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Most Popular English Words in Chinese

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

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

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

1. Introduction to Chinglish

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

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

2. Chinglish Examples

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

“Bye-bye”

In Chinese: 拜拜 
Pinyin: bái bái 

“Hello”

In Chinese: 哈喽
Pinyin: hā lou

“Hi”

In Chinese: 嗨
Pinyin: hāi

“Mommy”

In Chinese: 妈咪
Pinyin: mā mi

“Daddy”

In Chinese: 爹地
Pinyin: diē di

“Good morning”

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

“You can you up, no can you BB”

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

“Good good study, day day up”

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

“No zuo no die”

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

“Add oil”

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

“People mountain people sea”

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

3. List of Chinese Loanwords

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

“Bully” – 霸凌 (bà líng

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

“Cool” – 酷 ()

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

“Calories” – 卡路里 (kǎ lù lǐ)

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

“Cartoon” – 卡通 (kǎ tōng)

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

“Sofa” – 沙发 (shā fā)

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

“Guitar” – 吉他 (jí ta)

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

“Ballet” – 芭蕾 (bā léi)

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

“Party” – 派对 (pài duì)

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

“Mexico” – 墨西哥 (Mò xī gē)

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

“Tank” – 坦克 (tǎn kè)

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

4. List of Food-Related Chinese Loanwords

A Woman Eating a Slice of Pizza

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

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

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

5. How to Say These Names in Chinese

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

Global Brand Names


Swedish Meatballs

Have you ever tried the famous Swedish meatballs from IKEA?

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

Celebrities/English Names

A Crowd Cheering and Taking Photos

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

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

Popular Movie Names

A Couple Watching a Movie Together in a Theater

How can one survive without the entertainment from movies?

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

6. English Words Derived from Chinese

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

“Kung Fu”

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

Usage in a sentence:

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

“Yin & Yang”

The Yin & Yang Symbol

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

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

Usage in a sentence:

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

“Chop chop”

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

Usage in a sentence:

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

“Ping pong”

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

Usage in a sentence:

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

“Long time, no see.”

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

Usage in a sentence:

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

“Lose face”

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

Usage in a sentence:

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

“Brainwash”

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

Usage in a sentence:

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

7. List of English Words Derived from Chinese Food

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

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

8. Conclusion

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

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

Happy learning!

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The Magic of Chinese Culture

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China is an old country with thousands of years of history. This rich background has created an enchanting Chinese culture and civilization that attracts nearly 1.5-million tourists in a given year. 

You might have heard of such Chinese traditions as Kung Fu and the Chinese opera…but how much do you really know about them? The more you learn about Chinese culture and traditions, the more profound and fascinating they’ll become to you! 

Language is always a huge component of a country’s culture, so becoming familiar with the culture of China is crucial in mastering the Chinese language. In this guide, we’ll lift the cultural curtain from one of the greatest countries in the world—and trust us, we won’t fail to amaze you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Values
  2. Philosophies and Religions
  3. Family and Work
  4. Art
  5. Chinese Food
  6. Traditional Holidays
  7. Conclusion

A Chinese Woman Playing a Traditional Chinese Instrument

Let’s learn about all the fun of Chinese culture!

1. Values

Before we dive deeper into the Chinese culture, let’s look at some prominent Chinese cultural values. 

Collectivism is the embodiment of Chinese culture, a pillar around which society functions. The Chinese are also extremely patriotic. Other values the Chinese hold dear are courtesy, modesty, harmony, righteousness, and filial piety. These traditional values can be traced back to Ancient Chinese culture, thousands of years ago. 

For example, you’ll notice that Chinese people never accept compliments directly. While Westerners are more likely to reply with a “thank you,” the Chinese are more likely to express the fact that they don’t deserve such compliments. However, values like these are two sides of the same coin. While they do have their positive aspects, they can potentially prevent individual critical thinking and decrease the effectiveness of communication.

