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Chinese Final Particles: Signals for Tone of Voice

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Let’s take a look at these three sentences:

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Most Common Final Particles Used in Sentences

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

1- 啊 (a)

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

Kid with Open Mouth

Example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2- 了 (le)

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

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

A- Usage 1: indicating completed actions and past events

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

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

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

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

B- Usage 2: indicating change of status or state

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

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

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

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

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

3- 啦 (la)

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

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

For example:

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

  • 你胖啦! 
    Nǐ pàng la!
Big Belly

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

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

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

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

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

This usage is very common in Taiwanese Mandarin.

Example:

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

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

4- 吧 (ba)

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

A- Usage 1: making suggestions

Example:

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

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

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

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

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

Example: 

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

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

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

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

5- 哦 (o)

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

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

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

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

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

6- 呢 (ne)

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

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

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

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

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

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

7- 嘛 (ma)

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Most Common Final Particles Used in Questions

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

1- 吗 (ma)

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

Woman Holding a Yes and a No Card

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

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

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

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

2- 啊 (a)

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

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

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

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

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

3- 吧 (ba)

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

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

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

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

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

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

4- 呢 (ne) 

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

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

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

B- Usage  #2: meaning “where”

woman looking over the horizon with hand over forehead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Comparison of Chinese Sentence Ending Particles

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

Chair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Say Goodbye in Chinese in Any Situation

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

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

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

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

1. The Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye

Most Common Goodbyes

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

1 – 

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

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

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

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

2 –

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

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

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

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

2. More Specific Ways to Say Goodbye

A College Student Waving Goodbye to Her Friends

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

1 – 

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

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

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

2 –

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

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

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

3 –

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

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

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

A Businesswoman Scratching Her Head in Confusion

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

4 –

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

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

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

Close-up of a Woman Talking on the Telephone

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

5 –

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

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

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

6 –

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

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

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

7 –

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

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

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

8 – 

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

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

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

3. Untranslatable Goodbye Phrases in Chinese

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

1 –

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

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

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

2 –

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

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

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

3 –

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

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

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

4 –

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

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

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

5 –

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 – 

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

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

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

2 –

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

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

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

3 –

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

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

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

5. Conclusion

How do you say goodbye in Chinese? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Definitely not! 

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

Never! 

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

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

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

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

A- What’s the easy part of Chinese?

Grammar.

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

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

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

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

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

Basic simple tense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

i. Chinese Characters

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

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

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

Snack on Shelves

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

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

ii. Tones

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

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

Some quick facts about Chinese tones:

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

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

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

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

For example:

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

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

Here’s another:

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

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

Guy Scratching Head Looking Baffled

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

2. Getting Serious: Start Off on the Right Foot

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

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

A- Pinyin Chart ᠆ Your Secret Pronunciation Weapon

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

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

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

B- Common Core Words – Your Daily Love Notes

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

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

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

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

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

Roses, Sweets in a Box and a Note

i. How to Make Study Plans

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

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

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

ii. How to Keep Yourself Going

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

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

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

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

3. A Little Professional Help Goes a Long Way

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

Blind-folded Man Walking on an Imaginary Bridge

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

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

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

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

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

Wedding Bouquet with a Couple in the Background

恭喜! (Gōngxǐ!) – “Congratulations!”

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

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

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Master the Essential Chinese Questions and Answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. What’s your name?

First Encounter

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

Question #1

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

Question #2

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

Answer Pattern #1

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

Answer Pattern #2

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

2. Where are you from?

A Woman Holding a Globe

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

The Question

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

Answer Pattern #1

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

Answer Pattern #2

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

Answer Pattern #3

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

3. Do you speak Chinese?

The leLter Q in a Speech Bubble

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

The Question:

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

Typical Answer #1

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

Typical Answer #2

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

Typical Answer #3

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

4. How long have you been studying Chinese?

A Man Studying Hard in a Library

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

The Question

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

The Typical Answer Pattern

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

The Typical Answer

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

Introducing Yourself

5. Have you been to China?

The Question

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

Typical Answer #1

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

Typical Answer #2

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

Typical Answer #3

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

6. How is ___?

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

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

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

The Question

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

Typical Answer #1

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

Typical Answer #2

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

Typical Answer #3

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

7. Do you like [the country’s] food?

The Question

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

Typical Answer #1

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

Typical Answer #2

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

Typical Answer #3

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

8. What are you doing?

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

Question #1

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

Question #2

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

The Typical Answer Pattern

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

9. What’s wrong?

A Little Kid Holding Pencils and Pouting

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

The Question

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

Typical Answer #1

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

Typical Answer #2

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

10. How much is it?

Stacks of Coins with Different Symbols on Top

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

The Question

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

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

The Typical Answer

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

11. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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The 10 Most Useful Chinese Sentence Patterns

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Language is an art, and learning one can become frustrating due to their complicated and flexible nature. We totally understand your pain as a new Chinese language learner!

How about simplifying it a little bit, and applying some formulas like we do in math? 

We’ve prepared these ten most basic and useful Chinese sentence patterns for you. Once you master them, you’ll be able to generate hundreds of natural sentences and converse with ease and confidence in any situation. 

Now let’s get to the fun!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Linking Two Nouns
  2. Using Adjectives to Describe Nouns
  3. Expressing “Want”
  4. Expressing “Need”
  5. Expressing “Like”
  6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something
  7. Expressing Something in the Past Tense
  8. Asking for Information About Something
  9. Asking About Time
  10. Asking About Location or Position
  11. Conclusion

1. Linking Two Nouns

Some of the simplest and most common Chinese phrases are those used to connect to nouns. Let’s see how it’s done.

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: [主语] 是 [宾语]。

Pinyin: [Zhǔ yǔ] shì  [bīn yǔ].

In English: “[Subject] is [object].”

Example 1

In Chinese: 约翰是我的哥哥。

Pinyin: Yuē hàn shì wǒ de gē ge. 

In English: “John is my older brother.”

Example 2

In Chinese: 我的妈妈是一个十分善良的人。

Pinyin: Wǒ de mā ma shì yī gè shí fēn shàn liáng de rén. 

In English: “My mom is a very kind person.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 这只手表是爸爸送给我的毕业礼物。

Pinyin: Zhè zhī shǒu biǎo shì bà ba sòng gěi wǒ de bì yè lǐ wù. 

