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Archive for the 'Chinese Phrases' Category

100 Classic Chinese Verbs in Daily Life

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Verbs are an essential component of a sentence, and they’re at the core of our conversations as they provide key information. Everyone knows that a sentence isn’t complete without a verb! 
It’s not difficult to master the basic rules of common Chinese verbs as they don’t have any conjugation. However, there are additional phrases you can add to the sentence in order to indicate a certain time frame and make the sentence sound more natural. Now, let’s dive right into this simple introduction to common Chinese verbs!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Physical Verbs vs. Mental Verbs
  2. Linking Verbs
  3. Helping Verbs
  4. Chinese Verbs and Essentials of Grammar
  5. Conclusion

1. Physical Verbs vs. Mental Verbs

Top Verbs

Some of the most useful Chinese verbs are action verbs, and like in English, there are two kinds of action verbs: physical and mental. We have a list for each one! 

1- Physical verbs

  • To go – 去 (

In Chinese: 我明天去阿姨家给她过生日。

Pinyin: Wǒ míng tiān qù ā yí jiā gěi tā guò shēng rì. 

In English: “I am going to my aunt’s house to celebrate her birthday.”

  • To come – 来 (lái)

In Chinese: 我很期待你来我家做客。

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn qī dài nǐ lái wǒ jiā zuò kè. 

In English: “I look forward to having you as a guest to come to my house.”

  • To look – 看 (kàn)

In Chinese: 快看!这里的景色多美啊。 

Pinyin: Kuài kàn! Zhè lǐ de jǐng sè duō měi a. 

In English: “Look! How beautiful the landscape is here.”

  • To tell – 告诉 (gào sù)

In Chinese: 老师告诉我们要学会培养自己独立思考的能力。

Pinyin: Lǎo shī gào sù wǒ men yào xué huì péi yǎng zì jǐ dú lì sī kǎo de néng lì. 

In English: “The teacher told us to learn to think independently.”

  • To ask – 问 (wèn)

In Chinese: 没有方向感的我经常向别人问路。 

Pinyin: Méi yǒu fāng xiàng gǎn de wǒ jīng cháng xiàng bié rén wèn lù. 

In English: “I have no sense of direction, so I always ask others for directions.”

  • To try – 尝试 (cháng shì)

In Chinese: 我想要尝试更多的亚洲美食。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng yào cháng shì gèng duō de yà zhōu měi shí.

In English: “I want to try more Asian food.”

  • To promise – 承诺 (chéng nuò)

In Chinese: 爸爸承诺我会在我明年的生日送我一部相机。

Pinyin: Bà ba chéng nuò wǒ huì zài wǒ míng nián de shēng rì sòng wǒ yī bù xiàng jī. 

In English: “Dad promised to give me a camera for my birthday next year.”

Group Planning Things Around a Table

In Chinese: 我希望将来可以找一份自己热爱的工作。

Pinyin: Wǒ xī wàng jiāng lái kě yǐ zhǎo yī fèn zì jǐ rè ài de gōng zuò. 

In English: “I hope to find a job that I am passionate about in the future.”

  • To eat – 吃 (chī)

In Chinese: 我很喜欢吃披萨。

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn xǐ huan chī pī sa. 

In English: “I love eating pizza.”

  • To drink – 喝 ()

In Chinese: 在夏天喝橙汁是一件非常享受的事情。

Pinyin: Zài xià tiān hē chéng zhī shì yī jiàn fēi cháng xiǎng shòu de shì qing. 

In English: “It’s a very enjoyable thing to drink orange juice in summer.”

  • To take – 拿 ()

In Chinese: 请拿好您的随身物品。

Pinyin: Qǐng ná hǎo nín de suí shēn wù pǐn. 

In English: “Please take care of your belongings.”

  • To give – 给 (gěi)

In Chinese: 我给了他一封信。

Pinyin: Wǒ gěi le tā yī fēng xìn. 

In English: “I gave him a letter.”

  • To use – 用 (yòng)

In Chinese: 我不知道怎么用这款相机。

Pinyin: Wǒ bù zhī dào zěn me yòng zhè kuǎn xiàng jī. 

In English: “I have no idea how to use this camera.”

  • To find – 找 (zhǎo)

In Chinese: 她很擅长玩捉迷藏,我们每次都要找她很久。

Pinyin: Tā hěn shàn cháng wán zhuō mí cáng, wǒ men měi cì dōu yào zhǎo tā hěn jiǔ.

In English: “She is very good at hide-and-seek; we always take a long time to find her.”

  • To write – 写 (xiě)

In Chinese: 她很喜欢写诗。

Pinyin: Tā hěn xǐ huan xiě shī. 

In English: “She really enjoys writing poems.”

  • To run – 跑 (pǎo)

In Chinese: 我听说兔子跑得很快。

Pinyin: Wǒ tīng shuō tù zi pǎo de hěn kuài. 

In English: “I heard that rabbits run fast.”

  • To hear – 听 (tīng)

In Chinese: 狗可以听到很多人类耳朵听不到的声音。

Pinyin: Gǒu kě yǐ tīng dào hěn duō rén lèi ěr duǒ tīng bú dào de shēng yīn. 

In English: “Dogs can hear many sounds that the human ear can’t.”

  • To dance – 跳舞 (tiào wǔ)

In Chinese: 他跳舞很好。

Pinyin: Tā tiào wǔ hěn hǎo. 

In English: “He dances well.”

A Woman Smiling Brightly
  • To smile – 微笑 (wēi xiào)

In Chinese: 她总是微笑着向每一个人问好。

Pinyin: Tā zǒng shì wēi xiào zhe xiàng měi yī gè rén wèn hǎo. 

In English: “She always smiles and says hello to everyone.”

  • To explain – 解释 (jiě shì)

In Chinese: 请你把这件事的发生过程解释清楚。

Pinyin: Qǐng nǐ bǎ zhè jiàn shì de fā shēng guò chéng jiě shì qīng chǔ. 

In English: “Please clearly explain how this happened.”

  • To buy – 买 (mǎi)

In Chinese: 很多女生都喜欢买包和化妆品。

Pinyin: Hěn duō nǚ shēng dōu xǐ huān mǎi bāo hé huà zhuāng pǐn. 

In English: “Many girls like to buy purses and makeup supplies.”

  • To sell – 卖 (mài)

In Chinese: 这家店卖的很多东西都是二手的。

Pinyin: Zhè jiā diàn mài de hěn duō dōng xī dōu shì èr shǒu de. 

In English: “This shop sells many second-hand items.”

  • To arrive – 到达 (dào dá)

In Chinese: 每个人都准时到达了会议现场。

Pinyin: Měi gè rén dōu zhǔn shí dào dá le huì yì xiàn chǎng. 

In English: “Everyone arrived on time to the meeting.”

  • To pay – 付款 (fù kuǎn)

In Chinese: 请问我应该在哪里付款?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn wǒ yīng gāi zài nǎ lǐ fù kuǎn? 

In English: “Can you please tell me where I can pay?”

  • To drive – 开车 (kāi chē)

In Chinese: 妈妈总会开车接我放学。

Pinyin: Mā ma zǒng huì kāi chē jiē wǒ fàng xué. 

In English: “My mom always drives to pick me up after school.”

  • To sing – 唱歌 (chàng gē)

In Chinese: 妹妹总喜欢唱歌给我听。

Pinyin: Mèi mei zǒng xǐ huan chàng gē gěi wǒ tīng. 

In English: “My younger sister always likes to sing for me.”

  • To marry – 结婚 (jié hūn)

In Chinese: 他终于和自己心爱的女孩结婚了。

Pinyin: Tā zhōng yú hé zì jǐ xīn ài de nǚ hái jié hūn le. 

In English: “He finally marries the girl he loves.”

  • To wear – 穿 (chuān)

In Chinese: 不是所有女孩都喜欢穿裙子。

Pinyin: Bú shì suǒ yǒu nǚ hái dōu xǐ huan chuān qún zi. 

In English: “Not all girls like to wear dresses.”

  • To walk – 走 (zǒu)

In Chinese: 我很喜欢吃完饭之后在街上走走。

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn xǐ huan chī wán fàn zhī hòu zài jiē shàng zǒu zǒu. 

In English: “I like to walk on the streets after finishing a meal.”

  • To travel – 旅行 (lǚ xíng)

In Chinese: 他喜欢去有田园气息的地方旅游。

Pinyin: Tā xǐ huan qù yǒu tián yuán qì xī de dì fang lǚ yóu. 

In English: “He likes to travel around rural places.”

  • To study – 研究 (yán jiū)

In Chinese: 这位科学家研究了很多学术性论文。

Pinyin: Zhè wèi kē xué jiā yán jiū le hěn duō xué shù xìng lùn wén. 

In English: “This scientist has studied many academic papers.”

A Woman Sitting Down and Playing a 
Guitar
  • To learn – 学习 (xué xí)

In Chinese: 我突然一时兴起想学习吉他了。

Pinyin: Wǒ tū rán yī shí xìng qǐ xiǎng xué xí jí tā le. 

In English: “On a whim, I suddenly wanted to learn guitar.”

  • To stop – 停 (tíng)

In Chinese: 一只小蝴蝶停在了花朵上。

Pinyin: Yī zhī xiǎo hú dié tíng zài le huā duǒ shàng. 

In English: “A butterfly stopped on a flower.”

  • To stay – 留下 (liú xià)

In Chinese: 吃完饭后,有几个朋友在我家留下打游戏。 

Pinyin: chī wán fàn hòu, yǒu jǐ gè péng yǒu zài wǒ jiā liú xià dǎ yóu xì. 

In English: “After we ate, a few friends stayed at my house to play games.”

  • To send – 发送 (fā sòng)

In Chinese: 我已经把简历发送出去了。 

Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ jīng bǎ jiǎn lì fā sòng chū qù le. 

In English: “I already sent my resume.”

  • To sleep – 睡觉 (shuì jiào)

In Chinese: 每次一吃完饭我就想睡觉。

Pinyin: Měi cì yī chī wán fàn wǒ jiù xiǎng shuì jiào. 

In English: “Every time I finish a meal, I want to go to sleep.”

  • To say – 说 (shuō)

In Chinese: 可以请你再说一遍吗?

Pinyin: Kě yǐ qǐng nǐ zài shuō yī biàn ma?

In English: “Can you please say that again?”

  • To get – 得到 (dé dào)

In Chinese: 我很想得到这款限量版的球鞋。 

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn xiǎng dé dào zhè kuǎn xiàn liàng bǎn de qiú xié. 

In English: “I really want to get this pair of limited edition shoes.”

  • To own – 拥有 (yōng yǒu)

In Chinese: 我真想拥有一只小狗。

Pinyin: Wǒ zhēn xiǎng yōng yǒu yī zhī xiǎo gǒu. 

In English: “I really want to own a puppy.”

  • To receive – 收到 (shōu dào)

In Chinese: 你收到我的邮件了吗? 

Pinyin: Nǐ shōu dào wǒ de yóu jiàn le ma? 

In English: “Did you receive my email?”

  • To protect – 保护 (bǎo hù)

In Chinese: 我们都要有保护小动物的意识。

Pinyin: Wǒ men dōu yào yǒu bǎo hù xiǎo dòng wù de yì shí.

In English: “We should all have the sense to protect animals.

  • To provide – 提供 (tí gòng)

In Chinese: 这家店提供免邮的服务。

Pinyin: Zhè jiā diàn tí gòng miǎn yóu de fú wù. 

In English: “This shop provides free shipping service.”

  • To read – 读 ()

In Chinese: 他很热爱阅读,经常随手带着一本书。

Pinyin: Tā hěn rè ài yuè dú, jīng cháng suí shǒu dài zhe yī běn shū. 

In English: “He loves to read and always takes a book with him wherever he goes.”

  • To put – 放 (fàng)

In Chinese: 请你在读完这本书之后把它放回图书馆。

Pinyin: Qǐng nǐ zài dú wán zhè běn shū zhī hòu bǎ tā fàng huí tú shū guǎn. 

In English: “Please put this book back in the library after you are done with reading.”

  • To play – 玩 (wán)

In Chinese: 很多小孩都喜欢在沙滩边玩沙子。

Pinyin: Hěn duō xiǎo hái dōu xǐ huan zài shā tān biān wán shā zi. 

In English: “Many kids like to play in sand at the beach.”

An Upset Man with His Hand in His Fist on the Wall
  • To lose – 失去 (shī qù)

In Chinese: 很多时候我们只有在失去了之后才会珍惜。

Pinyin: Hěn duō shí hou wǒ men zhī yǒu zài shī qù le zhī hòu cái huì zhēn xī.

In English: “Very often, we only start to cherish something after we lose it.”

  • To leave – 离开 (lí kāi)

In Chinese: 妈妈在上班离开家前叮嘱我要记得吃药。

Pinyin: Mā ma zài shàng bān lí kāi jiā qián dīng zhǔ wǒ yào jì de chī yào. 

In English: “Mom reminded me to take the medicine right before she left home to go to work.”

  • To invite – 邀请 (yāo qǐng)

In Chinese: 姐姐邀请了很多亲戚去参加她的婚礼。

Pinyin: Jiě jie yāo qǐng le hěn duō qīn qi qù cān jiā tā de hūn lǐ.

In English: “My older sister invited many families to go to her wedding.”

  • To help – 帮助 (bāng zhù)

In Chinese: 爸爸是个很善良的人,他很喜欢帮助别人。 

Pinyin: Bà ba shì gè hěn shàn liáng de rén, tā hěn xǐ huan bāng zhù bié rén. 

In English: “My dad is a very kind person, he really likes to help others.”

  • To cook – 做饭 (zuò fàn)

In Chinese: 现在很多人都忙得没有时间做饭,经常叫外卖。

Pinyin: Xiàn zài hěn duō rén dōu máng de méi yǒu shí jiān zuò fàn, jīng cháng jiào wài mài. 

In English: “Many people nowadays are too busy to have time to cook; they always get take-out.”

2- Mental verbs

  • To know – 知道 (zhī dào)

In Chinese: 很多人明知道抽烟是不健康的,还是忍不住经常抽烟。

Pinyin: Hěn duō rén míng zhī dào chōu yān shì bú jiàn kāng de, hái shì rěn bú zhù jīng cháng chōu yān. 

In English: “Many people know that smoking is unhealthy, but they still can’t help smoking.”

  • To think – 认为 (rèn wéi)

In Chinese: 我认为你这么做是不对的。

Pinyin: Wǒ rèn wéi nǐ zhè me zuò shì bú duì de. 

In English: “I think it is not right for you to do it.”

  • To want – 想要 (xiǎng yào)

In Chinese: 我想要环球旅游。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng yào huán qiú lǚ yóu. 

In English: “I want to travel all over the world.”

  • To believe – 相信 (xiāng xìn)

In Chinese: 我相信总有一天我的梦想会实现的。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiàng xìn zǒng yǒu yī tiān wǒ de mèng xiǎng huì shí xiàn de.

In English: “I believe that my dream will come true one day.”

  • To expect – 期待 (qī dài)

In Chinese: 小孩子总是很期待自己的圣诞节礼物。

Pinyin: Xiǎo hái zi zǒng shì hěn qī dài zì jǐ de shèng dàn jié lǐ wù. 

In English: “Children always look forward to their Christmas gift.”

  • To understand – 明白 (míng bái)

In Chinese: 长大后,我逐渐明白了很多事。

Pinyin: Zhǎng dà hòu, wǒ zhú jiàn míng bái le hěn duō shì. 

In English: “I started to understand many things while growing up.”

  • To like – 喜欢 (xǐ huān)

In Chinese: 我非常喜欢读书。

Pinyin: Wǒ fēi cháng xǐ huan dú shū.

In English: “I like reading very much.”

  • To hate – 讨厌 (tǎo yàn)

In Chinese: 我曾经很讨厌吃西兰花。

Pinyin: Wǒ céng jīng hěn tǎo yàn chī xī lán huā. 

In English: “I used to hate eating broccoli.” 

  • To love – 爱 (ài)

In Chinese: 爱是一件于人类而言不可缺少的东西。 

Pinyin: Ài shì yī jiàn yú rén lèi ér yán bù kě quē shǎo de dōng xi. 

In English: “Love is something that is necessary for humans.”

  • To remember – 记得 (jì de)

In Chinese: 我仍然记得自己大学毕业的那天有多么兴奋。

Pinyin: Wǒ réng rán jì de zì jǐ dà xué bì yè de nà tiān yǒu duō me xìng fèn. 

In English: “I still remember how excited I was on the day I graduated from college.”

  • To wish – 祝愿 (zhù yuàn)

In Chinese: 今天是奶奶的生日,我祝愿她可以长命百岁。

Pinyin: Jīn tiān shì nǎi nǎi de shēng rì, wǒ zhù yuàn tā kě yǐ zhǎng mìng bǎi suì.

