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Advanced Chinese Phrases and Four-Character Idioms

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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.”

第二种方法的有效性是显而易见的。
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” *

相对而言,女孩儿的语言天赋比男孩儿的要强一些。
Xiāngduì éryán, nǚháir de yǔyán nénglì bǐ nánháir de yāo qiáng yīxiē.
“Relatively speaking, girls show more talent in languages than boys.”

相对而言,第一个预案对消费者会更有吸引力。
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”

知识的学习和应用相辅相成,相互促进。
Zhīshi de xuéxí hé yìngyòng xiāngfǔ xiāngchéng, xiānghù cùjìn.
“The acquisition and application of knowledge complement and benefit each other.”

这两点其实并不矛盾,而是相辅相成的。
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”

以上两个要素密不可分,缺一不可。
Yǐshàng liǎng gè yàosù mìbù kěfēn, quēyī bùkě.
“The above two factors are inseparable and indispensable.”

商家的诚信和口碑有着密不可分的联系。
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” *

近几年有不少诸如此类的研究。
Jìn jǐ nián yǒu bù shǎo zhūrú cǐlèi de yánjiū.
“There have been quite a few studies like this in recent years.”

诸如此类的观点在作者的影评中也可以找到。
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” *

与此同时,房价的上涨维持在平均每年2.8%的水平。
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%.”

我们产品的销售量稳步增长,与此同时,我们的团队也壮大了许多。
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…”

由此可见,这个结论存在极大的漏洞。
Yóucǐ kějiàn, zhège jiélùn cúnzài jí dà de lòudòng.
“It can be seen that there are huge loopholes in this conclusion.”

一个疏忽引发了整个系统的崩溃,由此可见,细节是多么重要。
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”

总而言之,电子产品给儿童的身心健康带来了负面影响。
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.”

总而言之,新冠病毒在不断地变异。
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”

综上所述,人工智能不能替代真人翻译。
Zòngshàng suǒshù, réngōng zhǐ néng bùnéng tìdài zhēnrén fānyì.
“In summary, artificial intelligence cannot replace human translation.”

综上所述,能真正达到减重目的的方法只有两种。
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” *

黄浩然工作认真负责,一直以来是我们公司的榜样员工。
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.”

认真负责是我对自己的最低要求。
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” 

第一次接触黄浩然,我就发现他是个非常勤奋好学的学生。
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.”

从小到大,勤奋好学都是老师和同学们对我的一致评价。
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” *

谦虚谨慎是黄浩然最优秀的品质之一。
Qiānxū jǐnshèn shì Huáng Hàorán zuì yōuxiù de pǐnzhí zhī yī.
“Modesty is one of Huang Haoran’s best qualities.”

我始终认为,谦虚谨慎是为人处事的基本原则。
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” *

黄浩然乐观开朗,深受同事和客户的喜爱。
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.”

乐观开朗的性格让我在行业内外结交到很多朋友。
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” *

爱好广泛的他,在团建活动中经常担任策划人的角色。
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.”

我的爱好广泛,包括足球、长跑、吉他、摄影等等。
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”

正因为懂得举一反三,他的学习速度和能力比其他人高出许多。
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’. ”

我教给学生的不仅是书本上的知识,更是举一反三的学习习惯。
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” *

善于沟通是他最大的闪光点。
Shànyú gōutōng shì tā zuìdà de shǎnguāng diǎn.
“Being good at communication is his strongest point.”

通过这次培训,我学会了善于沟通在团体中的重要作用。
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” *

她虽然是新人,但是适应调整得很快,可塑性强。
Tā suīrán shì xīnrén, dànshì shìyìng tiáozhěng dé hěn kuài, kěsùxìng qiáng.
“Although she is a newcomer, she adapts quickly and is very flexible.”

我的可塑性强,只要有需要我的部门,我都愿意效力。
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” *

她不仅业务能力强,还富有团队精神。
Tā bùjǐn qiānxū jǐnshèn, hái fùyǒu tuánduì jīngshén.
“Not only is she a professional, but she is also a great team player.”

本人乐观开朗,善于沟通,具有强烈的团队意识和团队精神。
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”

只要我们齐心协力,再艰巨的任务也难不倒我们。
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.”

虽然时间紧,任务重,大家加把劲儿,齐心协力地把这个项目做出来。
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”)

在面临巨大挑战之时,我们必须同舟共济,共度难关。
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.”

这种同舟共济的情谊是难能可贵的。
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” 

我对大家牺牲小我,顾全大局的举动表示由衷的感谢。
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.”

想要再上一个台阶,你得先学会如何顾全大局。
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” 

我们产品的市场竞争力,大家都是有目共睹的。
Wǒmen chǎnpǐn de shìchǎng jìngzhēng lì, dàjiā dōu shì yǒumù gòngdǔ de.
“The market competitiveness of our products is obvious to all.”

我们对手的实力大家有目共睹,但是他们的短板大家同样是有目共睹的。
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”

为了确保此次活动万无一失地顺利进行,我们准备了一套正式方案和两套应急方案。
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.”

这么做虽然不是万无一失,但是就算失败也是值得的。
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” 

在这次的研讨会中,各部门同事集思广益,给我们的新项目出谋划策。
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.”

作为决策者,我深知集思广益、群策群力的重要性。请大家畅所欲言。
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” 

这和先有鸡还是先有蛋一样,答案都是见仁见智。
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.”

到底什么是美?我相信这是一道见仁见智的议题
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” 

精益求精是我们一直追求的目标。
Jīngyì qiújīng shì wǒmen yīzhí zhuīqiú de mùbiāo.
“Continuous improvement is the goal we have been pursuing.”

马克同志精益求精的工作态度是值得我们所有人学习的。
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”

这次合作采用的是降低成本,互惠互利的双赢模式。
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.”

当然,我们签订的任何承诺和合约都是以互惠互利为前提的。
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”  

此次员工培训的重中之重是安全生产。
Cǐ cì yuángōng péixùn de zhòngzhōng zhīzhòng shì ānquán shēngchǎn.
“The top priority of this employee training is safety in production.”

如果说培养孩子良好的性格是重点,那么教会他们站在别人的角度看问题则是重中之重。 
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”

不得不说,公司的声誉或多或少都受到了这次事件的影响。
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.”

我们或多或少都听到了一些不太悦耳的声音。
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.

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

希望这次考试同学们都全力以赴,取得理想的成绩。
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.”

虽然我们没能击败对手,但是大家全力以赴,顽强拼搏的精神还是非常值得鼓励的。
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”

我们团队一鼓作气,连续72小时工作,在截止日期前提交了方案。
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.”

留给我们的时间不多了,我们只能一鼓作气地奋战到底。
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”

这次考试成绩不错,要保持这个势头,再接再厉。
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.”

为你完美的表现点赞,请再接再厉,给我们更多的惊喜。
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”

没选上也不要灰心,有机会一定可以卷土重来的。
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.”

大家拿出卷土重来的决心和气势,不要让对手小看我们。
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”) 

你要懂得只要努力,就能笨鸟先飞。
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.”

没有什么好担心的,笨鸟先飞的例子有的是。
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”

都说熟能生巧,多练习练习,上台就不紧张了。
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.”

凡事都是这样的,做得多了,就熟能生巧了。
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”

没事儿,你该做的都做了,只能顺其自然,耐心等待了。
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.”

顺其自然挺好的。强扭的瓜不甜。
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”)

哇,你加的这一句词简直是画龙点睛,太牛了
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.”

最后这个调整真是画龙点睛,整个画面都生动了起来。
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”

小李的演讲让在场的诸位都有耳目一新的感觉。
Xiǎo lǐ de yǎnjiǎng ràng zàichǎng de zhūwèi dōu yǒu ěrmù yīxīn de gǎnjué.
“Xiao Li’s speech gave everyone present a refreshing feeling.”

我不得不说,你的这个改变太让人耳目一新了。
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” 

你是我们心中当之无愧的第一名。
Nǐ shì wǒmen xīnzhōng dāngzhī wúkuì de dì yī míng.
“You are the well-deserved number one in our hearts.”

你这个组长是全票通过的,当之无愧。
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” 

能在这么多有实力的新人中脱颖而出,你的实力是有目共睹的。
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.”

恭喜你在几轮面试后脱颖而出,被我司顺利录取。
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 ChineseClass101.com. 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

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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).

#1 
吃了十个饺子
chī le shí ge jiǎozi
“ate ten dumplings”

#2 
两个月前分手了
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.

#3 
谢谢你的招待,我昨晚玩得很开心。
Xièxie nǐ de zhāodài, wǒ zuówǎn wán de hěn kāixīn.
“Thank you for your hospitality; I had fun last night.”

#4 
上个周末我在家休息。
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.

#5  
[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.?”

#6 
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. 

#7 
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?”

#8 
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?”

#9 
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?”

#10
[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:

#11
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.”

#12 
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.”

#13 
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.”

#14 
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

#15 
强烈推荐
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.

#16 
必买
bì mǎi
“must-buy”

    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.”

#17 
无限回购
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.”

#18 
浪费钱
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.”

#19 
服务态度差
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.”

#20 
图片与实物不符
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.

#21 
请慢用
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.”

#22 
请指教
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.”

#23 
请多提宝贵意见
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.”

#24 
包您满意
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.”

#25 
感谢您的理解和支持。
Gǎnxiè nín de lǐjiě hé zhīchí.
“Your understanding and support are greatly appreciated.”

#26
有问题请随时联系。
Yǒu wèntí qǐng suíshí liánxì.
“If there’s a question, contact us anytime.”

#27 
期待您的回复
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:

他们两个月前分手了。
Tāmen liǎng ge yuè qián fēnshǒu le.
“They broke up two months ago.”

    ➢ Basic response to express surprise:

#28 
真的吗?
Zhēnde ma?
“Really?”

    ➢ Variations:

#29 
真的假的?
Zhēn de jiǎ de?
“Are you serious?” (Literally: “Real or fake?”)

#30 
你逗我的吧?
Nǐ dòu wǒ de ba?
“Are you kidding/teasing me?”

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

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.”

    ➢ Basic response to express slight disagreement or doubt:

#31 
不对吧?
Bú duì ba?
“That’s not right, is it?”

    ➢ Variations:

#32 
好像不是这样吧。
Hǎoxiàng búshì zhèyàng ba.
“Seems like this is not the case.”

#33 
你确定吗?据我所知…
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:

上个周末我在家休息。
Shàngge zhōumò wǒ zài jiā xiūxi.
“Last weekend, I rested at home.”

    ➢ Basic response to prompt for more information:

#34 
还有呢?
Hái yǒu ne?
“And?”

    ➢ Variation:

#35 
你详细讲讲。
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 ChineseClass101.com 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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The 30+ Most Helpful Phone Phrases in Chinese

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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: 

#1

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: 

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

Or: 

喂?您好。
(Wéi? Nín hǎo.)
 “Hello.” 

#2

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.

#3

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

#4

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.

#5

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.”

#6

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: 

#7

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…”

#8

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.”

#9

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.

#10

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

#11

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: 

#12

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.”

#13

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.”

#14

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: 

#15

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

#16

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

#17

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. 

#18

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?”

#19

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?”

#20

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

#21

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.”

#22

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: 

#23

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?”

#24

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

#25

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

#26

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.”

#27

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.”

#28

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.”

#29

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

#30

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.”

#31

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

#32

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.

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The Top 10 Chinese Filler Words to Flavor Your Speech

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As dedicated a language learner as you are, there are probably still situations where you don’t have your next sentence prepared during a conversation. 

The question is: What should you do? 

On the one hand, you don’t want to pause for so long that the conversation becomes awkward. But on the other hand, it’s only natural to pause and think sometimes, even in your mother tongue. 

Chinese filler words are a magical set of tools that will empower your conversations and help you sound more like a native speaker. Using them will definitely make it feel easier to organize and share your thoughts. 

Today, we’re going to introduce you to the top 10 most useful Chinese filler words. However, remember not to overwhelm your conversation partner with too many of them—after all, they’re used to smoothen a conversation, not to abuse one. 

Now without further ado, let’s dive straight into it!