In English: “This watch is a present from my dad for my graduation.”

Example 4

In Chinese: 她是一名老师。

Pinyin: Tā shì yī míng lǎo shī. 

In English: “She is a teacher.”

Example 5

In Chinese: 狗是我最喜欢的动物。 

Pinyin: Gǒu shì wǒ zuì xǐ huān de dòng wù. 

In English: “Dogs are my favorite animal.”

2. Using Adjectives to Describe Nouns

A Woman in a Yellow Shirt Thinking about Something

Let’s think about how to describe this…

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: [主语] (是) 非常/很/太/真 [形容词]。

Pinyin: [Zhǔ yǔ] (shì) fēi cháng/hěn/tài/zhēn  [xíng róng cí].

In English: “[Subject] (is) very/so [adjective].”

Additional notes: In Chinese, when we use adjectives to describe things, “is” is omitted most of the time.

Example 1

In Chinese: 你真美。 

Pinyin: Nǐ zhēn měi. 

In English: “You are so beautiful.”

Example 2

In Chinese: 我们昨晚看的电影实在是太恐怖了。

Pinyin: Wǒ men zuó wǎn kàn de diàn yǐng shí zài shì tài kǒng bù le. 

In English: “The movie we watched last night was so scary.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 这道甜点真好吃。

Pinyin: Zhè dào tián diǎn zhēn hǎo chī. 

In English: “This dessert is so delicious.”

Example 4

In Chinese: 他可真是个聪明人。

Pinyin: Tā kě zhēn shì gè cōng míng rén. 

In English: “He is such a wise person.”

Example 5

In Chinese: 这本书真是太感人了,我看的时候都忍不住哭了。

Pinyin: Zhè běn shū zhēn shì tài gǎn rén le, wǒ kàn de shí hòu dōu rěn bú zhù kū le. 

In English: “This book is so touching, I couldn’t help crying when I was reading it.”

3. Expressing “Want” 

This Chinese sentence structure is very useful for day-to-day interactions. Let’s take a look:

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: 我想……

Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng…

In English: “I want (to)…”

Example 1

In Chinese: 我想吃东西了。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng chī dōng xi le. 

In English: “I want to eat some food.”

A Businessman Eating Fast Food

Don’t we all crave food all the time?

Example 2

In Chinese: 在国外留学了三年之后,我想回家。

Pinyin: Zài guó wài liú xué le sān nián zhī hòu, wǒ xiǎng huí jiā. 

In English: “After studying abroad for three years, I want to go back to my hometown.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 今天复习了一天的考试,现在我只想睡觉。

Pinyin: Jīn tiān fù xí le yī tiān de kǎo shì, xiàn zài wǒ zhǐ xiǎng shuì jiào. 

In English: “Today, I studied the whole time, and now I only want to go to sleep.”

Example 4

In Chinese: 我想成为一个更好的人。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng chéng wéi yī gè gèng hǎo de rén. 

In English: “I want to become a better person.”

Example 5

In Chinese: 夏天是让人想吃西瓜的季节。

Pinyin: Xià tiān shì ràng rén xiǎng chī xī guā de jì jié. 

In English: “Summer is a season that makes people want to eat watermelons.”

4. Expressing “Need”

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: 我需要…… / 我得……

Pinyin: Wǒ xū yào… / Wǒ děi…

In English: “I need (to)…” / “I have to…” 

Example 1

In Chinese: 抱歉,现在我必须要走了。

Pinyin: Bào qiàn, xiàn zài wǒ bì xū yào zǒu le. 

In English: “I am sorry, I need to go right now.”

Example 2

In Chinese: 打扰一下,我需要用一下卫生间。

Pinyin: Dǎ rǎo yī xià, wǒ xū yào yòng yī xià wèi shēng jiān. 

In English: “Excuse me, I need to use the bathroom.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 我需要冷静下来,好好想想接下来应该怎么办。

Pinyin: Wǒ xū yào lěng jìng xià lái, hǎo hao xiǎng xiang jiē xià lái yīng gāi zěn me bàn.

In English: “I need to calm down and think about what I can do next.”

Example 4

In Chinese: 狗狗是人类最好的朋友,他们需要我们的陪伴与关爱。

Pinyin: Gǒu gou shì rén lèi zuì hǎo de péng you, tā men xū yào wǒ men de péi bàn yǔ guān ài.

In English: “Dogs are man’s best friend; they need our companionship and love.”

A Woman Astounded at a Surprise Party for Her Birthday

Gotta have some fun if it’s your birthday!

Example 5

In Chinese: 明天是我的生日,我得穿件漂亮的衣服。

Pinyin: Míng tiān shì wǒ de shēng rì, wǒ děi chuān jiàn piāo liang de yī fu. 

In English: “Tomorrow is my birthday; I will have to wear something nice.”

5. Expressing “Like”

This is one of the most important Chinese sentence structures for beginners who want to hold basic conversations with native speakers. Let’s see how it works.

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: 我喜欢……

Pinyin: Wǒ xǐ huan… 

In English: “I like (to)…”

Example 1

In Chinese: 我非常喜欢下厨。

Pinyin: Wǒ fēi cháng xǐ huan xià chú. 

In English: “I like to cook very much.”

Example 2

In Chinese: 我喜欢在海边看日落。

Pinyin: Wǒ xǐ huan zài hǎi biān kàn rì luò. 

In English: “I like to watch the sunset at the beach.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 爸爸喜欢每天早上八点准时叫我起床。

Pinyin: Bà ba xǐ huan měi tiān zǎo shàng bā diǎn zhǔn shí jiào wǒ qǐ chuáng. 

In English: “My dad likes to wake me up exactly at 8:00 a.m. every day.”

Example 4

In Chinese: 孩子们都很喜欢万圣节,因为他们可以得到很多糖果。

Pinyin: Hái zi men dōu hěn xǐ huan wàn shèng jié, yīn wèi tā men kě yǐ dé dào hěn duō táng guǒ. 

In English: “Children all like Halloween because they can get lots of candy.”

Example 5

A Group of People Reaching for French Fries

Tell me the truth: isn’t fast food a guilty pleasure of yours sometimes?