In English: “Today is my grandmother’s birthday; I wish her to have longevity.”

  • To respect – 尊重 (zūn zhòng)

In Chinese: 我们可以不认同别人的选择,但一定要学会尊重。

Pinyin: Wǒ men kě yǐ bú rèn tóng bié rén de xuǎn zé, dàn yī dìng yào xué huì zūn zhòng. 

In English: “It’s okay not to agree with other people’s choices, but we should at least learn to respect them.”

  • To trust – 信任 (xìn rèn)

In Chinese: 我的朋友们都非常信任我。

Pinyin: Wǒ de péng you men dōu fēi cháng xìn rèn wǒ. 

In English: “My friends trust me a lot.”

  • To agree – 同意 (tóng yì)

In Chinese: 爸爸终于同意让我一个人去旅行了。

Pinyin: Bà ba zhōng yú tóng yì ràng wǒ yī gè rén qù lǚ xíng le. 

In English: “My dad finally agreed to let me travel alone.”

  • To fear – 害怕 (hài pà)

In Chinese: 我弟弟很害怕坐过山车。

Pinyin: Wǒ dì di hěn hài pà zuò guò shān chē. 

In English: “My younger brother fears being on a roller coaster very much.”

Baby’s Hands on the Hands of Its Parents and Grandparents
  • To support – 支持 (zhī chí)

In Chinese: 我的父母很支持我去学跳舞。

Pinyin: Wǒ de fù mǔ hěn zhī chí wǒ qù xué tiào wǔ. 

In English: “My parents support me in learning to dance very much.”

  • To encourage – 鼓励 (gǔ lì)

In Chinese: 我经常鼓励我的朋友们去尝试新鲜事物。

Pinyin: Wǒ jīng cháng gǔ lì wǒ de péng you men qù cháng shì xīn xiān shì wù.

In English: “I always encourage my friends to try new things.”

  • To reflect – 反省 (fǎn xǐng)

In Chinese: 每个人犯了错之后应该好好反省。 

Pinyin: Měi gè rén fàn le cuò zhī hòu yīng gāi hǎo hǎo fǎn xǐng. 

In English: “Everyone should reflect upon his mistake after it’s made.”

  • To regret – 后悔 (hòu huǐ)

In Chinese: 我很后悔自己当初没有好好努力学习。

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn hòu huǐ zì jǐ dāng chū méi yǒu hǎo hǎo nǔ lì xué xí. 

In English: “I really regret that I did not study hard before.”

  • To miss – 想念 (xiǎng niàn)

In Chinese: 我很想念曾经在学校的日子。

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn xiǎng niàn céng jīng zài xué xiào de rì zi. 

In English: “I miss the days when I went to school.”

  • To let – 让 (ràng)

In Chinese: 在我的帮助下,妈妈终于答应让妹妹出去玩了。

Pinyin: Zài wǒ de bāng zhù xià, mā ma zhōng yú dá yīng ràng mèi mei chū qù wán le. 

In English: “With my help, mom finally let my younger sister go out to have some fun.”

A Woman with Pleading, Hopeful Hands in Front of Chest
  • To hope – 希望 (xī wàng)

In Chinese: 我希望世界可以永远和平。 

Pinyin: Wǒ xī wàng shì jiè kě yǐ yǒng yuǎn hé píng. 

In English: “I hope this world will be forever peaceful.”

  • To guess – 猜测 (cāi cè)

In Chinese: 我猜测凶手可能是这个人。

Pinyin: Wǒ cāi cè xiōng shǒu kě néng shì zhè gè rén.

In English: “I guess that the criminal is this person.”

  • To express – 表达 (biǎo dá)

In Chinese: 我希望每个人都能勇于表达自我。

Pinyin: Wǒ xī wàng měi gè rén dōu néng yǒng yú biǎo dá zì wǒ. 

In English: “I hope everyone is free to express themselves.”

  • To decide – 决定 (jué dìng)

In Chinese: 我决定今天一个人去购物。

Pinyin: Wǒ jué dìng jīn tiān yī gè rén qù gòu wù.

In English: “I decided to go shopping by myself today.”

  • To accept – 接受 (jiē shòu)

In Chinese: 我接受你的选择。

Pinyin: Wǒ jiē shòu nǐ de xuǎn zé. 

In English: “I accept your choice.”

  • To change – 改变 (gǎi biàn)

In Chinese: 与其尝试去改变别人,倒不如学着去去理解和接受。

Pinyin: Yǔ qí cháng shì qù gǎi biàn bié rén, dào bù rú xué zhe qù qù lǐ jiě hé jiē shòu. 

In English: “Rather than changing people, we should learn to understand and accept.”

  • To admit – 承认 (chéng rèn)

In Chinese: 他终于承认了自己的错误。

Pinyin: Tā zhōng yú chéng rèn le zì jǐ de cuò wù. 

In English: “He finally admitted his own mistake.”

  • To allow – 允许 (yǔn xǔ)

In Chinese: 我不允许这种事情再发生。

Pinyin: Wǒ bù yǔn xǔ zhè zhǒng shì qing zài fā shēng. 

In English: “I won’t allow this kind of thing to happen again.”

2. Linking Verbs

More Essential Verbs

More Chinese language verbs you should know are the linking verbs. These are verbs that allow you to connect two ideas through a type of action. Read the Chinese verbs list below and the accompanying examples to get a better idea of how they work.

  • To see – 看 (kàn)

In Chinese: 我只相信我的双眼所看到的真相。

Pinyin: Wǒ zhǐ xiāng xìn wǒ de shuāng yǎn suǒ kàn dào de zhēn xiàng. 

In English: “I only believe in the truth that I see with my own eyes.”

  • To smell – 闻 (wén)

In Chinese: 我妈妈做的饭闻起来可香了。

Pinyin: wǒ mā mā zuò de fàn wén qǐ lái kě xiāng le.

In English: “My mom’s cooking smells really good.”

  • To taste – 尝 (cháng)

In Chinese: 快来尝尝我做的这道点心吧。

Pinyin: Kuài lái cháng chang wǒ zuò de zhè dào diǎn xīn ba. 

In English: “Come and try the pastry I just made.”

  • To sound – 听起来 (tīng qǐ lái)

In Chinese: 这首歌听起来节奏很欢乐。

Pinyin: Zhè shǒu gē tīng qǐ lái jiē zòu hěn huān lè. 

In English: “This song sounds very cheerful with these beats.”

  • To feel – 感觉 (gǎn jué)

In Chinese: 我感觉不太舒服。

Pinyin: wǒ gǎn jué bú tài shū fu. 

In English: “I don’t feel very well.”

  • To appear – 显得 (xiǎn de)

In Chinese: 她总是显得自己很有钱。

Pinyin: Tā zǒng shì xiǎn de zì jǐ hěn yǒu qián.

In English: “She always makes herself appear to be like a rich person.”

  • To turn/open – 打开 (dǎ kāi)

In Chinese: 能不能帮我把风扇打开?

Pinyin: Néng bu néng bāng wǒ bǎ fēng shàn dǎ kāi. 

In English: “Can you turn on the fan for me?”

Additional notes: In Chinese, we use the same word for “turn” and “open.”

  • To become – 成为 (chéng wéi)

In Chinese: 我希望长大之后成为一个对社会有用的人。

Pinyin: Wǒ xī wàng zhǎng dà zhī hòu chéng wéi yī gè duì shè huì yǒu yòng de rén. 

In English: “I hope I will become someone who is helpful to our society after I grow up.”

  • To seem – 似乎 (sì hū)

In Chinese: 他似乎不想和我们一起出去吃饭。

Pinyin: Tā sì hū bù xiǎng hé wǒ men yī qǐ chū qù chī fàn.

In English: “He doesn’t seem like he wants to eat out with us.”

3. Helping Verbs

Now we’ll talk about Chinese helping verbs because these are words you’ll need to use all the time. There are two types of helping verbs: modal and auxiliary.

Woman Talking with Her Coworkers

1- Chinese Modal Verbs

  • Can – 能 (néng)

In Chinese: 请问我能借用一下你的手机打电话吗?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn wǒ néng jiè yòng yī xià nǐ de shǒu jī dǎ diàn huà ma?

In English: “Can I borrow your phone to make a call, please?”

  • May – 可以 (kě yǐ)

In Chinese: 你可以先吃完饭再给我回电话。

Pinyin: Nǐ kě yǐ xiān chī wán fàn zài gěi wǒ huí diàn huà. 

In English: “You may finish your meal first and then call me back.”

  • Must – 必须 (bì xū)

In Chinese: 你必须在凌晨十二点之前回家。

Pinyin: Nǐ bì xū zài líng chén shí èr diǎn zhī qián huí jiā.

In English: “You must come back home before 12 A.M.”

  • Will – 将 (jiāng)

In Chinese: 我相信你将会是最棒的。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiàng xìn nǐ jiāng huì shì zuì bàng de.

In English: “I believe that you will be the best.”

  • Shall – 应当 (yīng dāng)

In Chinese: 我们应当去别的地方谈谈这件事吗?

Pinyin: Wǒ men yīng dāng qù bié de dì fang tán tan zhè jiàn shì ma? 

In English: “Shall we go somewhere else to talk about it?”

  • Should – 应该 (yīng gāi)

In Chinese: 你应该把捡到的钱包送到警察局。

Pinyin: Nǐ yīng gāi bǎ jiǎn dào de qián bāo sòng dào jǐng chá jú.

In English: “You should take the purse you found to the police station.”

  • Would – 将会 (jiāng huì)

In Chinese: 我经常在想,如果当初没有遇见你,现在的我将会是怎样的呢?

Pinyin: Wǒ jīng cháng zài xiǎng, rú guǒ dāng chū méi yǒu yù jiàn nǐ, xiàn zài de wǒ jiāng huì shì zěn yàng de ne? 

In English: “I always wonder if I hadn’t met you, what would happen to me?” 

  • Might – 也许 (yě xǔ)

In Chinese: 我也许不会选择出国留学。

Pinyin: Wǒ yě xǔ bú huì xuǎn zé chū guó liú xué.

In English: “I might not choose to go study abroad.”

2- Chinese Auxiliary Verbs

  • To be – 是 (shì)

In Chinese: 他是一个善良的人。

Pinyin: Tā shì yī gè shàn liáng de rén.

In English: “He is a kind person.”

  • To do – 做 (zuò)

In Chinese: 我喜欢做家务。

Pinyin: Wǒ xǐ huan zuò jiā wù.

In English: “I like doing housework.”

  • To have – 有 (yǒu)

In Chinese: 你有订书器可以借我一下吗?

Pinyin: Nǐ yǒu dìng shū qì kě yǐ jiè wǒ yī xià ma? 

In English: “Do you have a stapler that I can borrow?”

  • To need – 需要 (xū yào)

In Chinese: 我需要你的帮助。 

Pinyin: Wǒ xū yào nǐ de bāng zhù.

In English: “I need your help.”

4. Chinese Verbs and Essentials of Grammar

Negative Verbs

So, how do Chinese verbs work?

As we mentioned before, there’s no conjugation in Chinese verbs, and common Chinese verbs placement is just as simple as it is in most other languages: Subject + Verb Phrase + Object. 

However, since no conjugation is required for common verbs in Chinese, we usually use aspect particles to modify verbs so that they specify the time and make a sentence sound more natural. For example, 了 (le), 着 (zhe), and 过 (guò) are the most common ones that can be added after a verb. 了 (le) and 过 (guò) are used to indicate past tense, while 着 (zhe) is used to indicate the current time.

Here are some examples to help you better understand this Chinese verbs grammar point:

  • In Chinese: 我在看着你的孩子呢。 

  Pinyin: Wǒ zài kān zhe nǐ de hái zi ne. 

  In English: “I am babysitting your child right now.”

  • In Chinese: 你吃过药了吗?

  Pinyin: Nǐ chī guò yào le ma? 

  In English: “Did you take your medicine?”

  • In Chinese: 昨天我看见了一只流浪狗。

  Pinyin: Zuó tiān wǒ kàn jiàn le yī zhī liú làng gǒu. 

  In English: “I saw a street dog yesterday.”

When you want to use an adverb to modify a verb, you can use this formula: Verb + 得 (de) + Adverb. 

  • In Chinese: 他跑得快。

Pinyin: Tā pǎo de kuài. 

In English: “He runs fast.”

Lastly, if you ever want to negate verbs in your sentence, the adverbs 不 () and 没 (méi) are commonly used to negate a verb. In general, the difference between these two words is that 不 () is used more for the future tense or a habitual action, while 没 (méi) is used to refer to the past tense.

  • In Chinese: 我昨天忙得都没来得及吃午饭。

Pinyin: Wǒ zuó tiān máng de dōu méi lái de jí chī wǔ fàn. 

In English: “I was too busy to eat lunch yesterday.”

  • In Chinese: 我不想今天去购物。

Pinyin: Wǒ bù xiǎng jīn tiān qù gòu wù. 

In English: “I don’t want to go shopping today.”

5. Conclusion

Don’t get overwhelmed by these Chinese verbs and essentials of grammar just yet. As long as you keep practicing, they’ll become a piece of cake before you know it. Chinese language is an art that you can never learn enough of because there’s so much diversity. Go to ChineseClass101.com, and as you continue learning there, you’ll master these common verbs in Chinese and many more beautiful words to enrich your sentences. 

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about Chinese verbs now. Are there any essential Chinese verbs that you still want to know? We look forward to hearing from you! 

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Personal Pronouns and More: A List of Chinese Pronouns

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Quiz: Can you list all the pronouns you know? They don’t have to be Chinese pronouns; they can be in English or your native language. 

Now, what would be the first five pronouns on your list? 

Naturally, most of us first think of pronouns like “I,” “me,” “you,” “he,” and “they,” which are all personal pronouns. We sometimes forget that the list of pronouns goes on. 

There are possessive pronouns like “his” or “her,” demonstrative pronouns like “this” or “that,” interrogative pronouns like “what” or “where,” and so on.

Before we move on to this big, extensive, and complete list of all pronouns in Chinese, get a sneak peek at the essential list of the most useful pronouns on ChineseClass101.com to see how many you already know! 

Ready? Let’s learn Chinese pronouns!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Chinese Personal Pronouns
  2. Chinese Demonstrative Pronouns
  3. Chinese Interrogative Pronouns
  4. Conclusion

1. Chinese Personal Pronouns

Introducing Yourself

Personal pronouns are the most frequently used type of pronouns. Imagine how you would invite your friend to your party without using personal pronouns: “Adam wants to invite Nick to Adam’s party this weekend. Would Nick like to come?” That’s amusingly wordy.

Personal pronouns can be further broken down into smaller categories. 

1- Singular Personal Pronouns 

Let’s first sum up all the singular forms of Chinese personal pronouns. 

Keep in mind that all Chinese pronouns can be used as a subject or an object in a sentence. There’s no different forms for different parts of the sentence, like the difference between “he” and “him” in English. 

1. First Person Singular

In Chinese:
Pinyin:
In English: “I” or “me”

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 我是玛丽。
    Pinyin: Wǒ shì Mǎlì.
    In English: “I’m Mary.” 
    (我 as a subject)

  • In Chinese: 你是在笑我吗?
    Pinyin: Nǐ shì zài xiào wǒ ma?
    In English: “Are you laughing at me?”
    (你 as an object)

2. Second Person Singular

In Chinese:
Pinyin:
In English: “you”

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 你是谁?
    Pinyin: Nǐ shì shéi?
    In English: “Who are you?” 
    (你 as a subject)

  • In Chinese: 我爱你。
    Pinyin: Wǒ ài nǐ.
    In English: “I love you.”
    (你 as an object)

When speaking with people who are senior in age or social status, such as teachers, supervisors, customers, or even strangers, it’s more polite and respectful to use the other form of 你, which is:

In Chinese:
Pinyin: nín
In English: (honorific/formal) “you”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 谢谢您的建议。
    Pinyin: Xièxie nín de jiànyì.
    In English: “Thank you for your advice.”

3. Third Person Singular

In Chinese:
Pinyin:
In English: “he” or “him”

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 他在找你。
    Pinyin: Tā zài zhǎo nǐ.
    In English: “He is looking for you.”

  • In Chinese: 你认识他吗?
    Pinyin: Nǐ rènshi tā ma?
    In English: “Do you know him?”

In Chinese:
Pinyin:
In English: “she” or “her”

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 她不会来。
    Pinyin: Tā búhuì lái.
    In English: “She won’t be here.”

  • In Chinese: 我记得她,但是她不记得我。
    Pinyin: Wǒ jìde tā , dànshì tā bú jìde wǒ.
    In English: “I remember her, but she doesn’t remember me.”