A Woman Trying to Comprehend What a Man Is Saying

Sometimes, taking a proper pause to organize your thoughts is the right thing to do.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. What are filler words and why do we use them?
  2. Top 10 Common Chinese Filler Words
  3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words
  4. Conclusion

1. What are filler words and why do we use them?

Hmmm…let me think about it… What exactly is a filler word and how do we use it? 

Well, that’s a pretty difficult question to answer, but I believe you’re smart enough to have guessed after reading this far. 😉 

At one point or another, we all use filler words in our conversations. They can be used to buy us some time as we search for the right expression or figure out what to say next. Even in your native language, it’s likely that you sprinkle your daily convos with the occasional filler word. It’s just natural. 

Although filler words might not sound important, they indeed play a major role in the Chinese language. We use them in several different contexts and for a variety of reasons, such as adding emphasis or showing that we’re embarrassed or hesitant to say something out loud. 

If you’re familiar with Chinese culture, you may have heard that Chinese people greatly value the concept of “face.” Well, having filler words at your disposal can encourage you to speak up and help you do so with grace.

2. Top 10 Common Chinese Filler Words

A Group of Four Friends Chatting with Drinks

Use your words properly and make everyone happy during a conversation!

#1 

In Chinese: 那个…
Pinyin: nà gè…
Literal meaning in English: “That…”

You can use this Chinese filler word when you’re speaking about something difficult or awkward, or when you’re thinking about what to say next. 

Keep in mind that although the official pronunciation is nà gè, native Chinese speakers prefer to pronounce it nèi gè in their everyday conversations because it’s easier to say.

Example

A: “那个……我想跟你说个秘密,你能不能不要告诉别人?”
B: “当然了,放心吧。”

A: “Nà gè …wǒ xiǎng gēn nǐ shuō gè mì mì, nǐ néng bu néng bú yào gào sù bié rén.” 
B: “Dāng rán le, fàng xīn ba.” 

A: “Uh… I want to let you in on a secret, can you please not tell anyone else?”
B: “Of course, just rest assured.”

#2 

In Chinese: 然后…
Pinyin: rán hòu…
Literal meaning in English: “Then…”

This filler can be used to connect a series of events that happened in a more natural way.  然后 is actually a pet phrase for many Chinese people, especially when it comes to describing a long sequence of events, so feel free to use it as needed.

Example

“我没想到事情发生的这么突然,然后我就一下子愣住了, 再然后我就晕过去了。”
“Wǒ méi xiǎng dào shì qíng fā shēng de zhè me tū rán, rán hòu wǒ jiù yī xià zi lèng zhù le, zài rán hòu wǒ jiù yūn guò qù le.”
“I didn’t expect it to happen so fast, then I just froze from the shock, and then I passed out.”

#3

In Chinese: 就是…
Pinyin: jiù shì…
In English: “It’s like…” / “Actually…”

This is a great filler to use if you’re talking about something difficult or awkward, especially if you need to make your point clear. 

Example

A: “你到底想和我说什么?”
B: “就是吧……我其实一直都很喜欢你,你愿意和我在一起吗?”

A: “Nǐ dào dǐ xiǎng hé wǒ shuō shén me?” 
B: “Jiù shì ba …wǒ qí shí yī zhí dōu hěn xǐ huān nǐ, nǐ yuàn yì hé wǒ zài yī qǐ ma?”

A: “What do you exactly want to tell me?”
B: “Actually… I have always had a crush on you. Do you want to be with me?”

#4 

In Chinese: 对了…
Pinyin: duì le… 
In English: “By the way…”

Like its English equivalent, you would use this filler in case you wanted to add something to a previous conversation or if you wanted to say something that just came to mind. 

Example

A: “早上好。”
B: “早上好。对了,今天要不要一起吃午饭?”

A: “Zǎo shàng hǎo.” 
B: “Zǎo shàng hǎo. Duì le, jīn tiān yào bú yào yī qǐ chī wǔ fàn?”

A: “Good morning.”
B: “Good morning. By the way, do you want to have lunch with me today?”

#5 

In Chinese: 呃…
Pinyin: e…
In English: “Hm…”

You can use this Chinese filler when you’re hesitant or unsure about what to say.

Example

A: “你想和我结婚吗?”
B: “呃……我觉得我们应该再考虑一段时间。”

A: “Nǐ xiǎng hé wǒ jié hūn ma?” 
B: “E …wǒ jué de wǒ men yīng gāi zài kǎo lǜ yī duàn shí jiān.”

A: “Do you want to get married?”
B: “Hmm… I think we should take a little bit more time.”

#6

In Chinese: 另外…
Pinyin: lìng wài…
In English: “Also…”

This filler is most often used when you’re thinking of something to add to a conversation you’ve just had. 

Example

A: “今天和我出去逛街怎么样?”
B: “我今天不想出去逛街。另外……我肚子有些不舒服。”

A: “Jīn tiān hé wǒ chū qù guàng jiē zěn me yàng?” 
B: “Wǒ jīn tiān bù xiǎng chū qù guàng jiē. Lìng wài …wǒ dù zi yǒu xiē bù shū fú.”

A: “How about going shopping today?”
B: “I don’t really want to go shopping. Also…my stomach is a little upset.”

#7

In Chinese: 还有就是…
Pinyin: hái yǒu jiù shì…
In English: “What’s more…”

This is another filler you can use when you’re thinking of something to add to the conversation. 

Example

“我有点不好意思告诉你,还有就是……我爸妈不想邀请你来我的生日派对。”
“Wǒ yǒu diǎn bù hǎo yì sī gào sù nǐ, hái yǒu jiù shì …wǒ bà mā bù xiǎng yāo qǐng nǐ lái wǒ de shēng rì pài duì.”
“I feel a little embarrassed to tell you, what’s more is that…my parents don’t want you to come to my birthday party.”

A Woman Making a Phone Call while Holding a Hand to Her Head

Certain topics are embarrassing to talk about, which is where filler words come into play!

#8

In Chinese: 那什么…
Pinyin: nà shén me…
Literal meaning in English: “About that…”

You can use this filler to ease into a topic that may be awkward to speak about, or when you need time to think of what to say next. 

Example

A: “你可以把欠我的钱还给我吗?”
B: “那什么……我最近手头有点紧,下星期可以吗?”

A: “Nǐ kě yǐ bǎ qiàn wǒ de qián huán gěi wǒ ma?” 
B: “Nà shén me …wǒ zuì jìn shǒu tóu yǒu diǎn jǐn, xià xīng qī kě yǐ ma?”

A: “Can you give me back the money you owed me?”
B: “Talking about that… My pocket has been a little empty recently, can we please do it next week?”

#9

In Chinese: 这个…
Pinyin: zhè gè…
In English: “Well…”

This filler is used in much the same way as the previous one. 

Example

A: “你可以把这本书借我吗?”
B: “这个……可能不行。我已经答应借给另一个朋友了。”

A: “Nǐ kě yǐ bǎ zhè běn shū jiè wǒ ma?”  
B: “Zhè gè …kě néng bù xíng. Wǒ yǐ jīng dā yìng jiè gěi lìng yī gè péng yǒu le.”

A: “Can you lend this book to me?”
B: “Well…probably not. I already agreed to lend it to another friend.”

#10 

In Chinese: 怎么说呢…
Pinyin: zěn me shuō ne…
In English: “How do I put this…”

This phrase is best used in situations where you’re talking about something awkward or you aren’t sure of the proper way to say something. 

Example

A: “你喜欢我吗?”
B: “怎么说呢……我只当你是朋友。”

A: “Nǐ xǐ huān wǒ ma?” 
B: “Zěn me shuō ne …wǒ zhī dāng nǐ shì péng yǒu.”

A: “Do you like me?”
B: “How do I put this… I only see you as a friend.”

3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words

7 People Standing Side-by-side with Speech and Thought Bubbles in Their Hands

Speak to people in your unique way with sincerity.

Just as a coin has two sides, so do words. Filler words can only be effective when used properly. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of using these words, and think about how we can use this information to maximize their effectiveness. 

1 – Pro: Filler words will make your conversations smoother and more natural. 

Each language has its own filler words that only native speakers or advanced learners would know. For this reason, using filler words appropriately will help you sound more fluent and make locals who talk to you feel more comfortable.

In addition, just imagine having a conversation without filler words before you’re completely fluent in a language…wouldn’t a long pause seem a bit awkward? These little words buy us time to think and organize our thoughts before speaking, and they also help the listener understand that we aren’t done talking yet. 

All in all, using filler words in Chinese correctly can help make your conversations flow.

2 – Con: It can become overwhelming if not used properly.

Now it’s time to talk about the disadvantages. 

Hold on, don’t get upset too fast! Chinese fillers can still be your best friends, as long as you use them in the right contexts without overdoing it.

Although filler words in Chinese can help you better structure your conversation, you should avoid using them in formal or professional contexts. If you have a job interview or business presentation coming up, you may want to consider preparing everything in advance in order to avoid overusing Chinese filler words. Otherwise, you may appear to be unprepared and lacking in confidence, which your listeners may also find disrespectful. 

To avoid situations like this, simply practice your speech before the occasion at hand. Remember: Success always comes for those who are prepared! 

Of course, using a couple of filler words in your speech shouldn’t be too much of a problem. So just relax and be confident!

Two Students Chatting Beside a Blackboard that Has Sticky Notes on It

Happy learning with ChineseClass101!

4. Conclusion

How are you handling these filler words in Chinese? They’re not as difficult as you thought, are they? Just remember to practice them often and to start using them naturally as you think of what to say. They can come in very handy in your conversations. 

Keep in mind that each filler word is unique, so try your best to use them properly. If you have any trouble implementing them into your daily conversations, don’t hesitate to ask the ChineseClass101 team for some help! 

We provide advanced learning tools and entertaining educational materials to keep you motivated on this language learning journey. Here, you’ll be a happy Chinese learner with access to up-to-date info on grammar, culture, slang, and so much more…all in one place! 

What are you waiting for? Register your free account today and start learning with us!

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Say “I Love You” in Chinese: 30+ Powerful Love Phrases

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Love: a beautiful topic that many people enjoy talking about. It seems to be a never-ending subject of discussion among philosophers, and indeed, it’s one of the most important purposes of human life. Most of us can’t live without it. 

But having love is not enough. We also have to express it to those who truly deserve it. 

“Love” in Chinese is 爱 (ài), and 爱 never comes easy. If you happen to fall for a Chinese girl or guy, the phrases and cultural information in this article will be your trump card. 

Today, we’ll be delving into the topic of how to say “I love you,” in Chinese. We’ll introduce you to several romantic Mandarin phrases to use with your sweetheart at every stage of your relationship, from first contact to a second date and even proposing marriage! Near the end of this article, we’ll show you some sweet Chinese words for love and go over a few popular love quotes as well. 

These are some of the sweetest love phrases in Chinese you’ll ever hear. They cannot wait to be mastered and said out loud to the person of your dreams!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-Up Lines and More
  2. Fall in Deeper: “I Love You,” and More
  3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More
  4. Endearment Terms
  5. Must-Know Love Quotes
  6. Conclusion

1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-Up Lines and More

I know you’re rushing to learn how to say “I love you,” in Chinese, but let’s wait a second. Before you spit that out, make sure you don’t frighten the other person by being too forward right away. It’s probably better to take it slowly at this point.

In this section, we’ll first go over how to express your feelings before officially starting a relationship. This is usually done by asking the person out, showing your interest, or simply telling them your feelings, so we’ll give you useful phrases for these different scenarios. This is an important stage that will pave the way for your future relationship, so trust me, you don’t want to mess this up.

A Man and Woman on a Date at a Nice Restaurant

Maybe start pursuing your love by taking them on a date!

1.
In Chinese: 我可以约你出去吗?
Pinyin: Wǒ kě yǐ yuē nǐ chū qù ma? 
In English: “Can I ask you out?”

2.
In Chinese: 我暗恋你很久了。
Pinyin: Wǒ àn liàn nǐ hěn jiǔ le. 
In English: “I have been secretly in love with you for a long time.”

3. 
In Chinese: 你有男朋友/女朋友了吗?
Pinyin: Nǐ yǒu nán péng yǒu / nǚ péng yǒu le ma? 
In English: “Do you have a boyfriend / girlfriend?”