In Chinese: 他很喜欢吃快餐。

Pinyin: Tā hěn xǐ huan chī kuài cān.

In English: “He likes to eat fast food a lot.”

6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: 请……

Pinyin: Qǐng… 

In English: “Please…”

Example 1

A Couple being Seated at a Nice Restaurant

Let’s try to be polite when it’s needed and use the word “please.”

In Chinese: 请问我可以进来吗?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn wǒ kě yǐ jìn lái ma? 

In English: “Can I come in, please?”

Example 2

In Chinese: 请不要在我家里穿鞋,谢谢。

Pinyin: Qǐng bú yào zài wǒ jiā lǐ chuān xié, xiè xiè. 

In English: “Please don’t wear shoes at my house, thank you.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 能不能请您稍微挪一下位置?

Pinyin: Néng bu néng qǐng nín shāo wēi nuó yī xià wèi zhì.

In English: “Can you please move a little bit?”

Example 4

In Chinese: 请坐。 

Pinyin: Qǐng zuò. 

In English: “Please sit down.”

Example 5

In Chinese: 请你注意自己的言行。

Pinyin: Qǐng nǐ zhù yì zì jǐ de yán xíng. 

In English: “Please mind your own manners.”

7. Expressing Something in the Past Tense

Next on our Chinese sentence patterns list is how to express things that happened in the past. Take a look:

Sentence pattern: 

In Chinese: 我(已经)……了。 

Pinyin: Wǒ (yǐ jīng)…le. 

In English: “I (already)…”

Example 1

In Chinese: 我已经吃过饭了。

Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ jīng chī guò fàn le. 

In English: “I already ate.”

Example 2

In Chinese: 我已经把作业做完了。 

Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ jīng bǎ zuò yè zuò wán le. 

In English: “I already finished my homework.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 我已经放弃了。

Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ jīng fàng qì le. 

In English: “I already gave up.”

Example 4

In Chinese: 我之前已经去过这里了。

Pinyin: Wǒ zhī qián yǐ jīng qù guò zhè lǐ le. 

In English: “I already went there before.”

Example 5

In Chinese: 我已经把文件传给你了。

Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ jīng bǎ wén jiàn chuán gěi nǐ le. 

In English: “I already sent the files to you.”

8. Asking for Information About Something

Sentence Patterns

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: [主语] 是什么?

Pinyin: [Zhǔ yǔ] shì shén me? 

In English: “What is [subject]?”

Example 1

In Chinese: 这个是什么?

Pinyin: Zhè gè shì shén me? 

In English: “What is this?”

Example 2

In Chinese: 我们上次去的餐厅是哪一家?

Pinyin: Wǒ men shàng cì qù de cān tīng shì nǎ yī jiā? 

In English: “What was the restaurant we went to last time?”

Example 3

In Chinese: 你的名字是什么?

Pinyin: Nǐ de míng zì shì shén me? 

In English: “What is your name?”

Example 4

In Chinese: 你学的是什么专业?

Pinyin: Nǐ xué de shì shén me zhuān yè? 

In English: “What is your major?”

Example 5

In Chinese: 你的爱好是什么?

Pinyin: Nǐ de ài hào shì shén me? 

In English: “What is your hobby?”

9. Asking About Time

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: [事件]是什么时候?

Pinyin: [Shì jiàn] shì shén me shí hou? 

In English: “When is [event]?”

Example 1

In Chinese: 会议是什么时候?

Pinyin: Huì yì shì shén me shí hou? 

In English: “When is the meeting?”

Example 2

In Chinese: 你的生日是什么时候?

Pinyin: Nǐ de shēng rì shì shén me shí hou?

In English: “When is your birthday?”

Example 3

In Chinese: 你的航班是什么时候到达机场?

Pinyin: Nǐ de háng bān shì shén me shí hou dào dá jī chǎng? 

In English: “When is the arrival time for your flight?”

Example 4

In Chinese: 你想要什么时候去露营?

Pinyin: Nǐ xiǎng yào shén me shí hou qù lù yíng? 

In English: “When do you want to go camping?”

Example 5

In Chinese: 我们第一次见面是什么时候?

Pinyin: Wǒ men dì yī cì jiàn miàn shì shén me shí hou? 

In English: “When did we meet for the first time?”

10. Asking About Location or Position

Sentence Components

The final Chinese language sentence structure we’ll cover today is how to ask for location or position. 

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: [地方]在哪里? 

Pinyin: [Dì fang] zài nǎ lǐ? 

In English: “Where is [place]?”

Example 1

In Chinese: 请问卫生间在哪里?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn wèi shēng jiān zài nǎ lǐ?

In English: “Where is the restroom?”

Example 2

In Chinese: 你的家乡在哪里?

Pinyin: Nǐ de jiā xiāng zài nǎ lǐ? 

In English: “Where is your hometown?”

Example 3

In Chinese: 请问电梯在哪里?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn diàn tī zài nǎ lǐ? 

In English: “Where is the elevator?”

Example 4

In Chinese: 你们是在哪里举办的婚礼?

Pinyin: Nǐ men shì zài nǎ lǐ jǔ bàn de hūn lǐ? 

In English: “Where did you have your wedding?”

Example 5

In Chinese: 你们是在哪里遇见的? 

Pinyin: nǐ men shì zài nǎ lǐ yù jiàn de?

In English: “Where did you guys meet?”

11. Conclusion

Weren’t those some incredibly convenient Chinese sentence patterns? Now that you know the “formulas,” I’m sure that soon enough you’ll be able to apply them and create sentences of your own for any situation! Of course, only knowing the basic Chinese grammar and sentence patterns isn’t enough to grasp the complex and artistic Chinese language. 

I’m sure your ambition as a language-learner goes beyond this, right? If you’re ready to expand your horizon in Chinese, just visit ChineseClass101.com for the most professional, unlimited Chinese resources. You can start learning Chinese in the next thirty seconds with a free lifetime account; we promise that you won’t regret it!

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100 Chinese Adverbs You Need to Know

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Have you ever wondered why your speech or writing is so dry? Maybe you just need a little guide on using different parts of speech, such as adverbs. Adverbs are very useful in creating an interesting and well-structured sentence. As a Chinese learner, I’m certain that you can’t wait to know more about Chinese adverbs.

Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, and even other adverbs. Without their beautiful polish for your sentences, conversations can become raw and lifeless. Fortunately, you’re in the right place to learn some of the most useful Chinese adverbs to avoid this problem. 
In this article, we’ll talk about what an adverb is and how to use them, and provide you with a comprehensive Chinese adverbs list. Take good advantage of the words in this list, because they’ll greatly help your conversational skills!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. What is an Adverb?
  2. Chinese Adverbs of Time
  3. Chinese Adverbs of Frequency
  4. Chinese Adverbs of Mood or Attitude
  5. Chinese Adverbs of Manner
  6. Chinese Adverbs of Degree
  7. How ChineseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Chinese
Group of Friends Talking Over Coffee

Let’s spice up your conversations with some proper Chinese adverbs!

1. What is an Adverb?

Top Verbs

Adverbs in Chinese are called 副词 (fù cí), and like in most other languages, the adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. 

So how do you use an adverb in Chinese, and where does it go in a sentence?

Chinese adverbs are usually placed before the main verb of a sentence, which is after the subject. However, in some cases, they do come at the very beginning of a sentence (or after the main verb) due to the flexibility of the Chinese language.

When an adverb is used to modify a verb, you can usually spot the adverb by the particle 地 (de), which is very similar to the suffix “ly” in English. 

A typical structure for a sentence containing a Chinese adverb is “Subject + Adjective + 地 + Verb.” For example:

In Chinese: 我认真地做了笔记。

Pinyin: Wǒ rèn zhēn de zuò le bǐ jì.

In English: “I took notes carefully.”

Of course, there’s so much more to explore. In the following sections, we’ll provide examples of how Chinese adverbs work in real-life situations.

2. Chinese Adverbs of Time

A clock with Roman Numerals Against a Faded Calendar Background

Time is something that ties into our daily life, so we surely need to master some Chinese time adverbs! 

1. Today – 今天 (jīn tiān)

In Chinese: 我今天没有去学校。

Pinyin: Wǒ jīn tiān méi yǒu qù xué xiào.

In English: “I didn’t go to school today.”

2. Yesterday – 昨天 (zuó tiān)

In Chinese: 我昨天去看望了奶奶。

Pinyin: Wǒ zuó tiān qù kàn wàng le nǎi nai. 

In English: “I visited my grandmother yesterday.”

3. Tomorrow – 明天 (míng tiān)

In Chinese: 医生说妈妈明天就会痊愈了。

Pinyin: Yī shēng shuō mā ma míng tiān jiù huì quán yù le. 

In English: “The doctor said mom will be well tomorrow.”

4. The day before yesterday – 前天 (qián tiān)

In Chinese: 前天我们家刚刚领养了一只小猫。

Pinyin: Qián tiān wǒ men jiā gāng gāng lǐng yǎng le yī zhī xiǎo māo. 

In English: “The day before yesterday, our family adopted a little kitten.”

5. The day after tomorrow – 后天 (hòu tiān)

In Chinese: 我们后天就要开学了。

Pinyin: Wǒ men hòu tiān jiù yào kāi xué le. 

In English: “Our school will start the day after tomorrow.”

6. Last year – 去年 (qù nián)

In Chinese: 去年我去法国旅游了。 

Pinyin: Qù nián wǒ qù fǎ guó lǚ yóu le. 

In English: “I went on a trip to France last year.”

7. Soon – 马上 (mǎ shàng)

In Chinese: 我马上就到。

Pinyin: Wǒ mǎ shàng jiù dào. 

In English: “I will be there soon.”

8. Late – 迟 (chí)

In Chinese: 抱歉,我来迟了。 

Pinyin: Bào qiàn, wǒ lái chí le. 

In English: “Sorry, I came late.”

9. First – 首先 (shǒu xiān)

In Chinese: 首先你要自己相信自己,别人才能相信你。

Pinyin: Shǒu xiān nǐ yào zì jǐ xiàng xìn zì jǐ, bié rén cái néng xiàng xìn nǐ. 

In English: “First, you need to have faith in yourself, and then others will believe in you.”

10. Lastly – 最后 (zuì hòu)

In Chinese: 最后,他决定去出国留学。 

Pinyin: Zuì hòu, tā jué dìng qù chū guó liú xué. 

In English: “Lastly, he decided to go study abroad.”

11. Finally – 终于 (zhōng yú)

In Chinese: 我们终于看到了极光。 

Pinyin: Wǒ men zhōng yú kàn dào le jí guāng. 

In English: “We finally got to see the Aurora.”

12. Eventually – 最终 (zuì zhōng)

In Chinese: 我们最终还是没能看到流星。

Pinyin: Wǒ men zuì zhōng hái shì méi néng kàn dào liú xīng. 

In English: “We didn’t get to see the shooting star in the end (eventually).”

13. Before – 之前 (zhī qián)

In Chinese: 每次睡觉之前我都习惯喝一杯牛奶。

Pinyin: Měi cì shuì jiào zhī qián wǒ dōu xí guàn hē yī bēi niú nǎi. 

In English: “Every time before I go to sleep, I am used to drinking a cup of milk.”

14. After – 之后 (zhī hòu)

In Chinese: 我洗完澡之后,就直接去睡觉了。

Pinyin: Wǒ xǐ wán zǎo zhī hòu, jiù zhí jiē qù shuì jiào le. 

In English: “After I took a shower, I went directly to bed.”

15. Now – 现在 (xiàn zài)

In Chinese: 他现在心情很不好,谁都不理。  

Pinyin: Tā xiàn zài xīn qíng hěn bù hǎo, shuí dōu bù lǐ. 

In English: “He is not in a good mood right now; he wouldn’t even talk to anyone.”

16. Currently – 目前 (mù qián)

In Chinese: 姐姐告诉我她目前还不想考虑结婚。

Pinyin: Jiě jie gào sù wǒ tā mù qián hái bù xiǎng kǎo lǜ jié hūn. 

In English: “My older sister told me that she currently doesn’t want to think about getting married.”

17. Already – 已经 (yǐ jīng)

In Chinese: 一切都已经来不及了。 

Pinyin: Yī qiè dōu yǐ jīng lái bù jí le. 

In English: “It’s already too late to change what happened.” 

