      5. 你是什么国籍?Nǐ shì shénme guójí?

      Literal translation: You are what nationality?’
      Natural translation: What’s your nationality?

      Note: This question turns the formality to the highest level. You are more likely asked this question when you’re going through customs and immigration at the airport, or filling out a form in a city hall. 

        ❖ Cultural Tip 1: If you’re interested in Nationality Law of the People’s Republic of China, such as the application of restoration of Chinese nationally, visit this government website
        ❖ Cultural Tip 2: If you’d like to know the difference between the Republic of China and People’s Republic of China, check out this source

      3. How to Tell People About Your Nationality

      To respond to the questions above, there are three ways.

      1. 我是 China 人。Wǒ shì China rén.

      “I’m a China person.”

      2. 我来自 China。Wǒ láizì China.

      “I come from China.”

      3. 我的国籍是 China。Wǒ de guójí shì China.

      “My nationality is China.”

      Note: When filling out a form, you can put your 国家 guójiā “country” in the 国籍 guójí “nationality” section. You don’t have to write China 人 rén, like you would in spoken language. For example, when filling out an entry card when arriving at a Chinese airport, in the nationality section, you could simply write 美国 Měiguó.

      Filling Out Entry Card

      4. Other Ways to Tell About Your Origin

      For those of you who have been moving around, and whose situations are a little too complicated to fit in one of the patterns above, here are some other phrases you could choose from.

      • 我的爸爸/妈妈是 [country A ] 人。我是在 [country B] 长大的。
        Wǒ de bàba/māma shì [country A] rén. Wǒ shì zài [country B] zhǎng dà de.
        “My dad/mom is [country A] person. I grew up in [country B].”
      • 我在 [country A] 出生,在 [country B] 长大。
        Wǒ zài [country A] chūshēng, zài [country B] zhǎng dà.
        “I was born in [country A], and grew up in [country B].”
      • 我是 [country A] 人,不过我现在住在 [country B]。
        Wǒ shì [country A] rén, búguò wǒ xiànzài zhù zài [country B].
        “I’m a [country A] person, but now I live in [country B].”
      • 我是双重国籍,[country A] 和 [country B]。
        Wǒ shì shuāngchóng guójí, [country A] hé [country B].
        “I have dual citizenship: [country A] and [country B].”
      • 我是 [country A] 人,也是 [country B] 人。
        Wǒ shì [country A] rén, yěshì [country B] rén.
        “I’m a [country A] person, and also a [country B] person.”


      4. Bonus: Countries, Cities and Languages 

      If you’re learning a foreign language, chances are you’re passionate about exploring the world. Let’s take this opportunity to dig a little deeper into the countries, cities and languages around the world by learning how to say the related phrases in Chinese. 

      I’ve expanded the table above to add the columns of capital cities, major cities and languages.

      NationCapital CityMajor CityMain Language(s)
      🇨🇳中国 Zhōngguó
      北京 Běijīng
      上海 Shànghǎi
      汉语 hànyǔ
      “Chinese language”
      🇰🇷 韩国 Hánguó
      “South Korea”
      首尔 Shǒu’ěr
      釜山 Fǔshān
      韩语 hányǔ
      “Korean language”
      🇷🇺 俄罗斯 Éluósī
      莫斯科 Mòsīkē
      圣彼得堡 Shèngbǐdébǎo
      St. Petersburg
      俄语 éyǔ
      “Russian language”
      🇺🇸 美国 Měiguó
      “United States of America”
      华盛顿 Huáshèngdùn
      “Washington DC”
      纽约 Niǔyuē
      “New York”
      英语 yīngyǔ
      “English language”
      🇲🇾 马来西亚 Mǎláixīyà
      吉隆坡 Jílóngpō
      “Kuala Lumpur” 
      新山 Xīnshān
      Johor Bahru” 
      马来语 mǎláiyǔ
      “Malaysian language”
      华语 huáyǔ *
      “Chinese language”
      英语 yīngyǔ
      “English language”
      🇯🇵 日本 Rìběn
      东京 Dōngjīng
      大阪 Dàbǎn
      日语 Rìyǔ
      “Japanese language”
      🇹🇭 泰国 Tàiguó
      曼谷 Màngǔ
      清迈 Qīngmài
      Chiang Mai” 
      泰语 Tàiyǔ
      “Thai language”
      🇮🇳 印度尼西亚 Yìndùníxīyà
      雅加达 Yǎjiādá
      泗水 Sìshuǐ
      印尼语 Yìnníyǔ
      “Indonesian language”
      🇸🇬 新加坡 Xīnjiāpō
      新加坡市 Xīnjiāpō shì
      “Singapore City”
      n/a英语 yīngyǔ
      “English language”
      华语 huáyǔ
      “Chinese language”
      马来语 Mǎláiyǔ
      “Malaysian language”
      🇨🇦 加拿大 Jiānádà
      渥太华 Wòtàihuá
      多伦多 Duōlúnduō 
      英语 yīngyǔ
      “English language”
      法语 fǎyǔ
      “French language”
      🇦🇺 澳大利亚 Àodàlìyà
      墨尔本 Mò’ěrběn
      悉尼 Xīní
      英语 yīngyǔ
      “English language”

      * Chinese language is referred to as 华语 huáyǔ mostly in southeast asian countries where Mandarin is spoken. 

      To use the phrases we’ve covered in this article to make self-introductions in Chinese, here are two examples: 

        ➢ 大家好!我来自韩国首尔。我会说韩语和汉语。
        Dàjiā hǎo! Wǒ láizì Hánguó Shǒu’ěr. Wǒ huì shuō hányǔ hé hànyǔ.
        “Hello everyone! I come from Seoul, Korea. I speak Korean and Chinese.”
        ➢ 我是加拿大人。我是在渥太华出生,多伦多长大的。我会说英语、法语还有汉语。
        Wǒ shì Jiānádà rén. Wǒ shì zài Wòtàihuá chūshēng, Duōlúnduō zhǎng dà de. Wǒ huì shuō yīngyǔ, fǎyǔ hái yǒu hànyǔ.
        “I’m Canadian. I was born in Ottawa and I grew up in Toronto. I speak English, French and Chinese.”

      5. Before You Go

      Hope this article helps you build up your vocabulary about nationalities, and you are now more prepared to answer questions like “What country are you from?” “Are you American?” “Can you speak Chinese?” 

      Don’t forget to explore the abundant vocabulary lists on Practice with audio recordings and speak with more confidence. 

      If you’d like to further boost your Chinese skills and learn with specific goals, you can always upgrade to Premium PLUS subscription and get 1-on-1 coaching from your own private teacher, who will customize a Chinese learning pathway just for you!

      Ask your teacher about personalized exercises, assignments, and audio samples, they would be more than happy to find the right materials for you. On top of that, feedback and necessary corrections will always be ready for you within 2 business days. Find your private teacher now on!

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese

      Advanced Chinese Phrases and Four-Character Idioms


      Let’s compare the following two sentences, which describe the same pretty girl:

      1. 这个女孩儿很漂亮。
        Zhège nǚháir hěn piàoliang.
        “This girl is very pretty.”
      1. 这位姑娘长发飘飘亭亭玉立,宛如仙女下凡
        Zhè wèi gūniang chángfà piāopiāo, tíngtíng yùlì, wǎnrú xiānnǚ xiàfán.
        “This girl, with her long hair flowing in the wind, is so slender and elegant that she is like a goddess descending to the earth.”

      Which one has the WOW effect? 

      The second one, without any doubt, thanks to those carefully chosen and beautifully stacked four-character phrases. 

      A Surprised, Long-haired Asian Girl

      Advanced Chinese phrases like these not only help depict vivid images and express deep meanings with few characters, but they also create a brisk and flowy rhythm. 

      Being able to properly use advanced four-character phrases manifests your Chinese language abilities, which could lead you to more opportunities. In this article, you’ll find a list of 40 advanced Chinese phrases of four characters each for use in various situations. You’ll also find two sample sentences for each phrase.

      Before we get to our list, here’s a friendly reminder: You may know that the majority of Chinese idioms, or 成语 (chéngyǔ), are made up of four characters; however, not all four-character phrases are idioms. Many four-character phrases are the combination of two two-character words that are often associated with each other and said together, like a set phrase. Idioms or set phrases, they’re both great for advanced learners. 我们来者不拒! (Wǒmen láizhě bújù!) “All are welcome!”

      Note: The phrases below marked with an asterisk * are not 成语 (chéngyǔ) “idioms” but 固定用语 (gùdìng yòngyǔ) “set phrases.”  

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
      1. 分析与推理 (fēnxī yǔ tuīlǐ) – Reasoning & Inference
      2. 推荐与自荐 (tuījiàn yǔ zìjiàn) – Recommendations & Self-recommendations
      3. 发言与领导力 (fāyán yú lǐngdǎo lì) – Public Speaking & Leadership
      4. 鼓励和赞扬 (gǔlì hé zànyáng) – Encouragement & Compliments
      5. Last But Not Least

      1. 分析与推理 (fēnxī yǔ tuīlǐ) – Reasoning & Inference

      Writing an essay or research paper is not an easy task. Choosing the right words and phrases for connecting facts and opinions is half the battle. Four-character phrases are perfect for this occasion due to their compact but profound nature. Here are some advanced-level Chinese phrases for making inferences and drawing conclusions for research papers, reports, and other formal texts.

      Writing a Thesis on a Laptop
      • 显而易见 (xiǎn’éryìjiàn) – “obvious” / “obviously”

      显而易见, 第二种方法比第一种更有效。
      Xiǎn’éryìjiàn, dì èr zhǒng fāngfǎ bǐ dì yī zhǒng gèng yǒuxiào.
      “Obviously, the second method is more efficient than the first one.”

      Dì èr zhǒng fāngfǎ de yǒuxiào xìng shì xiǎn’ér yìjiàn de.
      “The effectiveness of the second method is obvious.”

      • 相对而言 (xiāngduì éryán) – “comparatively” / “relatively speaking” *

      Xiāngduì éryán, nǚháir de yǔyán nénglì bǐ nánháir de yāo qiáng yīxiē.
      “Relatively speaking, girls show more talent in languages than boys.”

      Xiāngduì éryán, dì yī gè yù’àn duì xiāofèizhě huì gèng yǒu xīyǐnlì.
      “Comparatively, the first proposal could potentially attract more customers.”

      • 相辅相成 (xiāngfǔ xiāngchéng) – “to complement one another”

      Zhīshi de xuéxí hé yìngyòng xiāngfǔ xiāngchéng, xiānghù cùjìn.
      “The acquisition and application of knowledge complement and benefit each other.”

      Zhè liǎng diǎn qíshí bìng bù máodùn, ér shì xiāngfǔ xiāngchéng de.
      “These two points, in fact, don’t contradict each other; instead, they complement each other.”

      • 密不可分 (mìbù kěfēn) – “inseparable” / “closely related”

      Yǐshàng liǎng gè yàosù mìbù kěfēn, quēyī bùkě.
      “The above two factors are inseparable and indispensable.”

      Shāngjiā de chéngxìn hé kǒubēi yǒuzhe mìbù kěfēn de liánxì.
      “The integrity of a business is closely linked to its reputation.”

      • 诸如此类 (zhūrú cǐlèi) – “things like this” *

      Jìn jǐ nián yǒu bù shǎo zhūrú cǐlèi de yánjiū.
      “There have been quite a few studies like this in recent years.”