In Chinese:
Pinyin:
In English: “it” (animal or object) 

它 () is often used to refer to an animal or an object that’s been mentioned, regardless of gender.

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 这是大白。它是一个机器人。
    Pinyin: Zhè shì Dàbái. Tā shì yí ge jīqìrén.
    In English: “This is Baymax. It is a robot.”

  • In Chinese: 大家都很喜欢它。
    Pinyin: Dàjiā dōu hěn xǐhuan tā.
    In English: “Everybody likes it very much.”

You may have noticed that Chinese has three different words for the third personal pronoun. 他 () is for men, 她 () is for women, and 它 () is for non-humans. However, they’re all pronounced the same way, which could make listening a little tricky. Make sure you check the context in case of confusion. 

Also be careful with the 他 () for “he” and the 她 () for “her” in Chinese characters. The right side of these two characters is the same. What you need to pay attention to is the radicals on the left side. 他 has the radical 亻which is often used to indicate “person” or “man,” whereas 她 has the radical 女 () which means “woman.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Chinese characters, check out this video lesson on ChineseClass101.com that shows you the common way to decipher Chinese characters.

As for the non-human “it,” 它 () can’t be used as an impersonal pronoun to serve as a subject in a sentence. For example, in English, we can say “It’s raining,” or “It’s difficult.” In Chinese, the “it” doesn’t translate to 它. In fact, the “it” in these two sentences is often omitted in Chinese translation.

2- Plural Personal Pronouns 

Making plural personal pronouns in Chinese is simple and convenient. You only need to stick the word 们 (men) after each singular pronoun. 

1. First Person Plural

In Chinese: 我们
Pinyin: wǒmen
In English: “we” or “us”

Reminder: The pinyin for “we” (wǒmen) may look the same as “women” in English, but they’re not the same! Don’t forget that Pinyin is not English.

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 你看见我们了吗?
    Pinyin: Nǐ kànjiàn wǒmen le ma?
    In English: “Do you see us now?”

2. Second Person Plural

In Chinese: 你们
Pinyin: nǐmen 
In English: “you” (plural)

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 你们去哪?
    Pinyin: Nǐmen qù nǎ?
    In English: “Where are you going?”

The plural form of the honorific 您 (nín) is still 你们 (nǐmen), not 您们 (nínmen). You might have seen the word 您们, but it’s an incorrect word! Yep, even native speakers make mistakes when speaking Chinese. 

In order to be more polite when addressing a group of people, use phrases like 您二位 (nín èr wèi) and 您几位 (nín jǐ wèi), which are the more courteous ways to say “you two” and “you guys.”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 抱歉让您几位久等了。
    Pinyin: Bàoqiàn ràng nín jǐ wèi jiǔ děng le.
    In English: “Sorry to have kept you guys waiting.”

3. Third Person Plural

In Chinese: 他们
Pinyin: tāmen
In English: “they” or “them”

This word is often used to refer to more than one male, or a mixed group of males and females.

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 他们终于到了。
    Pinyin: Tāmen zhōngyú dàole .
    In English: “They are finally here.”

In Chinese: 她们
Pinyin: tāmen
In English: “they” or “them” (female)

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 我低估了她们。
    Pinyin: Wǒ dīgū le tāmen.
    In English: “I underestimated them.”

In Chinese: 它们
Pinyin: tāmen
In English: “they” or “them”  (animals or objects)

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 你给它们洗澡了吗?
    Pinyin: Nǐ gěi tāmen xǐzǎo le ma?
    In English: “Did you give them a bath yet?”

3- Possessive Personal Pronouns

Making Chinese possessive pronouns from the personal pronouns is also quite easy. In this case, you need the possessive particle 的 (de) after all of the personal pronouns. 

“Personal pronoun + 的 (de)” can be used the same way as an adjective before a noun, or they can be used as a noun by themselves. 

Here’s an example of the possessive form of the second singular pronoun:

In Chinese: 你的
Pinyin: nǐde
In English: “your” or “yours”

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 你的新衬衫很好看。
    Pinyin: Nǐ de xīn chènshān hěn hǎokàn.
    In English: “Your new shirt looks great.”

  • In Chinese: 这个新衬衫是你的。
    Pinyin: Zhège xīn chènshān shì nǐ de.
    In English: “This new shirt is yours.”

An example of first plural possessive:

In Chinese: 我们的
Pinyin: wǒmen de
In English: “our” or “ours”

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 她是我们的老师。
    Pinyin: Tā shì wǒmen de lǎoshī.
    In English: “She is our teacher.”

  • In Chinese: 这排位子都是我们的。
    Pinyin: Zhè pái wèizi dōu shì wǒmen de.
    In English: “This row of seats is all ours.”

In some circumstances, the particle 的 can be omitted. A very common situation for 的 to be dropped is in colloquial speech, when possessive pronouns are used before close relationships, such as one’s family members, friends, home, or office. For example, it’s grammatically correct to say:

  • In Chinese: 我的妈妈回来了。
    Pinyin: Wǒde māma huílai le.
    In English: “My mom is back.”

But it sounds a bit formal. In everyday conversations, people are more likely to say:

  • In Chinese: 我妈回来了。
    Pinyin: Wǒ mā huílai le.
    In English: “My mom is back.”

In this sentence, not only is the word 妈妈 (māma), or “mom,” shortened and casualized to 妈 (), or “ma,” but the possessive pronoun 我的 (wǒde), meaning “my,” is also shortened to 我 (). 

Here’s another example of when 的 is dropped in a possessive pronoun in everyday language:

  • In Chinese: 他公司离这里不远。
    Pinyin: Tā gōngsī lí zhèli bù yuǎn. 
    In English: “His company is not far from here.”

Instead of using 他的公司 for “his company,” 他公司 is more often used in casual situations. 

4- Reflexive Personal Pronouns

Woman Pointing at Herself

Somehow in conversations, we always end up talking about ourselves. The pronouns that end with “-self” or “-selves” in English are called reflexive personal pronouns. 

In Chinese, we can also use a suffix after personal pronouns to make them reflexive and intensified. In this case, we add the word 自己 (zìjǐ), meaning “self.”

For example:

In Chinese: 我自己
Pinyin: wǒ zìjǐ
In English: “myself”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 我自己看到的。
    Pinyin: Wǒ zìjǐ kàn dào de.
    In English: “I saw it myself.”

In Chinese: 你们自己
Pinyin: nǐmen zìjǐ
In English: “yourselves”

Example sentence: 
  • In Chinese: 照顾好你们自己。
    Pinyin: Zhàogu hǎo nǐmen zìjǐ.
    In English: “Take care of yourselves.”

Here’s a Chinese pronoun chart that sums up all the Chinese personal pronouns in different forms:

1st person2nd person3rd person (men)3rd person (women)3rd person (non-human)
singular我 

“I,” “we”
你 

“you”
他 

“he,” “him”
她 

“she,” “her”
它 

“it”
plural我们 
wǒmen
“we,” “us”
你们 
nǐmen
“you”
他们 
tāmen
“they,” “them”
她们 
tāmen
“they,” “them”
它们 
tāmen
“they,” “them”
singular possessive我的
wǒde 
“my,” “mine”
你的
nǐde
“your,” “yours”
他的
tāde
“his”
她的
tāde
“her,” “hers”
它的
tāde
“its”
plural possessive我们的
wǒmen de
“our,” “ours”
你们的
nǐmen de
“your,” “yours”
他们的
tāmen de
“their,” “theirs”
她们的
tāmen de
“their,” “theirs”
它们的
tāmen de
“their,” “theirs”
singular reflexive我自己
wǒ zìjǐ
“myself”
你自己
nǐ zìjǐ
“yourself”
他自己
tā zìjǐ
“himself”
她自己
tā zìjǐ
“herself”
它自己 
tā zìjǐ
“itself”
plural
reflexive
我们自己
wǒmen zìjǐ
“ourselves”
你们自己
nǐmen zìjǐ
“yourselves”
他们自己
tāmen zìjǐ
“themselves”
她们自己
tāmen zìjǐ
“themselves”
它们自己
tāmen zìjǐ
“themselves”

2. Chinese Demonstrative Pronouns

Basic Questions

The next most commonly used type of pronoun in Chinese is the demonstrative pronoun. This includes words such as “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those.” The usage of Chinese demonstrative pronouns is very similar to that in English. 

1- This & That 

In Chinese:
Pinyin: z
In English: “this”

Example sentence: 
  • In Chinese: 这是你们的房间。
    Pinyin: Zhè shì nǐmen de fángjiān.
    In English: “This is your room.”

In Chinese:
Pinyin:
In English: “that”

Example sentence: 
  • In Chinese: 那是不可能的。
    Pinyin: Nà shì bù kěnéng de.
    In English: “That is impossible.”

2- This & That + Measure Word + Noun

这 (z), meaning “this,” and 那 (), meaning “that,” can also be used before nouns to demonstrate the subject that one is talking about. However, in Chinese, 这 and 那 can’t be put directly before nouns. Instead, we need the help of 量词 (liàngcí), meaning “measure words,” or otherwise known as counters or classifiers. 

The most universal measure word is 个 (). It’s a safe word to go to for beginners. Here are some examples:

  • In Chinese: 这个女孩很漂亮。
    Pinyin: Zhègè nǚhái hěn piàoliang.
    In English: “This girl is very pretty.”

  • In Chinese: 这个网站很有用。
    Pinyin: Zhègè wǎngzhàn hěn yǒuyòng.
    In English: “This website is very useful.”

  • In Chinese: 我爸去过那个国家。
    Pinyin: Wǒ bà qù guo nàgè guójiā.
    In English: “My dad has been to that country.”

  • In Chinese: 请给我看一下那个钱包。
    Pinyin: Qǐng gěi wǒ kàn yíxià nàgè qiánbāo.
    In English: “Please let me take a look at that wallet.”

这 (z) and 那 () are sometimes pronounced as zhèi and nèi in colloquial speech. Both pronunciations are correct. It’s only a matter of personal preference. 

Also, in everyday language, 这个 (zhèige) and 那个 (nèige) are used as filler sounds, or so-called vocalized pauses, like “uh” and “um” in English. You’ll be surprised how often you hear Chinese people stutter with 这个 (zhèige) and 那个 (nèige) in conversations! 

Once you’re more confident with your Chinese, use 这 or 那 with specific measure words that go with specific nouns. For example:

  • In Chinese: 这辆车超酷。
    Pinyin: Zhè liàng chē chāokù.
    In English: “This car is super-cool.”

The measure word in this sentence, 辆 (liàng), is used for vehicles, such as 车 (chē), meaning “car.”

  • In Chinese: 我看过那本书。
    Pinyin: Wǒ kàn guo nà běn shū.
    In English: “I’ve read that book.”

The measure word here, 本 (běn) is used for books, or 书 (shū) in Chinese. 

3- These & Those

When demonstrating something with a quantity of more than one, we use 这 (zhè) and 那 () plus the word 些 (xiē).

In Chinese: 这些
Pinyin: zhèxiē
In English: “these”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 这些孩子玩得很开心。
    Pinyin: Zhèxiē háizi wán de hěn kāixīn.
    In English: “These kids are having a great time.”

In Chinese: 那些
Pinyin: nàxiē
In English: “those”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 不用担心那些事。
    Pinyin: Bú yòng dānxīn nàxiē shì.
    In English: “Don’t worry about those things.”

4- Here & There 

The Chinese words for “here” and “there” also use 这 (zhè) and 那 (), plus the suffix 里 () or 儿 (ér). 

In Chinese: 这里 / 这儿
Pinyin: zhèlǐ / zhèr
In English: “here”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 我来过这里 / 这儿。
    Pinyin: Wǒ lái guo zhèlǐ / zhèr.
    In English: “I’ve been here.”

In Chinese: 那里 / 那儿
Pinyin: nàlǐ / nàr 
In English: “there”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 那里 / 那儿有一个医院。
    Pinyin: Nàli / Nàr yǒu yí ge yīyuàn.
    In English: “There is a hospital over there.”

In general, 这里 (zhèlǐ), meaning “here,” and 那里 (nàlǐ), meaning “there,” are used more often in the southern part of China. In the northern part of China, people tend to use a lot of 儿化音 (ér huà yīn), which in this case are 这儿 (zhèr) and 那儿 (nàr). 

5- This Way & That Way

To say “this way” or “that way,” we need to put the word 边 (biān) after 这 (zhè) and 那 (). 

In Chinese: 这边
Pinyin: zhèbiān
In English: “this way”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 这边请。
    Pinyin: Zhèbiān qǐng.
    In English: “This way, please.”

In Chinese: 那边
Pinyin: nàbiān
In English: “that way”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 厕所在那边。
    Pinyin: Cèsuǒ zài nàbiān.
    In English: “The restroom is over there.”

3. Chinese Interrogative Pronouns

Question Words in English

Humans are curious creatures. We like to ask questions. The words that we use to ask questions are called interrogative pronouns. 

In English, they often appear at the beginning of a question, with a reconstructed word order from a declarative sentence (or any other sentence that makes a statement). 

In Chinese, the word order in a question remains the same as in a declarative sentence. Therefore, asking questions in Chinese is easy. 

First, think about how you would answer the question in a declarative sentence, then replace the word or phrase that answers the question with an interrogative pronoun. 

The table below summarizes the most commonly used Chinese interrogative pronouns. 
Example sentences are given with both a literal translation and a natural English translation, so you can get a better idea of where interrogative pronouns go and what the word order is like in Chinese questions.

In ChinesePinyinIn EnglishExample SentenceLiteral TranslationNatural English Translation
什么shénme “what”你叫什么名字?
Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?
“You’re called what name?”“What is your name?”
什么时候shénme shíhòu “when”我们什么时候见面?
Wǒmen shénme shíhòu jiànmiàn?
“We when meet?”“When shall we meet?”
哪里/哪儿nǎlǐ / nǎr?“where”电梯在哪里/哪儿?
Diàntī zài nǎlǐ / nǎr?
“Elevator/escalator at where?”“Where is the elevator/escalator?”
哪个/哪些nǎge / nǎxiē“which” (s) / “which” (p)哪个是你的手机?
Nǎge shì nǐ de shǒujī?

你喜欢哪些运动?
Nǐ xǐhuān nǎxiē yùndòng?
“Which is your cell phone?”



“You like which sports?”
“Which one is your phone?”



“Which sports do you like?”
shéi“who”她是谁?
Tā shì shéi?
“She is who?”“Who is she?”
多少duōshǎo“how many” / “how much”这个多少钱?
Zhège duōshǎo qián?
“This how much money?”“How much money is this?”
为什么wèishénme“why”他们为什么这么生气?
Tāmen wèishénme zhème shēngqì?
“They why so angry?” “Why are they so mad?”
怎么zěnme“how”请问,人民广场怎么走?
Qǐngwèn, rénmín guǎngchǎng zěnme zǒu?
“May I please ask, People’s Square how to walk?”
“Excuse me, how do I get to People’s Square?”

4. Conclusion

Improve Listening

Now if you were asked to take the quiz at the beginning of this article again, how many Chinese pronouns would you be able to put down?

You should have at least forty-six words on your list! 
Learning new words in groups like we did in this Chinese pronouns list has proven to be a great language-learning method to increase vocabulary. ChineseClass101.com has hundreds of vocabulary lists for you to add to your word bank. Sign up for a free lifetime account today so you can enjoy more Chinese learning fun with us!

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The Ultimate Guide on How to Tell Time in Chinese

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As a Chinese language-learner, one of the things you likely wonder about often is how to tell time in Chinese. Everything we do is seamlessly associated with time. We consume time every day and are always in a running competition with it. We care about time, and time has become one of the most important topics in our everyday lives. It’s important to stay on track with what you do, no matter where you are; further, you should do your best to be on time for certain events. This is why time in Chinese culture plays a big role.

“Time” in Chinese is 时间 (shí jiān). The rules for telling the time in Mandarin Chinese are all straightforward and simple to follow, so let go of your fears and proceed with confidence.

With ChineseClass101.com, learning time in Chinese is fun and effective at the same time! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. How to Ask for the Time
  2. The Hours in Chinese
  3. The Minutes in Chinese
  4. Hours Divided into Minutes
  5. General Time References of the Day
  6. Chinese Time Adverbs
  7. Common Phrases Regarding Time
  8. Bonus: Proverbs and Sayings
  9. Conclusion

1. How to Ask for the Time

You need to always keep track of your own time.

Woman Pointing at Clock
  • In Chinese: 现在几点了?

Pinyin: Xiàn zài jǐ diǎn le. 

In English: What time is it?

  • In Chinese: 请问你知道现在的时间吗?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn nǐ zhī dào xiàn zài de shí jiān ma? 