18. Recently – 最近 (zuì jìn)

In Chinese: 我最近感到非常焦虑。

Pinyin: Wǒ zuì jìn gǎn dào fēi cháng jiāo lǜ. 

In English: “Recently, I feel very anxious.”

19. Still – 仍然 (réng rán)

In Chinese: 我们明知道梦想很遥远,却仍然会去为之努力。

Pinyin: Wǒ men míng zhī dào mèng xiǎng hěn yáo yuǎn, què réng rán huì qù wéi zhī nǔ lì. 

In English: “We are very aware of how faraway dreams are, but we still try our hardest for them.”

20. Immediately – 立即 (lì jí)

In Chinese: 每次有朋友需要帮助,我都会立即伸出援助之手。 

Pinyin: Měi cì yǒu péng yǒu xū yào bāng zhù, wǒ dōu huì lì jí shēn chū yuán zhù zhī shǒu. 

In English: “Every time there are friends who need my help, I immediately give them a hand.”

21. In the past – 以前 (yǐ qián)

In Chinese: 妹妹以前从来不吃蔬菜。 

Pinyin: Mèi mei yǐ qián cóng lái bù chī shū cài. 

In English: “In the past, my younger sister never ate vegetables.”

22. Previously – 曾经 (céng jīng)

In Chinese: 我曾经是一个很没有自信的人。

Pinyin: Wǒ céng jīng shì yī gè hěn méi yǒu zì xìn de rén. 

In English: “I used to be a person who was very unconfident.”

23. Later – 后来 (hòu lái)

In Chinese: 我们后来再也没有见过面。

Pinyin: Wǒ men hòu lái zài yě méi yǒu jiàn guò miàn. 

In English: “We never saw each other again later (afterwards).”

24. Then – 然后 (rán hòu)

In Chinese: 我和每一位朋友说了再见,然后缓缓走入了机场,准备开始新的人生旅程。 

Pinyin: Wǒ hé měi yī wèi péng yǒu shuō le zài jiàn, rán hòu huǎn huǎn zǒu rù le jī chǎng, zhǔn bèi kāi shǐ xīn de rén shēng lǚ chéng. 

In English: “I said goodbye to every single one of my friends, then I slowly walked into the airport, ready to start a new journey of my life.”

25. Tonight – 今晚 (jīn wǎn)

In Chinese: 今晚我们会去男朋友会带我去我最喜欢的餐厅吃饭。

Pinyin: Jīn wǎn wǒ men huì qù nán péng yǒu huì dài wǒ qù wǒ zuì xǐ huān de cān tīng chī fàn. 

In English: “My boyfriend will take me to my favorite restaurant tonight.”

26. This morning – 今早 (jīn zǎo)

In Chinese: 今早我很早就起床为自己做了早饭。

Pinyin: Jīn zǎo wǒ hěn zǎo jiù qǐ chuáng wèi zì jǐ zuò le zǎo fàn. 

In English: “This morning, I woke up early and made breakfast for myself.”

27. Yet – 还 (hái)

In Chinese: 他现在正处于青年时期,所以还会变得更成熟的。

Pinyin: Tā xiàn zài zhèng chù yú qīng nián shí qī, suǒ yǐ hái huì biàn de gèng chéng shú de.

In English: “He is a teenager now, so he is yet to become more mature.”

28. A while ago – 刚刚 (gāng gāng)

In Chinese: 我刚刚才刷完牙,妈妈就叫我去吃水果。

Pinyin: Wǒ gāng gāng cái shuā wán yá, mā ma jiù jiào wǒ qù chī shuǐ guǒ.

In English: “I just brushed my teeth a while ago, and now my mom is calling me to have some fruit.

3. Chinese Adverbs of Frequency

More Essential Verbs

29. Never – 从不 (cóng bù)

In Chinese: 我们家的人从不抽烟。

Pinyin: Wǒ men jiā de rén cóng bù chōu yān.

In English: “People in our family never smoke.

30. Seldom – 很少 (hěn shǎo)

In Chinese: 由于身体不好,她很少出家门。

Pinyin: Yóu yú shēn tǐ bù hǎo, tā hěn shǎo chū jiā mén. 

In English: “She seldom goes out because of her bad health.”

31. Hardly – 几乎不 (jī hū bù)

In Chinese: 她几乎不去餐馆吃饭。

Pinyin: Tā jǐ hū bú qù cān guǎn chī fàn. 

In English: “She hardly eats at restaurants.”

32. Sometimes – 有时 / 偶尔 (yǒu shí / ǒu ěr)

In Chinese: 我家小狗有时/偶尔会咬东西。

Pinyin: Wǒ jiā xiǎo gǒu yǒu shí /ǒu ěr huì yǎo dōng xi.

In English: “Sometimes, my dog likes to bite stuff.”

33. Often – 经常 (jīng cháng)

In Chinese: 他经常去图书馆学习。 

Pinyin: Tā jīng cháng qù tú shū guǎn xué xí. 

In English: “He often goes to the library to study.”

34. Usually – 通常 (tōng cháng)

In Chinese: 我通常不会在下雨天出门。 

Pinyin: Wǒ tōng cháng bú huì zài xià yǔ tiān chū mén. 

In English: “I don’t usually go out on a rainy day.”

35. Always – 总是 (zǒng shì)

In Chinese: 爷爷总是记不住我的生日。

Pinyin: Yé ye zǒng shì jì bú zhù wǒ de shēng rì.

In English: “My grandfather always forgets my birthday.”

36. All the time – 一直 (yī zhí)

In Chinese: 我会一直努力成为我想成为的人。

Pinyin: Wǒ huì yī zhí nǔ lì chéng wéi wǒ xiǎng chéng wéi de rén. 

In English: “I will always try my best to become the person I want to be.”

37. Forever – 永远 (yǒng yuǎn)

In Chinese: 美好的回忆值得永远被铭记。

Pinyin: Měi hǎo de huí yì zhí dé yǒng yuǎn bèi míng jì. 

In English: “Good memories deserve to be remembered forever.”

38. Every day – 每天 (měi tiān)

In Chinese: 每天按时吃一日三餐对我们的健康很重要。 

Pinyin: Měi tiān àn shí chī yī rì sān cān duì wǒ men de jiàn kāng hěn zhòng yào. 