2. Philosophies and Religions

There are as many as 56 ethnic groups in China, with the Han group being the largest. Each group has distinctive traditions and beliefs, especially minority groups such as the Miao. In addition to different cultural beliefs, people may also identify with different religions. The three major religions in China are Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. However, many Chinese people are not accustomed to having a religion. Unlike in many Western countries, it’s not a necessary part of daily life in China. 

Confucianism is the most important philosophy in Chinese culture. It’s integrated into many areas of Chinese life, especially in the field of education. Many Chinese children learn of the founder of Confucianism, 孔子 (Kǒng zǐ), at a young age from the textbooks in school. Confucianism sheds light on ethical and socio-political teachings that help improve personal and governmental morality.

If you’ve watched any Chinese dramas, you may have heard of the term 神仙 (shén xiān). This refers to gods who live above the sky and are in charge of human lives. Different gods have different roles, such as being in charge of dreams, relationships, deaths, the weather, and so much more. This concept is from Daoism, which stresses the importance of all beings co-existing in harmony. 


3. Family and Work

A Mother and Her Two Children Walking Down a Hill Together

No matter how busy you are from work, always try to make some time for family!

Due to the high respect the Chinese have for collectivism, family has always been prioritized over personal needs in China. It’s very common for married couples to live with the husband’s parents under the same roof, which also shows an imbalance in how the Chinese perceive males versus females. 

In China, families are typically small with a maximum of three or four people. This is due to the restrictions set in place regarding birth, under which most families only have one child and some may have two. Traditional Chinese family structures are strictly based on hierarchy, so many children’s lives are arranged under the total control of their parents. Nevertheless, as people are getting more open-minded in modern Chinese society, this phenomenon is gradually improving. 

Filial piety is another paramount trait for a Chinese person to have. This has made many young men—who rarely work far away from their parents—committed to all the responsibilities at home. 

In the Chinese business world, people often mention connections, which are called 关系 (guān xi) in Chinese. This means that networking well is the key to making your business successful in China. People always like to treat their business partners to a meal and discuss business while eating.

4. Art 

Another fascinating aspect of Chinese culture, art serves as a window into the long history of China as well as its modern-day society. Take a look at the most prominent and unique forms of Chinese art with us!

A- Calligraphy – 书法 (shū fǎ)

Chinese Calligraphy Written with Black Ink

Even our daily writing can be a form of art!

Chinese calligraphy refers to a visual art form that emphasizes the writing of Chinese characters using traditional ink brushes. Chinese people typically use a special type of paper called 宣纸 (xuān zhǐ), which is particularly good for use with an ink brush. There are several standardized styles of Chinese calligraphy, and one can also create their own style of writing. If you’re interested, why not grab a sheet of Xuan paper and an ink brush, write some Chinese characters down, and let your imagination go wild?

B- Chinese Opera – 京剧 (jīng jù)

Unlike any other form of theater art, Chinese opera includes a wide variety of other art forms such as acrobatics, martial arts, and makeup arts. Styles can also vary depending on the region, though there are five major types of operas: Beijing, Yue, Huangmei, Cantonese, and Henan. In Chinese operas, the musical and singing styles are often exaggerated and the costumes are extremely expressive. 

C- Martial Arts – 武术 (wǔ shù)

Chinese martial arts are popularly known as Kung Fu, which is 功夫 (gōng fu) in Chinese. You’ve probably seen crazy fighting scenes in Asian movies with all kinds of fighting styles based on religion. However, the ones you often see on screen are way more dramatic than the authentic Kung Fu today in the real world.

D- Ceramics – 陶瓷 (táo cí)

Everyone knows that the word “China” refers not only to the country itself but also to the famous Chinese ceramics. Because porcelain was originally found in China, Chinese ceramics has a long-established history dating back to the Paleolithic era. The art was later perfected during the Ming Dynasty. The most classic Chinese-style ceramics feature a blue and white willow pattern and are often coupled with some kind of dragon design, which is another iconic representation of China.

E- Ancient Poetry – 古诗 (gǔ shī)

Ancient Chinese poetry played an important role in shaping Chinese literature, and more broadly, Chinese culture. Many Chinese people have a habit of expressing their feelings with verses from Ancient Chinese poetry, showing that these poems have integrated into modern Chinese society. 