In English: Do you have the time, please?

  • In Chinese: 请问[会议]是什么时候?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn [huì yì] shì shí me shén hou? 

In English: What time is the [meeting]?

Feel free to replace the event in the brackets with any other event.

2. The Hours in Chinese

Can you express the time in Chinese precisely?

A Wall Clock

In China, people are used to the twenty-four-hour clock. In order to master telling the time in Mandarin Chinese, let’s get to know these two important vocabulary words first: 

  • 小时 (xiǎo shí) — hour
  • 点钟 (diǎn zhōng) — o’clock

As we mentioned above, “hour” in Chinese is 小时 (xiǎo shí), and 钟头 (zhōng tóu) is another way to say “hours” in daily conversation; it’s less formal than 小时 (xiǎo shí). 

However, to make it more convenient for speech, we usually just say the simplified version of 点钟 (diǎn zhōng), which is 点 (diǎn). 

Now, how do you say the time in Chinese exactly? Easy.

To express any hour, all you need to do is say the number first and add 点 (diǎn) / 点钟 (diǎn zhōng) right after. For example, four o’clock would be 四点 (sì diǎn) / 四点钟 (sì diǎn zhōng). 

Here’s a list of time words in Chinese that will help you understand how the twenty-four-hour clock works:

  • 一点钟 (yī diǎn zhōng) — 1 o’clock
  • 两点钟 (liǎng diǎn zhōng) — 2 o’clock
  • 三点钟 (sān diǎn zhōng) — 3 o’clock
  • 四点钟 (sì diǎn zhōng) — 4 o’clock
  • 五点钟 (wǔ diǎn zhōng) — 5 o’clock
  • 六点钟 (liù diǎn zhōng) — 6 o’clock
  • 七点钟 (qī diǎn zhōng) — 7 o’clock
  • 八点钟 (bā diǎn zhōng) — 8 o’clock
  • 九点钟 (jiǔ diǎn zhōng) — 9 o’clock
  • 十点钟 (shí diǎn zhōng) — 10 o’clock
  • 十一点钟 (shí yī diǎn zhōng) — 11 o’clock
  • 十二点钟 (shí èr diǎn zhōng) — 12 o’clock
  • 十三点钟 (shí sān diǎn zhōng) — 13 o’clock
  • 十四点钟 (shí sì diǎn zhōng) — 14 o’clock
  • 十五点钟 (shí wǔ diǎn zhōng) — 15 o’clock
  • 十六点钟 (shí liù diǎn zhōng) — 16 o’clock
  • 十七点钟 (shí qī diǎn zhōng) — 17 o’clock
  • 十八点钟 (shí bā diǎn zhōng) — 18 o’clock
  • 十九点钟 (shí jiǔ diǎn zhōng) — 19 o’clock
  • 二十点钟 (èr shí diǎn zhōng) — 20 o’clock
  • 二十一点钟 (èr shí yī diǎn zhōng) — 21 o’clock
  • 二十二点钟 (èr shí èr diǎn zhōng) — 22 o’clock
  • 二十三点钟 (èr shí sān diǎn zhōng) — 23 o’clock
  • 二十四点钟 (èr shí sì diǎn zhōng) — 24 o’clock
  • 零点 (líng diǎn) — 0 o’clock

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 现在是16点钟。

Pinyin: Xiàn zài shì shí liù diǎn zhōng.

In English: It’s 4 PM.

Additional Notes: 

Remember that when referring to time and currency, 两 (liǎng) is used for “two” instead of 二 (èr), which is used more commonly for counting.

3. The Minutes in Chinese

Time

分钟 (fēn zhōng) is one of the most important time words in Chinese, meaning “minute.” Usually, people simplify it and just say 分 (fēn), which means the same thing. To express any specific minute at any hour, you just need to follow this formula: [number] “点 (diǎn) / 点钟 (diǎn zhōng)” + [number] “分 (fēn).”

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 现在是三点十八分。

Pinyin: Xiàn zài shì sān diǎn shí bā fēn. 

In English: It’s 3:18 right now.

4. Hours Divided into Minutes

点半 (diǎn bàn) – half

Structure: 

In Chinese: 现在的时间是[点钟数字] 点 + 分钟

In English: It’s [number of the clock] o’clock + minutes

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 现在的时间是三点半。

Pinyin: Xiàn zài de shí jiān shì sān diǎn bàn. 

In English: It’s half past three now.

一刻 (yī kè) – quarter

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 现在的时间是五点一刻。

Pinyin: Xiàn zài de shí jiān shì wǔ diǎn yī kè. 

In English: It’s a quarter past five right now.

5. General Time References of the Day

Improve Listening

What if you just want to give an approximate time in Chinese? Here are some words you can use to tell someone a general time of day.

  • 早晨 (zǎo chén) — early morning
  • 日出 (rì chū) — sunrise
  • 下午 (xià wǔ) — afternoon
  • 晚上 (wǎn shàng) — evening
  • 中午 (zhōng wǔ) — noon
  • 日落 (rì luò) — sunset
  • 夜里 (yè lǐ) — at night 
  • 半夜 (bàn yè) — midnight
  • 凌晨 (líng chén) — before dawn

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 我喜欢在[下午]的时候吃水果。

Pinyin: Wǒ xǐ huan zài [xià wǔ] de shí hou chī shuǐ guǒ. 

In English: I like to eat fruit in the afternoon.

Additional Notes:

Feel free to replace the example time reference in the brackets with any of the other time words in Chinese above. You can also check out our article regarding dates in Chinese here.

6. Chinese Time Adverbs

Remember to arrange your time wisely.

Man Looking at His Watch

Time adverbs in Chinese can help you communicate with more-detailed and complete sentences. Here are the most common ones.

现在 (xiàn zài) – right now

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 抱歉,我现在很忙,待会给你回电话。

Pinyin: Bào qiàn, wǒ xiàn zài hěn máng, dāi huì gěi nǐ huí diàn huà. 

In English: Sorry, I am very busy right now. I will call you back in a bit.

目前 (mù qián) – currently

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 我目前正在专心复习考试。

Pinyin: Wǒ mù qián zhèng zài zhuān xīn fù xí kǎo shì. 

In English: Currently, I am focusing on reviewing the exam.

同时 (tóng shí) – meanwhile / at the same time

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 我可以同时出色地完成很多件事。

Pinyin: Wǒ kě yǐ tóng shí chū sè de wán chéng hěn duō jiàn shì. 

In English: I can multitask very well.

之前 (zhī qián) – before

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 每次睡觉之前,我都喜欢阅读一会。 

Pinyin: Měi cì shuì jiào zhī qián, wǒ dōu xǐ huan yuè dú yī huì. 

In English: Every time before I go to sleep, I like to read for a little while.

之后 (zhī hòu) – after

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 我习惯在吃饭之后喝一杯果汁。

Pinyin: Wǒ xí guàn zài chī fàn zhī hòu hē yī bēi guǒ zhī. 

In English: I am used to drinking a cup of juice after a meal.

很快 (hěn kuài) – soon

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 我很快就可以帮你辅导作业了。

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn kuài jiù kě yǐ bāng nǐ fǔ dǎo zuò yè le. 

In English: I will be helping you with your homework soon.

立刻 (lì kè) – immediately

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 每次收到短信,我都会立刻回复。

Pinyin: Měi cì shōu dào duǎn xìn, wǒ dōu huì lì kè huí fù. 

In English: Every time I receive a message, I reply immediately.

差不多 (chà bu duō) – almost

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 我差不多快到了。 

Pinyin: Wǒ chà bu duō kuài dào le. 

In English: I am almost there.

过一会儿 (guò yī huìr) – in a little while

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 他过一会儿就会回来了。

Pinyin: Tā guò yī huìr jiù huì huí lái le. 

In English: He will be back in a little while.

很久 (hěn jiǔ) – for a long time

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 我们曾经做了很久的好朋友。

Pinyin: Wǒ men céng jīng zuò le hěn jiǔ de hǎo péng you. 

In English: We were good friends for a long time.

任何时候 (rèn hé shí hou) – any time

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 在任何时候,只要你需要我,我就会陪在你身边。 

Pinyin: Zài rèn hé shí hou, zhī yào nǐ xū yào wǒ, wǒ jiù huì péi zài nǐ shēn biān. 

In English: I will be with you at any time as long as you need me.

尽快 (jìn kuài) – as soon as possible

Usage in a sentence: 

In Chinese: 我尽快把邮件发给你。

Pinyin: Wǒ jìn kuài bǎ yóu jiàn fā gěi nǐ. 

In English: I will send you the email as soon as possible.

Additional Notes: 

Usually, adverbs are added to the beginning of a sentence, after the subject.

7. Common Phrases Regarding Time

It can be tough to catch up with time sometimes!

Woman Looking at Watch

时间 (shí jiān), which is “time” in Chinese, can be tight and precious, or hard to manage. Time in Chinese culture is always an important topic to discuss as our everyday arrangements depend on it. Sometimes we have to apologize for being late, and sometimes we just want to ask other people to be on time. Here are some of the most common phrases for talking about time in Chinese that will certainly help you communicate with others.

  • In Chinese: 赶紧的!  

Pinyin: Gǎn jǐn de! 

In English: Hurry up!

  • In Chinese: 抱歉,我迟到了。

Pinyin: Bào qiàn, wǒ chí dào le.

In English: Sorry that I’m late.

  • In Chinese: 我现在就出发。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiàn zài jiù chū fā. 

In English: I will be going right now.

  • In Chinese: 以防堵车,我打算提前半小时出发。

Pinyin: Yǐ fáng dǔ chē, wǒ dǎ suàn tí qián bàn xiǎo shí chū fā. 

In English: Just in case there’s traffic, I plan to leave thirty minutes early.

  • In Chinese: 请提前到达集合地点。

Pinyin: Qǐng tí qián dào dá jí hé dì diǎn. 

In English: Please arrive early at the meeting place.

  • In Chinese: 请准时到。

Pinyin: Qǐng zhǔn shí dào.

In English: Please be on time.

8. Bonus: Proverbs and Sayings

We should always cherish the time no matter what.

Sign with Time Words on Them

Here are some proverbs and idioms about time in Chinese that will help you sound like a native speaker.

  • In Chinese: 时间就是金钱。

Pinyin: Shí jiān jiù shì jīn qián. 

In English: Time is money.

  • In Chinese: 一寸光阴一寸金,寸金难买寸光阴。

Pinyin: Yī cùn guāng yīn yī cùn jīn, cùn jīn nán mǎi cùn guāng yīn. 

In English: An inch of gold will not buy an inch of time, and you can’t buy an inch of time with an inch of gold.

  • In Chinese: 时间会治愈一切。

Pinyin: Shí jiān huì zhì yù yī qiē. 

In English: Time heals all wounds. 

  • In Chinese: 时光飞逝。

Pinyin: Shí guāng fēi shì. 

In English: Time flies.

9. Conclusion

Basic Questions

Now, I hope you’ve mastered the art of how to tell time in Chinese. If you’re a Chinese language-learner who’s full of curiosity and a desire to learn more, then our online lessons will be just perfect for a diligent individual like you. Visit ChineseClass101.com today to acquire a once-in-your-lifetime Chinese learning experience!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about telling the time in Chinese now. To practice, tell us what time it is where you are, in Chinese! 🙂 We look forward to hearing from you. 

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Asking for and Giving Directions in Chinese



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Being able to ask for and give directions is one of the practical skills we need to learn in life. It’s also one of the survival skills we need to equip ourselves with before visiting a new place.

If you don’t want to get lost in China, have a stressful time on your trip, or miss an excellent chance to communicate with locals and try out your Chinese speaking skills, you must read this survival guide on how to ask for and give directions in Chinese.

Don’t have time to read all the details in this article? Not a problem. Check out the comprehensive vocabulary list on positions and directions on ChineseClass101.com!

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Table of Contents
  1. On the Map
  2. On the Road
  3. Landmarks
  4. Must-know Phrases for Asking for Directions
  5. Must-know Phrases for Giving Directions
  6. Bonus: Taxi Directions in Chinese
  7. Conclusion


1. On the Map

Looking at a Map and Taking Notes

Before going to a place that you’ve never been to before, it’s always a good idea to check where things are on a map, which requires us to have the basic vocabulary for reading maps, such as north and west in Chinese.

1- Cardinal Directions in Chinese


The four basic cardinal directions, otherwise known as compass directions, in Chinese are:
  • In Chinese: 东
    Pinyin: dōng
    In English: east

  • In Chinese: 南
    Pinyin: nán
    In English: south

  • In Chinese: 西
    Pinyin:
    In English: west

  • In Chinese: 北
    Pinyin: běi
    In English: north

2- Intercardinal Directions in Chinese


The directions between the four basic cardinal directions are called intercardinal directions. The four most commonly used ones are:
  • In Chinese: 东南
    Pinyin: dōngnán
    In English: southeast

  • In Chinese: 东北
    Pinyin: dōngběi
    In English: northeast

  • In Chinese: 西南
    Pinyin: xīnán
    In English: southwest

  • In Chinese: 西北
    Pinyin: xīběi
    In English: northwest


In everyday Chinese, we often add 边 (biān) meaning “edge” or “side,” 方 (fāng) meaning “direction,” or 面 (miàn) meaning “side” after the cardinal directions. This makes phrases like 南边 (nánbiān) meaning “south side,” 北方 (běifāng) meaning “north part,” and 东面 (dōngmiàn) meaning “east side.”

Here are some example sentences.
  • In Chinese: 北京在中国的北方。
    Pinyin: Běijīng zài Zhōngguó de běifāng.
    Literal Translation: Beijing at China’s north part.
    In English: Beijing is in the north part of China.

  • In Chinese: 中国在俄罗斯的南边。
    Pinyin: Zhōngguó zài Éluósī de nánbiān.
    Literal Translation: China at Russia’s south side.
    In English: China is to the south of Russia.

  • In Chinese: 兵马俑在西安的东面。
    Pinyin: Bīngmǎyǒng zài Xī’ān de dōngmiàn.
    Literal Translation: Terracotta Warriors on Xi’an’s east side.
    In English: The Terracotta Warriors are on the east side of Xi’an.


2. On the Road


Directions

1- Position Words


When it’s time to finally hit the road, we’ll need to know more position and location words, such as left in Chinese, right in Chinese, front and back in Chinese, and more, in order to navigate and communicate.

Here are four pairs of opposites that describe position.

In Chinese: 前
Pinyin: qián
In English: front
In Chinese: 后
Pinyin: hòu
In English: back
In Chinese: 上
Pinyin: shàng
In English: up
In Chinese: 下
Pinyin: xià 
In English: down
In Chinese: 左
Pinyin: zuǒ
In English: left
In Chinese: 右
Pinyin: yòu
In English: right
In Chinese: 里
Pinyin:
In English: inside
In Chinese: 外
Pinyin: wài
In English: outside


Language Learning Tips: Memorizing opposites is a great way to expand your vocabulary, and it makes learning faster and easier.

Just like when we’re describing cardinal directions, we also add words like “side,” or 边 (biān), and 面 (miàn) after position words in everyday Chinese. This makes phrases like 前面 (qiánmian) meaning “front,” 上面 (shàngmian) meaning “up,” and 左边 (zuǒbiān) meaning “left side.”

Here are some example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 故宫里面有商店。
    Pinyin: Gùgōng lǐmian yǒu shāngdiàn.
    Literal Translation: Forbidden City inside has store.
    In English: There are stores inside the Forbidden City.

  • In Chinese: 售票处在大门的右边。
    Pinyin: Shòupiàochù zài dàmén de yòubiān.
    Literal Translation: Ticket place at gate’s right side.
    In English: The ticket office is on the right side of the gate.

  • In Chinese: 出租车的前面有一辆公交车。
    Pinyin: Chūzūchē de qiánmian yǒu yí liàng gōngjiāochē.
    Literal Translation: Taxi’s front has a city bus.
    In English: There’s a city bus in front of the taxi.

2- Direction Phrases with References


In order to pinpoint a location, we often use other locations as references. For example: “the ice cream store is next to the park,” or “the convenience store is across the street from the subway station.”