In English: “It’s very important to eat all three meals on a regular basis every day.”

39. Weekly – 每周 (měi zhōu)

In Chinese: 我每周都会去健身房至少两次。

Pinyin: Wǒ měi zhōu dōu huì qù jiàn shēn fáng zhì shǎo liǎng cì. 

In English: “I go to the gym at least twice a week.”

40. Annually – 每年 (měi nián)

In Chinese: 我们每年都会去为去世的祖母献花。

Pinyin: Wǒ men měi nián dōu huì qù wèi qù shì de zǔ mǔ xiàn huā. 

In English: “We give flowers to my deceased grandmother annually.”

41. Monthly – 每月 (měi yuè)

In Chinese: 我每月都会结算自己的支出。

Pinyin: Wǒ měi yuè dōu huì jié suàn zì jǐ de zhī chū. 

In English: “I calculate my budget monthly.”

42. Mostly – 主要 (zhǔ yào)

In Chinese: 这次会议主要是为了商讨团队建设。

Pinyin: Zhè cì huì yì zhǔ yào shì wèi le shāng tǎo tuán duì jiàn shè. 

In English: “The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the team-building exercises.”

43. Suddenly – 突然 (tū rán)

In Chinese: 老师突然出现在我的身后,吓了我一大跳。

Pinyin: Lǎo shī tū rán chū xiàn zài wǒ de shēn hòu, xià le wǒ yī dà tiào. 

In English: “My teacher suddenly appeared behind my back, which scared me a lot.”

44. By chance – 偶然 (ǒu rán)

In Chinese: 昨天我偶然遇到了多年未见的中学同班同学。

Pinyin: Zuó tiān wǒ ǒu rán yù dào le duō nián wèi jiàn de zhōng xué tóng bān tóng xué. 

In English: “Yesterday, I met (by chance) a classmate from my middle school whom I haven’t seen in years.”

45. Again – 又 (yòu)

In Chinese: 我再一次忘记了带作业去学校。 

Pinyin: Wǒ zài yī cì wàng jì le dài zuò yè qù xué xiào. 

In English: “I forgot to bring my homework to school again.”

46. Repeatedly – 屡次 (lǚ cì)

In Chinese: 我们不应该屡次犯同样的错误。

Pinyin: Wǒ men bù yīng gāi lǚ cì fàn tóng yàng de cuò wù. 

In English: “We should not repeatedly make the same mistake.”

47. Constantly – 不断 (bú duàn)

In Chinese: 只要一个人不断提高自我,总有一天他会闪耀的。

Pinyin: Zhǐ yào yī gè rén bú duàn tí gāo zì wǒ, zǒng yǒu yī tiān tā huì shǎn yào de. 

In English: “As long as one constantly improves oneself, eventually one day he will shine.”

4. Chinese Adverbs of Mood or Attitude

A Woman Making an Angry, Disappointed Face

What’s wrong? You’ve got some attitude? Well, express them in adverbs!

48. Luckily – 幸亏 (xìng kuī)

In Chinese: 幸亏有你的帮忙,不然还不知道会发生什么呢。

Pinyin: Xìng kuī yǒu nǐ de bāng máng, bù rán hái bù zhī dào huì fā shēng shén me ne. 

In English: “Luckily, I got your help; otherwise, who knows what’s going to happen.”

49. Unexpectedly – 居然 (jū rán)

In Chinese: 我不敢相信自己居然在歌唱比赛中获得了第一名。

Pinyin: Wǒ bù gǎn xiàng xìn zì jǐ jū rán zài gē chàng bǐ sài zhōng huò dé le dì yī míng. 

In English: “I can’t believe that I got first place so unexpectedly at a singing contest.”

50. As expected – 果然 (guǒ rán)

In Chinese: 你果然没有让我失望。

Pinyin: Nǐ guǒ rán méi yǒu ràng wǒ shī wàng. 

In English: “As expected, you did not disappoint me.”

51. Perhaps – 也许 (yě xǔ)

In Chinese: 也许是你误解了他。

Pinyin: Yě xǔ shì nǐ wù jiě le tā. 

In English: “Perhaps you misunderstood him.”

52. Maybe – 可能 (kě néng)

In Chinese: 他可能起床晚了,也许过一会就到了,不要着急。

Pinyin: Tā kě néng qǐ chuáng wǎn le, yě xǔ guò yī huì jiù dào le, bú yào zháo jí. 

In English: “Maybe he woke up late; perhaps he will arrive later, don’t worry.”

53. Probably – 大概 (dà gài)

In Chinese: 花都开了,春天大概快到了。

Pinyin: Huā dōu kāi le, chūn tiān dà gài kuài dào le. 

In English: “All the flowers are blooming; spring is probably almost here.”

54. Simply – 简直 (jiǎn zhí)

In Chinese: 你简直不可理喻。 

Pinyin: Nǐ jiǎn zhí bù kě lǐ yù. 

In English: “You are simply inexplicable.”

55. Anyways – 无论如何 (wú lùn rú hé)

In Chinese: 无论如何我一定要坚持到最后。 

Pinyin: Wú lùn rú hé wǒ yī dìng yào jiān chí dào zuì hòu. 

In English: “I will keep doing what I’m doing until the end anyways.”

56. Obviously – 明明 (míng míng)

In Chinese: 你明明是一个很善良的人,为什么要说话这么伤人呢?

Pinyin: Nǐ míng míng shì yī gè hěn shàn liáng de rén, wéi shén me yào shuō huà zhè me shāng rén ne? 

In English: “You are obviously a kind person, so why would you always say such hurtful things?”

57. In any case – 反正 (fǎn zhèng)

In Chinese: 反正不管怎样都是输,为什么就不能选择放弃呢? 

Pinyin: Fǎn zhèng bù guǎn zěn yàng dōu shì shū, wéi shén me jiù bù néng xuǎn zé fàng qì ne? 

In English: “I would lose in any case, so why not just give up instead?”

58. No wonder – 难怪 (nán guài)

In Chinese: 难怪你不肯和我出去,原来是因为今晚有约会要去。 

Pinyin: Nán guài nǐ bù kěn hé wǒ chū qù, yuán lái shì yīn wèi jīn wǎn yǒu yuē huì yào qù. 