4. 
In Chinese: 我想跟你在一起。
Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng gēn nǐ zài yī qǐ.
In English: “I want to be with you.”

5. 
In Chinese: 我们注定要在一起。
Pinyin: Wǒ men zhù dìng yào zài yī qǐ.
In English: “We are meant to be together.”

6.
In Chinese: 你就是对的那个人。
Pinyin: Nǐ jiù shì duì de nà gè rén. 
In English: “You are the one.”

7. 
In Chinese: 给我一个机会照顾你吧。
Pinyin: Gěi wǒ yī gè jī huì zhào gù nǐ ba. 
In English: “Give me a chance to take care of you.”

8.
In Chinese: 我可以晚上请你吃个饭吗?
Pinyin: Wǒ kě yǐ wǎn shàng qǐng nǐ chī gè fàn ma? 
In English: “Can I buy you dinner tonight?”

9.
In Chinese: 你就是我这辈子一直在等的那个人。
Pinyin: Nǐ jiù shì wǒ zhè bèi zi yī zhí zài děng de nà gè rén. 
In English: “You are the person I have been waiting for my whole life.”

2. Fall in Deeper: “I Love You,” and More

A Man Whispering Something in His Girlfriend’s Ear

Now that you’re together, it’s time to tell the person what he/she wants to hear.

Congratulations! If you find yourself needing to use these sweet Chinese love phrases, you must have successfully captured someone’s heart. Now it’s time to simply express your love each and every day to keep your relationship going smoothly.

10. 
In Chinese: 我爱你。
Pinyin: Wǒ ài nǐ. 
In English: “I love you.”

11.
In Chinese: 我喜欢你。
Pinyin: Wǒ xǐ huān nǐ. 
In English: “I like you.”

12. 
In Chinese: 我很想你。
Pinyin: Wǒ hěn xiǎng nǐ.
In English: “I miss you very much.”

13. 
In Chinese: 情人节快乐。
Pinyin: Qíng rén jié kuài lè. 
In English: “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

14. 
In Chinese: 我就是喜欢这样的你
Pinyin: Wǒ jiù shì xǐ huān zhè yàng de nǐ. 
In English: “I just like the way you are.”

15. 
In Chinese: 我脑海里都是你。
Pinyin: Wǒ nǎo hǎi lǐ dōu shì nǐ. 
In English: “I can’t stop thinking about you.”

16.
In Chinese: 没有你我活不下去。
Pinyin: Méi yǒu nǐ wǒ huó bú xià qù. 
In English: “I can’t live without you.”

3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More

A Mother Holding and Kissing Her Baby on the Cheek

Are you ready to grow your relationship into a family?

Wow! If you’re reading this, then you’re about to take a huge step in your relationship. Here are some useful phrases to help you get ready for this new chapter of your life together.

17. 
In Chinese: 我们结婚吧。
Pinyin: Wǒ men jié hūn ba. 
In English: “Let’s get married.”

18.
In Chinese: 我想和你同居。
Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng hé nǐ tóng jū. 
In English: “I’d like to move in with you.”

19. 
In Chinese: 余生请多指教。
Pinyin: Yú shēng qǐng duō zhǐ jiào.
In English: “Let’s grow and learn together for the rest of our lives.”

20. 
In Chinese: 你愿意嫁给我吗? / 你愿意娶我吗?
Pinyin: Nǐ yuàn yì jià gěi wǒ ma? / Nǐ yuàn yì qǔ wǒ ma?
In English: “Do you want to marry me?”
Additional notes: In Chinese, the word for “marry” is different depending on the gender. When it’s the male asking the female, 嫁 (jià) is used; 娶() is the correct word to use if the female is asking the male.

21.
In Chinese: 我们是时候要孩子了。
Pinyin: Wǒ men shì shí hòu yào hái zi le. 
In English: “It’s time for us to have a baby.”

22.
In Chinese: 你想见见我父母吗?
Pinyin: Nǐ xiǎng jiàn jiàn wǒ fù mǔ ma? 
In English: “Do you want to meet my parents?”
Additional notes: In a Chinese relationship, it’s a big deal to see each other’s parents.

4. Endearment Terms

A Man with Arms Around His Wife as They Stand in a Park During Autumn

You know a cute nickname is essential for any relationship!

Maybe it’s time to use a fun endearment term for your partner! Here are some cute nicknames you should consider: 

23. 
In Chinese: 亲爱的
Pinyin: qīn ài de
In English: “Darling”

24. 
In Chinese: 老公 / 老婆
Pinyin: lǎo gōng / lǎo pó 
In English: “Husband” / “Wifey”

25.
In Chinese: 宝贝 / 宝宝
Pinyin: bǎo bèi / bǎo bao
In English: “Baby” / “Babe”

26.
In Chinese: 小傻瓜 / 笨蛋
Pinyin: xiǎo shǎ guā / bèn dàn
In English: “Little Fool”

27.
In Chinese: 夫君 / 夫人
Pinyin: fū jūn / fū rén
In English: “Husband” / “Wife”
Additional notes: This is the ancient way of saying “husband” and “wife.” Today, these terms are used as fun expressions of endearment between married couples.

5. Must-Know Love Quotes

An Envelope with a Heart on It

Say something sweet everyday to make the person with you feel that she/he is well-loved!

Now that you’ve settled down with your other half, it’s time to start showing your love in more depth! Even a stable relationship needs to be consistently nurtured, and hopefully these quotes and love phrases in Chinese can help you with that.

28. 
In Chinese: 你让我想成为更好的人。
Pinyin: Nǐ ràng wǒ xiǎng chéng wéi gèng hǎo de rén. 
In English: “I want to be a better person for you.”

29. 
In Chinese: 愿得一人心,白首不相离。
Pinyin: Yuàn dé yī rén xīn, bái shǒu bù xiàng lí. 
In English: “To have one’s heart and never be apart even when the hair turns silver.”

30. 
In Chinese: 和你在一起的每一天都是情人节。
Pinyin: Hé nǐ zài yī qǐ de měi yī tiān dōu shì qíng rén jié.
In English: “Being with you, I think every day is Valentine’s Day.”

31. 
In Chinese: 在我眼里你是最美的。
Pinyin: Zài wǒ yǎn lǐ nǐ shì zuì měi de. 
In English: “You are the most beautiful person to my eyes.”

32. 
In Chinese: 爱你,是我做过的最好的事。
Pinyin: Ài nǐ, shì wǒ zuò guò de zuì hǎo de shì. 
In English: “Loving you is the best thing I’ve done.”

33.
In Chinese: 你就是我的全世界。
Pinyin: Nǐ jiù shì wǒ de quán shì jiè. 
In English: “You are my whole world.”

34. 
In Chinese: 你只属于我。
Pinyin: Nǐ zhǐ shǔ yú wǒ. 
In English: “You only belong to me.”

35. 
In Chinese: 我的心里只有你。
Pinyin: Wǒ de xīn lǐ zhǐ yǒu nǐ. 
In English: “You are the only one in my heart.”

36. 
In Chinese: 我们一起变老吧。
Pinyin: Wǒ men yī qǐ biàn lǎo ba. 
In English: “Let’s grow old together.”

37. 
In Chinese: 执子之手,与子偕老
Pinyin: Zhí zǐ zhī shǒu, yǔ zǐ xié lǎo. 
In English: “I promise to hold your hands and grow old with you.

6. Conclusion

So, what’s your favorite way to say “I love you” in Chinese? Now that you’ve mastered some basic Chinese love phrases, you might consider writing a love letter or something more.

As you may already know, it’s never easy to pursue love, and it can get even more difficult when you’re doing it in another language or with a foreigner who doesn’t speak your native language. But don’t worry yet—ChineseClass101 is here to give you a hand!

ChineseClass101 will guide you to fluency with numerous lessons about the Chinese culture, grammar, vocabulary, and so much more. All of this is customized for different levels and different learning preferences. Create your free lifetime account today in order to gain access to these world-class teaching materials.

Now, get out there and win over that good-looking Chinese guy or gal!

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Basics of Chinese Negation Every Beginner Should Know

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There’s certainly a need for sentences of positivity and affirmation in our everyday lives, but what about the negative ones?

Unsurprisingly, they’re actually an essential part of human expression in every language. Knowing how to form negative sentences and answers can improve the effectiveness of our communication with others and help us set healthy boundaries. 

As a beginner, you should definitely start learning about negation in Chinese as early on as possible. I get that it can sometimes be tough to say no, but as long as you find the appropriate way to express your rejection, you have nothing to worry about! As a matter of fact, learning how to say no can actually save time for all parties involved.

Even for something as basic as negation, there’s a lot to map out. But don’t worry—you’ll find all the information and examples you need right here in this guide! We’ll cover not only the basic negative phrases and answers, but also some unique phrases for expressing negation in Chinese like a native.

Let’s get straight to it!

A Woman Holding Her Palms Out in Front of Her to Say No or Stop

We have to learn to say NO to things we don’t want.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. How to Negate a Statement
  2. Giving a Negative Response to a Question
  3. Ten Negative Words You Need to Know
  4. Special Ways to Say No
  5. Double Negatives
  6. Bonus: Polite Ways of Saying No in Chinese
  7. Conclusion

1. How to Negate a Statement

Chinese negation really just boils down to two basic words: 不 () and 没 (méi). While 不 is often used to negate things in the present or future tense, 没 is used to negate things in the past tense.

Learning how to correctly use these two Chinese negation words is half the battle. Once you have this down, you’ll have little difficulty grasping variants based on them. 

There are a few different patterns you can use to convey negation in Chinese: 

1. 不 () + Verb + Object

In Chinese: 我不喜欢吃香蕉。
Pinyin: Wǒ bù xǐ huān chī xiāng jiāo. 
In English: “I don’t like eating bananas.”

2. 不 () + Adjective

In Chinese: 我觉得这件衣服不好看。
Pinyin: Wǒ jué de zhè jiàn yī fú bù hǎo kàn. 
In English: “I think this piece of clothing isn’t good.”

3. 不 () + Proposition

In Chinese: 邻居不在家。
Pinyin: Lín jū bú zài jiā. 
In English: “My neighbor is not at home.”

4. 没 / 没有 (méi / méi yǒu) + Verb

In Chinese: 我没有偷东西。
Pinyin: Wǒ méi yǒu tōu dōng xi.
In English: “I didn’t steal anything.”

2. Giving a Negative Response to a Question

Now that you’re familiar with the basics, let’s cover another topic of interest: How to reply to a question with a negative answer. 

The following patterns and phrases are easy to learn, but you need to be mindful when using them. Depending on the context, they might sound a bit rough in Chinese. If you want to express negation in a more secure and polite way so as not to offend anyone, check out the bonus section at the end of this article for a little treat!

1. The Simplest Way to Deny Something

A Woman Making an X with Her Arms in Order to Reject Something or Someone

It’s not as hard as you think to deny something. Just say it!

Example

Question: 是你把我的芝士蛋糕吃了吗?
Pinyin: Shì nǐ bǎ wǒ de zhī shì dàn gāo chī le ma? 
In English: “Did you eat my cheesecake?”

#1. To say that something did not happen the way it was described: 不是 (bú shì)
#2. To say that something didn’t happen at all: 没有 (méi yǒu)

2. Other Negative Responses

#1

In Chinese: 不是这样的。
Pinyin: Bú shì zhè yàng de. 
In English: “It’s not like that.”

#2

In Chinese: 不行。 
Pinyin: Bù xíng.
In English: “No way.”

#3

In Chinese: 不可以。
Pinyin: Bù kě yǐ. 
In English: “That’s not allowed. ”

3. Ten Negative Words You Need to Know

Do you feel confident with the two basic words described earlier? Then you should go ahead and try to memorize the following words for negation in Mandarin Chinese!

A Man Speaking Out Loud with Letters Coming Out of His Mouth

Sometimes we just have to speak out loud what we truly think.

#1. 不能 / 不可以 (bù néng / bù kě yǐ) – “can’t”

In Chinese: 你不能/不可以 这么做。
Pinyin: Nǐ bù néng / bù kě yǐ zhè me zuò. 
In English: “You can’t do it. ”

#2. 不会 (bú huì) – “won’t”

In Chinese: 我不会离开你的。
Pinyin: Wǒ bú huì lí kāi nǐ de. 
In English: “I won’t leave you.”