The following is a comprehensive list of direction phrases with references in Chinese:
  • In Chinese: 在……(的) 左/右边
    Pinyin: zài …(de) zuǒ / yòubiān
    In English: on the left/right side of…

  • In Chinese: 在……(的) 前/后面
    Pinyin: zài …(de) qián / hòumian
    In English: in front of/behind…

  • In Chinese: 在……(的) 里/外面
    Pinyin: zài …(de) lǐ / wàimian
    In English: in the inside/outside of…

  • In Chinese: 在……(的) 上/下面
    Pinyin: zài …(de) shàng / xiàmian
    In English: under/on top of …

  • In Chinese: 在……(的) 旁边
    Pinyin: zài …(de) pángbiān
    In English: next to…

  • In Chinese: 在……(的) 对面
    Pinyin: zài …(de) duìmiàn
    In English: across the road from…

  • In Chinese: 在……之间
    Pinyin: zài … zhījiān
    In English: between…

  • In Chinese: 离这里……米
    Pinyin: lí zhèli …mǐ
    In English: …meters away from here

  • In Chinese: 离这里……分钟车程
    Pinyin: lí zhèli …fēnzhōng chē chéng
    In English: …minutes’ ride away from here

Here are some example sentences to show how to use direction phrases with references:
  • In Chinese: 麦当劳在必胜客的上面。
    Pinyin: Màidāngláo zài Bìshèngkè de shàngmian.
    Literal Translation: McDonald’s at Pizza Hut up.
    In English: McDonald’s is located above Pizza Hut.

  • In Chinese: 洗手间在电梯和收款处之间。
    Pinyin: Xǐshǒujiān zài diàntī hé shōukuǎnchù zhījiān.
    Literal Translation: Washroom at elevator and cashier in between.
    In English: The restroom is between the elevator and cashier.”

  • In Chinese: 外滩离这里十分钟车程。
    Pinyin: Wàitān lí zhèli shí fēnzhōng chē chéng.
    Literal Translation: Bund away from here ten minutes car distance.
    In English: It takes ten minutes to drive to The Bund from here.

3. Landmarks


Skyline of Shanghai Over the River

When it comes to finding out and describing where certain places are located in Chinese, we should know the basic vocabulary for landmarks. In particular, this may come in handy when giving or receiving driving directions in Chinese.

1- In the City:


  • In Chinese: 机场
    Pinyin: jīchǎng
    In English: airport

  • In Chinese: 火车站
    Pinyin: huǒchē zhàn
    In English: railway station

  • In Chinese: 地铁站
    Pinyin: dìtiě zhàn
    In English: subway station

  • In Chinese: 公交车站
    Pinyin: gōngjiāochē zhàn
    In English: bus stop

  • In Chinese: 市中心
    Pinyin: shì zhōngxīn
    In English: downtown

  • In Chinese: 公园
    Pinyin: gōngyuán
    In English: park

  • In Chinese: 医院
    Pinyin: yīyuàn
    In English: hospital

  • In Chinese: 银行
    Pinyin: yínháng
    In English: hotel

  • In Chinese: 商场
    Pinyin: shāngchǎng
    In English: mall

  • In Chinese: 博物馆
    Pinyin: bówùguǎn
    In English: museum


2- On the Road


  • In Chinese: 红绿灯
    Pinyin: hónglǜdēng
    In English: traffic light

  • In Chinese: 路口
    Pinyin: lùkǒu
    In English: intersection

  • In Chinese: 拐角
    Pinyin: guǎijiǎo
    In English: corner

  • In Chinese: 斑马线
    Pinyin: bānmǎ xiàn
    In English: crosswalk

  • In Chinese: 天桥
    Pinyin: tiānqiáo
    In English: overpass

  • In Chinese: 指示牌
    Pinyin: zhǐshì pái
    In English: sign

  • In Chinese: 停车位
    Pinyin: tíngchē wèi
    In English: parking spot

  • In Chinese: 报刊亭
    Pinyin: bàokān tíng
    In English: newspaper stand


3- In a Building


  • In Chinese: 大门
    Pinyin: dàmén
    In English: main gate

  • In Chinese: 电梯
    Pinyin: diàntī
    In English: elevator/escalator

  • In Chinese: 楼梯
    Pinyin: lóutī
    In English: stairs

  • In Chinese: 洗手间
    Pinyin: xǐshǒujiān
    In English: restroom

  • In Chinese: 问询处
    Pinyin: wènxún chù
    In English: information desk

  • In Chinese: 安全出口
    Pinyin: ānquán chūkǒu
    In English: emergency exit


4. Must-know Phrases for Asking for Directions


Asking Directions

1- Question Patterns



Now we’re only one step away from asking directions in Chinese with complete questions.

Here are three commonly used question patterns used in this situation:

1- ……在哪?(…zài nǎ?) meaning “Where is…?”


Example:
  • In Chinese: 洗手间在哪?
    Pinyin: Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎ?
    Literal Translation: Restroom at where?
    In English: Where is the restroom?

2- 去……怎么走?(Qù … zěnme zǒu?) meaning “How do I get to …?”

Example:
  • In Chinese: 去天安门怎么走?
    Pinyin: Qù Tiānānmén zěnme zǒu?
    Literal Translation: To Tian’anmen Square how to go?
    In English: How do I get to Tian’anmen Square?

3- ……离这儿有多远?(…lí zhèr yǒu duō yuǎn?) meaning “How far is … from here?”


Example:
  • In Chinese: 广州离这儿有多远?
    Pinyin: Guǎngzhōu lí zhèr yǒu duōyuǎn?
    Literal Translation: Guangzhou from here has how far?
    In English: How far is Guangzhou from here?

2- Polite Expressions


To sound more polite, put a 请问 (qǐngwèn), meaning “excuse me, may I ask…,” in front of your question.

For example, to politely ask where the subway station is, say:
  • In Chinese: 请问地铁站在哪?
    Pinyin: Qǐngwèn dìtiě zhàn zài nǎ?
    Literal Translation: May I please ask subway station at where?
    In English: Excuse me, where is the subway?

Or to politely ask how to get to the closest convenience store, say:
  • In Chinese: 请问最近的便利店怎么走?
    Pinyin: Qǐngwèn zuìjìn de biànlì diàn zěnme zǒu?
    Literal Translation: May I please ask the closest convenience store how to go?
    In English: “Excuse me, how do I get to the closest convenience store?”


After you get the directions, don’t forget to thank the person who helped you for their kindness. Here are some common thank-you phrases to use in this situation.
  • In Chinese: 谢谢你。
    Pinyin: Xièxie nǐ.
    In English: Thank you.


Note: Putting a 你 () after 谢谢 (xièxie) makes your thank-you sound more sincere.
  • In Chinese: 好。我知道了。太谢谢了!
    Pinyin: Hǎo. Wǒ zhīdào le. Tài xièxiè le!
    In English: OK. I got it. Thank you so much!

  • In Chinese: 我看见了。谢谢。
    Pinyin: Wǒ kànjiàn le. Xièxie.
    In English: I can see it now. Thanks.


5. Must-know Phrases for Giving Directions


Being able to understand directions in Chinese when people give them to you is as important as knowing how to ask for directions. Here’s a list of phrases used when giving directions in Chinese:
  • In Chinese: 在……
    Pinyin: zài
    In English: at…

  • In Chinese: 先……再……
    Pinyin: xiān…zài
    In English: first…then…

  • In Chinese: 沿着……走
    Pinyin: yánzhe …zǒu
    In English: go along…

  • In Chinese: 直走
    Pinyin: zhí zǒu
    In English: go straight

  • In Chinese: 左转 / 左拐
    Pinyin: zuǒzhuǎn / zuǒguǎi
    In English: turn left

  • In Chinese: 右转 / 右拐
    Pinyin: yòuzhuǎn / yòuguǎi
    In English: turn right

  • In Chinese: 往……走
    Pinyin: wǎng …zǒu
    In English: go toward …

  • In Chinese: 掉头
    Pinyin: diàotóu
    In English: make a U-turn

  • In Chinese: 上 / 下楼
    Pinyin: shàng / xià lóu
    In English: go upstairs / downstairs

  • In Chinese: 很近
    Pinyin: hěnjìn
    In English: very close

  • In Chinese: 挺远的
    Pinyin: tǐng yuǎn de
    In English: pretty far

Here are some example sentences combining direction phrases with landmarks.
  • In Chinese: 沿着这条路直走,在红绿灯左拐。
    Pinyin: Yánzhe zhè tiáo lù zhí zǒu , zài hónglǜdēng zuǒguǎi.
    Literal Translation: Along this road straight walk, at red green light left turn.
    In English:Go straight along this road, and make a left at the traffic light.

  • In Chinese: 先出地铁站,再右转,走两个路口。
    Pinyin: Xiān chū dì tiě zhàn, zài yòu zhuǎn, zǒu liǎng ge lùkǒu.
    Literal Translation: “First get out subway station, then right turn, walk two intersections.
    In English: First get out of the subway station, then take a right for two intersections.

  • In Chinese: 上楼之后有个问询处,问询处的对面就是洗手间。
    Pinyin: Shàng lóu zhīhòu yǒu ge wèn xún chù , wèn xún chù de duìmiàn jiùshì xǐshǒujiān.
    Literal Translation: Go upstairs afterwards have an information place, information place’s opposite side is restroom.
    In English: After you go upstairs, there’s an information desk; the bathroom is right across from the information desk.

Check out this example of a complete dialogue of asking for and giving directions in Chinese on ChineseClass101.com.

6. Bonus: Taxi Directions in Chinese


Basic Questions

In addition to the direction phrases listed above, you should know the following phrases for taking a taxi in China.
  • In Chinese: 去这里。
    Pinyin: Qù zhèli.
    In English: To here.

  • In Chinese: 请快一点。
    Pinyin: Qǐng kuài yì diǎn.
    In English: Please hurry up a bit.

  • In Chinese: 请慢一点。
    Pinyin: Qǐng màn yì diǎn.
    In English: Please slow down a bit.

  • In Chinese: 就在这儿停。
    Pinyin: Jiù zài zhèr tíng.
    In English: Please stop right here.

7. Conclusion


Now you’ve learned all the words and phrases you need to talk about directions and locations in Chinese. Are you more confident in touring and getting around in China on your own now? With this guide, and the help of modern technology such as GPS and navigation applications, you don’t have to stress about finding the right places in China.

Just remember: While enjoying your time touring around China, don’t be shy to try out the phrases and expressions you’ve learned from ChineseClass101.com!

Happy Chinese learning!

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Learn the 20+ Most Useful Compliments in Chinese

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Most people like hearing compliments, and they allow you to express your liking for someone and provide an opportunity for people to open up to each other. When they’re heard in a sincere manner, people feel appreciated. With that being said, when you have the opportunity to compliment someone, do it. It’s the key to their heart!

There are many kinds of compliments in Chinese, and they need to be used in different situations. In addition, there’s a wide spectrum of tones and ways to say them. Don’t worry, though; they’re not difficult at all. As long as you follow our guide, you can become a master of giving Chinese compliments!

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Table of Contents

  1. Complimenting Someone’s Look
  2. Complimenting Someone’s Work
  3. Complimenting Someone’s Skills
  4. Other Compliments
  5. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere
  6. What to Expect After Giving Compliments
  7. Conclusion

1. Complimenting Someone’s Look

Compliments

1-

Example situation: Suppose your friend is dressing up today for a party, and you think they look very nice.
In Chinese: 你今天穿得怎么这么好看。
Pinyin: Nǐ jīn tiān chuān de zěn me zhè me hǎo kàn.
In English: “Your outfit looks great today.”

2-

Example situation: Suppose your friend did her makeup perfectly today.
In Chinese: 你今天的妆容好精致啊。
Pinyin: Nǐ jīn tiān de zhuāng róng hǎo jīng zhì a.
In English: “Your makeup looks great today.”

3-

Example situation: Suppose a guy is admiring the girl he likes and thinks she looks pretty while smiling.
In Chinese: 你笑起来可真美。
Pinyin: Nǐ xiào qǐ lái kě zhēn měi.
In English: “You are so pretty when you are smiling.”

4-

Example situation: Suppose your friend is wearing a suit today for a presentation, and he looks very nice in the suit.
In Chinese: 你这身西装穿起来非常绅士。
Pinyin: Nǐ zhè shēn xī zhuāng chuān qǐ lái fēi cháng shēn shì.
In English: “Your suit makes you look like such a gentleman.”

A Woman Dressed Up and Taking a Selfie

Compliment your dream girl with the best you’ve got!

5-

Example situation: Suppose your relative just had her baby, and you want to say something nice about the baby. You happen to notice that her eyes are pretty.
In Chinese: 瞧这双大眼睛,多么炯炯有神啊。
Pinyin: Qiáo zhè shuāng dà yǎn jīng, duō me jiǒng jiǒng yǒu shén a.
In English: “Look at these big eyes, how bright and full of life.”

6-

Example situation: Suppose your friend is going to have a football game, and you see that he looks very confident and ready for it.
In Chinese: 你今天可真是神采飞扬。
Pinyin: Nǐ jīn tiān kě zhēn shì shén cǎi fēi yáng.
In English: “Today you seem so full of spirit.”

2. Complimenting Someone’s Work

7-

Example situation: Suppose your teammate in a basketball match just scored for your team.
In Chinese: 干得漂亮。
Pinyin: Gàn de piào liang.
In English: “Good job.”

8-

Example situation: Suppose you did something good for your company and your boss wants to compliment you in front of other people so that they will learn from you.
In Chinese: 你是大家的楷模。
Pinyin: Nǐ shì dà jiā de kǎi mó.
In English: “You are everyone’s role model.”

A Slightly Blurred Photo of a Smiling Woman Giving a thumbs-up

When we have done something with genuine effort, we deserve to be appreciated.

9-

Example situation: Suppose your classmate offered a very creative and smart idea for a group project.
In Chinese: 你可真是个有想法的人。
Pinyin: Nǐ kě zhēn shì gè yǒu xiǎng fǎ de rén.
In English: “You have some good ideas.”

10-

Example situation: Suppose your friends were confused about what to do, and you offered a great idea that everyone liked.
In Chinese: 你简直就是我们的智多星。
Pinyin: Nǐ jiǎn zhí jiù shì wǒ men de zhì duō xīng.
In English: “You deserve to be called the most resourceful person among us.”

11-

Example situation: Suppose your friend taught you how to make a dish that seemed pretty hard for you.
In Chinese: 你这也太厉害了吧。
Pinyin: Nǐ zhè yě tài lì hai le ba.
In English: “I can’t believe you are so great at this.”

3. Complimenting Someone’s Skills

12-

Example situation: Suppose you’re asking your friend what to wear for a date and she gives you a good idea of what to wear.
In Chinese: 你的品味也太好了。
Pinyin: Nǐ de pǐn wèi yě tài hǎo le.
In English: “Your taste is so good.”

13-

Example situation: Suppose your friend invited you over to his house and cooked something delicious for you.
In Chinese: 你做饭好棒啊。
Pinyin: Nǐ zuò fàn hǎo bàng a.
In English: “You are a fantastic cook.”

14-

Example situation: Suppose you’re unsure about your future, and your friend showed great wisdom and helped you understand what you should pursue.
In Chinese: 你太有智慧了。
Pinyin: Nǐ tài yǒu zhì huì le.
In English: “You are such a wise person.”

15-

Example situation: Suppose you just saw your friend’s new photo shots on social media; you think they look great and want to say something nice.
In Chinese: 你照相技术好牛啊。
Pinyin: Nǐ zhào xiàng jì shù hǎo niú a.
In English: “Your photography skill is amazing.”

A Woman Taking a Picture with a Camera

How are your photography skills?

16-

Example situation: Suppose you just asked your friend for life advice, and what he told you was very helpful.
In Chinese: 你有着成熟的思想。
Pinyin: Nǐ yǒu zhe chéng shú de sī xiǎng.
In English: “You have an extremely mature mind.”

17-

Example situation: Suppose you asked your friend about philosophy, and he discussed something deep.
In Chinese: 你的见解很有深度。
Pinyin: Nǐ de jiàn jiě hěn yǒu shēn dù.
In English: “Your ideas are very insightful.”

18-

Example situation: Suppose your friend just told a very funny joke.
In Chinese: 你可真是富有幽默感啊。
Pinyin: Nǐ kě zhēn shì fù yǒu yōu mò gǎn a.
In English: “You are so full of a sense of humor.”

4. Other Compliments

19-

Example situation: Suppose your friend showed great talent for singing and you enjoy people who sing well.
In Chinese: 你简直就是我的偶像。
Pinyin: Nǐ jiǎn zhí jiù shì wǒ de ǒu xiàng.
In English: “You are like an idol to me.”

20-

Example situation: Suppose your friend received a high test score without even studying, but you received a lower score after studying so much.
In Chinese: 我可真是羡慕死你了。
Pinyin: Wǒ kě zhēn shì xiàn mù sǐ nǐ le.
In English: “I envy you so much that I could die for it.”

Someone Giving a Big Thumbs-up Sign

We should all strive to become a better person.

21-

Example situation: Suppose your friend is a very hardworking person, which motivates you to work hard.
In Chinese: 是你让我想成为一个更好的人。
Pinyin: Shì nǐ ràng wǒ xiǎng chéng wéi yī gè gèng hǎo de rén.
In English: “You make me a better person.”