      Zhūrú cǐlèi de guāndiǎn zài zuòzhě de yǐngpíng zhōng yě kěyǐ zhǎodào.
      “Views like this can also be found in the writer’s movie reviews.”

      • 与此同时 (yǔcǐ tóngshí) – “meanwhile” / “in the meantime” *

      Yǔcǐ tóngshí, fángjià de shàngzhǎng wéichí zài píngjūn měinián 2.8% de shuǐpíng.
      “At the same time, the increase in housing prices has remained at an average annual rate of 2.8%.”

      Wǒmen chǎnpǐn de xiāoshòu liàng wěnbù zēngzhǎng, yǔcǐ tóngshí, wǒmen de tuánduì yě zhuàngdà le xǔduō.
      “While the sales volume of our product has been growing steadily, our team has also grown a lot.”

      • 由此可见 (yóucǐ kějiàn) – “it can be seen that…”

      Yóucǐ kějiàn, zhège jiélùn cúnzài jí dà de lòudòng.
      “It can be seen that there are huge loopholes in this conclusion.”

      Yīgè shūhū yǐnfāle zhěnggè xìtǒng de bēngkuì, yóucǐ kějiàn, xìjié shì duōme zhòngyào.
      “An oversight triggered the collapse of the entire system, which shows how important details are.”

      • 总而言之 (zǒng’ér yánzhī) – “all in all”

      Zǒng’ér yánzhī, diànzǐ chǎnpǐn gěi értóng de shēnxīn jiànkāng dàilái le fùmiàn yǐngxiǎng.
      “All in all, electronic products have a negative impact on children’s physical and mental health.”

      Zǒng’ér yánzhī, xīnguān bìngdú zài búduàn de biànyì.
      “All in all, the new coronavirus is constantly mutating.”

      • 综上所述 (zòngshàng suǒshù) – “in summary” / “to conclude”

      Zòngshàng suǒshù, réngōng zhǐ néng bùnéng tìdài zhēnrén fānyì.
      “In summary, artificial intelligence cannot replace human translation.”

      Zòng shàng suǒ shù, néng zhēnzhèng dádào jiǎn zhòng mùdì de fāngfǎ zhǐyǒu liǎng zhǒng.
      “In summary, there are only two ways to truly achieve the goal of weight loss.”

      2. 推荐与自荐 (tuījiàn yǔ zìjiàn) – Recommendations & Self-recommendations

      Four-character phrases also help create highlights in resumes, application letters, and recommendation letters. Plus, they allow you to pack a lot more information into the documentation when there are limitations on the page number and word count. 

      Below are some commonly used and powerful phrases describing personal and professional qualities that most Chinese employers look for.

      Resume, Pen, and Glasses
      • 认真负责 (rènzhēn fùzé) – “conscientious and responsible” *

      Huáng Hàorán gōngzuò rènzhēn fùzé, shì wǒmen gōngsī de bǎngyàng yuángōng.
      “Haoran Huang is conscientious and responsible. He has been a model employee of our company.”

      Rènzhēn fùzé shì wǒ duì zìjǐ de zuìdī yāoqiú.
      “Being conscientious and responsible is the minimum requirement I have for myself.”

      • 勤奋好学 (qínfèn hàoxué) – “diligent and studious” 

      Dì yī cì jiēchù Huáng Hàorán, wǒ jiù fāxiàn tā shì ge fēicháng qínfèn hàoxué de xuéshēng.
      “When I met Huang Haoran for the first time, I noticed right away that he is a very hardworking student.”

      Cóngxiǎo dàodà, qínfèn hàoxué dōu shì lǎoshī hé tóngxué men duì wǒ de yīzhì píngjià.
      “Growing up, I was always known as a diligent student among my teachers and classmates.”

      • 谦虚谨慎 (qiānxū jǐnshèn) – “modest and cautious” *

      Qiānxū jǐnshèn shì Huáng Hàorán zuì yōuxiù de pǐnzhí zhī yī.
      “Modesty is one of Huang Haoran’s best qualities.”

      Wǒ shǐzhōng rènwéi, qiānxū jǐnshèn shì wéirén chǔshì de jīběn yuánzé.
      “I have always believed that being modest and cautious are the basic principles of dealing with people and situations.”

      • 乐观开朗 (lèguān kāilǎng) – “optimistic and cheerful” *

      Huánghàorán lèguān kāilǎng, shēn shòu tóngshì hé kèhù de xǐ’ài.
      “Huang Haoran is optimistic and cheerful, and he is popular among colleagues and customers.”

      Lèguān kāilǎng de xìnggé ràng wǒ zài hángyè nèiwài jiéjiāo dào hěnduō péngyǒu.
      “An optimistic and cheerful personality has allowed me to make many friends both inside and outside the industry.”

      • 爱好广泛 (àihào guǎngfàn) – “extensive hobbies” *

      Àihào guǎngfàn de tā, zài tuán jiàn huódòng zhōng jīngcháng dānrèn cèhuà rén de juésè.
      “With a wide range of hobbies, he often plays the role of planner in team-building activities.”

      Wǒ de àihào guǎngfàn, bāokuò zúqiú, chángpǎo, jítā, shèyǐng děngděng.
      “I have a wide range of hobbies, including soccer, long-distance running, guitar, photography, etc.”

      • 举一反三  (jǔyī fǎnsān) – “to deduce many things from one case” / “to learn by analogy”

      Zhèng yīnwèi dǒngdé jǔyī fǎnsān, tā de xuéxí sùdù hé nénglì bǐ qítā rén gāo chū xǔduō.
      “Just because he knows how to draw inferences, his learning speed and ability are much higher than others’. ”

      Wǒ jiāo gěi xuéshēng de bùjǐn shì shūběn shàng de zhīshì, gèng shì jǔyī fǎnsān de xuéxí xíguàn.
      “What I teach students is not only the knowledge in books but also how to learn by analogy.”

      • 善于沟通 (shànyú gōutōng) – “good at communication” *

      Shànyú gōutōng shì tā zuìdà de shǎnguāng diǎn.
      “Being good at communication is his strongest point.”

      Tōngguò zhè cì péixùn, wǒ xuéhuì le shànyú gōutōng zài tuántǐ zhōng de zhòngyào zuòyòng.
      “This training has taught me the importance of good communication in a team.”

      • 可塑性强 (kěsùxìng qiáng) – “flexible and adjustable” *

      Tā suīrán shì xīnrén, dànshì shìyìng tiáozhěng dé hěn kuài, kěsùxìng qiáng.
      “Although she is a newcomer, she adapts quickly and is very flexible.”

      Wǒ de kěsùxìng qiáng, zhǐyào yǒu xūyào wǒ de bùmén, wǒ dū yuànyì xiàolì.
      “I’m highly adaptable, and I am willing to work in any department that needs me.”

      • 团队精神 (tuánduì jīngshén) – “teamwork” / “team spirit” *

      Tā bùjǐn qiānxū jǐnshèn, hái fùyǒu tuánduì jīngshén.
      “Not only is she a professional, but she is also a great team player.”

      Běnrén lèguān kāilǎng, shànyú gōutōng, jùyǒu qiángliè de tuánduì yìshí hé tuánduì jīngshén.
      “I am optimistic and cheerful, good at communication, and have a strong sense of teamwork and team spirit.”

      3. 发言与领导力 (fāyán yú lǐngdǎo lì) – Public Speaking & Leadership

      Public speaking requires a higher level of language and communication skills. When giving a public speech, expressing opinions at a business meeting, or leading a team, you want to create connections, influence decisions, and motivate changes. At this point in your Chinese language learning, you’ll greatly benefit from picking up a few indispensable advanced phrases for these occasions.

      Business Meeting
      • 齐心协力 (qíxīn xiélì) – “to work with a common purpose”

      Zhǐyào wǒmen qíxīn xiélì, zài jiānjù de rènwù yě nàn bù dǎo wǒmen.
      “As long as we work together with a common purpose, no task is too difficult for us.”

      Suīrán shíjiān jǐn, rènwù zhòng, dàjiā jiā bǎ jìnr, qíxīn xiélì de bǎ zhège xiàngmù zuò chūlái.
      “Although our schedule is tight and the task is enormous, let’s increase the momentum and work together to make this project happen.”

      • 同舟共济 (tóngzhōu gòngjì) – “collaborate and help each other” (literally: “cross a river in the same boat”)

      Zài miànlín jùdà tiǎozhàn zhī shí, wǒmen bìxū tóngzhōu gòngjì, gòngdù nánguān.
      “When faced with great challenges, we must help each other and overcome difficulties together.”

      Zhè zhǒng tóngzhōu gòngjì de qíngyì shì nánnéng kěguì de.
      “The friendship of helping each other in difficult times is rare and precious.”

      • 顾全大局 (gùquán dàjú) – “to take the big picture into consideration” 

      Wǒ duì dàjiā xīshēng xiǎowǒ, gùquán dàjú de jǔdòng biǎoshì yóuzhōng de gǎnxiè.
      “I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone for sacrificing their individual needs for the benefits of all.”

      Xiǎng yào zài shàng yīgè táijiē, nǐ děi xiān xuéhuì rúhé gùquán dàjú.
      “If you want to climb up the ladder to a higher position, you have to learn how to take the overall situation into consideration.”

      • 有目共睹 (yǒumù gòngdǔ) – “for all to see” 

      Wǒmen chǎnpǐn de shìchǎng jìngzhēng lì, dàjiā dōu shì yǒumù gòngdǔ de.
      “The market competitiveness of our products is obvious to all.”

      Wǒmen duìshǒu de shílì dàjiā yǒumù gòngdǔ, dànshì tāmen de duǎn bǎn dàjiā tóngyàng shì yǒumù gòngdǔ de.
      “The strength of our opponents is obvious to all, but their shortcomings are also obvious to all.”

      • 万无一失 (wànwú yīshī) – “complete success” / “nothing goes wrong”

      Wèile quèbǎo cǐ cì huódòng wànwú yīshī de shùnlì jìnxíng, wǒmen zhǔnbèi le yī tào zhèngshì fāng’àn hé liǎng tào yìngjí fāng’àn.
      “In order to ensure the smooth progress and success of this event, we have prepared a formal plan and two emergency plans.”

      Zhème zuò suīrán bùshì wànwú yīshī, dànshì jiùsuàn shībài yěshì zhídé de.
      “It’s not guaranteed success, but it’d be worth the try even if you fail.”

      • 集思广益 (jísī guǎngyì) – “collecting opinions for great benefit” 

      Zài zhè cì de yántǎo huì zhōng, gè bùmén tóngshì jísī guǎngyì, gěi wǒmen de xīn xiàngmù chūmóu huàcè.
      “In this seminar, colleagues from all departments brainstormed ideas for our new project.”

      Zuòwéi juécè zhě, wǒ shēn zhī jísī guǎngyì, qúncè qúnlì de zhòngyào xìng. Qǐng dàjiā chàngsuǒyùyán.
      “As a decision-maker, I’m fully aware of the importance of brainstorming and teamwork. Please speak up freely.”

      • 见仁见智 (jiànrén jiànzhì) – “opinions differ” 

      Zhè hé xiān yǒu jī háishì xiān yǒu dàn yīyàng, dá’àn dōu shì jiànrén jiànzhì.
      “This is the same as the chicken or the egg. The answer will differ.”