#3. 从不 (cóng bù) – “never”

In Chinese: 我从不撒谎。
Pinyin: Wǒ cóng bú sā huǎng.
In English: “I never lie.”

#4. 很少 (hěn shǎo) – “hardly”

In Chinese: 她很少吃甜点。
Pinyin: Tā hěn shǎo chī tián diǎn. 
In English: “She hardly eats dessert.”

#5. 没有人 (méi yǒu rén) – “nobody”

In Chinese: 这里没有人。
Pinyin: Zhè lǐ méi yǒu rén. 
In English: “Nobody is here.”

#6. 别 / 不要 (bié / bú yào) – “don’t”

In Chinese: 不要这样做。
Pinyin: Bú yào zhè yàng zuò
In English: “Don’t do this.”

#7. 不再 (bú zài) – “no longer”

In Chinese: 我终于长大了,不再是那个年幼无知的小女孩了。
Pinyin: Wǒ zhōng yú zhǎng dà le, bú zài shì nà gè nián yòu wú zhī de xiǎo nǚ hái le. 
In English: “I finally grew up and am no longer that naive little girl.”

#8. 无处 (wú chù) – “nowhere”

In Chinese: 从此这架飞机便无处可寻了,哪里都找不到。
Pinyin: Cóng cǐ zhè jià fēi jī biàn wú chù kě xún le, nǎ lǐ dōu zhǎo bú dào.
In English: “Ever since then, the airplane went nowhere and no one ever found it.”

#9. 否则 (fǒu zé) – “otherwise”

In Chinese: 你真该庆幸有我在,否则你就完蛋了。
Pinyin: Nǐ zhēn gāi qìng xìng yǒu wǒ zài, fǒu zé nǐ jiù wán dàn le.
In English: “You should be glad I’m here, otherwise you would be screwed.”

#10. 也不 (yě bù) – “either” / “neither”

In Chinese: 我也不想出去吃饭。
Pinyin: Wǒ yě bù xiǎng chū qù chī fàn. 
In English: “I don’t want to dine out either.”

4. Special Ways to Say No


Restricted Area

We have to stop ourselves from doing the wrong things when needed.

#1. 非 (fēi) – negation for illegal things

In Chinese: 你所做的属于非法行为。
Pinyin: Nǐ suǒ zuò de shǔ yú fēi fǎ xíng wéi. 
In English: “What you did was illegal.”

#2. 无 () – “none of…” [formal]

In Chinese: 我只想在一个无人打扰的地方度过余生。
Pinyin: Wǒ zhǐ xiǎng zài yī gè wú rén dǎ rǎo de dì fang dù guò yú shēng. 
In English: “I just want to spend the rest of my life in a place where no one can disturb me.”

#3. 否 (fǒu) – “not” [formal]

In Chinese: 你是否愿意和我在一起?
Pinyin: Nǐ shì fǒu yuàn yì hé wǒ zài yī qǐ?
In English: “Do you or do you not want to be with me?”

#4. 勿 () – “don’t” [formal]

In Chinese: 请勿践踏草坪。
Pinyin: Qǐng wù jiàn tà cǎo píng. 
In English: “Please do not step on the grass.”

5. Double Negatives

Ready to move on to a more fun topic? Below are some examples of Chinese double negation, where two negators are used in the same sentence and cancel each other out. 

1. Subject + 不是 (bú shì) + 不 () / 没 (méi) + Predicate

#1.

In Chinese: 她不是不知道这件事的严重性。
Pinyin: Tā bú shì bù zhī dào zhè jiàn shì de yán zhòng xìng.
In English: “It’s not like she doesn’t know how serious this is.”

[She knows how serious this is.]

#2.

In Chinese: 我不是没提醒过他。
Pinyin: Wǒ bú shì méi tí xǐng guò tā. 
In English: “It’s not like I didn’t remind him.”

[I reminded him.]

#3.

In Chinese: 你不是不知道他有多喜欢你。
Pinyin: Nǐ bú shì bù zhī dào tā yǒu duō xǐ huān nǐ. 
In English: “It’s not like you don’t know how much he likes you.”

[You know how much he likes you.]

2. Subject + 不 () + 会 (huì) / 能 (néng) / 可能 (kě néng) + 不 () / 没 (méi) + Predicate

#1.

In Chinese: 父母是不会不疼爱孩子的,只是有时候方法不对。
Pinyin: Fù mǔ shì bú huì bù téng ài hái zi de, zhǐ shì yǒu shí hòu fāng fǎ bú duì.
In English: “It’s impossible that parents don’t love their children, it’s just that sometimes they are not doing it in the right way.”

3. (Subject) + 没有 (méi yǒu) + [Singular Noun] + 不 () / 没 (méi) + Predicate + 的

#1

In Chinese: 这里面没有一个人不是单身。
Pinyin: Zhè lǐ miàn méi yǒu yī gè rén bú shì dān shēn. 
In English: “There is no one that is not single.”

[Everyone is single.]

#2.

In Chinese: 这个超市里没有一个东西是不贵的。 
Pinyin: Zhè gè chāo shì lǐ méi yǒu yī gè dōng xi shì bú guì de. 
In English: “There is nothing in this supermarket that is not expensive.”

[Everything in this supermarket is expensive.]

6. Bonus: Polite Ways of Saying No in Chinese

A Couple being Led to a Table by a Waiter in a Suit

Stay polite and reject offers in the proper way.

Unlike in some Western cultures where people are used to being straightforward, there are a lot of expressions in Chinese culture that show one’s opinion in a vague way in order to be polite. This also gives the other party 面子 (miàn zi), meaning “face,” which refers to the “dignity” you’re giving to the other person by not rejecting them outright.

There are certain words used this way that might not indicate a strong will, but you should still heed them. Instead of forcing the answer you want, realize that the other person has probably made up his or her mind despite giving a “soft” rejection. 

#1

In Chinese: 要不算了吧。
Pinyin: Yào bu suàn le ba. 
In English: “Just let it go.”

You can use this phrase if you feel that you can’t help something. For example, imagine your friends ask you to tell the girl you like about your feelings, but she’s just gotten a new boyfriend.

#2

In Chinese: 这个忙我可能帮不了。
Pinyin: Zhè gè máng wǒ kě néng bāng bu liǎo. 
In English: “I probably won’t be able to help you with this.”

You could use this phrase after someone asks a favor of you, assuming you either can’t help them or don’t want to. For example, imagine a friend asks you to take care of his child when he’s gone, but you’re too busy to babysit.

#3

In Chinese: 还是别这样了。
Pinyin: Hái shì bié zhè yàng le. 
In English: “Don’t be like this.”

This phrase is used to warn someone who has done something inappropriate. For example, you could say this if your friend wants to have a party at your house, but your parents need to work quietly at home and cannot be disturbed.

#4

In Chinese: 我不是很想去。
Pinyin: Wǒ bú shì hěn xiǎng qù. 
In English: “I don’t really want to go.”

This is a polite way to reject an invitation. For example, you might use this phrase if your friend asks you to go for a drink at night, but you don’t like the taste of alcohol.

#5

In Chinese: 改天再说吧。
Pinyin: Gǎi tiān zài shuō ba. 
In English: “Let’s talk about it another day.”

This phrase is often used to postpone rejecting an invitation (or to put off giving a specific reason for your rejection). You could say this, for example, if a friend asks you to dine out and you just don’t feel like it. 

7. Conclusion

Chinese negation isn’t as difficult as you thought, right? Learning about negation in Chinese grammar early on can help increase your confidence as a beginner and make the rest of your studies much easier! 

Always keep in mind that Chinese people are very polite in some ways, so you should be careful with your tone and the way you phrase your rejections. 

If you still have any confusion about Chinese negation, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments. Asking questions is the only way to really improve! 

Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced Chinese learner (or are anywhere in between), ChineseClass101 has customized content and convenient tools for efficient learning. 

Can’t wait to see your growth in your Chinese-learning journey? Join ChineseClass101 today to boost your language skills like a pro.

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Chinese?

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How long will it take me to achieve the desired level in my target language? Will I ever get there? 

These can be excruciating questions for any diligent language learner, but knowing the answers can give you a sense of security and motivate you to work even harder toward your goal

Today, we’re going to answer that pressing question: How long does it take to learn Chinese? We’ll give you the best possible answer for each of the three major levels in Chinese learning (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). Moreover, we’ll provide you with a few secret tips on how to learn Chinese effectively! 

But first: Have you ever wondered why some people can learn Chinese quickly, and others learn it more slowly? Well, there are many contributing factors. Your language learning progress can be affected by any number of things, such as…

  • …the kind of environment you’re in. 
  • …the amount of time and effort you dedicate to learning. 
  • …your own gift or knack for languages. 

After reading this article, I believe you’ll have a much better idea of how long it will take you to master Chinese based on these and other factors.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. The Factors Involved in Your Learning Progress
  2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Beginner Level?
  3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Intermediate Level?
  4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Advanced Level?
  5. Conclusion

1. The Factors Involved in Your Learning Progress

As mentioned, there are a few different things that can affect how long it takes to learn Chinese. Here’s a quick breakdown of those factors for you. 

Your Native Language vs. Chinese

All of the time estimates in this guide are based on the assumption that your native language is English or one of the Romance languages, which are very different from the Chinese language. But if you happen to know one or more Asian languages already (such as Korean or Japanese), congratulations! This will definitely give you a major advantage and make the learning process a lot faster for you, because these languages share many similarities with Chinese. 

Your Study Method

Everyone has his or her own way of learning and adapting to things. The first thing you should do is become aware of your personal strengths and weaknesses, and then find the best way to utilize or tackle them. 

Secondly, determine your goal and main reason for learning the language. Do you want to become a fluent Chinese speaker so you can have fulfilling conversations while traveling? Or would you like to read a book in Chinese? Your answers to these questions will determine how much time you should assign to learning different parts of the language, such as reading comprehension/vocab memorization and speaking/pronunciation practice. 

Once you pinpoint your goals, it’s time to take real action! Are you going to self-teach or learn the language systematically at an institution or convenient online class? To figure this out, ask yourself whether you thrive in people-oriented environments, or whether you have enough discipline to study by yourself. Either way, find the learning methods that best suit your interests and preferences. 

From there, it’s all about dedication! 

Your Own Dedication

A Man Studying Late at Night

If you want to achieve something, then you’ll have to pour your sweat and tears into it.

Have you established your goals and put a systematic learning system in place for yourself? Great! But that’s just the start. Learning a language is a daily practice that requires consistency; if you ever break that consistency, your progress may go downhill. 

You need to always keep your motivation in mind and push yourself forward in this long journey, little by little. You might get upset sometimes, but remember that this happens to everyone. It may take a long time for the progress to reveal itself, so it’s normal to become frustrated. The important thing is that you don’t give up. 

The Environment Around You

If you’re planning to move to China for work, study, or even just a short trip, take advantage of the opportunity and talk to people. Pay attention to the way they talk and never feel afraid to speak, even if you have limited proficiency. 

If you were raised in a bilingual environment, this is another huge plus for learning a third language. This is because your brain has already adapted to language learning and switching between languages—one less factor to worry about! 

Of course, it’s possible that you’re stuck in your own place for now and have no native Chinese speakers around. No worries! Try your best to create an immersive environment for yourself, whether that means listening to local Chinese audio sources, watching Chinese shows, or even trying to make a Chinese friend online. All of these things may boost your language speaking ability dramatically!

2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Beginner Level?

Regardless of your goals, it’s important to start strong as you enter the beginner level. Here’s some useful information on how long you can expect this to take, what the “beginner level” looks like, and how to get there quickly! 

What a Chinese Beginner Needs to Know

A Man with Steam Coming Out of His Ears in Frustration

The beginning part of the learning process is always the hardest!

HSK, also known as 汉语水平考试 (hàn yǔ shuǐ píng kǎo shì) in Chinese, is the only official Mandarin Chinese proficiency exam for non-native speakers in China. It includes six levels across the beginner, intermediate, and advanced stages. 

As a beginner in the Chinese language, you should first start by learning the Pinyin system. Once you have that down, you can move on to learning phrases for basic daily greetings, self-introductions, telling the time, and asking for help and directions, as well as other everyday vocabulary. 