In English: “No wonder you don’t want to hang out with me, it’s because you’ve got a date tonight.”

59. Not necessarily – 未必 (wèi bì)

In Chinese: 她未必也把你当作亲密的朋友。

Pinyin: Tā wèi bì yě bǎ nǐ dāng zuò qīn mì de péng you. 

In English: It’s not necessarily that she thinks of you as her close friend as well. 

60. Certainly – 必定 (bì dìng)

In Chinese: 这里一定是我们要找的地方。

Pinyin: Zhè lǐ yī dìng shì wǒ men yào zhǎo de dì fang.

In English: “This is certainly the place we are looking for.”

61. Only – 只 (zhǐ)

In Chinese: 我只是一个平凡的人。 

Pinyin: Wǒ zhǐ shì yī gè píng fán de rén. 

In English: “I am only a commonplace person.”

62. Merely – 仅仅 (jǐn jǐn)

In Chinese: 仅仅是因为他没有不在场证明,便被警察断定是凶手。 

Pinyin: Jǐn jǐn shì yīn wéi tā méi yǒu bú zài chǎng zhèng míng, biàn bèi jǐng chá duàn dìng shì xiōng shǒu. 

In English: “Merely because he doesn’t have an alibi, he is judged as the criminal by the cops.”

63. As long as – 只要 (zhǐ yào)

In Chinese: 只要我还有能力,就永远不会停止学习。

Pinyin: Zhǐ yào wǒ hái yǒu néng lì, jiù yǒng yuǎn bú huì tíng zhǐ xué xí. 

In English: “As long as I am still able to, I will never stop learning.”

64. Just – 就 (jiù)

In Chinese: 我就不小心碰了一下这件艺术品,它就碎掉了。

Pinyin: Wǒ jiù bù xiǎo xīn pèng le yī xià zhè jiàn yì shù pǐn, tā jiù suì diào le. 

In English: “I just touched this artwork by accident, and it broke.”

65. No matter – 不管 (bù guǎn)

In Chinese: 不管明天如何,我都会一直活好当下。

Pinyin: Bù guǎn míng tiān rú hé, wǒ dōu huì yī zhí huó hǎo dāng xià. 

In English: “No matter what happens tomorrow, I will still live in the moment.”

66. If – 假如 (jiǎ rú)

In Chinese: 假如有一天我便成了穷人,我也有办法让自己活得开心。

Pinyin: Jiǎ rú yǒu yī tiān wǒ biàn chéng le qióng rén, wǒ yě yǒu bàn fǎ ràng zì jǐ huó de kāi xīn. 

In English: “If someday I became poor, I would still be able to live a happy life.”

67. Happily – 开心地 (kāi xīn de)

In Chinese: 朋友十分开心地拆开了我送她的生日礼物。 

Pinyin: Péng you shí fēn kāi xīn de chāi kāi le wǒ sòng tā de shēng rì lǐ wù. 

In English: “My friends happily opened my birthday gift for her.”

68. Decidedly – 坚决地 (jiān jué de)

In Chinese: 对于我的提议,她坚决地摇了摇头。 

Pinyin: Duì yú wǒ de tí yì, tā jiān jué de yáo le yáo tóu. 

In English: “She decidedly shook her head to the suggestion I offered.”

69. Absolutely – 绝对 (jué duì)

In Chinese: 弟弟保证自己以后绝对再也不淘气了。

Pinyin: Dì di bǎo zhèng zì jǐ yǐ hòu jué duì zài yě bù táo qì le. 

In English: “My younger brother promised that he won’t be naughty anymore.”

5. Chinese Adverbs of Manner

A Thai Woman Bowing Respectfully

Everyone has his own way of doing things. What’s yours?

70. Slowly – 慢 (màn)

In Chinese: 蜗牛爬得很慢。 

Pinyin: Wō niú pá de hěn màn. 

In English: “Snails move very slowly.”

71. Quickly – 快 (kuài)

In Chinese: 他跑步很快。

Pinyin: Tā pǎo bù hěn kuài. 

In English: “He runs very quickly.”

72. Gradually – 逐渐 (zhú jiàn)

In Chinese: 在搬家一个月后,我终于逐渐适应了新环境。 

Pinyin: Zài bān jiā yī gè yuè hòu, wǒ zhōng yú zhú jiàn shì yìng le xīn huán jìng. 

In English: “A month after I moved, I gradually adapted to the new environment.”

73. Mutually – 互相 (hù xiāng)

In Chinese: 互相尊重是人们之间能够好好相处的首要条件。 

Pinyin: Hù xiāng zūn zhòng shì rén men zhī jiān néng gòu hǎo hǎo xiàng chǔ de shǒu yào tiáo jiàn. 

In English: “To mutually respect each other is the first rule people should follow if they want to get along.”

74. By oneself – 亲自 (qīn zì)

In Chinese: 我最喜欢的歌星竟然亲自为粉丝制作了礼物。

Pinyin: Wǒ zuì xǐ huan de gē xīng jìng rán qīn zì wèi fěn sī zhì zuò le lǐ wù. 

In English: “My favorite singer made the gifts for his fans all by himself.”

75. Carefully – 认真地 (rèn zhēn de)

In Chinese: 学生们认真地读着考卷。 

Pinyin: Xué shēng men rèn zhēn de dú zhe kǎo juàn. 

In English: “The students are reading the exam carefully.”

76. Quietly – 安静地 (ān jìng de)

In Chinese: 她安静地回到了自己的座位上。 

Pinyin: Tā ān jìng de huí dào le zì jǐ de zuò wèi shàng.

In English: “She quietly returned to her own seat.”

77. Really – 真的 (zhēn de)

In Chinese: 我真的很喜欢这个城市。

Pinyin: Wǒ zhēn de hěn xǐ huan zhè gè chéng shì. 

In English: “I really like this city very much.”

78. Well – 很好地 (hěn hǎo)

In Chinese: 我现在已经可以很好地独立生活了。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiàn zài yǐ jīng kě yǐ hěn hǎo de dú lì shēng huó le. 

In English: “I can now live by myself independently very well.”

79. Together – 一起 (yī qǐ)

In Chinese: 我们一起努力成为自己想成为的人吧。 

Pinyin: Wǒ men yī qǐ nǔ lì chéng wéi zì jǐ xiǎng chéng wéi de rén ba.