      Dàodǐ shénme shì měi? Wǒ xiāngxìn zhè shì yīdào jiànrén jiànzhì de yìtí.
      “What is beauty anyway? I believe this is a matter of differing opinions.”

      • 精益求精 (jīngyì qiújīng) – “to perfect something that is already outstanding” 

      Jīngyì qiújīng shì wǒmen yīzhí zhuīqiú de mùbiāo.
      “Continuous improvement is the goal we have been pursuing.”

      Mǎkè tóngzhì jīngyì qiújīng de gōngzuò tàidù shì zhídé wǒmen suǒyǒu rén xuéxí de.
      “Comrade Mark’s work attitude of excellence is something we all learn from.”

      • 互惠互利 (hùhuì hùlì) – “mutual benefit”

      Zhè cì hézuò cǎiyòng de shì jiàngdī chéngběn, hùhuì hùlì de shuāngyíng móshì.
      “This cooperation adopts a win-win model of reducing costs and creating mutual benefit.”

      Dāngrán, wǒmen qiāndìng de rènhé chéngnuò hé héyuē dōu shì yǐ hùhuì hùlì wéi qiántí de.
      “Of course, any promises and contracts we sign are premised on mutual benefit.”

      • 重中之重 (zhòngzhōng zhīzhòng) – “of highest priority”  

      Cǐ cì yuángōng péixùn de zhòngzhōng zhīzhòng shì ānquán shēngchǎn.
      “The top priority of this employee training is safety in production.”

      Rúguǒ shuō péiyǎng háizi liánghǎo dì xìnggé shì zhòngdiǎn, nàme jiào huì tāmen zhàn zài biérén de jiǎodù kàn wèntí zé shì zhòngzhōng zhīzhòng.
      “If cultivating children’s good character is a priority, then teaching them to look at problems from the perspective of others is the highest priority.”

      • 或多或少 (huòduō huòshǎo) – “more or less”

      Bùdé bù shuō, gōngsī de shēngyù huòduō huòshǎo dōu shòudào le zhè cì shìjiàn de yǐngxiǎng.
      “I have to say that the company’s reputation has been more or less affected by this incident.”

      Wǒmen huòduō huòshǎo dōu tīng dào le yīxiē bù tài yuè’ěr de shēngyīn.
      “We’ve all heard some unpleasant sounds, although the amount may differ.”

      4. 鼓励和赞扬 (gǔlì hé zànyáng) – Encouragement & Compliments

      Giving compliments and encouraging words is an art. Four-character Chinese phrases can make your compliments and encouragements nice and brief while still keeping them specific.

      • 全力以赴 (quánlì yǐfù) – “to make an all-out effort”

      Xīwàng zhè cì kǎoshì tóngxuémen dōu quánlì yǐfù, qǔdé lǐxiǎng de chéngjì.
      “I hope that all the students in this exam will go all out to achieve ideal results.”

      Suīrán wǒmen méi néng jībài duìshǒu, dànshì dàjiā quánlì yǐfù, wánqiáng pīnbó de jīngshén háishì fēicháng zhídé gǔlì de.
      “Although we failed to beat our opponents, the fact that everyone went all out and fought to the very end deserves compliments and encouragement.”

      • 一鼓作气 (yīgǔ zuòqì) – “in a spurt of energy”

      Wǒmen tuánduì yīgǔ zuòqì, liánxù 72 xiǎoshí gōngzuò, zài jiézhǐ rìqī qián tíjiāo le fāng’àn.
      “Our team worked nonstop for 72 hours and submitted the proposal before the deadline.”

      Liú gěi wǒmen de shíjiān bù duō le, wǒmen zhǐ néng yīgǔ zuòqì de fènzhàn dàodǐ.
      “There is not much time left for us, and we can only fight to the end in one go.”

      • 再接再厉 (zàijiē zàilì) – “to persist”

      Zhè cì kǎoshì chéngjī bùcuò, yào bǎochí zhège shìtóu, zàijiē zàilì.
      “The test results are good; we must maintain this momentum and make persistent efforts.”

      Wèi nǐ wánměi de biǎoxiàn diǎn zàn, qǐng zàijiē zàilì, gěi wǒmen gèng duō de jīngxǐ.
      “Good job on your perfect performance; please make persistent efforts and give us more surprises.”

      • 卷土重来 (juǎntǔ chónglái) – “to make a comeback”

      Méi xuǎn shàng yě bùyào huīxīn, yǒu jīhuì yīdìng kěyǐ juǎntǔ chónglái de.
      “Don’t be discouraged that you didn’t get chosen; when there’s another chance, you can definitely make a comeback.”

      Dàjiā ná chū juàntǔ chónglái de juéxīn hé qìshì, bùyào ràng duìshǒu xiǎo kàn wǒmen.
      “Let us show our determination and momentum to make a comeback, and don’t let our opponents underestimate us.”

      • 笨鸟先飞 (bènniǎo xiānfēi) – “work hard to compensate for one’s limited abilities” (literally: “the clumsy bird flies early”) 

      Nǐ yào dǒngdé zhǐyào nǔlì, jiù néng bènniǎo xiānfēi.
      “You have to understand that as long as you work hard, you can still beat the others.”

      Méiyǒu shénme hǎo dānxīn de, bènniǎo xiānfēi de lìzi yǒudeshì.
      “There’s nothing to worry about. There are so many examples of clumsy birds flying early.”

      • 熟能生巧 (shúnéng shēngqiǎo) – “practice makes perfect”

      Dōu shuō shúnéng shēngqiǎo, duō liànxí liànxí, shàngtái jiù bù jǐnzhāng le.
      “People say that practice makes perfect; practice more, and you will not be nervous on stage.”

      Fánshì dōu shì zhèyàng de, zuò dé duō le, jiù shúnéng shēngqiǎo le.
      “Everything is like this: the more you do it, the better you will be.”

      • 顺其自然 (shùnqí zìrán) – “let nature take its course”

      Méishìr, nǐ gāi zuò de dōu zuòle, zhǐ néng shùnqí zìrán, nàixīn děngdài le.
      “It’s okay. You have done everything you need to do; you can only let the flow take its course and wait.”

      Shùn qí zìrán tǐng hǎo de. Qiáng niǔ de guā bù tián.
      “It’s good to let nature take its course. You can take a horse to the water, but you cannot make him drink.” (literally: “The twisted melon is not sweet.”)

      • 画龙点睛 (huàlóng diǎnjīng) – “to add the vital finishing touch” (literally: “to dot the eyes of a painted dragon”)

      Wa, nǐ jiā de zhè yījù cí jiǎnzhí shì huàlóng diǎnjīng, tài niú le.
      “Wow, this sentence you added is the finishing touch. It’s awesome.”

      Zuìhòu zhège tiáozhěng zhēnshi huàlóng diǎnjīng, zhěnggè huàmiàn dōu shēngdòng le qǐlái.
      “The final adjustment is really the finishing touch, and the whole picture is vivid now.”

      • 耳目一新 (ěrmù yīxīn) – “a refreshing change”

      Xiǎo lǐ de yǎnjiǎng ràng zàichǎng de zhūwèi dōu yǒu ěrmù yīxīn de gǎnjué.
      “Xiao Li’s speech gave everyone present a refreshing feeling.”

      Wǒ bùdé bù shuō, nǐ de zhège gǎibiàn tài ràng rén ěrmù yīxīn le.
      “I have to say, this change of yours is so refreshing.”

      • 当之无愧 (dāngzhī wúkuì) – “fully deserving” 

      Nǐ shì wǒmen xīnzhōng dāngzhī wúkuì de dì yī míng.
      “You are the well-deserved number one in our hearts.”

      Nǐ zhège zǔzhǎng shì quánpiào tōngguò de, dāngzhī wúkuì.
      “You won all the votes and so deserve the title of group leader.”

      • 脱颖而出 (tuōyǐng érchū) – “to rise above others” 

      Néng zài zhème duō yǒu shílì de xīnrén zhōng tuōyǐng érchū, nǐ de shílì shì yǒumù gòngdǔ de.
      “Being able to stand out among so many capable newcomers, your capabilities are obvious to all.”

      Gōngxǐ nǐ zài jǐ lún miànshì hòu tuōyǐng érchū, bèi wǒ sī shùnlì lùqǔ.
      “Congratulations on standing out after a few rounds of interviews and successfully being accepted by our company.”

      5. Last But Not Least 

      For those of you who’d like to explore more content for the advanced level, be sure to check out Level 5 on This is a curated pathway designed for advanced Chinese learners, featuring level-appropriate content along with hand-graded assignments to recap what you’ve learned. 

      Don’t forget that you’ll get your own personal tutor with a Premium PLUS subscription. This will help bring your Chinese to the native level at a much faster pace!

      机不可失,赶快行动吧!(Jībù kěshī, gǎnkuài xíngdòng ba!) – Don’t miss the opportunity. Subscribe now! 

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese

      35 Intermediate Chinese Phrases and Sentence Patterns


      First of all, a virtual high five for your hard work in getting to the intermediate level! We know it’s not easy to get where you are, especially for those who are learning Chinese outside of China and without constant guidance from a teacher. But no need to worry—we’re here to help. In this article, you’ll find a list of the most common intermediate Chinese phrases and sentence patterns for a variety of situations: daily communication, business meetings, travel, and more. We hope this guide will help you move a few steps closer to speaking Chinese fluently and confidently.

      Even though this article is meant for intermediate learners, beginners and advanced students can also get something out of it. You may want to get your pencil and paper (or your favorite >note-taking program) ready before we dive in, because you’ll use these phrases often in everyday life!

      Taking Notes Under a Lamp

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
      1. Past Events and Completed Actions
      2. Plans and Permissions
      3. Reasons and Explanations
      4. Recommendations and Complaints
      5. Social Etiquette & Business Phrases
      6. Advanced Conversation Responses
      7. Last But Not Least

      1. Past Events and Completed Actions

      Many intermediate-level learners know that the word 了 (le) is used to describe things that happened in the past. And yet, many of these students complain that they’re just as confused by the usage of 了 as when they first started—sometimes 了 is seen in supposed “past tense” sentences, and sometimes it’s not. 

      Well, it’s true that 了 (le) can indicate past events and completed actions, but you don’t need to add 了 (le) for everything that happened in the past. 

      Let’s first look at a couple of everyday phrases with 了(le).

      chī le shí ge jiǎozi
      “ate ten dumplings”

      liǎng ge yuè qián fēnshǒu le
      “broke up two months ago”

      In the two examples above, the purpose of 了 (le) is to emphasize that something has been completed or ended. However, many times there is no need to add 了 (le) when talking about past events and actions.

      Xièxie nǐ de zhāodài, wǒ zuówǎn wán de hěn kāixīn.
      “Thank you for your hospitality; I had fun last night.”

      Shàngge zhōumò wǒ zài jiā xiūxi.
      “Last weekend, I rested at home.”

      Hmm. 了 (le) or no 了 (le)? That’s a valid question.

      A Confused Look

      Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to answer that question. But remember, Chinese is a highly contextual language. The best thing to do is ditch the concept of “tenses” and focus on the context. If you’re describing yourself having fun and enjoying yourself last night (as in #3), it wasn’t a past action; it was ongoing at that moment, so there’s no need to mark the completion of an action with 了 (le). Same thing with the scenario in #4: You’re describing something you were doing last weekend, so you shouldn’t mark it as completed. 