Of course, your proficiency is very limited at this point. Chinese is a tonal language, a concept that is difficult for speakers of English and Romance languages to grasp. In addition, the writing system is quite different and thus complicated to learn. Don’t worry about those things just yet; try your best to master the basics first and the harder aspects will become easier as you progress.

Required Time to Achieve the Beginner Level

Because Chinese is one of the most difficult languages in the world, it usually takes more time to grasp the fundamentals than it would for other languages. Assuming a student is studying consistently on a daily basis and putting in quality effort, it should take around 30-50 hours to achieve a beginner level. 

Secret Tips for Beginners

Are you feeling overwhelmed already, and wondering how to learn Chinese from scratch in the most efficient way possible? Don’t worry! These tips from ChineseClass101.com will help you make the most of your study time. 

Tip #1

Take advantage of your free time or time between tasks! You can keep a stack of flashcards in your pocket to review throughout the day or repeat vocabulary in your head while waiting in line, doing chores, or even taking a shower. Don’t underestimate these precious moments; once they accumulate, they can become pretty powerful.

Tip #2

Watch some Netflix shows or YouTube videos in Chinese with the help of English or Chinese subtitles, and never let a new vocab word slip past you again! Once you catch a word you don’t know, pause the video and look it up. It can be excruciating to pause the video over and over again, but trust me: you’ll learn more this way than you would just being entertained!

Tip #3

Chinese is a flexible language. As a beginner, you should start by mastering the Pinyin and trying to get a hang of the tones. Once you grasp the pronunciation aspect, it’s time to learn the most frequently used vocabulary and practice using those words in sentences. Don’t worry about the writing just yet—after all, learning how to converse is the most important part of learning a language.

Sample Lesson from ChineseClass101 – “How are you?”

Language points: Common daily phrases
Highlight: Learn how to use Chinese adjectives and how to negate them.
Estimated time to study: An hour
Tips: Try to read out loud along with the video, doing so several times until you get used to reading the new phrases. Try reading them by yourself while thinking about the meaning.

3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Intermediate Level?

Depending on your goals, the next logical step is probably to begin working toward an intermediate level. But what exactly does this look like and how long will it take to get there? 

What an Intermediate Chinese Learner Needs to Know

Two Twin Girls Sitting on the Couch and Raising Their Arms

You’re getting better and better now after so much practice! Congratulations!

It takes about 1-3 years to become fluent in daily conversations in Chinese. At this level, you’ll be able to talk about what you’ve done and express your feelings, which are considered intermediate-level topics. Additionally, you should be able to articulate the different tones most of the time and be able to read any Chinese character with the help of Pinyin. 

The writing system may still seem complicated to you as an intermediate learner, but you should be able to write some basic Chinese characters. In addition, you should be able to read most of the commonly used sentences and have a good understanding of how they’re structured. 

Required Time to Achieve the Intermediate Level

I suggest you spend at least two hours a day studying, which will ensure you can achieve the intermediate level within three years. These two hours should be spent effectively, studying all aspects of the language: active reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

Secret Tips for Intermediate Chinese Learners

Tip #1

Instead of flashcards, you should now have a handbook of all the new and old vocabulary you’ve learned. You should form the habit of reviewing and updating it daily to keep track of your progress.

Tip #2

As you approach the intermediate level, you should try to start thinking like a Chinese speaker. This will pave the way for your upcoming advanced-level studies. Namely, you should actively learn Chinese like a native speaker and try to memorize vocabulary without translating it to your own language.

Sample Lesson from ChineseClass101 – “Chinese Study Abroad”

Language points: Vocabulary and grammar
Highlight: Learn how to stand up for yourself.
Estimated time to study: An hour and a half
Tips: Take advantage of the “Vocabulary” part of the lesson, because it will introduce you to the Chinese spelling, Pinyin, and pronunciation of the most commonly used words for daily conversations.

4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Advanced Level?

If your goal is to become completely fluent in Chinese, then let us congratulate you! That will be a huge accomplishment that will change your life for the better. To help you out, here’s everything you need to know about how to reach this level and how long it will take. 

What an Advanced Chinese Learner Needs to Know

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

Gotta give yourself a thumbs-up if you ever achieve this level!

An advanced Chinese learner should be able to express things in depth and in a more elaborate manner. Prior to reaching this level, you should have started to learn more like a native speaker, meaning that you’re now able to speak, write, read, and listen without translation to your native language (most of the time).

Required Time to Achieve the Advanced Level

It takes about 4-7 years (roughly 2200 to 4000 hours) to become fluent in every aspect of the language, if you spend at least an hour and a half to study every day. However, it’s quite common for learners to become more fluent in some areas than others depending on how they allotted their study time. For example, you might have excellent Chinese speaking skills but have limited reading and writing ability. 

Secret Tips for Advanced Chinese Learners

Tip #1

You should try to create the best possible language learning environment for yourself as possible. To do this, try to think and talk to yourself in Chinese whenever you can; this will enhance your ability to learn the language like a native speaker would. If you’ve experienced any struggles with thinking in Chinese, you should actively look for a solution to this problem while you continue to pick up useful vocabulary and expressions. 

Tip #2

You should now challenge yourself by reading simple Chinese books and trying to keep a journal in Chinese. This will improve your skills in both reading and writing, as well as speaking. Above all, you should shift your goal from simply being able to converse to enriching the conversation.

Sample Lesson from ChineseClass101 – “The Joy of Being Busy”

Language points: Grammar, structure of sentences, and vocabulary
Highlight: Listen to our Chinese host talk about what she does in her spare time to relax in China.
Estimated time to study: Two hours
Tips: Try to learn the sentence patterns and common phrases used here. You can use them for your journal to make your writing sound more natural.

Conclusion

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ChineseClass101 has the ultimate Chinese learning resources for you!

How long does it take to learn Chinese? By now, you should have a much clearer picture of the time commitment you’re looking at based on your goals. No matter what those goals are or where you are right now, there are two important things you should do to maximize your progress: 

  • Know your personal strengths and weaknesses.
  • Build your own unique learning system.

ChineseClass101 has established a unique learning system customized for our dedicated members. Our approach allows students to learn Chinese in the fastest and easiest way possible. We provide thousands of practical, immersive lessons that will guide you through daily Chinese conversations with up-to-date vocabulary and colloquial language—and the fun doesn’t stop there! 

You’ll also get a chance to experience Chinese culture and local life. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner, you can be sure to find your perfect fit as we have lessons for every level of proficiency. Join now and you’ll get much more than learning materials. You’ll be getting the language learning experience of a lifetime!

How likely are you to start (or continue) learning Chinese after reading this article? Do you still have any questions or concerns? Let us know in the comments!

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The Top 30 Chinese Proverbs

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There’s a good chance you use proverbs every now and then to enrich your daily conversations. Proverbs are classic sayings taken from literature, history, famous people, or even stories. They’re used to offer wisdom or advice in a nutshell, and they can be fun, powerful, or even life-changing if you ponder over them.

Chinese proverbs are called 谚语 (yànyŭ) in Chinese. There are many ancient Chinese proverbs from thousands of years ago, encapsulating our ancestors’ life-long lessons. These proverbs express all kinds of philosophies and ideas, so learning a few yourself will help you become more familiar with Chinese culture and society. Who knows? You may even be able to use a couple yourself to lighten a conversation

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Education
  2. Life & Philosophy
  3. Success
  4. Friends
  5. Other Chinese Proverbs
  6. Conclusion

1. Education

A Man Studying on a Library

Learning is a life-long journey.

What better way to begin our list than with a few Chinese proverbs about learning and education? 

#1

Chinese: 学如逆水行舟,不进则退。

Pinyin: Xué rú nì shuǐ xíng zhōu, bú jìn zé tuì. 

Literal Translation: “Learning is just like sailing against the current; if you don’t advance, you will be driven back.”

Meaning: We should never stop learning.

Usage in Context: You used to be very good at playing basketball, but you’ve been lazy and haven’t practiced it in a long time. At some point, you realize “学如逆水行舟,不进则退” and decide to start practicing again. 

#2

Chinese: 世上无难事,只怕有心人。

Pinyin: Shì shàng wú nán shì, zhǐ pà yǒu xīn rén. 

Literal Translation: “Nothing in the world is difficult for one who is determined enough to achieve it.”

Close English Proverb: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Meaning: We can overcome any difficulty as long as we put our heart into it.

Usage in Context: You’re trying to learn how to code, but you’ve become upset because it seems very hard. Your friend sees your frustration and encourages you by saying: “世上无难事,只怕有心人。” 

#3

Chinese: 活到老,学到老。

Pinyin: Huó dào lǎo, xué dào lǎo. 

Literal Translation: “Learn no matter how old you grow.”

Close English Proverb: “Live and learn.”

Meaning: We should continue learning new things for the rest of our lives.

Usage in Context: Your dad stays at home and kills time all day; he has lost interest in growing a hobby or learning something new. You try to motivate him to do so by saying: “活到老,学到老。”

2. Life & Philosophy

A Man Thinking Something

Philosophy comes from our daily lives.

We all experience and perceive life differently, but there are some universal words of wisdom we can all use to guide us or to express our feelings. With that in mind, here are a few Chinese proverbs about life and philosophy!

#4

Chinese: 光阴似箭,日月如梭。

Pinyin: Guāng yīn sì jiàn, rì yuè rú suō.

Literal Translation: “Light travels like an arrow, and time like a shuttle.”

Close English Proverb: “Time flies.”

Meaning: We need to cherish the time we have since it goes by so fast.

Usage in Context: You’ve just had your twenty-first birthday and your parents feel like you’ve grown up overnight, so they say “光阴似箭,日月如梭” to describe their feelings.

#5

Chinese:  强扭的瓜不甜。

Pinyin: Qiáng niǔ de guā bù tián. 

Literal Translation: “When you force a melon from the vines, it won’t be sweet. “

Meaning: It’s not productive to force something to be done.

Usage in Context: You know that someone you like doesn’t like you back, so you try really hard to win his/her heart. Your friend advises you to give it up by saying: “强扭的瓜不甜。”

#6

Chinese: 种瓜得瓜,种豆得豆。

Pinyin: Zhòng guā dé guā, zhòng dòu dé dòu. 

Literal Translation: “A man who plants melons will harvest melons, and a man who plants beans will harvest beans.”

Close English Proverb: “What goes around comes around.” / “You reap what you sow.”

Meaning: You’ll always get what you’ve worked for.

Usage in Context: Your friend has worked very hard and received a good grade on a test; on the contrary, you have been slacking off and received a bad grade. You would then describe the situation by saying: ” 种瓜得瓜,种豆得豆。” 

#7

Chinese: 赠人玫瑰,手有余香。

Pinyin: Zèng rén méi guī, shǒu yǒu yú xiāng. 

Literal Translation: “Fragrance will be lingering over your hands when you give out flowers.”

Meaning: If you help others, they will greatly appreciate you.

Usage in Context: You gave a beggar a sandwich; he seemed very touched by the gesture and thanked you for it. You feel very good about the situation and want to describe the happiness of helping others with the phrase: “赠人玫瑰,手有余香。” 

#8

Chinese: 饮水思源。

Pinyin: Yǐn shuǐ sī yuán. 

Literal Translation: “When you drink the water, remember the spring as the source of the water.”

Meaning: We need to appreciate the ones who originally gave us what we have.

Usage in Context: You have a very decent life and never need to worry about anything. You’ve never thought about why you have so much to enjoy, until you remember the proverb “饮水思源” and realize it’s because your parents worked hard for it. 

#9

Chinese: 机不可失,失不再来。

Pinyin: Jī bù kě shī, shī bú zài lái. 

Literal Translation: “Don’t let an opportunity slip, it won’t come again.”

Close English Proverb: “Opportunity seldom knocks twice.”

Meaning: We need to cherish every single opportunity we have, otherwise we may lose it forever.

Usage in Context: You saw that your dream company is hiring, and you’ve worked hard to revise your resume because you’re aware that ” 机不可失,失不再来。”

#10

Chinese: 不怕一万,就怕万一。

Pinyin: Bú pà yī wàn, jiù pà wàn yī. 