22-

Example situation: Suppose your friend just helped you with a difficult math problem that you couldn’t solve, so you want to show your admiration.
In Chinese: 你可真让我自叹不如啊。
Pinyin: Nǐ kě zhēn ràng wǒ zì tàn bù rú a.
In English: “You are so good that it makes me feel like I am so far from your excellence.”

5. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere

Positive Feelings

Sometimes, compliments can sound pretentious if they’re not given properly, which can make the effect backfire. We want to express our compliments in a sincere manner to make the other person feel comfortable accepting the compliment. This is a great way to enhance a relationship.

The compliments in Chinese that we listed here are all in a sincere tone. If you notice, we sometimes add particles such as 啊 (a) and 呀 (ya) to emphasize the tone and make it sound more friendly. Moreover, you can add more personal details to specify why you want to offer the compliment while avoiding vague Chinese compliments such as 挺好 (tǐng hǎo) or 不错 (bú cuò), meaning “It’s good” or “Not bad.” Phrases like these don’t provide enough depth to the compliment.

6. What to Expect After Giving Compliments

Unlike in Western culture, where you’ll probably prefer to directly accept the compliment and say “Thank you,” the Chinese response to compliments is different. Chinese people like to shy away from compliments and appear to be modest. Traditionally, accepting a compliment without being self-deprecating would be impolite. But now, more and more people are learning to reply to compliments with a “Thank you.”

If you ever receive a compliment in Chinese, don’t panic! Here, we’ve prepared a list of phrases you can use to respond to compliments in an appropriate manner.

1-

Example situation: Suppose you’re receiving a compliment from your friend, and your friend’s skill on the matter is not bad, so you compliment your friend back by saying that the two of you are on the same level.
In Chinese: 彼此彼此。
Pinyin: Bǐ cǐ bǐ cǐ.
In English: “You are just the same as I am.”

2-

Example situation: Suppose you just showed that you have good skills in something, and you want to seem modest. You can say that your skill is poor.
In Chinese: 献丑了。
Pinyin: Xiàn chǒu le.
In English: “Sorry to show my poor skills.”

3-

Example situation: Suppose you’re receiving compliments from your friend, but you want to seem modest.
In Chinese: 哪有。
Pinyin: Nǎ yǒu
In English: “Not at all.”

4-

Example situation: Suppose you’re receiving compliments from your friend, but you want to seem modest.
In Chinese: 我还差得远呢。
Pinyin: Wǒ hái chà dé yuǎn ne
In English: “I’m still far from that.”

7. Conclusion

Want to win a girl’s heart with a good compliment? Do you feel awkward when you receive a compliment in Chinese? Now you’ve found all the answers in this article. As long as you keep practicing, you’ll definitely be able to produce a healthy social life, knowing when and how to say the right compliments.

Of course, a diligent Chinese language learner like you probably won’t feel content with only this article. We have more for you at ChineseClass101.com, where we deliver free, high-quality Chinese lessons to you every week, allowing you to enjoy an immersive and interesting learning experience with professional teachers! Why not give it a try right now?

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儿童节: Celebrating International Children’s Day in China

Do you remember being a kid? Growing up, I always looked forward to a day off from school (and dreaded most days not off school…).

Well, Children’s Day in China is a day off from school that children can look forward to all year long; it’s a holiday filled with fun and excitement for the little ones! In this article, you’ll explore how children and parents celebrate International Children’s Day, pick up some vocab, and learn the Chinese phrase for someone who’s still a child at heart.

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Children’s Day?

International Children’s Day, celebrated in many countries around the world, is a holiday dedicated to honoring and protecting children; it’s also a day for the little ones to have fun and 逃学 (táoxué), or “be off school.”

Let’s briefly look at some Children’s Day history. The holiday is thought to have started as early as 1857, when a pastor living in Massachusetts gave a special sermon for and about children. It wasn’t until 1920, however, that Children’s Day was officially declared a holiday; Turkey was the first country to make this declaration, and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk made it official in 1929. In 1950, the holiday spread rapidly to a number of other countries.

Children’s Day, as we know it today, started as a means of promoting children’s rights and protesting the killing and harming of children. The United Nations declared this holiday a way to mourn the loss of all the children who died as a result of poisoning from the Nazis during WWII.

Chinese Children’s Day started in 1932, initiated by the Shanghai China Salesian Society.

    → Learn the most important facts about Chinese Society with us, and be prepared for your visit or further studies!

2. When is Children’s Day in China?

A Group of Children Raising Up Their Hands

Each year, International Children’s Day is celebrated on June 1. This is when the majority of countries celebrate this holiday, though many countries have their own Children’s Day celebrations on other dates. For example, the United Nations celebrates World Children Day on November 20.

3. Chinese Children’s Day Celebrations

A Bunch of Different-Colored Balloons

Today, Children’s Day in China is a time for children to feel 欢乐 (huānlè), or “happy,” and loved. Most children get the day off school, though schools do put on fun performances or take children on field trips, where they can see a movie or engage in other exciting activities. Only children under the age of fourteen partake in Children’s Day activities.

Some of the most popular Children’s Day traditions in China include taking one’s child to the 公园 (gōngyuán), or “park,” making their favorite snack or dinner, and giving them a 礼物 (lǐwù), or “gift.” Some common gifts include candy, balloons, and toys.

The most important thing, though, is the opportunity for parents to show their children how much they love and care about them. Being loved really is the best feeling, isn’t it?

4. The Children at Heart

Did you know there’s a Chinese phrase for adults who are really children at heart? It’s 童心未泯 (tóngxīn wèi mǐn), which means “to be a child at heart.”

It’s no question that life in today’s world is hectic, crazy, and even full of sorrow at times. Children and adults alike are experiencing lots of stress and anxiety on a day-to-day basis. This makes the significance of being able to maintain a childlike outlook really shine through!

So next time you want to indulge in a favorite childhood dessert, run around outside in the grass, or act silly with your bestie, why not go for it? 😉

Do you consider yourself a child at heart? Or maybe an old soul? Both?

5. Essential Vocabulary for Children’s Day

Pretzels, Popcorn, and Potato Chips

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here are the essential words and phrases to remember for Children’s Day in China!

  • 零食 (língshí) — “snack”
  • 公园 (gōngyuán) — “park”
  • 糖果 (tángguǒ) — “candy”
  • 礼物 (lǐwù) — “gift”
  • 儿童 (értóng) — “children”
  • 气球 (qìqiú) — “balloon”
  • 家长 (jiāzhǎng) — “parent”
  • 天真 (tiānzhēn) — “innocent”
  • 逃学 (táoxué) — “be off school”
  • 欢乐 (huānlè) — “happy”

If you want to hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase listed above, visit our Chinese vocabulary list for Children’s Day.

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Children’s Day in China with us, and that you took away some valuable information on Chinese culture.

Do you celebrate Children’s Day in your country? If you have kids, what activities do you do together on this holiday? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re itching to continue learning about Chinese culture and the language, check out the following articles on ChineseClass101.com:

This only scratches the surface of all that ChineseClass101.com can offer the aspiring Chinese-learner. To make the most of your study time, create your free lifetime account today; for access to exclusive content and lessons, upgrade to our Premium or Premium PLUS plans!

Good luck, stay safe, and Happy Children’s Day!

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The Anger Game: Phrases for Getting Angry in Chinese

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Question: If ordering food, asking for directions, and exchanging contact information are only beginner-level language skills, what makes an advanced-level Chinese learner?

Here’s my answer: Using the perfect Chinese phrases to express your anger. If you’ve experienced the frustration of not being able to defend yourself in a heated conversation because of your limited vocabulary, you know what I’m talking about.

In this article, you’ll find over thirty phrases and expressions to use in intense situations. These will help you understand what that angry Chinese man might be yelling about, as well as expand your vocabulary to help you express your own feelings and emotions more freely.

Before we proceed, I’d like to assure you that there are no overly vulgar or profane angry Chinese phrases below. That said, you should still be cautious when using any of these phrases—while they’re not too strong, they can still be offensive or rude, especially if used in the wrong context. If you’re curious about curse words in Chinese, you can read all about them in a separate lesson.

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Table of Contents

  1. Angry Imperatives
  2. Angry Warnings
  3. Angry Blames
  4. Describe Your Feelings
  5. Ways to Calm Down When You’re Angry
  6. Final Round: Apologizing
  7. Conclusion

1: Angry Imperatives

Complaints

When annoyed, we tend to give impatient and harsh imperatives. For example, in English, we say things like “Shut up,” “Cut it out,” or “Get out of here.”

In Chinese, some of these phrases have translations with the exact same meanings, while others vary a bit.

走开! (Zǒukāi!)

This phrase literally means “Walk away,” but it’s really a stronger phrase to tell someone: “Get out of the way!”

滚蛋! (Gǔndàn!)

The literal translation of this phrase sounds a little too cute (or yummy): “to roll an egg.”

滚 (gǔn), meaning “to roll,” here is asking someone to “get lost.” The word 蛋 (dàn), or “egg,” in Chinese slang is often associated with something indecent, such as 王八蛋 (wángbādàn), the equivalent of “bastard,” and 妈蛋 (mā dàn), the equivalent of “crap.”

滚 and 蛋 together is a common phrase that translates as “Get the heck out of here!”

闭嘴! (Bìzuǐ!)

Just like its literal translation, this phrase means “Shut your mouth!”

To make this command, or any of the others, stronger and angrier, stick the phrase 你给我 (nǐ gěi wǒ) before the verb.

你给我 (nǐ gěi wǒ) literally means “you give me,” but in imperatives, it’s short for “I’m ordering you to do …” This is a tone intensifier that presumably makes the speaker feel more powerful.

你给我闭嘴!(Nǐ gěi wǒ bìzuǐ!)

闭嘴 (bìzuǐ), as we mentioned earlier, means “Shut your mouth.” Adding 你给我 (nǐ gěi wǒ) doesn’t change the meaning. Instead, it only makes the tone stronger.

你给我滚蛋!(Nǐ gěi wǒ gǔndàn!)

As explained earlier, 滚蛋 (gǔndàn) means “Get the heck out of here!” 你给我 (nǐ gěi wǒ) only makes 滚蛋 more potent, similar to the English “Get the hell outta here!”

The subject 你 (), meaning “you,” can be omitted.

给我滚蛋! (Gěi wǒ gǔndàn!) has the same meaning and effect.

你给我听好!(Nǐ gěi wǒ tīng hǎo!)

This literally translates to “You give me listen well!” But it means something more like: “You better listen to me carefully!”

To sternly order someone not to do something, like a parent would tell a child not to interrupt, we can use the 不许 (bùxǔ) + verb pattern.

A Girl Getting Scolded by a Parent

不许 (bùxǔ) means “not allowed.” Here are some examples using the 不许 before verbs:

不许插嘴。(Bùxǔ chāzuǐ.)

This literally means “Interrupting is not allowed.” It translates as “No interrupting.”

不许胡说。(Bùxǔ húshuō.)

胡说 (húshuō) means “to talk nonsense.” 不许胡说 is telling someone to stop making stuff up.

不许说脏话。(Bùxǔ shuō zānghuà.)

This phrase is typically used by a parent telling his or her child not to say bad words.

脏话 (zānghuà) means “dirty words” or “bad words.”

2: Angry Warnings

When the angry imperatives don’t work, it might be time to upgrade to some intimidating warnings. These warning phrases are a great way to show someone you’re about to get very angry in Chinese.

Woman Pointing Finger at a Man with a Mug

别惹我。(Bié rě wǒ.)

The verb 惹 () means “to provoke,” but here it means “to mess with” or “to irritate.”

别惹我 is used to warn someone: “Don’t mess with me.”

你给我小心点。(Nǐ gěi wǒ xiǎoxīn diǎn.)

You just learned that 你给我 (nǐ gěi wǒ) intensifies an imperative. It also intensifies a warning.

小心点 (xiǎoxīn diǎn) literally means “to be a little careful.” Together, the phrase 你给我小心点 translates to “You better watch out.”

我警告你,这是最后一次。 (Wǒ jǐnggào nǐ, zhè shì zuìhòu yí cì.)

This is a firm warning that says: “I’m warning you, this is the last time.”

我的忍耐已经达到极限了。(Wǒ de rěnnài yǐjīng dádào jíxiàn le.)

This one means: “My tolerance has reached its limit.”

别怪我不客气。(Bié guài wǒ bú kèqi.)

The phrase 不客气 (bú kèqi) here has a different meaning than the 不客气 that’s used to say “You’re welcome.”

客气 (kèqi) is a unique and almost untranslatable word in Chinese. It has the positive meaning of being courteous, nice, and formal. Its negative form, 不客气 (bú kèqi), means “not nice” or “without any courtesy or etiquette.”

别怪我 means “Don’t blame me.” Together, the phrase 别怪我不客气 means something like “Don’t blame me for being mean.”

This is a common phrase used in trash talk.

3: Angry Blames

Two Girls Fighting

When it’s time to really get angry in Chinese, angry blames take the stage. During the exchange of angry words and phrases, putting blame on the other person and name-calling always bring tension to the next level. We’ll introduce these phrases, but hope you never have to use them.

The common blaming and name-calling phrases in Chinese we’ve listed below are in order from least harsh to most harsh.

你太过分了。(Nǐ tài guòfèn le.)

This phrase means: “You crossed the line.”

你这个人真是莫名其妙。(Nǐ zhège rén zhēnshì mòmíngqímiào.)

莫名其妙 (mòmíngqímiào) is a Chinese idiom, or 成语 (chéngyǔ), that means “confusing” or “can’t be explained.”

你这个人真是莫名其妙 translates as “You are such an oddball,” implying that you don’t understand why the person is doing what they’re doing.

你活该。(Nǐ huógāi.)

This phrase is just like the English “You deserve it.”

你算老几?(Nǐ suàn lǎojǐ?)

A little cultural background before we break down this phrase:

When a family has more than one child, the children are referred to not only by name, but also by their birth order. The firstborn is 老大 (lǎodà), the second is 老二 (lǎoèr), the third is 老三 (lǎosān), and so on. The oldest child, 老大 (lǎodà), is usually put in charge when the parents aren’t around. Therefore, 老大 also means “boss” in slang.

The phrase 你算老几? literally means “You are what number down the line?” implying “You’re not the one in charge.” Oftentimes, it’s translated as: “Who do you think you are?”

你脑子有病吧?(Nǐ nǎozi yǒubìng ba?)

The literal translation is “Is your brain sick?” It could also be translated as: “What the heck is going on with you?” but with a slightly stronger tone.

Calling someone 有病 (yǒubìng), or “sick,” is one of the most common ways in Chinese colloquial language to vent anger. This is by no means vulgar, but still serves the purpose of expressing your despise and disgust.

Another way of calling someone sick in the head is 神经病 (shénjīngbìng), meaning “psycho.”

After “sicko” and “psycho,” the list of name-calling slang words goes on. Below are some commonly used name-calling words, also in order from least to most harsh:

大嘴巴 (dà zuǐbā)

This is literally “big mouth,” but it refers to someone who can’t keep a secret.

铁公鸡 (tiě gōngjī)

This literally translates to “iron rooster,” referring to someone who is cheap and stingy.

This term comes from the 歇后语 (xiēhòuyǔ), or “two-part saying”:

  • 铁公鸡 — 一毛不拔
    Tiě gōngjī — yīmáobùbá.
    “An iron rooster — never pulls out a feather.”

It’s used to describe the same type of people.

自恋狂 (zìliàn kuáng)

This word literally means “self-love maniac.” This is someone who thinks the world of themselves, always posts their selfies on social media, and can’t stop staring at themselves in the mirror.

It could translate to “egocentric” in English.

戏精 (xìjīng)

This word is similar to “drama queen.” It refers to the type of person who likes to over-exaggerate and make a scene.

妈宝男 (mā bǎo nán)

The literal translation of this phrase is “mom’s baby man,” which is similar to “mama’s boy” in English. But it only applies to adult men who are spoiled by their mothers, and who still rely on their mothers whenever something comes up.

白痴 (báichī)

This refers to someone who knows nothing. An idiot.

二百五 (èrbǎiwu)

“Two hundred fifty” is not an ordinary number in Chinese. It’s a symbol for stupid people.

绿茶婊 (lǜchá biǎo)

This literally means “green tea b*tch.” It’s used to call the type of girl who appears innocent and harmless like a cup of refreshing green tea, but deep down they’re calculating or could even be evil.

脑残 (nǎocán)

This word literally means “brain handicapped” or “mentally disabled.” They’re the kind of people, usually young folks, who make stupid decisions.