        Tip: Try to make some more sentences using the sentence stems of the above examples, and share them in the comments section below.

      2. Plans and Permissions

      Every day, we make plans with our family, friends, and colleagues. Below are some intermediate Chinese sentence patterns you can use to make plans or to ask for permission when doing so.

      Checking the Daily Schedule

        Tip: If you already know some of the patterns, focus on the example sentences underneath them.

      [time] 有空吗?
      [time] yǒukòng ma?
      “(Are you) free at [time]?”

        a. 下个月四号有空吗?
        Xià ge yuè sì hào yǒukòng ma?
        “(Are you) free next month on the fourth?”
        b. 晚上八点后有空吗?
        Wǎnshang bā diǎn hòu yǒukòng ma?
        “(Are you) free after eight p.m.?”

      我想去 [place] [activity]。
      Wǒ xiǎng qù [place] [activity].
      “I’d like to go to [place] to do [activity].”

        a. 我想去工地看看。
        Wǒ xiǎng qù gōngdi kànkan.
        “I’d like to go to the construction site to take a look.”
        b. 我想去公园钓个鱼。
        Wǒ xiǎng qù gōngyuán diào ge yú.
        “I’d like to go fishing at the park.”

      Note: The [verb][verb] pattern (in #6a) and the [verb]个(ge) [object] pattern (in #6b) are used quite often in colloquial language to make the speech more casual. 

      去 [activity] 怎么样?
      [activity] zěnmeyàng? 
      “How about (we) go do [activity]?”

        a. 去尝尝那家新开的日本餐厅怎么样?
        Qù chángchang nà jiā xīn kāi de Rìběn cāntīng zěnmeyàng?
        “How about we try that newly opened Japanese restaurant?”
        b. 明天我们去喝手磨咖啡怎么样?
        Míngtiān wǒmen qù hē shǒu mó kāfēi zěnmeyàng?
        “How about we go drink >handground coffee tomorrow?”

      可以带 [person/thing] 来吗?
      Kěyǐ dài [person/thing] lái ma?
      “Can (I) bring [person/thing]?”

        a. 我可以带我女朋友来吗?
        Wǒ kěyǐ dài wǒ nǚpéngyou lái ma?
        “Can I bring my girlfriend with me?”
        b. 可以带外卖来吗?
        Kěyǐ dài wàimài lái ma?
        “Can I bring takeout food?”

      可以改成 [time] 吗?
      Kěyǐ gǎichéng [time] ma?
      “Can (we) change to [time]?”

        a. 可以改成上午九点二十吗?
        Kěyǐ gǎichéng shàngwǔ jiǔ diǎn èrshí ma?
        “Can (we) change to 9:20 a.m.?”
        b. 可以把我们的见面时间改成周四吗?
        Kěyǐ bǎ wǒmen de jiànmiàn shíjiān gǎichéng zhōusì ma?
        “Can we change our meeting time to Thursday?”

      [time/event] 我可能来不了了。
      [time/event] wǒ kěnéng lái bù liǎo le.
      “(I) might not come at [time]/to [event].”

        a. 后天我可能来不了了。
        Hòutiān wǒ kěnéng lái bù liǎo le.
        “I might not come the day after tomorrow.”
        b. 你的生日聚会我可能来不了了。
        Nǐ de shēngrì jùhuì wǒ kěnéng lái bù liǎo le.
        “I probably can’t come to your birthday party.”

      Note: The primary function of 可能 (kěnéng) is to soften the tone of voice when turning someone down or giving a negative response, not to express possibilities.  

      3. Reasons and Explanations

      It’s easier to convince someone or explain something more effectively when you present your ideas in a logical way. Here’s how you can do that in Chinese:

      这么做是因为 [noun/clause]。
      Zhè me zuò shì yīnwèi [noun/clause].
      “I did this because [noun/clause].”

        a. 我这么做是因为我们这个家。
        Wǒ zhè me zuò shì yīnwèi wǒmen zhège jiā.
        “I did this because of our family.”
        b. 他们这么做是因为公司的预算有些紧张。
        Tāmen zhème zuò shì yīnwèi gōngsī de yùsuàn yǒuxiē jǐnzhāng.
        “They did this because the company’s budget is a bit tight.”

      考虑到 [noun/clause]
      kǎolǜ dào [noun/clause]
      “considering [noun/clause]”

        a. 考虑到天气炎热,学校决定取消户外活动。
        Kǎolǜ dào tiānqì yánrè , xuéxiào juédìng qǔxiāo hùwài huódòng.
        “Considering the heat, the school decided to cancel outdoor activities.”
        b. 考虑到父母的身体状况,她搬回了老家。
        Kǎolǜ dào fùmǔ de shēntǐ zhuàngkuàng, tā bān huí le lǎojiā.
        “Considering the health condition of her parents, she moved back to her hometown.”

      主要是因为 [clause 1], 其次是 [clause 2]
      “Mostly because [clause 1]; next is [clause 2]”

        a. 我们不打算报名,主要是因为时间不合适,其次是费用有些高。
        Wǒmen bù dǎsuàn bàomíng , zhǔyào shì yīnwèi shíjiān bù héshì , qícì shì fèiyòng yǒuxiē gāo.
        “We don’t plan on signing up, mostly because the time doesn’t work out well; next is that the fees are a little high.”

      原因有以下几点:第一 [clause 1]。第二 [clause 2]。第三 [clause 3]。最后 [clause 4]。
      Yuányīn yǒu yǐxià jǐdiǎn: dì yī [clause 1]. Dì èr [clause 2]. Dì sān [clause 3]. Zuìhòu [clause 4].
      “The reasons are listed as follows: Firstly [clause 1]. Secondly [clause 2]. Thirdly [clause 3]. Lastly [clause 4].”

        a. 原因有以下几点:第一, 人手不够。 第二,设备不齐。 第三,时间不多。
        Yuányīn yǒu yǐxià jǐdiǎn: dì yī, rénshǒu bù gòu. Dì èr, shèbèi bù qí. Dì sān, shíjiān bù duō.
        “The reasons are listed as follows: Firstly, not enough help. Secondly, not enough equipment. Thirdly, not enough time.”

      4. Recommendations and Complaints

      Living in the era of the internet and technology, we deal with comments and reviews every day. Next are some of the common phrases you’ll read or write in product reviews. However, keep in mind that these phrases are like internet slang expressions: they tend to get outdated and replaced by new ones quickly.

      Shopping in the Virtual World

      qiángliè tuījiàn
      “strongly/highly recommend”

        a. 这款电扇太好用了,强烈推荐。
        Zhè kuǎn diànshàn tài hǎoyòng le, qiángliè tuījiàn.
        “This fan is so great to use. (I) highly recommend it.”
        b. 这个APP太牛了,墙裂推荐。
        Zhège APP tài niú le, qiángliè tuījiàn.
        “This app is so awesome. (I) highly recommend it.”

      Note: #15b is a play on words. 墙裂 (qiángliè) – “wall cracking” has the same pronunciation as 强烈 (qiángliè) – “strongly.” Younger internet users prefer to use >homophones for online communications.

      bì mǎi

        a. 喜欢吃辣的童鞋必买。
        Xǐhuān chī là de tóng xié bì mǎi.
        “For those of you who like spicy food, this is a must-buy.”

      wúxiàn huígòu
      “(worth) repurchasing endlessly”

        a. 这个牌子的蕃茄酱值得无限回购。
        Zhège páizi de fānjiājiàng zhíde wúxiàn huígòu.
        “This brand of ketchup is worth buying again and again.”

      làngfèi qián
      “a waste of money”

        a. 一点用也没有。简直是浪费钱。
        Yì diǎn yòng yě méiyǒu. Jiǎnzhí shì làngfèi qián.
        “Doesn’t work at all. It’s literally a waste of money.”

      fúwù tàidu chà
      “bad service attitude

        a. 不仅价格高,而且服务态度差。
        Bùjǐn jiàgé gāo, érqiě fúwù tàidu chà.
        “Not only are the prices high, but the servers’ attitudes are bad.”

      túpiàn yǔ shíwù bù fú
      “pictures don’t match the product”

        a. 图片与实物严重不符。谨慎购买。
        Túpiàn yǔ shíwù yánzhòng bù fú. Jǐnshèn gòumǎi.
        “Product is way different from the pictures. Think twice before you buy it.”

      A Lady Disappointed with Her Purchase

      5. Social Etiquette & Business Phrases

      Business and etiquette phrases are often used in formal situations and in writing. At this stage, you could definitely benefit from learning some of these intermediate-level Chinese business phrases and social niceties by heart. 

        Tip: Remember the following as set phrases for accurate reproduction.

      qǐng màn yòng
      “please enjoy (food/meal)” / (Literally: “please slowly use”)

        a. 菜上齐了。请慢用。
        Cài shàng qí le. Qǐng màn yòng.
        “All the dishes are on the table. Please enjoy.”

      qǐng zhǐjiào
      “please kindly advise”

        a. 有需要修改的地方,请指教。
        Yǒu xūyào xiūgǎi de dìfang, qǐng zhǐjiào.
        “If there’s any place that needs revision, please kindly advise.”

      qǐng duō tí bǎoguì yìjiàn
      “please give valuable comments and advice”

        a. 写得不好,请多提宝贵意见。
        Xiě de bù hǎo, qǐng duō tí bǎoguì yìjiàn.
        “(I) didn’t write it well. Please give valuable comments and advice.”

      bāo nín mǎnyì
      “satisfaction guaranteed”

        a. 您放心, 包您满意。
        Nín fàngxīn, bāo nín mǎnyì.
        “I’d like to reassure you that your satisfaction will be guaranteed.”

      Gǎnxiè nín de lǐjiě hé zhīchí.
      “Your understanding and support are greatly appreciated.”

      Yǒu wèntí qǐng suíshí liánxì.
      “If there’s a question, contact us anytime.”

      qídài nín de huífù
      “look forward to your reply”

      6. Advanced Conversation Responses

      Knowing how to give natural and authentic responses puts you at a different proficiency level. In this section, we’ll look at a few intermediate Chinese phrases you could respond with in real-life situations. We’ll give you the basic ways to respond (which you probably know) to a line taken from the examples above, and then show you their more advanced variations.

      Suppose someone tells you:

      Tāmen liǎng ge yuè qián fēnshǒu le.
      “They broke up two months ago.”

        ➢ Basic response to express surprise:

      Zhēnde ma?

        ➢ Variations:

      Zhēn de jiǎ de?
      “Are you serious?” (Literally: “Real or fake?”)

      Nǐ dòu wǒ de ba?
      “Are you kidding/teasing me?”

      Now suppose someone says something you don’t fully agree with:

      Tāmen zhème zuò shì yīnwèi gōngsī de yùsuàn yǒuxiē jǐnzhāng.
      “They did this because the company’s budget is a bit tight.”

        ➢ Basic response to express slight disagreement or doubt:

      Bú duì ba?
      “That’s not right, is it?”

        ➢ Variations:

      Hǎoxiàng búshì zhèyàng ba.
      “Seems like this is not the case.”

      Nǐ quèdìng ma? Jù wǒ suǒ zhī…
      “Are you sure? As far as I know…”

      Next, suppose someone tells you a story, and you’d like to learn more:

      Shàngge zhōumò wǒ zài jiā xiūxi.
      “Last weekend, I rested at home.”

        ➢ Basic response to prompt for more information:

      Hái yǒu ne?