Literal Translation: “We are not scared of ‘ten thousand,’ we are scared of the ‘just in case’.”

Meaning: We need to have a second plan, just in case.

Language Note: In Chinese, “ten thousand” is the reverse of “just in case.”

Usage in Context: The weather is cloudy but it says it won’t rain today. You decide to bring your umbrella just in case. You could describe this situation as: “不怕一万,就怕万一。”

#11

Chinese: 吃一堑,长一智。  

Pinyin: Chī yī qiàn, zhǎng yī zhì. 

Literal Translation: “Every time you fail, you grow wiser.”

Close English Proverb: “A fall into a pit, a gain in your wit.”

Meaning: Learn from your mistakes.

Usage in Context: You fell for a scam and lost money, so you say “吃一堑,长一智。” to show that you have learned your lesson and will be more cautious next time.

#12

Chinese: 姜还是老的辣。

Pinyin: Jiāng hái shì lǎo de là. 

Literal Translation: “Aged ginger is more powerful and spicy.” 

Meaning: The older you grow, the wiser and stronger you get.

Usage in Context: You tried to trick your dad with a prank and failed. Your dad laughs and tells you: “姜还是老的辣。”

#13

Chinese: 物以类聚,人以群分。

Pinyin: Wù yǐ lèi jù, rén yǐ qún fēn. 

Literal Translation: “Objects are categorized with those that are alike, humans are grouped together with those who are similar.”

Close English Proverb: “Birds of a feather flock together.”

Meaning: People who have similar traits or interests get along with each other.

Usage in Context: You often see a group of teenagers bully people at school. You could use “物以类聚,人以群分” to describe the situation.

#14

Chinese: 滴水之恩定当涌泉相报。

Pinyin: Dī shuǐ zhī ēn dìng dāng yǒng quán xiāng bào. 

Literal Translation: “The favor of a drip of water should be reciprocated by a gushing spring.”

Meaning: We should return small favors with much larger ones, and be grateful for even the smallest amount of help. 

Usage in Context: Your friend lends you a pencil to take a test when you don’t have one. It seems like a small favor, but later on, you return the favor by lending him lots of money when he needs it. You could describe this situation as: “滴水之恩定当涌泉相报。”

3. Success

Success Is Never Easy, But It’s Always Worth It.

Success is never easy, but it’s always worth it.

We all want to achieve success, whether it be professionally or in our personal lives. To motivate and inspire you, here are some Chinese proverbs about success. You can always write them down on sticky notes and place them around your home or workspace! 

#15

Chinese: 实践出真知。

Pinyin: Shí jiàn chū zhēn zhī. 

Literal Translation: “Knowledge is tested from practice.”

Close English Proverb: “Practice makes perfect.”

Meaning: We can learn from experimenting and practicing.

Usage in Context: After college, you begin working as an intern at a company. After some time on the job, you realize how important it is to apply what you learned in class to the real world. You could describe this lesson as: “实践出真知。”

#16

Chinese: 良好的开端是成功的一半。

Pinyin: Liáng hǎo de kāi duān shì chéng gōng de yī bàn. 

Literal Translation: “A good beginning is half of the success.”

Close English Proverb: “Well begun is half done.”

Meaning: A strong beginning is crucial to later success.

Usage in Context: You just went to your very first drawing class and you feel very confident about it. You’re proud of what you’ve done for a good beginning and further motivate yourself by saying: “良好的开端是成功的一半。” 

#17

Chinese: 失败乃成功之母。

Pinyin: Shī bài nǎi chéng gōng zhī mǔ. 

Literal Translation: “Failure is the mother of success.”

Meaning: We can always learn from failures to eventually succeed.

Usage in Context: You’ve tried so many times to bake a cake and have failed for different reasons every time. You eventually succeed by recognizing all of the mistakes from your failures, because “失败乃成功之母。”

#18

Chinese: 有志者,事竟成。

Pinyin: Yǒu zhì zhě, shì jìng chéng. 

Literal Translation: “You will be able to achieve your goals as long as you have determination and ambition.”

Close English Proverb: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Meaning: “People who are ambitious and determined enough will be able to succeed.”

Usage in Context: You have a dream of becoming a ballet dancer, and your friend encourages you to pursue it by saying: “有志者,事竟成。”

#19

Chinese: 绳锯木断,水滴石穿。

Pinyin: Shéng jù mù duàn, shuǐ dī shí chuān. 

Literal Translation: “Constant dripping wears away a stone.”

Meaning: Willpower will make the impossible possible.

Usage in Context: You used to be very overweight and no one believed you could ever get in shape. However, after five years of constant healthy diet and exercise, you now have a perfect body shape. You knew you could achieve this because: “绳锯木断,水滴石穿。”

#20

Chinese: 冰冻三尺,非一日之寒。

Pinyin: Bīng dòng sān chǐ, fēi yī rì zhī hán. 

Literal Translation: “It takes more than one cold day for the river to freeze three feet deep.”

Meaning: Excellence comes from the accumulation of consistent, day-to-day hard work.

Usage in Context: You want to play the piano as well as your piano teacher does, but you’ve practiced only a week and feel like you can never achieve your teacher’s level. Your teacher then tells you, “冰冻三尺,非一日之寒。” to imply the years of hard work he’s dedicated to playing the piano.

4. Friends

A Group of Friends

Do you have friends that you want to cherish for a lifetime?

Friends are some of the dearest people in our lives, and there’s much to be said about them. Following are a few Chinese proverbs about friendship that offer useful wisdom and insight on the topic. 

#21

Chinese: 有缘千里来相会,无缘对面不相逢。

Pinyin: Yǒu yuán qiān lǐ lái xiàng huì, wú yuán duì miàn bù xiàng féng. 

Literal Translation: “You will meet people who are thousands of miles away if it’s meant to be, otherwise you will never meet each other although you live just next door.”

Meaning: Fate brings people together no matter how far apart they may be.

Usage in Context: You made a friend during a trip abroad and never got his contact information. Incredibly, you met him again when you came back to your country. You could describe this situation as: “有缘千里来相会,无缘对面不相逢。”

#22

Chinese: 千里送鹅毛,礼轻情意重。

Pinyin: Qiān lǐ sòng é máo, lǐ qīng qíng yì zhòng.

Literal Translation: “Travel a thousand miles to bestow a goose feather; the gift may be small, but it’s a token of a profound friendship.”

Meaning: Gifts given from the heart are priceless.

Usage in Context: You have a friend who is very poor, and she wants to thank you for helping her out financially before. She then uses the best ingredient she has to make a meal to treat you; although it’s not a fancy meal, you feel her gratitude toward you and say “千里送鹅毛,礼轻情意重。” to describe how grateful you feel for such a wonderful meal.

#23

Chinese: 患难见真情。

Pinyin: Huàn nàn jiàn zhēn qíng. 

Literal Translation: “Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends.”

Meaning: True friends will be there for you through a difficult time.

Usage in Context: Your luggage was stolen when you were abroad by yourself. You called many friends to ask for help, and only your best friend immediately transferred you some emergency money. You’re very touched and would like to say “患难见真情。” to describe how you feel about your friendship.

#24

Chinese: 有福同享,有难同当。

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

Literal Translation: “To enjoy blessings and endure misfortune together.”

Meaning: True friends share not only the good times, but also the hard times.

Usage in Context: You used to earn lots of money and would always support your friends who were in need of it, but one day you went broke. Your friend is now in a better situation than you are, so he tries to help you out although his life is difficult as well. You could use “有福同享,有难同当。” to describe this friendship.

#25

Chinese: 路遥知马力,日久见人心。

Pinyin: Lù yáo zhī mǎ lì, rì jiǔ jiàn rén xīn.

Literal Translation: “Just as distance tests a horse’s strength, time can reveal a person’s heart.”

Meaning: Time will reveal the true nature of humans.

Usage in Context: You have been best friends with Jack for ten years, and every time you need help he will be there for you; many of your other friends have grown distant with time. You realize how great your friendship with Jack is and use “路遥知马力,日久见人心。” to describe your feelings.

A Woman Reading Something while Standing on a Train

It may take some time to integrate proverbs into your heart.

5. Other Chinese Proverbs

Here are just a few more Chinese sayings and proverbs you may want to memorize! 

#26

Chinese: 说曹操曹操到。

Pinyin: Shuō Cáo Cāo Cáo Cāo dào.

Literal Translation: “Every time when you speak of Cao Cao, Cao Cao will be here.”

Close English Proverb: “Speak of the devil.”

Meaning: The person whom you were speaking about happens to come along.

Language Note: Cao Cao was a Chinese poet and warlord, and he was made a character in the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This proverb is from the novel.

Usage in Context: You were just complaining about someone’s bad behavior to your friends, and the person you were complaining about happens to pass by. You tell your friends: “说曹操曹操到。”

#27

Chinese: 你敬我一尺,我敬你一丈。

Pinyin: Nǐ jìng wǒ yī chǐ, wǒ jìng nǐ yī zhàng. 

Literal Translation: “You give me one foot of respect and I will return you ten times.”

Meaning: We should return even more respect and kindness than what we’ve received.

Usage in Context: You’re in a business meeting, and your potential partner seems to respect you a lot and has shown much courtesy. He left a good impression by doing so, and you decide to be even more respectful to him. You could describe this situation as: “你敬我一尺,我敬你一丈。”

#28

Chinese: 百闻不如一见。

Pinyin: Bǎi wén bù rú yī jiàn. 

Literal Translation: “Seeing for oneself is a hundred times better than hearing from others.”

Meaning: Seeing something with your own eyes can be more effective than only hearing about it.

Usage in Context: My grandmother has never seen the beach in her life, and she has always heard that it’s pretty. When we took her to the actual beach, she was stunned by the beauty of the beach and couldn’t help using “百闻不如一见。” to describe her feelings.

#29

Chinese: 恨铁不成钢。

Pinyin: Hèn tiě bù chéng gāng. 

Literal Translation: “Wish iron could turn into steel once.”

Meaning: To wish that someone could reach one’s own expectations.

Usage in Context: You’ve failed your test again and your parents are disappointed in you, so they use “恨铁不成钢” to describe their feelings.

#30

Chinese: 瑞雪兆丰年。

Pinyin: Ruì xuě zhào fēng nián.

Literal Translation: “Snowing indicates a good harvest.”

Language Note: This is from a traditional Chinese belief that a time-appropriate snow implies a good harvest for the next year.

Usage in Context: A farmer sees snow not long before the harvest time, so he says “瑞雪兆丰年。” to express hope for a great upcoming harvest.

6. Conclusion

Now, how many Chinese proverbs can you remember? 

Chinese proverbs are worth pondering over as they comprise many people’s experiences and lend us useful wisdom for our day-to-day lives. They’re always simple to say, but hard to apply. That said, we should still try to learn from them! 

We hope you enjoyed this article, but keep in mind that ChineseClass101.com still has so much more to offer you! You can easily create a free lifetime account and receive a variety of lessons that are tailored to your specific needs. Whether you want to know more about Chinese proverbs, culture, slang, grammar, or anything else, we’ll probably have it in store for you—and if not, we’re always updating and adding to our lesson library!

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Beijing Travel Guide: The Top 10 Places to Visit

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As a country with thousands of years of history, China has become a treasureland for many travelers. But because China is such a majestically huge place, where should you start? The answer is definitely Beijing, the nation’s capital and one of its greatest cities.

From famous historical sites that can tell you stories from thousands of years ago to modern marvels that showcase how much Beijing has developed over time, our Beijing travel guide will cover the most exciting places to visit in Beijing. Each of the places on our list will give you a glimpse of Beijing’s beauty and show you what one of the busiest cities in the world has to offer!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Before You Go
  2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip
  3. Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)
  4. Survival Chinese Phrases for Travelers
  5. Conclusion

1. Before You Go

A Map with China Magnified Under a Magnifying Glass

Make Beijing your very first destination in China!

A Brief Overview

Beijing: the old yet charming capital city of China that attracts an abundance of tourists every year. Beijing also has the second-largest population of any city in China. As such, it’s always full of life and people are constantly bustling to and from the small hutongs and streets. Beijing has become one of the best-developed cities in China both economically and culturally, and this prosperity will only continue to grow.