To use the above name-calling words in sentences, you can use the 你就是个… (nǐ jiùshì ge…) pattern.

  • 你就是个妈宝男。
    Nǐ jiùshì ge mā bǎo nán.
    “You’re such a mom’s boy.”
  • 你就是个戏精。
    Nǐ jiùshì ge xìjīng.
    “You’re such a drama queen.”
  • 你就是个二百五。
    Nǐ jiùshì ge érbǎiwu.
    “You’re such an idiot.”

4: Describe Your Feelings

Negative Verbs

Arguing and fighting is exhausting, especially with all the yelling and name-calling. It may be hard to do, but always try to tell the other person how you feel instead of saying something you’ll regret later—or for the rest of your life.

Here are some examples of phrases you can use to express that you’re feeling angry in Chinese, or to tell someone about your other negative feelings:

  • 我实在是受够了。
    Wǒ shízài shì shòu gòu le.
    “I’m so fed up.”
  • 我对你太失望了。
    Wǒ duì nǐ tài shīwàng le.
    “I’m so disappointed in you.”
  • 我不想跟你吵架。
    Wǒ bùxiǎng gēnnǐ chǎojià.
    “I don’t want to fight with you.”
  • 我只想一个人静一静。
    Wǒ zhǐ xiǎng yīgerén jìngyījìng.
    “I just want to be alone and have some quiet time by myself.”
  • 你为什么要这样对我?
    Nǐ wèishénme yào zhèyàng duì wǒ?
    “Why are you treating me like this?”

5: Ways to Calm Down When You’re Angry

Yoga Namaste Pose

When none of the above actions can resolve the issue and you’re only finding yourself getting more angry, try to walk away and do something to distract yourself.

To calm yourself down, you can try:

1. 深呼吸。 (Shēn hūxī.)

“Take a deep breath.” Getting some cleansing air into your body usually helps to slow down your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.

2. 走一走。 (Zǒuyizǒu.)

“Take a walk.” Go for a walk outside to get your mind off the things that upset you. It gives you a chance to slow your mind down and think about what made you so mad and if it’s really worth being upset over.

3. 听音乐。(Tīng yīnyuè.)

“Listen to music.” Music has the power to heal. Either cry it out with some sad music, or crank up the dance music to let the negative energy out.

4. 写下来。 (Xiě xiàlai.)

“Write it down.” Write down in your journal, or on a piece of paper, about what happened, why it happened, and what you could have done better. When you read it back to yourself, you’ll be surprised to find how silly and trivial these things are.

You can also try to write a letter or message to the person you had a fight with. When people communicate through written words, it often turns out to be more calm and logical than the face-to-face confrontations.

5. 记住:生气就是用别人的错误惩罚自己。(Jìzhu: Shēngqì jiùshì yòng biérén de cuòwù chéngfá zìjǐ.)

“Remember: Getting angry is punishing yourself for the mistakes of others.”

6: Final Round: Apologizing

A sincere apology is magical. It ends fights, mends relationships, and heals wounds. After you manage to calm down, chances are you’ll feel sorry for being angry and using hurtful words that were totally unnecessary.

Couple Hugging

Here are some soothing apologies you can use:

  • 对不起。
    Duìbuqǐ.
    “I’m sorry.”
  • 我错了。
    Wǒ cuò le.
    “I was wrong.” Or “It was my fault.”
  • 我向你道歉。
    Wǒ xiàng nǐ dàoqiàn.
    “I apologize to you.”
  • 我也有不对的地方。
    Wǒ yěyǒu búduì de dìfang.
    Literally: “I also had improper places,” meaning “I also did something improper.”
  • 我们和好吧。
    Wǒmen hé hǎo ba.
    “Let’s make up.”
  • 我们以后都要有话好好说。
    Wǒmen yǐhòu dōu yàoyǒu huà hǎohǎo shuō.
    Literally: “We should always talk to each other peacefully,” meaning “Let’s communicate without yelling in the future.”

7: Conclusion

As much as we don’t want you to use the angry and strong Chinese words and phrases introduced in this article, they’re still something you need to understand and know how to use, just in case. Seeking peace and co-existence is one of the essential philosophies in Chinese culture. So try to avoid disputes and fights when you’re in China.

To learn more about the language, the people, and the culture of China, explore ChineseClass101.com for more hidden treasures!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you calm yourself down when angry. We’d love to hear from you!

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International Labor Day: China’s Travel Holiday

On International Labor Day, China is known for its large number of travelers and tourists, massive sales, and other fun events. In this article, you’ll learn more about the Labor Day holiday, what to expect in China during this time, and some useful vocabulary!

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Labor Day?

You’re most likely familiar with International Labor Day. This is a special 假日 (jiàrì), or “holiday,” weekend during which workers and employees are allowed to take a 假期 (jiàqī), or “vacation,” from work. But how did it get started?

Labor Day History

Labor Day got its start in the United States in 1882. There’s some debate as to who came up with the idea, but in 1894, then-President of the U.S., Grover Cleveland, made it a national holiday.

It wasn’t until 1919 that people in China started celebrating Labor Day, and it didn’t become a national holiday here until 1949. When this holiday began in China, it was simply a day to honor and show appreciation for workers; over time, Labor Day has become more associated with time off work and fun activities.

5-1 Golden Week

For a while, the Labor Day celebration in China lasted for an entire week. The Chinese labeled it “5-1 Golden Week,” and this long holiday became a time of mass 旅游 (lǚyóu), or “travel.”

Unfortunately, in 2008, the Chinese government decided to transform this holiday into only a one-day celebration. This is because they added a few more holidays to the Chinese calendar:

Of course, depending on what day of the week Labor Day actually takes place, people may be able to take a full weekend off.

2. When is Labor Day in China?

A Man Riding His Bike in a Field with His Dog

Each year, Labor Day takes place on May 1. This is when most countries celebrate the holiday, with the exception of the United States, which celebrates on the first Monday of September for a full Labor Day weekend.

3. Labor Day Traditions & Celebrations

On Labor Day, Chinese workers and employees have the day off as the majority of businesses are closed. As mentioned earlier, during the Labor Day holiday, China is abuzz with travel as people enjoy a rest from their 劳动者 (láodòngzhě), or “labor.” This is one of the heaviest traveling times in the country, with hundreds of millions of tourists across the country!

Other Labor Day events include shopping and going out with family or friends. This is a great time to take advantage of a massive 打折 (dǎzhé), or “sale,” because many shops and restaurants see this as an opportunity to boost sales.

Those exploring the streets of China during Labor Day are likely to hear people playing music and see an array of lovely flower decorations. Also be prepared for crowds and the hustle-and-bustle that comes with them. Many people choose to stay at home (or close to home) in order to avoid the craziness of holiday travel!

4. Japanese Golden Week

Did you know that Japan was the only other Asian country with a 5-1 Golden Week?

Unlike China, the 5-1 Golden Week still exists in Japan. This is a period of time from late April to early March when a number of holidays take place, including Labor Day.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Labor Day in China

A Couple Going on Vacation Together

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for Labor Day!

  • 员工 (yuángōng) — “employee” [n.]
  • 打折 (dǎzhé) — “sale” [n.]
  • 周末 (zhōumò) — “weekend” [n.]
  • 假期 (jiàqī) — “vacation” [n.]
  • 旅游 (lǚyóu) — “travel” [n.]
  • 工人 (gōng rén) — “worker” [n.]
  • 工作 (gōngzuò) — “job” [n.]
  • 劳动节 (Láodòng jié) — “Labor Day” [n.]
  • 职业 (zhíyè) — “career” [n.]
  • 劳动者 (láodòngzhě) — “labor” [n.]
  • 工会 (gōnghuì) — “union” [n.]
  • 工作 (gōngzuò) — “work” [n.]
  • 权利 (quánlì) — “right” [n.]
  • 假日 (jiàrì) — “holiday” [n.]
  • 野餐 (yěcān) — “picnic” [n.]

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Chinese Labor Day vocabulary list!

6. Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Labor Day in China with us, and that you took away some valuable information.

Do you celebrate Labor Day in your country? If so, how? We look forward to hearing from you!

If you’re curious about Chinese culture or the language, ChineseClass101.com has tons of fun and informative lessons on a variety of topics. Free vocabulary lists, grammar lessons, and insightful blog posts like this one are just the beginning of what we have to offer the aspiring (or returning) Chinese learner. Create your free lifetime account today, and start learning with us.

Happy Labor Day! 🙂

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China Life Event Messages: Happy New Year in Chinese & More

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Sometimes, a single sentence can allow humans to easily connect with each other, especially wishes phrases that everyone wants to hear. There are some unique life events, and different ways of celebrating them, in every single country even between the local people, and that’s where they share the same values and embrace each other’s traditions. So how do you wish someone well in Chinese? And what can you gain from learning how to say Happy New Year in Chinese, and other holiday greetings?

As a language learner, such events can establish a great communication channel with native speakers and provide a better look at the local culture so you can really be a part of it. In China, you can have a variety of opportunities to get involved, as long as you know the right thing to say. Now is the best time to learn those phrases of congratulations in Chinese that pave your way toward integrating into Chinese culture!

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Table of Contents

  1. Birthday
  2. Mid-Autumn Festival
  3. Chinese Congratulations: Graduation
  4. Lantern Festival
  5. Chinese New Year Congratulations
  6. Wedding
  7. Bad News
  8. Death/Funeral
  9. Injured/Sick
  10. Holidays
  11. Conclusion

1. Birthday

Happy Birthday

Undeniably, birthdays are one of the biggest events across all cultures! Traditionally, Chinese people like to eat longevity noodles, which is a type of noodle that’s all in one string. Nowadays, however, more and more people eat western birthday cakes. Now, imagine that you’re invited to a birthday party and don’t know how to say Happy Birthday in Chinese. How embarrassing is that? Don’t worry, though; the answer is here for you!

In Chinese: 生日快乐!
Pinyin: Shēng rì kuài lè!
In English: Happy birthday!
Usage: Natural for both speaking and writing; informal.

In Chinese: 恭喜你又长大了一岁。
Pinyin: Gōng xǐ nǐ yòu zhǎng dà le yī suì.
In English: Congratulations on growing a year older.
Usage: More natural for writing; formal.

In Chinese: 恭喜你又向成年迈出了一步!
Pinyin: Gōng xǐ nǐ yòu xiàng chéng nián mài chū le yī bù.
In English: Congratulations that you are one step closer to becoming an adult!
Usage: More natural for writing; formal.

2. Mid-Autumn Festival

Full Moon

Mid-Autumn Festival happens when there is a full moon.

Mid-Autumn Festival is another holiday where Chinese people like to unite together with their families. On the night of this holiday, the moon will be completely round. In ancient times, people appreciated the moon in an artistic way, which is why there’s so much Chinese old-style poetry about the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The staple food for this holiday is called 月饼 (yuè bǐng), meaning “moon cake.” It looks round and golden like the moon, usually with a whole salted duck egg inside.

Eat mooncake and appreciate the moon with families!

In Chinese: 中秋节快乐。
Pinyin: Zhōng qiū jié kuài lè.
In English: Happy Mid-Autumn Festival.
Usage: Natural for both speaking and writing; formal.

In Chinese: 祝你们合家欢乐。
Pinyin: Zhù nǐ men hé jiā huān lè.
In English: Wish you a happy family.
Usage: More natural for writing; formal.

In Chinese: 你吃月饼了吗?
Pinyin:chī yuè bǐng le ma?
In English: Did you eat a mooncake?
Usage: More natural for speaking; informal.

3. Chinese Congratulations: Graduation

Graduation Cap on Stack of Books

Graduation means a whole new chapter in life!

Graduations in China are very similar to other graduation ceremonies. Students take pictures and wish each other a bright future. Despite celebrating academic achievements, people may shed some tears on their graduation, as it could be time to part with some of their close friends from school. One way to keep the beautiful memories alive is to sign each other’s uniforms.

In Chinese: 毕业快乐。
Pinyin: Bì yè kuài lè.
In English: Happy graduation!
Usage: More natural for writing; formal.

In Chinese: 祝你前程似锦。
Pinyin: Zhù nǐ qián chéng sì jǐn.
In English: Hope you will have a bright future.
Usage: Natural for both speaking and writing; formal.

In Chinese: 希望你毕业之后一切顺利。
Pinyin: Xī wàng nǐ bì yè zhī hòu yī qiē shùn lì.
In English: Hope everything goes well for you after graduation.
Usage: Natural for both speaking and writing; informal.

4. Lantern Festival

Red Lanterns

Let’s put on some lanterns for the Lantern Festival!

The fifteenth day of the lunar calendar is the Lantern Festival, a holiday that’s arranged very close to the Chinese New Year. On this special day, Chinese people eat 元宵 / 汤圆 (yuán xiāo / tāng yuán), a dessert made from glutinous rice flour, to celebrate. They also give each other riddles to solve with a theme associated with the holiday.

In Chinese: 元宵节快乐!
Pinyin: Yuán xiāo jié kuài lè!
In English: Happy Lantern Festival!
Usage: Natural for both speaking and writing; formal.

In Chinese: 我来给你出个灯谜吧。
Pinyin: Wǒ lái gěi nǐ chū gè dēng mí ba.
In English: Let me give you a riddle.
Usage: More natural for speaking; informal.

In Chinese: 祝您一家人团团圆圆。
Pinyin: Zhù nín yī jiā rén tuán tuán yuán yuán.
In English: Wish your family a great reunion.
Usage: More natural for writing; formal.

5. Chinese New Year Congratulations

Remains of Fireworks on the Ground

When you see these, you know Chinese New Year is running right now!

Wondering how to say “Happy New Year” in Chinese? Well, you better know that if you’re studying Chinese, because the Chinese New Year is like Christmas in western countries. On this important holiday, people celebrate it by eating dumplings, visiting family, and lighting fireworks. If you ever want to be a part of Chinese culture, learn how to wish congratulations on Chinese New Year with some must-know phrases for the Chinese New Year!

In Chinese: 新年快乐,恭喜发财!
Pinyin: Xīn nián kuài lè, gōng xǐ fā cái!
In English: Happy new year, (I) wish you prosperity.
Usage: More natural for writing; informal.

In Chinese: 祝您万事如意。
Pinyin: Zhù nín wàn shì rú yì.
In English: May all your wishes come true.
Usage: More natural for writing; formal.

In Chinese: 我在这给您拜年了!
Pinyin: Wǒ zài zhè gěi nín bài nián le!
In English: Allow me to give you my new year’s blessing!
Usage: More natural for speaking; informal.

6. Wedding

Marriage Proposal

Traditionally, Chinese couples wore red for their wedding. However, modern Chinese weddings are very similar to western wedding ceremonies. A special custom that Chinese people still like to do is to give 份子钱 (fèn zi qián), or “gift money,” to the newly married couple for a wedding. This Chinese congratulations gift is one of the defining aspects of a Chinese wedding.

What do you say at a Chinese wedding? Make sure to study the Chinese marriage congratulations below to have something to say when you’re invited to a wedding!

In Chinese: 新婚快乐!
Pinyin: Xīn hūn kuài lè!
In English: Happy new wedding!
Usage: Natural for both speaking and writing; formal.

In Chinese: 祝你们长长久久。
Pinyin: Zhù nǐ men cháng cháng jiǔ jiǔ.
In English: I wish you a long time together.
Usage: More natural for writing; formal.

In Chinese: 祝你们一生恩爱幸福。
Pinyin: Zhù nǐ men yī shēng ēn ài xìng fú.
In English: Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness.
Usage: More natural for writing; formal.

7. Bad News

Of course, there are always dark sides of life as long as there are bright sides. Now that we’ve learned all the happy Chinese wishes phrases, it’s time to learn some comforting phrases to show your support when hearing bad news.

In Chinese: 一切都会好起来的。
Pinyin: Yī qiè dōu huì hǎo qǐ lái de.
In English: Everything will get better.
Usage: More natural for speaking; informal.

In Chinese: 节哀顺变。
Pinyin: Jié āi shùn biàn.
In English: Please save your sadness and let things slide (for someone’s loss).
Usage: More natural for speaking; formal.

In Chinese: 别难过了,有我在呢。
Pinyin: Bié nán guò le, yǒu wǒ zài ne.
In English: Don’t be sad, I’m here for you.
Usage: More natural for speaking; informal.

8. Death/Funeral

Death is an inevitable topic in every culture, China included. The Chinese have a holiday where people go to the graveyard of their dead families to clean the grave and awake the past family memories. If you ever accompany someone on this special holiday, or go to a Chinese funeral, here are some Chinese wishes phrases you can use for the dead.

In Chinese: 安息吧,你会永远在我们的心里。
Pinyin: Ān xī ba, nǐ huì yǒng yuǎn zài wǒ men de xīn lǐ.
In English: Rest in peace and know that you will always be in our hearts.
Usage: More natural for speaking; informal.