        ➢ Variation:

      Nǐ xiángxì jiǎng jiǎng.
      “Tell me in detail.”

      7. Last But Not Least

      Our list of intermediate Chinese phrases could go on and on. If you’d like to learn more, make sure to explore for additional resources and tools. 

      For those of you who are not sure whether you’re at the intermediate level, take our diagnostic assessments to see which level you’re really at. Or simply pick Level 3, which is in line with HSK levels 2-3 and level B1 of the CEFR, and move up from there. Don’t forget you can get 1-on-1 coaching from your personal teacher with a Premium PLUS subscription. We look forward to seeing you there! 

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      Learn Chinese Anywhere: The 10 Best Chinese Podcasts


      Chinese isn’t the easiest language to learn. Maybe you’re tired of studying Chinese from your lengthy and grammar-heavy textbooks. Maybe you want to speed up your Chinese learning but can hardly find the extra time to study in your busy day-to-day life. Or maybe you’re running out of Chinese learning materials and don’t know where to find more resources.

      Look no further: It’s time to try Chinese podcasts!  

      Not only are podcasts easy to access, but they also make learning convenient, mobile, and fun! Better still, there’s something for everyone: beginners, intermediate learners, and even more advanced students. Keep reading to find the right Chinese podcast for you!

      Tablet User with Headphones

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
      1. Best Chinese Podcasts for Beginners
      2. Best Chinese Podcasts for Intermediate Learners
      3. Best Chinese Podcasts for Advanced Learners
      4. The Best Chinese Podcast for All Levels
      5. Last, But Not Least

      1. Best Chinese Podcasts for Beginners

      The best Chinese podcasts for beginners possess certain features, such as clear pronunciation and the use of common daily expressions. Some podcasts also come with downloadable transcripts so you can follow along. 

      Living Chinese 实景汉语 (shíjǐng Hànyǔ)

      This is a great podcast series for people with zero Chinese speaking experience who plan to travel to or live in China. Additionally, we recommend this series for those who haven’t yet decided whether they’re ready to learn Chinese, but would like a sneak-peek of the language and culture. 

      The series focuses on real-life situations with short dialogues, giving you a glimpse of China and the everyday lives of Chinese people. These Chinese podcast lessons cover common everyday topics such as shopping, taking a taxi, going to the hospital, hunting for an apartment, and so on. 

      Unfortunately, this series only has 23 lessons available. However, it’s still an excellent place to get a headstart in your Chinese learning, especially if you’re an absolute beginner. If you’re interested, check out their lesson Taking a Taxi

      Beginners’ Chinese

      This series was designed by The Open University. The best part of this podcast is that each lesson is no longer than two minutes. The dialogues primarily focus on everyday life, though there are also some lessons explaining the basics of Chinese pronunciation as well as the tones. Each lesson is designed to give you a taste of the Chinese language and culture. Along with the short dialogue tracks, you’ll find transcripts to download for free. 

      You can find all 46 lessons (with transcripts) on iTunes

      You Can Learn Chinese

      Unlike many other Chinese learning podcasts for beginners—which are structured with vocabulary lists, dialogue, and explanation sections—each episode of You Can Learn Chinese is formatted as a casual conversation between two Chinese learners. In this podcast, they share their experiences with learning Chinese and suggest tricks & tips for making the acquisition process smoother. They also discuss frequently asked questions from Chinese learners.

      Created in 2019, this popular Chinese learning podcast is still actively publishing two episodes every month. Want to get a feel for what to expect? Then we recommend heading over to this lesson, where they talk about when you should start learning Chinese characters.

      2. Best Chinese Podcasts for Intermediate Learners

      As learners approach an intermediate level, variety is key. When it comes to practicing your listening comprehension, try to find materials related to history, culture, and current topics. It’s also recommended to listen to podcasts that are in Chinese only.

      Great Wall of China

      Speak Chinese Naturally 自然而然说中文 (zìránérrán shuō Zhōngwén)

      This podcast actively uploads content on a bimonthly basis. It’s perfect for people who have some knowledge of the Chinese language and culture and want to go deeper. Each episode is recorded in Chinese, and transcripts are available for download.

      There really is a lot of content for intermediate-level learners to explore here. For example, the episodes cover topics such as popular Chinese cities to visit and the stories behind some fascinating aspects of Chinese culture:

      • 成语 (chéngyǔ) – “idioms” 
      • 俗语 (súyǔ) – “sayings” 
      • 传说 (chuánshuō) – “folklore” 

      Curious to learn more? We recommend checking out their lesson on the weird habits of Chinese people on Apple Podcast.

      Learning Chinese Through Stories 听故事学中文 (tīng gùshi xué Zhōngwén)

      Another active Chinese-language podcast series for intermediate learners, Learning Chinese Through Stories is all about stories and discussions. Topics include Chinese history, traditional Chinese holidays, work-life balance, celebrities from all around the world, Chinese songs, and difficult Chinese grammar points. The two native Chinese hosts speak in a relatively slow and clear manner, occasionally repeating key words and phrases

      This intermediate-level podcast is perfect for those who would like to bring their Chinese to the next level. The podcast transcripts are available for download by donating $3-$5 per month on Patreon. 

      To get a taste, listen to this episode where they introduce the Chinese influencer 李子柒 (Lǐ Zǐqī), who has over 15 million subscribers on YouTube.  

      Slow Chinese 慢速中文 (mànsù Zhōngwén)

      Just as the name suggests, the podcast episodes in this series are narrated at a slow speed by native Chinese speakers. Instead of everyday phrases and conversations, you’ll hear about widely discussed and highly controversial topics such as “political correctness in China” and “sexual scandal of a professor from Beihang University.” Because of the slow speed, it’s a great audio resource for pronunciation or writing practice; you can easily repeat phrases after the speakers or write down the Chinese characters you hear.  

      Here’s an episode that talks about a popular Chinese photo-editing app called 美图秀秀 (Měi tú xiù xiù) – “Meitu.” 

      3. Best Chinese Podcasts for Advanced Learners

      Advanced learners will benefit from more in-depth discussions containing vocabulary that’s used mainly in writing or formal situations—truly ambitious learners might even want to try their ear at classical Chinese! To really improve your Chinese with podcasts at this stage, we recommend trying to translate each episode you listen to and focusing on podcasts that meet your interests. 

      Below are some podcasts that are great for more advanced learners, mostly focusing on news and history. 

      MandarinPod 中文特高级 (Zhōngwén tè gāo jí)

      MandarinPod is a conversational Chinese language learning podcast. You’ll hear current and engaging content designed for advanced learners. This podcast will help you improve your listening skills, dive deeper into Chinese culture, discover the opinions of Chinese people on different topics, and even learn about expats’ experiences living in China. 

      MandarinPod is actively producing new content every month. To get started, we recommend listening to this episode, where an expat shares his experience of being gay in China.

      China: As History is My Witness 

      This BBC Chinese podcast is narrated in English, but it still offers a panoramic view of the history of China and the notorious people behind it. If you’re serious about studying China’s history, we recommend you give this podcast a try.

      Here’s an episode about 秦始皇 (Qínshǐhuáng), or “Qin Shi Huang,” the first emperor of China following its unification.

      Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang

      Story FM 故事 FM (gùshi FM)

      This is a 100% native Chinese podcast that tells the stories of ordinary Chinese people. People are invited to share their stories, struggles, thoughts, and outlooks on life.

      We recommend this podcast series for advanced Chinese language learners because the narrators often have heavy accents and speak in local dialects. The podcast’s slogan is, after all: 

      用你的声音,讲述你的故事。(Yòng nǐ de shēngyīn, jiǎngshù nǐ de gùshi.) – “Use your own voice to tell your own story.” 

      This also makes this podcast the closest to reality.

      Male Farmer

      New content is uploaded every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you’re curious about the life of a multimillionaire’s wife, check out this episode on 故事 FM.

      Searching for more native Chinese podcasts like this one? Head on over to the popular Chinese podcast sites 蜻蜓 FM (qīngtíng FM) and 喜马拉雅 (xǐmǎlāyǎ). Here, you can find different types of Chinese audiobooks, music, news, talk shows, traditional crosstalks (相声 xiàngsheng), and so on—all meant for native Chinese speakers.  

      4. The Best Chinese Podcast for All Levels 

      Now it’s time to introduce the podcast we’ve all been waiting for—the best Chinese podcast for any level!

      Happy Students Jumping


      What makes the ChineseClass101 podcast so amazing for learners? 

      We regularly upload new lessons, each one featuring world-class content created by language experts and presented by native Chinese speakers. We provide podcast lessons for learners at every level—beginner, intermediate, and advanced—so that you’ll always have access to useful and engaging content that’ll help you level up faster.

      In case you love our podcast but feel it’s not quite enough, we recommend creating your free lifetime account on today. Here, you’ll find: 

      Consistent Lesson Structure

      Every audio and video lesson is structured with a lesson introduction, everyday dialogue (read by native speakers at normal speed and then slow speed), vocabulary explanations, grammar explanations, and cultural insights. Most audio lessons are hosted by a Chinese teacher and a Chinese learner, who together provide insights from both a Chinese and non-Chinese perspective. 

      On your smartphones, tablets, or computers, you can download complete transcripts and lesson notes. 

      Curated Pathways

      An exciting new feature on is our curated pathways. After you log in for the first time, you’ll find a guided pathway for your current level that takes you from lesson to lesson, interwoven with assessments. The five levels are closely in line with the CEFR  (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), which helps to measure your learning progress. 

      Growing Sprouts

      Useful Study Tools

      There are so many useful tools on our website, such as flashcards, vocabulary lists, and assessments.

      In particular, we highly recommend that our learners take advantage of the voice recorder. Imagine, for instance, that you find yourself really struggling to master the four tones. With the recording feature, you can easily record and play back your pronunciation and compare it with a native speaker’s. You’ll be surprised how fast your tones and pronunciation improve. Just look for the microphone icon next to the dialogue lines and vocabulary words in every lesson. 

      Different Plans to Choose From

      Of course, you can listen to our podcast for free and even create your free lifetime account on our website for access to a few lessons each month. But if you decide that ChineseClass101 is the best learning platform for you, we recommend upgrading to a Basic account for just $4/month (for a 24-month subscription). This will give you complete access to our lessons and downloadable lesson notes. 

      If you love our content, upgrade to the Premium subscription for just $6 more a month. This will allow you to use many more study tools like those we mentioned above.

      For those who would like to study intensively and get faster results, take advantage of a Premium PLUS subscription for just $23 a month. You’ll get all the features, plus access to your own personal teacher. 

      5. Last, But Not Least

      Learning Chinese doesn’t have to be painful. With podcasts, you can be entertained and get educated at the same time. If you’re determined to conquer Chinese, it’s time to set your goals, find your level, and get a little forward motion every day with the help of Chinese podcasts! There are so many wonderful resources out there to help you succeed.

      Start now by logging in to!

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      The 30+ Most Helpful Phone Phrases in Chinese


      For beginners with limited speaking and listening skills, answering the phone in Chinese can be a scary thing

      While phones allow us to communicate across great distances, they do have their drawbacks. For example, you cannot read body language or see changes in facial expression when talking on the phone with someone. 

      These inconveniences can make it even more difficult for you to come up with the right Chinese phone conversation phrases when you need them. 

      If this is something you’re worried about, this guide will be your savior. 