When to Visit and What to Bring

The best time to visit Beijing weather-wise would be during the fall (September-November) or spring (March-May). Summer and winter weather in Beijing can be extreme, with hot temperatures and high humidity in the summer and ice or heavy rain during the winter. If you’re not used to such extreme weather, make sure to bring lots of warm clothes for the winter and sunscreen for the summer, as well as an umbrella and bug spray. Lastly, remember to bring some toilet paper with you, because public restrooms in China rarely provide this amenity.

Transportation

Due to the huge population of Beijing, your best option may be to take a bus or subway. If you rent a car, the traffic will probably torment you, especially considering the different complicated driving rules. Most importantly, if you plan to stay in Beijing for a while, be sure to create a Wechat account and put some money into the Wallet on Wechat. This will be incredibly convenient for you because so many people in China are using their QR code on Wechat to pay for everything, including to rent public bikes and pay for taxis.

Average Cost of Food and Lodging

A common concern among travelers is how expensive their upcoming trip will be. To give you an idea:

A standard hotel room with decent furniture will cost only around 180-250 yuan. 

Dining can be even cheaper depending on what you want to eat. Generally speaking, 100 yuan can easily provide a decent meal for a single person in a restaurant; if you’re sharing dishes as a party, you could spend even less while having a variety of dishes to consume. But don’t be discouraged if you’re traveling by yourself—how about enjoying some simple but delicious street food? Or a bowl of beef soup noodles from a small restaurant in a hutong? It will probably cost less than 30 yuan, and you’ll be surprised at how delicious the homemade-style of the dish is!

2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip

Beijing is a huge city with tons of things to see and do, but you can still enjoy yourself during a shorter one-to-three day visit. Here are some of the top attractions in Beijing you need to see if you’ll be here for a very limited time. 

The Great Wall – 长城 (cháng chéng)

The Great Wall is one of the most iconic symbols of China. Want to know why it’s so significant and has such a majestic name? Because it was used in the past to protect the territories of Chinese states as well as the empires. The frontier walls were built throughout different dynasties, which makes the Great Wall a collective effort on the part of many generations and the result of many people’s blood, sweat, and tears. Today, Chinese people often appreciate the majestic Great Wall by exercising on it and challenging themselves to walk the entire road (which is 13,171 miles long!). 

Forbidden City – 故宫 (gù gōng)

If you’re familiar with Chinese culture and history, you’ve probably heard of the famous Forbidden City, an old Chinese imperial palace that was in use from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. Now, are you wondering how Chinese emperors used to live? The Forbidden City will answer all your questions! During your trip to the Forbidden City, don’t forget to get a tour guide (for around 20 yuan) to tell you the wonderful historical stories along the way.

Temple of Heaven – 天坛 (tiān tán)

The Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China

The heavenly creature is waving at you and welcoming you to visit it!

If you’re a fan of Chinese history, the Temple of Heaven is another gem you’ll love to embrace. The Temple of Heaven consists of religious buildings that were used to administer heavenly activities for the emperors, who were regarded as the Son of Heaven. Important ceremonies were often conducted here, so be prepared to show some respect while walking through the buildings. For instance, emperors used to come here in order to worship the Chinese God and ask for the safety and prosperity of their citizens. 

Highlights of the Temple of Heaven include: 

  • 祈年殿 (qí nián diàn) – The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests 
  • 皇穹宇 (huáng qióng yǔ) – The Imperial Vault of Heaven 
  • 圜丘坛 (huán qiū tán) – The Circular Mound Altar 

Tiananmen Square – 天安门广场 (tiān ān mén guǎng chǎng)

Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China

I bet you can’t wait to sightsee all the gems in Beijing.

Tiananmen Square is a place of great significance, having witnessed the moment when Mao Zedong proclaimed that the People’s Republic of China was thereby established. It’s located near the Forbidden City, but they were separated. This is a budget-friendly place to visit and is not to be missed if you’re in the area. Local Chinese people have great respect for it due to its historical and cultural importance. 

Here, you’ll be able to see several incredible sights:

Today, many locals like to just take a walk here or fly a kite to embrace this historical gem.

Summer Palace – 颐和园 (yí hé yuán)

The Summer Palace in Beijing, China

Go experience the traditional Chinese culture inside the stunning Summer Palace!

The Summer Palace, which once served as a Qing dynasty imperial garden, is today a beautiful and vast collection of gardens, bridges, palaces, and lakes. The place was honorably included on the World Heritage List by UNESCO as the aesthetic epitome of Ancient Chinese architecture. In a nutshell, the Summer Palace is truly an art piece that has been carefully protected throughout the years. Stop hesitating, and go view its beauty before it’s too late!

While you’re there, be sure to stop by its major sights. We recommend: 

  • 万寿山 (Wàn shòu Shān) – Longevity Hill 
  • 昆明湖 (kūn míng ) – Kunming Lake 

3. Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)

Are you planning a longer trip? Great! That will give you much more time to experience Beijing. Here are our recommendations for what to visit in Beijing, China during a longer stay.  Wangfujing Street – 王府井 (wáng fǔ jǐng)

An Asian Man Shopping for Clothes

If you want, go to Wangfujing and let your wallet release a little pressure this one time!

Wangfujing is a popular shopping street in Beijing located in Dongcheng District. It serves up to 280 shops, and this area has been active and prosperous ever since the Ming dynasty. The highlights of the Wangfujing malls include:

  • APM购物中心 (gòu wù zhōng xīn) – Beijing APM 
  • 北京百货大楼 (běi jīng bǎi huò dà lóu) – Beijing Department Store 
  • 东方广场 (dōng fāng guǎng chǎng) – Malls at Oriental Plaza 

There’s also a Wangfujing snack street called 王府井小吃街 (wáng fǔ jǐng xiǎo chī jiē) where you can enjoy a variety of small local Chinese meals and spend some time in the bars.

Xidan – 西单 (xī dān)

Xidan is a commercial district that has almost anything you could think of for modern entertainment. Two popular locations include: 

  • 西单大悦城 (xī dān dà yuè chéng) – Xidan Mall
  • 西单图书大厦 (xī dān tú shū dà shà) – Beijing Book Building

Together, these fun locations host a range of entertainment options, including movie theaters, all kinds of restaurants and stores, escape rooms, and arcades. You can also find snack streets, Karaoke bars, and salons in the area! 

You’ll see people bustling everywhere in Xidan and you won’t believe how alive the whole area feels. If you wanted to, you could probably spend a whole day in the Xidan Mall, which has more than ten floors. The cost of shopping in the Xidan area is also cheaper than that of shopping in Wangfujing.

798 Art Zone – 798艺术区 (qī jiǔ bā yì shù qū)

The 798 Art Zone is a unique gem in Beijing, created by transforming old military factories into the fine piece of art it is today. It boasts a wide spectrum of contemporary art galleries such as the 798 Photo Gallery and Ullens Center. 

If you’re an artist, you’ll be lingering here for hours, stunned by the different Chinese art styles—whether it be quirky, fashionable, or spontaneous, there’s going to be a style that resonates with you. Even if you’re not an artist, you can view this location as being a nice photogenic spot for you to create memories of your time spent in Beijing. 

National Stadium – 鸟巢 (niǎo cháo)

Due to the unique design of its architecture, the National Stadium in Beijing is called the “bird’s nest” in direct translation, and it can hold up to 91,000 people. If you happen to be a fan of a Chinese singer or sports player, there’s a good chance that their concerts or matches will be held here. It’s just such a marvelous place to enjoy fancy events like that. 

Nanluoguxiang – 南锣鼓巷 (nán luó gǔ xiàng)

Nanluoguxiang is a narrow alley that consists of many 胡同 (hú tóng), which are traditional small and narrow alleys. The entire alley extends all the way from East Gulou Street in the north to Di’anmen East Street in the south of Beijing, and is about 800m long—a nice bit of exercise if you could walk the entire thing! If you ask any Beijing local, you’ll find that 胡同 is one of the most iconic things in Beijing. 

You can find many old-fashioned stores alongside some newly emerging ones, selling goods and snacks at an affordable price. If you’re thinking about buying a souvenir, this will be the perfect shopping destination. 

Beijing Zoo – 北京动物园 (Běi jīng dòng wù yuán)

The Beijing Zoo, the oldest zoo in China, is located in the suburban area of Beijing and was founded during the late Qing dynasty. It’s home to up to 450 species of land animals and more than 500 species of marine animals. The zoo serves as a beautiful escape from Beijing locals’ busy modern life, featuring an incredible natural landscape with flowers and rivers and serving as a home to up to 14,500 animals. Last but not least, you know that you’ll get to see the treasure of China here: the Chinese pandas!

4. Survival Chinese Phrases for Travelers 

While you can find English speakers in the most touristic areas of Beijing, it’s always a good idea to pick up some Chinese travel phrases to use in a pinch. Here are ten of the most useful phrases you should learn:

1.

In Chinese: 你好。
Pinyin: Nǐ hǎo. 
In English: “Hello.”

2. 

In Chinese: 谢谢。
Pinyin: Xiè xie. 
In English: “Thank you.”

3. 

In Chinese: 再见。
Pinyin: Zài jiàn.
In English: “Goodbye.”

4. 

In Chinese: 抱歉。
Pinyin: Bào qiàn.
In English: “Sorry.”

5. 

In Chinese: 太好了。
Pinyin: Tài hǎo le. 
In English: “It’s good.”

6.  

In Chinese: 我不太懂你的意思。
Pinyin: Wǒ bú tài dǒng nǐ de yì si.
In English: “I don’t understand you.”

(Used to tell locals you don’t speak the language

7. 

In Chinese: 请问厕所在哪里?
Pinyin: Qǐng wèn cè suǒ zài nǎ lǐ.
In English: “Where is the restroom?”

8. 

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

9. 

In Chinese: 我想要这个。
Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng yào zhè gè. 
In English: “I want this.”

(Used to tell locals you don’t speak the language

10.  

In Chinese: 求助! 
Pinyin: Qiú zhù!
In English: “Help!”

Conclusion

After reading our Beijing travel guide, are you ready to embark on your Beijing adventure? Traveling is a great way to learn about and experience different cultures and lifestyles, and your visit to Beijing will also give you a deeper understanding of the language. What better way to learn a language than through firsthand experience with native speakers? 

Let your adventure begin with ChineseClass101.com! Learning Chinese is a fun and magical experience in itself; when you study with us, it takes that experience and amplifies it! Not sure where to start? If you’re a passionate traveler, then you’ll definitely be pleased to learn about the beauty of other stunning cities in China, many of which we talk about in our lessons. 

Happy learning and safe travels!

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Most Popular English Words in Chinese

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Have you ever been intrigued by how interconnected different languages are? Language is the key to human communication, and despite the vast differences between world countries and their cultures, their people’s languages have always influenced one another. This interconnectivity among languages creates common ground for people all around the world, showing that different languages and cultures are all connected somehow.

Because there are so many common English words in Chinese (and Chinese words in English), studying loanwords can pave the way for an easier language learning journey. Now without further ado, let’s jump right into the abundance of popular English loanwords in Chinese and explore the language phenomenon known as Chinglish.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Chinglish
  2. Chinglish Examples
  3. List of Chinese Loanwords
  4. List of Food-Related Chinese Loanwords
  5. How to Say These Names in Chinese
  6. English Words Derived from Chinese
  7. List of English Words Derived from Chinese Food
  8. Conclusion

1. Introduction to Chinglish

Chinglish is a slang term that refers to spoken or written English as used by the Chinese. Due to the differences between the two languages, something that makes sense in Chinese may sound odd when directly translated in English. This is how Chinglish has become such a prevalent occurrence in China.

As the English language becomes more and more popular around the globe, Chinese people have started to integrate English into not only their education system but also their daily lives. For example, Chinese people love using Chinese words that have a similar pronunciation to English words, creating unofficial English-sounding slang terms (some of which we’ll introduce later).

2. Chinglish Examples

Here are some of the most popular Chinglish phrases and vocabulary. You’ll find these words extremely useful as you continue forward in your Chinese studies! 