In Chinese: 一路走好。
Pinyin: Yī lù zǒu hǎo.
In English: Have a good trip.
Usage: Natural for both speaking and writing; formal.

In Chinese: 希望你在天堂一切都好。
Pinyin: Xī wàng nǐ zài tiān táng yī qiè dōu hǎo.
In English: Hope everything is good in heaven.
Usage: More natural for writing; informal.

9. Injured/Sick

We are all human, and we may get injured or sick once in a while. When we’re in such a vulnerable state, we need nothing more than a heartwarming wish from loved ones. Traditionally, staple foods for sick people are boiled chicken soup or some porridge; if you ever want to show your care beyond words, that’s the way to go. But for now, let’s first learn some basic Chinese phrases for condolences, such as “wishing you good health” in Chinese. Here are some phrases to show your friends and loved ones that you care!

In Chinese: 好好照顾自己。
Pinyin: Hǎo hǎo zhào gù zì jǐ.
In English: Take care of yourself.
Usage: Natural for both speaking and writing; informal.

In Chinese: 快点好起来啊。
Pinyin: Kuài diǎn hǎo qǐ lái a.
In English: Get well soon.
Usage: More natural for writing; informal.

In Chinese: 祝您身体健康。
Pinyin: Zhù nín shēn tǐ jiàn kāng.
In English: Wishing you good health.
Usage: More natural for writing; formal.

10. Holidays

More Chinese wish phrases? No problem! There are many more unique holidays in China that you may not know! For example, the Chinese traditional Valentine’s Day is on July 7, which originated from a romantic fairytale of the Weaver Girl. Now, modern Chinese couples like to celebrate Valentine’s Day on May 20 because the pronunciation of 520 in Chinese sounds very similar to “I love you” in Chinese. Holidays like April Fool’s Day are a huge thing in China as well. Many young people take advantage of this day to confess their romantic feelings for one another! Lastly, you’ll learn how to say Chinese Christmas greetings and happy holidays in Mandarin Chinese.

In Chinese: 情人节/七夕快乐。
Pinyin: Qíng rén jié /Qī xī kuài lè.
In English: Happy Valentine’s Day.
Usage: Natural for both speaking and writing; formal.

In Chinese: 愚人节快乐!
Pinyin: Yú rén jié kuài lè!
In English: Happy April Fool’s Day!
Usage: Natural for both speaking and writing; formal.

In Chinese: 圣诞节快乐!
Pinyin: Shèng dàn jié kuài lè!
In English: Merry Christmas!
Usage: Natural for both speaking and writing; formal.

In Chinese: 假期快乐!
Pinyin: Jiǎ qī kuài lè!
In English: Happy holidays!
Usage: Natural for both speaking and writing; formal.

11. Conclusion

Basic Questions

Now, do you remember how to say “happy holidays” in Mandarin Chinese? How about Happy New Year or Merry Christmas in Chinese? This article certainly is a life-saver when it comes to being involved in life events. Now you don’t ever have to worry about being awkward during such occasions.

We’re dedicated to fulfilling every language learner’s needs. If you have any more questions about Chinese in store for us, visit ChineseClass101 to start an adventure in finding those answers. You won’t regret it!

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All the Basics You Need to Know About Chinese Weather

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Sometimes the weather remains the same as it was yesterday, and sometimes it changes dramatically and affects everything you plan to do tomorrow. Indeed, weather is a part of a human’s daily life and often influences people’s moods and plans. China’s weather is no different.

However, no matter how ever-changing the weather is, you’ll always share the same piece of sky with the people around you, and that’s something we all have in common. Therefore, the weather has become an essential topic for starting conversations in many cultures. Not surprisingly, in China, people also enjoy smoothly opening up a conversation as they talk about the weather.

As a Chinese language learner, I’m sure you can’t wait to get the hang of this versatile conversation starter. If you’re planning to travel to China, then congrats! There’s another good reason to better prepare for your adventurous trip, as there’s a wide spectrum of regions in China that may possess different weather patterns. This provides you with an array of options and possibilities for describing weather in Chinese.

It’s not challenging to talk about the weather in Chinese like a native. It will definitely warm your conversation effectively, as long as you know the right phrases—and they’re all simple and easy to follow!

Ready to learn weather in Chinese? Let’s get right into our exploration of the seasons and weather in Chinese culture.

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Table of Contents

  1. Weather Terms in Chinese: Weather Words and Phrases
  2. Temperature and Seasons
  3. Common Sentence Patterns to Talk about Weather
  4. The Most Common Ways to Comment on the Weather in Chinese
  5. Useful Phrases for Weather
  6. How ChineseClass101 Can Help You Master Chinese Conversation

1. Weather Terms in Chinese: Weather Words and Phrases

Weather

Before you can start talking about weather in Chinese, you’ll need the most essential Chinese weather vocabulary under your belt. Here are the most common weather conditions in Chinese regions.

In English: sun
Pinyin: tài yáng
In Chinese: 太阳

In English: cloud
Pinyin: yún
In Chinese: 云

In English: rain
Pinyin:
In Chinese: 雨

In English: snow
Pinyin: xuě
In Chinese: 雪

In English: wind
Pinyin: fēng
In Chinese: 风

In English: drizzle
Pinyin: máo máo yǔ
In Chinese: 毛毛雨

In English: hail
Pinyin: bīng báo
In Chinese: 冰雹

2. Temperature and Seasons

As you might imagine, as the seasons change, the small conversations that center around the four seasons change along the way. Different seasons possess different characteristics, which gives people particular activities to enjoy in accordance. The weather in Chinese culture plays a large role in how people go about their day-to-day lives throughout the year. Thus, it’s essential to know how to describe the weather in Chinese according to season.

In China, there’s catkin that’s blown along with the spring wind, there’s snow in winter, and sometimes you may even see hail in summer. You might ask: What’s the weather in China? But keep in mind before learning the types of weather in Chinese, that this may differ greatly depending on which part of China you’re in.

For example, like most other cultures, Chinese people love to go skiing during the winter, and children prefer building a snowman or having a snowball fight as well. Similarly, the Chinese are more inclined to go hiking or take a walk outside during the marvelous spring season, where flowers bloom in exuberance and the green spills over every corner.

Purple Flowers

Flowers are one of the best things that spring offers us!

However, Chinese people certainly have their own interpretation of appreciating beauty in different seasons. In spring, a highlight event would be 赏花 (shǎng huā), meaning “appreciating flowers,” an artistic habit that’s been around since the time of ancient China. If you’re interested in classical Chinese poetry, 古诗 (gǔ shī), you’ll find that there are many famous ancient poems which show the gist of this culture.

In summer, a staple food people prepare to make the heat more bearable is called 绿豆汤 (lǜ dòu tāng), a weapon that fights off heat stroke in Chinese culture. It’s a sweet mung bean soup which is easy to make.

The Chinese view the fall season as a golden harvest season due to the great production of various foods and fruits. Therefore, a typical event is to pick up some organic fruit or food from local gardens. Or they may choose to appreciate the blooming maple trees since it’s the symbolic flower for the beauty of fall.

Below, you’ll find more practical weather adjectives in Chinese based on season. Using these words, you’ll be able to craft sentences about adverse weather in Chinese, or strike up a conversation about how nice the weather is!

1- Spring

  • In English: warm
    Pinyin: nuǎn huo
    In Chinese: 暖和

    Usage in a Sentence
    In English: On such a warm day, I just really want to stay in my blanket all day long.
    Pinyin: Zài zhè me nuǎn huo de tiān qì lǐ, zhēn xiǎng zài bèi wō lǐ dāi yī zhěng tiān.
    In Chinese: 在这么暖和的天气里,真想在被窝里呆一整天。

  • In English: nice weather
    Pinyin: hǎo tiān qì
    In Chinese: 好天气

    Usage in a Sentence
    In English: Today’s nice weather somehow makes my mood bright as well.
    Pinyin: jīn tiān de hǎo tiān qì sì hū bǎ wǒ de xīn qíng yě biàn dé míng lǎng le.
    In Chinese: 今天的好天气似乎把我的心情也变得明朗了。

  • In English: rainy
    Pinyin: duō yǔ de
    In Chinese: 多雨的

    Usage in a Sentence
    In English: Spring is such a rainy season.
    Pinyin: Chūn jì kě zhēn shì gè duō yǔ de jì jiē.
    In Chinese: 春季可真是个多雨的季节。

2- Summer

  • In English: hot
    Pinyin:
    In Chinese: 热

    Usage in a Sentence
    In English: The weather is so hot that I feel like my body is going to melt.
    Pinyin: Tiān qì rè de ràng wǒ jué de zì jǐ hǎo xiàng kuài yào bèi róng huà le yī yàng.
    In Chinese: 天气热得让我觉得自己好像快要被融化了一样。

  • In English: scorching
    Pinyin: zhuó rè de
    In Chinese: 灼热的

    Usage in a Sentence
    In English: My eyes are unable to open in front of the scorching sun.
    Pinyin: Zài zhè zhuó rè de tài yáng miàn qián, wǒ de yǎn jīng dōu bèi cì de zhēng bù kāi le.
    In Chinese: 在这灼热的太阳面前,我的眼睛都被刺得睁不开了。

  • In English: humid
    Pinyin: mēn rè de
    In Chinese: 闷热的

    Usage in a Sentence
    In English: The humid weather is making it difficult for people to breathe.
    Pinyin: Zhè mēn rè de tiān qì zhēn ràng rén chuǎn bú guò qì lái.
    In Chinese: 这闷热的天气真让人喘不过气来。

3- Fall

  • In English: cool and refreshing
    Pinyin: liáng shuǎng
    In Chinese: 凉爽

    Usage in a Sentence
    In English: Every time the wind in fall blows through, a cool and refreshing feeling will come over my face.
    Pinyin: Měi dāng qiū fēng guā qǐ, yī zhèn liáng shuǎng de gǎn jué biàn huì yíng miàn ér lái.
    In Chinese: 每当秋风刮起,一阵凉爽的感觉便会迎面而来。

4- Winter

  • In English: freeze
    Pinyin: bīng dòng
    In Chinese: 冰冻

    Usage in a Sentence
    In English: My toes are freezing so much that they are getting numb.
    Pinyin: Wǒ de jiǎo zhǐ tóu dōu bèi bīng dòng de méi yǒu zhī jué le.
    In Chinese: 我的脚趾头都被冰冻得没有知觉了。

  • In English: cold
    Pinyin: hán lěng de
    In Chinese: 寒冷的

    Usage in a Sentence
    In English: Although it is a cold winter, my heart stays warm.
    Pinyin: Zài zhè gè hán lěng de dōng tiān, wǒ de xīn què shì nuǎn de.
    In Chinese: 在这个寒冷的冬天,我的心却是暖的。

3. Common Sentence Patterns to Talk about Weather

Complaints

Here are some good phrases for weather in Chinese. Just follow the patterns laid out below, and you can talk about different types of weather in Chinese with ease!

1- Today it’s so + [adjective].

In English: It’s so [hot].
Pinyin: Jīn tiān kě zhēn [rè].
In Chinese: 今天可真[热]。

2- It’s [number] degrees.

In English: It’s [40] degrees.
Pinyin: Jīn tiān qì wēn yǒu [sì shí] dù.
In Chinese: 今天气温有[四十]度。

3- This weather suits [an event] so much!

In English: This weather suits [swimming] so much!
Pinyin: Jīn tiān tiān qì kě zhēn shì hé [yóu yǒng]!
In Chinese: 今天天气可真适合[游泳]!

4- It’d be nice to do [something] in such weather.

In English: It’d be nice to [go hiking] in such weather.
Pinyin: Zài zhè me hǎo de tiān qì xià qù [dēng shān] gāi duō hǎo a.
In Chinese: 在这么好的天气下去[登山]该多好啊。

4. The Most Common Ways to Comment on the Weather in Chinese

Here, you’ll learn how to talk about weather in Chinese based on the season. These common weather phrases in Chinese will greatly benefit you in a variety of weather conditions.

1- In Spring

Spring

In English: The weather is nice, let’s go take a walk outside!
Pinyin: Jīn tiān tiān qì zhēn hǎo, wǒ men chū qù zǒu zǒu ba!
In Chinese: 今天天气真好,我们出去走走吧!

In English: It would be such a waste if we didn’t go outside during such nice weather.
Pinyin: Zhè me hǎo de tiān bù chū qù zǒu zǒu zhēn shì làng fèi le.
In Chinese: 这么好的天不出去走走真是浪费了。

In English: The sun is nice today.
Pinyin: Jīn tiān tài yáng zhēn hǎo.
In Chinese: 今天太阳真好。

2- In Summer

In English: Be careful not to have a heat stroke during such a hot summer.
Pinyin: Dà xià tiān de xiǎo xīn bié zhòng shǔ le.
In Chinese: 大夏天的小心别中暑了。

Swimmers

Isn’t summer the perfect season for swimming?

In English: Let’s go swimming to get rid of the heat.
Pinyin: Wǒ men qù yóu yǒng jiě shǔ ba.
In Chinese: 我们去游泳解暑吧。

In English: It’s so hot, let’s get some watermelons to eat.
Pinyin: Tiān zhè me rè, zán men mǎi diǎn xī guā chī ba.
In Chinese: 天这么热,咱们买点西瓜吃吧。

3- In Fall

Autumn

In English: The weather is so comfortable.
Pinyin: Zhè tiān qì kě zhēn shū fu.
In Chinese: 这天气可真舒服。

In English: It’s the harvest season again; maybe we should go pick some fruit.
Pinyin: Yòu dào le shōu huò de jì jié, yě xǔ wǒ men yīng gāi qù cǎi zhāi shuǐ guǒ.
In Chinese: 又到了收获的季节,也许我们应该去采摘水果。

4- In Winter

In English: It’s getting cold; remember to wear more clothes.
Pinyin: Tiān qì yuè lái yuè lěng le, jì dé duō chuān yī fu.
In Chinese: 天气越来越冷了,记得多穿衣服。

Skiier Who Has Fallen Over

Be careful if you are a beginner at skiing!

In English: It’s finally snowing, we can now go have a snowball fight / build a snowman / skiing.
Pinyin: Zhōng yú xià xuě le, wǒ men kě yǐ chū qù dǎ xuě zhàng / duī xuě rén / huá xuě le.
In Chinese: 终于下雪了,我们可以出去打雪仗 / 堆雪人 / 滑雪了。

5. Useful Phrases for Weather

In English: Where can I buy an umbrella?
Pinyin: Qǐng wèn nǎ lǐ yǒu mài sǎn de dì fāng?
In Chinese: 请问哪里有卖伞的地方?

In English: The rain is really heavy, can you please pick me up?
Pinyin: Yǔ xià de shí zài shì tài dà le, nǐ kě yǐ kāi chē lái jiē wǒ ma?
In Chinese: 雨下得实在是太大了,你可以开车来接我吗?

In English: The sun is too strong, I need to put on some sunscreen.
Pinyin: Tài yáng tài dà le, wǒ xū yào tú diǎn fáng shài shuāng.
In Chinese: 太阳太大了,我需要涂点防晒霜。

In English: The wind is blowing hard right now, let’s close all the windows.
Pinyin: Fēng xiàn zài guā de hǎo dà, zán men bǎ chuāng hù quán dōu guān shàng ba.
In Chinese: 风现在刮得好大,咱们把窗户全都关上吧。

In English: There is lots of snow outside, it’s not safe to drive.
Pinyin: Wài miàn de xuě tài duō le, kāi chē chū qù huì bù ān quán.
In Chinese: 外面的雪太多了,开车出去会不安全。

In English: It’s very likely to rain today; we’d better cancel our plans for today just in case.
Pinyin: Jīn tiān yǒu kě néng huì xià yǔ, wǒ men zuì hǎo hái shì qǔ xiāo jīn tiān de jì huà, yǐ fáng wàn yī.
In Chinese: 今天有可能会下雨,我们最好还是取消今天的计划,以防万一。

6. How ChineseClass101 Can Help You Master Chinese Conversation

Now that your knowledge of China’s weather has been enriched, you should better understand how to break the ice with the witty conversation starters we’ve just introduced to you.

ChineseClass101 will reveal to you the most efficient takeaways in the Chinese language while allowing you to embrace the art of language. Here, you’ll find almost everything you need to better understand Chinese culture and the language, with lessons crafted with you in mind. Hurry up, and find satisfaction for your curiosity. Continue exploring our website to start the adventure!

Are seasons and weather talk similar in your own country, or different? Let us know in the comments! And while you’re at it, why not practice what you’ve learned by writing us a weather description in Chinese? 😉

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