      There’s a very limited number of Chinese phone phrases you’ll need to learn. As long as you put in the effort, you’ll start seeing improvements before you know it. 

      In this perfect collection of phone phrases in Chinese, we’ll teach you how to answer the phone, how to properly end a phone conversation, and everything in between.

      Once you pick up these formulas, you’ll be prepared to pick up your phone with great confidence whenever a ringtone strikes. 😉

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
      1. Picking up the Phone
      2. Communicating in Business Contexts
      3. Explaining Your Reason for the Call
      4. Asking to Speak to Someone
      5. Asking Someone to Wait
      6. Leaving a Message
      7. Asking for Clarification
      8. Ending the Phone Call
      9. Other Occasions
      10. Sample Phone Conversations
      11. Conclusion

      1. Picking up the Phone

      There are a few different ways you could answer the phone in Chinese, each with its own nuance. Take a look: 


      In Chinese: 喂?
      Pinyin: Wéi?
      In English: “Hello?”

      This is a special phrase that Chinese people say when picking up the phone, though some people think it’s disrespectful. It sounds more respectful when we use it together with other expressions. For example, we can say: 

      (Wéi? Nín nǎ wèi?
      “Hello? Who is this?”


      (Wéi? Nín hǎo.)


      In Chinese: 你好。(Informal) / 您好。(Formal)
      Pinyin: Nǐ hǎo. / Nín hǎo.
      In English: “Hi.”

      您 is for elders or people you want to show respect to; 你 is typically used toward friends and younger people.


      In Chinese: 请问您哪位?
      Pinyin: Qǐng wèn nín nǎ wèi?
      In English: “Who is this?”


      In Chinese: 你/您打错电话了。
      Pinyin: Nǐ/Nín dǎ cuò diàn huà le. 
      In English: “You’ve got the wrong number.”

      2. Communicating in Business Contexts

      A Woman Sitting at Her Work Desk Late at Night Talking on the Phone

      Show your professionalism next time you answer the phone.


      In Chinese: 这里是[公司名字], 很高兴为您服务。
      Pinyin: Zhè lǐ shì [gōng sī míng zì], hěn gāo xìng wéi nín fú wù. 
      In English: “It’s [Company Name], I’m very happy to assist you.”


      In Chinese: 希望能尽快听到您的回复。
      Pinyin: Xī wàng néng jìn kuài tīng dào nín de huí fù. 
      In English: “I hope to hear from you soon.”

      3. Explaining Your Reason for the Call

      When making a phone call in Chinese, you should know how to explain your reason for calling. Here are a few sentence patterns you could use: 


      In Chinese: 我想跟[名字]讲一下关于……的事。
      Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng gēn [míng zì] jiǎng yī xià guān yú …de shì.
      In English: “I’d like to speak to someone about…”


      In Chinese: 抱歉,刚才没来得及接你电话。
      Pinyin: Bào qiàn, gāng cái méi lái de jí jiē nǐ diàn huà. 
      In English: “Sorry, I wasn’t able to answer your call.”


      In Chinese: 我是打电话来预约……的。
      Pinyin: Wǒ shì dǎ diàn huà lái yù yuē …de. 
      In English: “I’m calling to make a reservation for…”

      4. Asking to Speak to Someone

      A Woman Lying on Her Stomach and Chatting on the Phone with Someone

      Phone calls are a great way to connect.


      In Chinese: 请问[名字]在吗?
      Pinyin: Qǐng wèn [míng zì] zài ma? 
      In English: “Is [name] there to answer the phone?”


      In Chinese: 可以让[名字]来接一下电话吗?
      Pinyin: Kě yǐ ràng [míng zì] lái jiē yī xià diàn huà ma? 
      In English: “May I speak to [name]?”

      5. Asking Someone to Wait

      Especially in formal or business contexts, it’s common to keep someone on the line while you transfer them or find out information. Here are some useful Chinese phone call phrases you can use to politely ask the other party to wait: 


      In Chinese: 稍等,我去看一下。
      Pinyin: Shāo děng, wǒ qù kàn yī xià. 
      In English: “Wait a moment, let me check.”


      In Chinese: 请您在线稍候。
      Pinyin: Qǐng nín zài xiàn shāo hòu. 
      In English: “I will put you on hold for a second.”


      In Chinese: 我会为您连线他的办公室电话,请在线等候。
      Pinyin: Wǒ huì wéi nín lián xiàn tā de bàn gōng shì diàn huà, qǐng zài xiàn děng hòu. 
      In English: “Let me transfer you to his office. Stay on the line, please.”

      6. Leaving a Message

      Sometimes, the person we’re trying to reach is not available. In situations like this, the person we’re speaking to may offer to relay a message for us. Here are some key phrases: 


      In Chinese: 请转告他
      Pinyin: Qǐng zhuǎn gào tā
      In English: “Please let him know that…”


      In Chinese: 我可以留言吗?
      Pinyin: Wǒ kě yǐ liú yán ma? 
      In English: “Can I leave a message?”


      In Chinese: 可以麻烦你告诉他给这个号码回个电话吗?
      Pinyin: Kě yǐ má fán nǐ gào sù tā gěi zhè gè hào mǎ huí gè diàn huà ma? 
      In English: “Can you tell him to call me back at this number?”

      7. Asking for Clarification

      A Guy in a Business Suit Holding a Card with a Question Mark in Front of His Head

      Sometimes, asking for clarification is necessary during a phone call. Never feel embarrassed to ask!

      As a non-native speaker of the language, every time you make a phone call in Chinese you run the risk of not understanding everything you hear. But this is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about! Below are some phrases you can use to ask for clarification when needed. 


      In Chinese: 抱歉,能麻烦你再说一遍吗?
      Pinyin: Bào qiàn, néng má fán nǐ zài shuō yī biàn ma? 
      In English: “Sorry, could you say that again?”


      In Chinese: 您的名字怎么写?
      Pinyin: Nín de míng zì zěn me xiě? 
      In English: “Could you spell your name for me, please?”


      In Chinese: 我想再确认一下
      Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng zài què rèn yī xià 
      In English: “Just to double check…”


      In Chinese: 抱歉,我网络信号不太好。这边听不太清。
      Pinyin: Bào qiàn, wǒ wǎng luò xìn hào bú tài hǎo, zhè biān tīng bú tài qīng. 
      In English: “I’m sorry, I’m having a hard time hearing you. I think my connection is bad.”


      In Chinese: 可以麻烦你说慢一点吗?
      Pinyin: Kě yǐ má fán nǐ shuō màn yī diǎn ma? 
      In English: “Can you please speak slower?”

      8. Ending the Phone Call

      A Smiling Woman Holding a Blue Phone to Her Ear

      Hope you can always end the phone call with a smile!

      When learning how to make Chinese phone calls, you can’t forget to study the appropriate ending phrases. Here are a few examples for you: 


      In Chinese: 请问您有其他需要帮助的吗?
      Pinyin: Qǐng wèn nín yǒu qí tā xū yào bāng zhù de ma? 
      In English: “Anything else I can help you with?”


      In Chinese: 谢谢你的帮助。
      Pinyin: Xiè xie nǐ de bāng zhù.
      In English: “Thank you for your help.”


      In Chinese: 回头聊。
      Pinyin: Huí tóu liáo. 
      In English: “Talk to you later.”


      In Chinese: 祝您拥有愉快的一天。
      Pinyin: Zhù nín yōng yǒu yú kuài de yī tiān.
      In English: “Have a great day.”


      In Chinese: 回头有时间再聊。
      Pinyin: Huí tóu yǒu shí jiān zài liáo. 
      In English: “Talk to you later when you are free.”


      In Chinese: 感谢你的致电,再见。
      Pinyin: Gǎn xiè nǐ de zhì diàn, zài jiàn. 
      In English: “Thank you for calling, goodbye.”


      In Chinese: 那我挂电话了,拜拜。
      Pinyin: Nà wǒ guà diàn huà le, bái bái. 
      In English: “Then I will hang up, bye-bye.”

      9. Other Occasions


      In Chinese: 这个电话号码打不通。
      Pinyin: Zhè gè diàn huà hào mǎ dǎ bu tōng. 
      In English: “This phone number doesn’t work.”


      In Chinese: 他不接电话。
      Pinyin: Tā bù jiē diàn huà.
      In English: “He’s not picking it up.”


      In Chinese: 请问能借用一下电话吗?
      Pinyin: Qǐng wèn néng jiè yòng yī xià diàn huà ma?
      In English: “Can I please borrow your phone for a second?”

      10. Sample Phone Conversations

      Four Friends Chatting and Laughing with Coffee Drinks

      It’s good to call your old friends to ask for a reunion once in a while.

      Finally, let’s look at two sample Chinese phone call conversations. Below, you’ll find one informal dialogue and one formal dialogue. 

      Scenario #1: 

      Informal phone conversation: Two friends are setting up a time to meet for dinner on a weekend.

      A: “Hey, how are you?”
      嘿,最近怎么样啊 ?(Hei, zuì jìn zěn me yàng a?)

      B:”Same old. How about you?”
      还是老样子。你呢?(Hái shì lǎo yàng zi. Nǐ ne?)

      A: “I’m pretty good. Are you free any day soon? Let’s dine out.”
      我挺好的。最近有时间吗,咱们一起吃个饭吧?(Wǒ tǐng hǎo de. Zuì jìn yǒu shí jiān ma, zán men yī qǐ chī gè fàn ba?)

      B: “Sure. But I’m a bit busy this week, I have a test coming up.”
      好啊。不过我这周有点忙,有个考试。 (Hǎo a. Bú guò wǒ zhè zhōu yǒu diǎn máng, yǒu gè kǎo shì.)

      A: “How about next week?”
      下周怎么样?(Xià zhōu zěn me yàng?)

      B: “No problem. I’m pretty free next week.”
      没问题。我下周有空。(Méi wèn tí. Wǒ xià zhōu yǒu kōng.)

      A: “How about lunch?”
      一起吃午饭怎么样?(Yī qǐ chī wǔ fàn zěn me yàng?)

      B: “Dinner is better for me.”
      晚餐时间可能更好一些。(Wǎn cān shí jiān kě néng gèng hǎo yī xiē.)

      A: “Sounds good. What date and time?”
      那好。什么时候?(Nà hǎo. Shén me shí hòu?)

      B: “How about Saturday at six p.m.?”
      下午六点可以吗?(Xià wǔ liù diǎn kě yǐ ma?)

      A: “That works for me. I will see you at the old place where we always ate then?”
      我可以。那咱们老地方见?(Wǒ kě yǐ. Nà zán men lǎo dì fang jiàn?)

      B: “Deal. See you there at six p.m. next Saturday.”
      成。那就下周六下午六点老地方见。(Chéng. nà jiù xià zhōu liù xià wǔ liù diǎn lǎo dì fang jiàn.)

      Scenario #2:

      Formal phone conversation: After they’ve set the time and place, one of the friends calls the restaurant to reserve a table. 

      A: “Hi, is this Restaurant C?”
      你好。请问这里是餐馆C吗?(Nǐ hǎo. Qǐng wèn zhè lǐ shì cān guǎn C ma?)

      Restaurant Employee: “Yes. Is there anything I can help you with?”
      是的。请问您有什么需要帮助的吗?(Shì de. qǐng wèn nín yǒu shén me xū yào bāng zhù de ma?)