“Bye-bye”

In Chinese: 拜拜 
Pinyin: bái bái 

“Hello”

In Chinese: 哈喽
Pinyin: hā lou

“Hi”

In Chinese: 嗨
Pinyin: hāi

“Mommy”

In Chinese: 妈咪
Pinyin: mā mi

“Daddy”

In Chinese: 爹地
Pinyin: diē di

“Good morning”

In Chinese: 古德猫宁
Pinyin: gǔ dé māo níng

“You can you up, no can you BB”

In Chinese: 你行你上,不行别BB。
Pinyin: Nǐ xíng nǐ shàng, bù xíng bié bī bi.
Actual meaning in English: “Put up or shut up.”
Usage in context: When someone is complaining that they cannot achieve something, this phrase tells them to take positive action or stop complaining.

“Good good study, day day up”

In Chinese: 好好学习,天天向上。
Pinyin: Hǎo hǎo xué xí, tiān tiān xiàng shàng.
Actual meaning in English: “Study hard and make progress every day.”
Usage in context: This Chinglish slang term can be used to encourage your friends to study hard.

“No zuo no die”

In Chinese: 不作死就不会死。
Pinyin: Bù zuò sǐ jiù bú huì sǐ. 
Actual meaning in English: “If you don’t ask for it, you won’t be punished for it.”
Usage in context: You could use this when your friend doesn’t know how to swim and still walks into the water on a beach.

“Add oil”

In Chinese: 加油
Pinyin: jiā yóu 
Actual meaning in English: “Go for it.”
Usage in context: You could say this to try encouraging your friend to have faith for a competition.

“People mountain people sea”

In Chinese: 人山人海
Pinyin: rén shān rén hǎi 
Actual meaning in English: It describes a situation where there are lots of people.
Usage in context: You could say this when there are a lot of people at a tourist attraction.

3. List of Chinese Loanwords

In addition to the Chinglish jargon we saw above, there are several English loanwords in the Chinese language. Loanwords differ from Chinglish in that a loanword is adapted into the Chinese language while preserving its original English meaning. Here are some useful examples for you, along with their usage in a sentence.

“Bully” – 霸凌 (bà líng

In Chinese: 这个学校高年级的学生总是霸凌比自己年龄小的孩子。
Pinyin: Zhè gè xué xiào gāo nián jí de xué shēng zǒng shì bà líng bǐ zì jǐ nián líng xiǎo de hái zi.
In English: “The students who are in a higher grade always bully kids who are younger than them.”

“Cool” – 酷 ()

In Chinese: 他打篮球的样子很酷。
Pinyin: Tā dǎ lán qiú de yàng zi hěn kù. 
In English: “The way he plays basketball looks so cool.”

“Calories” – 卡路里 (kǎ lù lǐ)

In Chinese: 为了减肥,我很少吃卡路里高的食物。
Pinyin: Wèi le jiǎn féi, wǒ hěn shǎo chī kǎ lù lǐ gāo de shí wù. 
In English: “I hardly eat food with high calories since I am trying to lose weight.”

“Cartoon” – 卡通 (kǎ tōng)

In Chinese: 小的时候我很喜欢看卡通片。
Pinyin: Xiǎo de shí hou wǒ hěn xǐ huan kàn kǎ tōng piān.
In English: “I loved watching cartoons when I was little.”

“Sofa” – 沙发 (shā fā)

In Chinese: 这个沙发真舒服。
Pinyin: Zhè gè shā fā zhēn shū fu.
In English: “This sofa feels so comfortable.”

“Guitar” – 吉他 (jí ta)

In Chinese: 我曾经学了五年的吉他。
Pinyin: Wǒ céng jīng xué le wǔ nián de jí tā. 
In English: “I learned to play the guitar for five years.”

“Ballet” – 芭蕾 (bā léi)

In Chinese: 芭蕾是一项文雅的爱好。
Pinyin: Bā lěi shì yī xiàng wén yǎ de ài hǎo. 
In English: “Ballet is an elegant hobby.”

“Party” – 派对 (pài duì)

In Chinese: 我们全家人都很喜欢参加派对。
Pinyin: Wǒ men quán jiā rén dōu hěn xǐ huan cān jiā pài duì. 
In English: “My whole family loves going to parties.”

“Mexico” – 墨西哥 (Mò xī gē)

In Chinese: 我曾经去墨西哥旅游过。
Pinyin: Wǒ céng jīng qù Mò xī gē lǚ yóu guo. 
In English: “I went to Mexico for a trip.”

“Tank” – 坦克 (tǎn kè)

In Chinese: 坦克是一项伟大的发明。
Pinyin: Tǎn kè shì yī xiàng wěi dà de fā míng. 
In English: “The invention of the tank is great.”

4. List of Food-Related Chinese Loanwords

A Woman Eating a Slice of Pizza

If you happen to love food as much as I do, you gotta learn these!

Food is what makes the world go round, so it should come as no surprise that some of the most popular English words used in Chinese are those related to food. Take a look:

  • “Chocolate” – 巧克力 (qiǎo kè lì)
  • “Coffee” – 咖啡 (kā fēi)
  • “Cheese” – 芝士 (zhī shì)
  • “Pizza” – 比萨 (bǐ sà)
  • “Curry” – 咖喱 (gā li)
  • “Bacon” – 培根 (péi gēn
  • “Hamburger” – 汉堡包 (hàn bǎo bāo)
  • “Vitamin” – 维他命 (wéi tā mìng)
  • “Pudding” – 布丁 (bù dīng)
  • “Salad” – 沙拉 (shā lā)

5. How to Say These Names in Chinese

There are a number of Chinese words ‘borrowed’ from world-famous brand, celebrity, and movie names. How do you pronounce them in Chinese? 

Global Brand Names


Swedish Meatballs

Have you ever tried the famous Swedish meatballs from IKEA?

  • “Sephora” – 丝芙兰 (sī fú lán)
  • “Coca Cola” – 可口可乐 (kě kǒu kě lè)
  • “Disney” – 迪士尼 (dí shì ní)
  • “Kentucky Fried Chicken / KFC” – 肯德基 (kěn dé jī)
  • “Adidas” – 阿迪达斯 (ā dí dá sī)
  • “Häagen-Dazs” – 哈根达斯 (hā gēn dá sī)
  • “Starbucks” – 星巴克 (xīng bā kè)
  • “Marvel” – 漫威 (màn wēi)

Celebrities/English Names

A Crowd Cheering and Taking Photos

I’m sure you have a favorite celebrity. Learn how to write his/her name in Chinese!

  • “Justin Bieber” – 贾斯汀·比伯 (jiǎ sī tīng·bǐ bó)
  • “Taylor Swift” – 泰勒·斯威夫特 (tài lè·sī wēi fū tè)
  • “Emma Watson” – 艾玛·沃特森 (ài mǎ · wò tè sēn)
  • “Ed Sheeran” – 艾德·希兰 (ài dé · xī lán)
  • “Bruno Mars” – 布鲁诺·马尔斯 (bù lǔ nuò ·mǎ ěr sī)
  • “Michael Jackson” – 迈克尔·杰克逊 (mài kè ěr · jié kè xùn)
  • “Leonardo DiCaprio” – 莱昂纳多·迪卡普里奥 (lái áng nà duō · dí kǎ pǔ lǐ ào)
  • “Kobe Bryant” – 科比·布莱恩特 (kē bǐ ·bù lái ēn tè)

Popular Movie Names

A Couple Watching a Movie Together in a Theater

How can one survive without the entertainment from movies?

  • “Harry Potter” – 哈利波特 (hā lì bō tè)
  • “Titanic” – 泰坦尼克号 (tài tǎn ní kè hào)
  • “Kung Fu Panda” – 功夫熊猫 (gōng fu xióng māo)
  • “Mulan” – 木兰 (mù lán)
  • “Sherlock” – 神探夏洛克 (shén tàn xià luò kè)
  • “Avatar” – 阿凡达 (ā fán dá)
  • “Schindler’s List” – 辛德勒的名单 (xīn dé lè de míng dān)
  • “Edward Scissorhands” – 剪刀手爱德华 (jiǎn dāo shǒu ài dé huá)
  • “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” – 本杰明·巴顿奇事 (běn jié míng · bā dùn qí shì)
  • “Mickey Mouse” – 米奇老鼠 (mǐ qí lǎo shǔ)

6. English Words Derived from Chinese

This language exchange goes both directions, and there are plenty of English words from Chinese. How many of these do you hear, see, or use each day?

“Kung Fu”

In Chinese: 功夫
Pinyin: gōng fu
What it is: Traditional Chinese martial art.

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 他可真是功夫了得啊。
Pinyin: Tā kě zhēn shì gōng fu liǎo dé a.
In English: “His Kung Fu is excellent.”

“Yin & Yang”

The Yin & Yang Symbol

It’s fascinating to see how Yin and Yang complement each other. Do you have a partner who is like Yin and Yang with you?

In Chinese: 阴 &(和) 阳
Pinyin: yīn & (hé) yáng 
What it is: An ancient Chinese philosophy that perceives dualism as opposites that are complementary to each other.

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 我们两个的性格就像是阴和阳,可以互补。
Pinyin: Wǒ men liǎng gè de xìng gé jiù xiàng shì yīn hé yáng, kě yǐ hù bǔ.
In English: “Our personalities are just like Yin & Yang, which can complete each other.”

“Chop chop”

In Chinese: 快点快点
Pinyin: kuài diǎn kuài diǎn 
What it is: Deriving from Cantonese, it means “hurry” and is of the same origin as the word “chopstick.”

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 快点快点,我们要迟到了。
Pinyin: kuài diǎn kuài diǎn, wǒ men yào chí dào le. 
In English: “Chop chop! We are going to be late.”

“Ping pong”

In Chinese: 乒乓
Pinyin: pīng pāng 
What it is: A Chinese sport that is like table tennis, where two players hit a lightweight ball on a table back and forth.

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 乒乓球是我最喜欢的运动之一。
Pinyin: Pīng pāng qiú shì wǒ zuì xǐ huan de yùn dòng zhī yī.
In English: “Ping pong is one of my favorite sports.”

“Long time, no see.”

In Chinese: 好久不见
Pinyin: hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn 
Actual meaning in English: “It’s been a long time.”

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 好久不见,你又长高了。
Pinyin: Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn, nǐ yòu zhǎng gāo le. 
In English: “Long time no see, you are getting taller again.”

“Lose face”

In Chinese: 丢脸
Pinyin: diū liǎn 
What it is: To suffer humiliation because of a certain behavior, especially in public.

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 那个小偷的父母一定会为自己的孩子感到丢脸的。
Pinyin: Nà gè xiǎo tōu de fù mǔ yī dìng huì wèi zì jǐ de hái zi gǎn dào diū liǎn de. 
In English: “The parents of that thief must have felt like they had lost face because of their children.”

“Brainwash”

In Chinese: 洗脑
Pinyin: xǐ nǎo 
What it is: To make someone adopt a mentality by imbuing it forcibly.

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 这首歌天天都在商场里播,听得我都被洗脑了。
Pinyin: Zhè shǒu gē tiān tiān dōu zài shāng chǎng lǐ bō, tīng de wǒ dōu bèi xǐ nǎo le. 
In English: “This song has been played in the mall over and over again to the point I am almost brainwashed with it.”

7. List of English Words Derived from Chinese Food

As can be expected, some of the most popular Chinese words in English are related to food. Here are just a few examples for you:

  • “Ketchup” – 番茄酱 (fān qié jiàng)
  • “Wonton” – 云吞 (yún tūn)
  • “Tofu” – 豆腐 (dòu fu)
  • “Bok Choy” – 小白菜 (xiǎo bái cài)
  • “Chow Mein” – 炒面 (chǎo miàn)
  • “Dim Sum” – 点心 (diǎn xīn)
  • “Hoisin” – 海鲜 (hǎi xiān)
  • “Soy” – 酱油 (jiàng yóu)
  • “Tea” – 茶 (chá)

8. Conclusion

Isn’t it marvelous how we can draw such similarities between different languages and see that people around the world share so much in common? Now that you’ve learned so many English words in the Chinese language, try to embrace the similarities between the two languages. These similarities are a good place for beginners to start for easy memorization. 

If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to learn more Chinese with other fun materials like this on ChineseClass101.com! We will guide you throughout your Chinese learning journey, acting as a beacon and providing you with best-in-class teaching services. 

Happy learning!

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