In English: “Let’s work hard together to become the person we want to become.”

80. Alone – 单独 (dān dú)

In Chinese: 她是一个安静的人,很喜欢单独呆着。

Pinyin: Tā shì yī gè ān jìng de rén, hěn xǐ huan dān dú dāi zhe.

In English: “She is a quiet person and likes to spend time alone.”

81. Hard – 努力地 (nǔ lì de)

In Chinese: 即使作为一名残疾人,他也一直努力地锻炼身体。

Pinyin: Jí shǐ zuò wéi yī míng cán jí rén, tā yě yī zhí nǔ lì de duàn liàn shēn tǐ. 

In English: “Even though he is disabled, he still tries hard to exercise.”

82. Basically – 基本 (jī běn)

In Chinese: 只要是周末,我基本上都会熬夜。

Pinyin: Zhǐ yào shì zhōu mò, wǒ jī běn shàng dōu huì áo yè. 

In English: “As long as it’s on the weekends, I basically would stay up late.”

83. Almost – 几乎 (jī hū)

In Chinese: 当我听到这个好消息时,我高兴得几乎都要跳起来了。

Pinyin: Dāng wǒ tīng dào zhè gè hǎo xiāo xi shí, wǒ gāo xìng de jī hū dōu yào tiào qǐ lái le. 

In English: “When I heard the good news, I was so happy that I almost jumped up high.”

84. Altogether – 一共 (yī gòng)

In Chinese: 这次参加面试的一共有二十个人。  

Pinyin: Zhè cì cān jiā miàn shì de yī gòng yǒu èr shí gè rén. 

In English: “There are twenty people altogether who attended the interview.”

85. Both – 都 (dōu)

In Chinese: 我和妈妈最喜欢的颜色都是蓝色。

Pinyin: Wǒ hé mā ma zuì xǐ huan de yán sè dōu shì lán sè. 

In English: “Both my mom’s and my favorite color is blue.”

86. Thoroughly – 通通 (tōng tōng)

In Chinese: 我要把这个自助餐的所有好吃的通通都尝一遍。 

Pinyin: Wǒ yào bǎ zhè gè zì zhù cān de suǒ yǒu hǎo chī de tōng tōng dōu cháng yī biàn. 

In English: “I am going to thoroughly try every single one of the delicious foods in this restaurant.”

6. Chinese Adverbs of Degree

Little Girl Daydreaming

How strong is your feeling and how do you express it with an adverb? Let’s find out!

87. Very – 非常 (fēi cháng)

In Chinese: 我非常羡慕会弹钢琴的人。

Pinyin: Wǒ fēi cháng xiàn mù huì dàn gāng qín de rén. 

In English: “I am very jealous of people who can play the piano well.”

88. So – 很 (hěn)

In Chinese: 妈妈是一个很善良的人。 

Pinyin: Mā ma shì yī gè hěn shàn liáng de rén. 

In English: “My mom is a very kind person.”

89. Pretty – 挺 (tǐng)

In Chinese: 她画画挺好的。

Pinyin: Tā huà huà tǐng hǎo de.

In English: “She draws pretty good.”

90. Particularly – 特别 (tè bié)

In Chinese: 我特别欣赏这位艺术家的风格。 

Pinyin: Wǒ tè bié xīn shǎng zhè wèi yì shù jiā de fēng gé. 

In English: “I particularly appreciate the style of this artist.”

91. Quite – 相当 (xiāng dāng)

In Chinese: 他打篮球相当出色。 

Pinyin: Tā dǎ lán qiú xiàng dāng chū sè. 

In English: “He plays basketball quite amazingly.”

92. Too – 太 (tài

In Chinese: 你也太冲动了。 

Pinyin: Nǐ yě tài chōng dòng le.

In English: “You are too impulsive.”

93. Extremely – 极其 (jí qí)

In Chinese: 她极其善于和人沟通。

Pinyin: Tā jí qí shàn yú hé rén gōu tōng. 

In English: “She is extremely good at communicating with people.”

94. Relatively – 比较 (bǐ jiào)

In Chinese: 我爸爸是一个比较保守的人。 

Pinyin: Wǒ bà ba shì yī gè bǐ jiào bǎo shǒu de rén. 

In English: “My dad is a relatively conservative person.”

95. Totally – 十分 (shí fēn)

In Chinese: 妹妹在钢琴比赛上的表现十分出色。

Pinyin: Mèi mèi zài gāng qín bǐ sài shàng de biǎo xiàn shí fēn chū sè. 

In English: “My younger sister’s performance for the piano contest was totally outstanding.”

96. Especially – 格外 (gé wài)

In Chinese: 今天的阳光格外明媚。 

Pinyin: Jīn tiān de yáng guāng gé wài míng mèi. 

In English: “Today’s sunshine is especially strong.”

97. Even more – 更加 (gèng jiā)

In Chinese: 现在全球变暖更加严重了。

Pinyin: Xiàn zài quán qiú biàn nuǎn gèng jiā yán zhòng le. 

In English: “Global warming is getting even more serious now.”

98. A bit – 稍微 (shāo wēi)

In Chinese: 请问你可以稍微向前挪一下吗?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn nǐ kě yǐ shāo wēi xiàng qián nuó yī xià ma? 

In English: “Can you please move forward a bit?”

99. The most – 最 (zuì)

In Chinese: 我最喜欢在夏天吃西瓜了。

Pinyin: Wǒ zuì xǐ huan zài xià tiān chī xī guā le. 

In English: I like to eat watermelon during summer the most.

100. More and more – 越发 (yuè fā)

In Chinese: 太阳变得越发灼热了。

Pinyin: Tài yáng biàn de yuè fā zhuó rè le. 

In English: “The sun is becoming more and more hot.”

7. How ChineseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Chinese

Now, after thoroughly reading our Chinese adverb lists, I hope you’ve enjoyed a pleasant Chinese-learning journey. From Chinese grammar rules for adverbs to those practical example sentences for daily life, we’ve covered everything you need to know about Chinese adverbs for now. 

Are there any Chinese adverbs we didn’t cover that you want to know? Drop us a comment and we’ll do our best to help you out!

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Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Chinese

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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