      A: “I would like to make a reservation next Saturday at six p.m.”
      我想订一下下周六下午六点的餐位。(Wǒ xiǎng dìng yī xià xià zhōu liù xià wǔ liù diǎn de cān wèi.)

      Restaurant Employee: “May I know how many people are attending, please?”
      请问会有多少人到场呢?(Qǐng wèn huì yǒu duō shǎo rén dào chǎng ne?)

      A: “Just two people.”
      就两个人。(Jiù liǎng gè rén.)

      Restaurant Employee: “Next Saturday at six p.m. for two people. You got it.”
      下周六下午六点两个人的餐位预订。没问题。(Xià zhōu liù xià wǔ liù diǎn liǎng gè rén de cān wèi yù dìng. Méi wèn tí. )

      A: “Thank you so much.”
      非常感谢。(Fēi cháng gǎn xiè.)

      Restaurant Employee: “You are welcome. We look forward to seeing you here at Restaurant C then. Goodbye.”
      客气了。期待在餐厅C见到您。再见。(Kè qì le. Qī dài zài cān tīng Cjiàn dào nín. Zài jiàn.)

      A: “Sure. Bye.”
      好的。再见。(Hǎo de. Zài jiàn.)

      11. Conclusion

      See? Talking on the phone in Chinese wouldn’t be so hard, would it? If you ever plan to actually go to China, save this guide and it will save you some valuable time. 

      Chinese phone conversation phrases are one of the basic things you need to learn as a beginner. Once you master this skill—congratulations! You’re one step closer to mastering the language as a whole. 

      If there are any other phone phrases in Chinese you would like to know, please share them with us in the comments below. A curious mind is always more likely to succeed!

      ChineseClass101 has a rich variety of learning resources and study materials. Anything you need, we have it in store for you: everything from vocabulary and grammar lessons to those covering advanced conversations and idioms. In addition, our lessons combine language studies with practical information about Chinese culture. You’ll be amazed by how much real-life Chinese you can acquire! 

      Visit us today and create your free lifetime account to explore more entertaining and useful Chinese learning resources.

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese

      200+ Commonly Used Chinese Words for Beginners


      If you’ve just started learning Chinese from scratch, you’re probably still adjusting to the learning curve. At this point in your studies, memorizing basic vocabulary should be one of your top priorities. 

      You may have already sniffed out some basic Chinese words for beginners from other sources, but some of the words you’ve come across may not be that helpful in real life.

      In this guide, we’ve collected over 200 important Chinese words for beginners tailored for your needs. Look no further, and start mastering these basic Chinese words right away!

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
      1. Pronouns
      2. Numbers 1-10
      3. Nouns
      4. Verbs
      5. Adjectives
      6. Conjunctions
      7. Classifier
      8. Conclusion

      1. Pronouns

      Pronouns are an essential component of Chinese vocabulary, so learning them early on is a great idea. Here are the personal, interrogative, and demonstrative Chinese pronouns you should know: 

      1 – Personal Subject Pronouns

      In ChineseRomanizationIn English
      1st person singular“I”
      2nd person singular你 / 您 (casual / formal)nǐ / nín“You”
      3rd person singular¹他 / 她 / 它“He” / “She” / “It”
      1st person plural²我们 / 咱们wǒ men / zán men“We”
      2nd person plural你们nǐ men“You”
      3rd person plural他们 / 她们 / 它们tā men“They” (He / She / It)

      ¹ Note that the third person singular pronouns all have the same pronunciation.
      ² 咱们 is a little different from 我们 as it specifies that the listener is a part of “we” as well.

      2 – Interrogative Pronouns

      A Woman Thinking with Question Marks above Her Head

      If you have a question, you gotta ask!

      In Chinese: 哪个
      Pinyin: nǎ gè 
      In English: “Which”

      In Chinese: 谁的
      Pinyin: shuí de 
      In English: “Whose”

      In Chinese: 什么时候 / 何时 (casual / formal)
      Pinyin: shén me shí hòu / hé shí
      In English: “When”

      In Chinese: 怎样 / 如何 (casual / formal)
      Pinyin: zěn yàng / rú hé
      In English: “How”

      In Chinese: 哪里
      Pinyin: nǎ lǐ 
      In English: “Where”

      In Chinese: 谁
      Pinyin: shuí 
      In English: “Who”

      In Chinese: 什么
      Pinyin: shén me 
      In English: “What”

      3 – Demonstrative Pronouns

      In Chinese: 这个
      Pinyin: zhè gè 
      In English: “This”

      In Chinese: 那个
      Pinyin: nèi gè / nà gè (casual / formal)
      In English: “That”
      Additional notes: The official pronunciation in dictionaries is nà gè, but for easier pronunciation in daily life, native Chinese speakers tend to pronounce it as nèi gè.

      In Chinese: 这些
      Pinyin: zhè xiē 
      In English: “These”

      In Chinese: 那些
      Pinyin: nèi xiē / nà xiē (casual / formal)
      In English: “Those”

      2. Numbers 1-10

      Painted Wooden Blocks Representing Numbers and Mathematical Signs

      Numbers are essential in many daily-life conversations.

      In Chinese: 一
      Pinyin: yī 
      In English: “One”

      In Chinese: 二 / 两
      Pinyin: èr / liǎng 
      In English: “Two”
      Additional notes: 二 is used more for numbers, while 两 is generally used for specifying quantities (such as “two of something”).

      In Chinese: 三
      Pinyin: sān 
      In English: “Three”

      In Chinese: 四
      Pinyin: sì 
      In English: “Four”

      In Chinese: 五
      Pinyin: wǔ 
      In English: “Five”

      In Chinese: 六
      Pinyin: liù 
      In English: “Six”

      In Chinese: 七
      Pinyin: qī 
      In English: “Seven”

      In Chinese: 八
      Pinyin: bā 
      In English: “Eight”

      In Chinese: 九
      Pinyin: jiǔ 
      In English: “Nine”

      In Chinese: 十
      Pinyin: shí 
      In English: “Ten”

      3. Nouns

      Nouns are perhaps the most important part of speech to learn as a beginner. A noun can represent a person, a place, a thing, or even an idea. You need nouns in order to make a complete sentence, and in a pinch, you can communicate an immediate need using nouns alone! Following are several simple Chinese nouns in different categories.

      A Clock Using Roman Numerals and a Calendar

      Time is precious.

      1 – Time

      In Chinese: 时间
      Pinyin: shí jiān 
      In English: “Time”

      In Chinese: 小时
      Pinyin: xiǎo shí 
      In English: “Hour”

      In Chinese: 分钟
      Pinyin: fēn zhōng 
      In English: “Minute”

      In Chinese: 早晨 / 上午
      Pinyin: zǎo chén / shàng wǔ 
      In English: “Morning”

      In Chinese: 中午
      Pinyin: zhōng wǔ 
      In English: “Noon”

      In Chinese: 下午
      Pinyin: xià wǔ 
      In English: “Afternoon”

      In Chinese: 天
      Pinyin: tiān 
      In English: “Day”

      In Chinese: 月
      Pinyin: yuè 
      In English: “Month”

      In Chinese: 年
      Pinyin: nián
      In English: “Year”

      In Chinese: 周一 / 星期一 (formal / casual)
      Pinyin: zhōu yī / xīng qī yī 
      In English: “Monday”

      In Chinese: 周二 / 星期二
      Pinyin: zhōu èr / xīng qī èr
      In English: “Tuesday”

      In Chinese: 周三 / 星期三
      Pinyin: zhōu sān / xīng qī sān 
      In English: “Wednesday”

      In Chinese: 周四 / 星期四
      Pinyin: zhōu sì / xīng qī sì 
      In English: “Thursday”

      In Chinese: 周五 / 星期五
      Pinyin: zhōu wǔ / xīng qī wǔ
      In English: “Friday”

      In Chinese: 周六 / 星期六
      Pinyin: zhōu liù / xīng qī liù
      In English: “Saturday”

      In Chinese: 周日 / 星期日
      Pinyin: zhōu rì / xīng qī rì 
      In English: “Sunday”

      In Chinese: 周末
      Pinyin: zhōu mò 
      In English: “Weekend”

      In Chinese: 工作日
      Pinyin: gōng zuò rì 
      In English: “Workday”

      2 – People 

      In Chinese: 先生
      Pinyin: xiān sheng 
      In English: “Mr.”

      In Chinese: 女士
      Pinyin: nǚ shì 
      In English: “Ms.”

      In Chinese: 爸爸 / 父亲
      Pinyin: bà ba / fù qin 
      In English: “Dad” / “Father”

      In Chinese: 妈妈 / 母亲
      Pinyin: mā ma / mǔ qin 
      In English: “Mom” / “Mother”

      In Chinese: 阿姨
      Pinyin: ā yí
      In English: “Aunt”
      Additional notes: In China, young people often have to call their elders “Aunt” / “Uncle” even if they’re not related. Thus, these are important people-related words to learn.

      In Chinese: 叔叔
      Pinyin: shū shu
      In English: “Uncle”

      In Chinese: 家人
      Pinyin: jiā rén 
      In English: “Family”

      3 – Places

      Several Locations Pinpointed on a Map

      What is your destination in life?

      In Chinese: 地点
      Pinyin: dì diǎn 
      In English: “Place”

      In Chinese: 医院
      Pinyin: yī yuàn 
      In English: “Hospital”

      In Chinese: 学校
      Pinyin: xué xiào 
      In English: “School”

      In Chinese: 市中心
      Pinyin: shì zhōng xīn 
      In English: “Downtown”

      In Chinese: 厕所
      Pinyin: cè suǒ 
      In English: “Bathroom”

      In Chinese: 餐厅
      Pinyin: cān tīng 
      In English: “Restaurant”

      In Chinese: 宾馆
      Pinyin: bīn guǎn 
      In English: “Hotel”

      4 – School/Office Essentials

      In Chinese: 办公室
      Pinyin: bàn gōng shì
      In English: “Office”

      In Chinese: 钢笔
      Pinyin: gāng bǐ 
      In English: “Pen”

      In Chinese: 笔记本
      Pinyin: bǐ jì běn 
      In English: “Notebook”

      In Chinese: 电脑
      Pinyin: diàn nǎo 
      In English: “Computer”

      In Chinese: 书桌
      Pinyin: shū zhuō 
      In English: “Desk”

      5 – Body Parts

      In Chinese: 身体
      Pinyin: shēn tǐ 
      In English: “Body”

      In Chinese: 眼睛
      Pinyin: yǎn jīng 
      In English: “Eyes”

      In Chinese: 鼻子
      Pinyin: bí zi
      In English: “Nose”

      In Chinese: 脸
      Pinyin: liǎn 
      In English: “Face”

      In Chinese: 手臂
      Pinyin: shǒu bì 
      In English: “Arm”

      In Chinese: 耳朵
      Pinyin: ěr duo 
      In English: “Ear”

      In Chinese: 手
      Pinyin: shǒu
      In English: “Hand”

      In Chinese: 腿
      Pinyin: tuǐ 
      In English: “Leg”

      In Chinese: 脚
      Pinyin: jiǎo
      In English: “Foot”

      In Chinese: 手指
      Pinyin: shǒu zhǐ 
      In English: “Finger”

      6 – Food

      In Chinese: 食物
      Pinyin: shí wù 
      In English: “Food”

      In Chinese: 果汁
      Pinyin: guǒ zhī 
      In English: “Juice”

      In Chinese: 鸡蛋
      Pinyin: jī dàn 
      In English: “Egg”

      In Chinese: 牛奶
      Pinyin: niú nǎi 
      In English: “Milk”

      In Chinese: 肉
      Pinyin: ròu 
      In English: “Meat”

      In Chinese: 水果
      Pinyin: shuǐ guǒ 
      In English: “Fruit”

      In Chinese: 蔬菜
      Pinyin: shū cài
      In English: “Vegetable”

      In Chinese: 米饭
      Pinyin: mǐ fàn 
      In English: “Rice”

      In Chinese: 面条
      Pinyin: miàn tiáo 
      In English: “Noodles”

      In Chinese: 蛋糕
      Pinyin: dàn gāo 
      In English: “Cake”

      In Chinese: 超市
      Pinyin: chāo shì
      In English: “Supermarket”

      In Chinese: 快餐
      Pinyin: kuài cān 
      In English: “Fast food”

      In Chinese: 汉堡
      Pinyin: hàn bǎo 
      In English: “Hamburger”

      In Chinese: 薯条
      Pinyin: shǔ tiáo 
      In English: “French fries”

      In Chinese: 勺子
      Pinyin: sháo zi
      In English: “Spoon”

      In Chinese: 筷子
      Pinyin: kuài zi
      In English: “Chopstick”

      In Chinese: 碗
      Pinyin: wǎn
      In English: “Bowl”

      In Chinese: 盘子
      Pinyin: pán zi
      In English: “Plate”

      In Chinese: 零食
      Pinyin: líng shí 
      In English: “Snack”

      In Chinese: 海鮮
      Pinyin: hǎi xiān 
      In English: “Seafood”

      In Chinese: 面包
      Pinyin: miàn bāo
      In English: “Bread”

      4. Verbs

      Another set of essential beginner words in Chinese are verbs. Used together with nouns, they allow you to form complete sentences and better express yourself. To give you a headstart, here are the most commonly used verbs in Chinese

      1 – Daily Routine Verbs:

      In Chinese: 起床
      Pinyin: qǐ chuáng 
      In English: “Get up”

      In Chinese: 吃
      Pinyin: chī 
      In English: “Eat”

      In Chinese: 喝
      Pinyin: hē 
      In English: “Drink”

      In Chinese: 去
      Pinyin: qù 
      In English: “Go”

      In Chinese: 工作
      Pinyin: gōng zuò 
      In English: “Work”

      In Chinese: 学习
      Pinyin: xué xí 
      In English: “Study”

      In Chinese: 驾驶
      Pinyin: jià shǐ 
      In English: “Drive”

      In Chinese: 骑
      Pinyin: qí 
      In English: “Ride”

      In Chinese: 睡觉
      Pinyin: shuì jiào 
      In English: “Sleep”

      In Chinese: 休息
      Pinyin: xiū xī
      In English: “Rest”

      In Chinese: 做饭
      Pinyin: zuò fàn 
      In English: “Cook”

      2 – Other Commonly Used Verbs

      In Chinese: 给
      Pinyin: gěi 
      In English: “Give”

      In Chinese: 获得
      Pinyin: huò dé 
      In English: “Get”

      In Chinese: 制作
      Pinyin: zhì zuò 
      In English: “Make”

      In Chinese: 做
      Pinyin: zuò 
      In English: “Do”

      In Chinese: 让
      Pinyin: ràng 
      In English: “Let”

      In Chinese: 问
      Pinyin: wèn 
      In English: “Ask”

      In Chinese: 笑
      Pinyin: xiào 
      In English: “Smile”

      In Chinese: 找
      Pinyin: zhǎo
      In English: “Find”

      In Chinese: 哭
      Pinyin: kū 
      In English: “Cry”

      In Chinese: 坐
      Pinyin: zuò
      In English: “Sit”

      In Chinese: 站
      Pinyin: zhàn 
      In English: “Stand”

      In Chinese: 喜欢
      Pinyin: xǐ huān 
      In English: “Like”

      In Chinese: 爱
      Pinyin: ài 
      In English: “Love”

      In Chinese: 告诉
      Pinyin: gào sù 
      In English: “Tell”

      In Chinese: 希望
      Pinyin: xī wàng 
      In English: “Hope”

      In Chinese: 看
      Pinyin: kàn 
      In English: “Look”

      In Chinese: 忘记
      Pinyin: wàng jì 
      In English: “Forget”

      In Chinese: 失去 / 丢失 (something / someone)
      Pinyin: shī qù / diū shī 
      In English: “Lose” / “Lost”

      In Chinese: 记住
      Pinyin: jì zhù 
      In English: “Remember”

      In Chinese: 离开
      Pinyin: lí kāi 
      In English: “Leave”

      In Chinese: 发生
      Pinyin: fā shēng 
      In English: “Happen”

      In Chinese: 认为 / 思考
      Pinyin: fā shēng 
      In English: “Think”

      In Chinese: 完成
      Pinyin: wán chéng 
      In English: “Finish”

      In Chinese: 变化
      Pinyin: biàn huà 
      In English: “Change”

      In Chinese: 感激
      Pinyin: gǎn jī 
      In English: “Thank”

      In Chinese: 走
      Pinyin: zǒu 
      In English: “Walk”

      In Chinese: 跳舞
      Pinyin: tiào wǔ 
      In English: “Dance”

      In Chinese: 唱歌
      Pinyin: chàng gē 
      In English: “Sing”

      In Chinese: 走
      Pinyin: zǒu 
      In English: “Walk”

      In Chinese: 跑
      Pinyin: pǎo 
      In English: “Run”

      In Chinese: 读
      Pinyin: dú 
      In English: “Read”

      In Chinese: 听
      Pinyin: tīng 
      In English: “Listen”

      In Chinese: 写
      Pinyin: xiě 
      In English: “Write”

      In Chinese: 回答
      Pinyin: huí dá 
      In English: “Answer”

      In Chinese: 问
      Pinyin: wèn 
      In English: “Ask”

      In Chinese: 说
      Pinyin: shuō 
      In English: “Speak”

      In Chinese: 买
      Pinyin: mǎi 
      In English: “Buy”

      In Chinese: 卖
      Pinyin: mài
      In English: “Sell”

      In Chinese: 观察
      Pinyin: guān chá 
      In English: “Observe”

      5. Adjectives

      Our list below is a great place to start, but make sure to visit our list of 100 Chinese adjectives for even more vocabulary! 

      1 – Describing Objects

      In Chinese: 大的
      Pinyin: dà de 
      In English: “Big”

      In Chinese: 小的
      Pinyin: xiǎo de 
      In English: “Small”

      In Chinese: 长的
      Pinyin: cháng de
      In English: “Long”

      In Chinese: 短的
      Pinyin: duǎn de 
      In English: “Short”

      In Chinese: 苗条的
      Pinyin: miáo tiáo de
      In English: “Skinny”

      In Chinese: 强壮的
      Pinyin: qiáng zhuàng de 
      In English: “Strong”

      2 – Describing People

      In Chinese: 好看的
      Pinyin: hǎo kàn de 
      In English: “Pretty”

      In Chinese: 英俊的
      Pinyin: yīng jùn de
      In English: “Handsome”

      In Chinese: 高的
      Pinyin: gāo de 
      In English: “Tall”

      In Chinese: 矮的
      Pinyin: ǎi de 
      In English: “Short”

      In Chinese: 疑惑的
      Pinyin: yí huò de
      In English: “Confused”

      3 – Describing Emotions

      In Chinese: 开心的
      Pinyin: kāi xīn de
      In English: “Happy”

      In Chinese: 难过的
      Pinyin: nán guò de
      In English: “Sad”

      In Chinese: 害怕的
      Pinyin: hài pà de
      In English: “Scared”

      In Chinese: 感动的
      Pinyin: gǎn dòng de
      In English: “Touched”

      In Chinese: 惊喜的
      Pinyin: jīng xǐ de
      In English: “Surprised”

      In Chinese: 激动的
      Pinyin: jī dòng de
      In English: “Excited”

      In Chinese: 失望的
      Pinyin: shī wàng de
      In English: “Disappointed”

      In Chinese: 骄傲的
      Pinyin: jiāo ào de
      In English: “Proud”

      In Chinese: 轻松的
      Pinyin: qīng sōng de
      In English: “Relaxed”

      In Chinese: 生气的
      Pinyin: shēng qì de
      In English: “Angry”

      In Chinese: 沮丧的
      Pinyin: jǔ sàng de
      In English: “Upset”

      In Chinese: 忧伤的
      Pinyin: yōu shāng de
      In English: “Depressed”

      In Chinese: 冷静的
      Pinyin: lěng jìng de
      In English: “Calm”

      In Chinese: 释然的
      Pinyin: shì rán de
      In English: “Relieved”

      In Chinese: 乐观的
      Pinyin: lè guān de
      In English: “Optimistic”

      In Chinese: 悲观的
      Pinyin: bēi guān de
      In English: “Pessimistic”

      4 – Describing the Weather

      In Chinese: 下雨的
      Pinyin: xià yǔ de
      In English: “Rainy”

      In Chinese: 多云的
      Pinyin: duō yún de
      In English: “Cloudy”

      In Chinese: 多风的
      Pinyin: duō fēng de
      In English: “Windy”

      In Chinese: 晴朗的
      Pinyin: qíng lǎng de
      In English: “Sunny”

      In Chinese: 下雪的
      Pinyin: xià xuě de
      In English: “Snowy”

      6. Conjunctions

      In Chinese: 并且
      Pinyin: bìng qiě
      In English: “And”

      In Chinese: 但是
      Pinyin: dàn shì
      In English: “But”

      In Chinese: 然后
      Pinyin: rán hòu
      In English: “Then”

      In Chinese: 因为
      Pinyin: yīn wèi
      In English: “Because”

      In Chinese: 所以
      Pinyin: suǒ yǐ
      In English: “So”

      In Chinese: 因此
      Pinyin: yīn cǐ
      In English: “Thus”

      In Chinese: 还有
      Pinyin: hái yǒu
      In English: “Also”

      In Chinese: 之前
      Pinyin: zhī qián
      In English: “Before”

      In Chinese: 之后
      Pinyin: zhī hòu
      In English: “After”

      In Chinese: 从此
      Pinyin: cóng cǐ
      In English: “Since”

      7. Classifier

      In Chinese: 只
      Pinyin: zhī
      Example objects to use for: Cats

      In Chinese: 头
      Pinyin: tóu
      Example objects to use for: Cows

      In Chinese: 个
      Example objects to use for: People

      In Chinese: 条
      Pinyin: tiáo
      Example objects to use for: Fish

      In Chinese: 支
      Pinyin: zhī
      Example objects to use for: Pens

      8. Conclusion

      Now that you’ve learned over 200 Chinese words for beginners, the vocabulary may seem overwhelming at first. However, as long as you keep practicing them every day, everything will fall into place. Using these basic Chinese words will eventually become second nature. 

      You’ll soon find yourself passing the beginner stage and moving forward to the intermediate and advanced stages. If you feel like there aren’t enough learning resources available to you, ChineseClass101 is always here to be your greatest helper.

      ChineseClass101 has professional, entertaining materials for Chinese learners at every stage of their language learning journey, and you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for here. Become a member today and experience all that our website has to offer! 

      What other basic Chinese words do you want to know? Are there any you’re confused about? Comment below to let us know!

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