This old poetry style is also called classic Chinese poetry, which differs from modern poetry which requires less of a rhythm. Back in the old days, poetry was one of the most powerful influences on people’s view of the world. The deep emotions and strong messages conveyed through this poetry could transform one’s view on both personal matters and political matters—an impressive feat for a time when technological media was not an option.

5. Chinese Food

Chinese Buns with Red Stamps on Them

Have you ever tried authentic Chinese food?

The history of Chinese food culture can be traced back to thousands of years ago and has taken different shapes depending on local preferences. Under the profound influence of Chinese history, Chinese people naturally enjoy sharing dishes. Contrary to many other cultures where everyone gets their own dish, the Chinese share large dishes with everyone around the table. Classic Chinese dishes such as hot pot and dim sum are a great representation of this habit. The most common eating utensil is chopsticks.

There are vast differences between Chinese food culture in the northern regions and the southern regions. The eight major Chinese cuisines are:

  • Sichuan
  • Jiangsu
  • Shandong
  • Zhejiang
  • Anhui
  • Cantonese
  • Fujian
  • Hunan

Ginger, garlic, and green onions are staples across all Chinese cuisines. Star anise and chili are also added to certain dishes. Unlike many Western cuisines where the entree is usually meat, the main component of a Chinese meal is always grain-based (rice, noodles, and steam buns). However, meat is also a star in Chinese food culture as Chinese people eat a variety of meats ranging from fish to ducks, rabbits, and goose.

Aside from main meals, tea is also a big part of Chinese people’s diet. In China, tea is more than just a drink: it is what brings people together and inspires conversations. People love to have a cup of tea and just appreciate the complexity of its lingering taste while having in-depth conversations. This is how the Chinese, especially old people, want to spend their relaxing afternoon. Tea is also widely used in Chinese cuisines and medicines.


6. Traditional Holidays 

Each country has unique holidays that represent the country’s traditions and values. In Chinese culture, holidays tend to revolve around family and loved ones. While we can’t cover all of the major holidays here, we will introduce the most important ones.

A- Chinese New Year – 春节 / 新年 (chūn jié / xīn nián)

Firecracker Debris after Chinese New Year

You know what people usually do for the new year: fireworks!

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or 春节 (chūn jié), is just as important in China as Christmas is in Western countries. On Chinese New Year, everyone is reunited with their families to celebrate the beginning of the new year, based on the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. 

Families hold a reunion dinner, called 年夜饭 (nián yè fàn), on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Dumplings are usually the staple food for this meal. Traditionally, elders need to give children 红包 (hóng bāo), or red envelopes containing money. Other activities during the Chinese New Year include setting off fireworks, going to temple fairs, and watching the traditional TV show made just for the New Year called 春晚 (chūn wǎn).  

B- Mid-Autumn Festival – 中秋节 (zhōng qiū jié)

The Mid-Autumn Festival, called 中秋节 (zhōng qiū jié) in Chinese, is another important holiday in China. It usually takes place on August 15 (according to the lunar calendar) when the full moon occurs. Mooncakes are a traditional rich pastry served during this holiday, as their appearance is a perfect reflection of the full moon. They’re usually filled with sweet red-bean paste or lotus-seed paste.

C- QingMing Festival – 清明节 (qīng míng jié)

The QingMing Festival, or 清明节 (qīng míng jié), is a unique holiday from Ancient Chinese culture, observed for the purpose of reminiscing the dead. It takes place in April, on the fifteenth day after the Spring Equinox. During the holiday, Chinese families will visit and sweep the tombs of their deceased family members, serve ritual offerings, or even burn joss paper in the hope of providing them a better life in the other world.

D- Dragon Boat Festival – 端午节 (duān wǔ jié)

The Dragon Boat Festival is known as 端午节 (duān wǔ jié) in Chinese, and it’s held on May 5 of the traditional Chinese calendar every year. The festival originated from the death of the heroic poet and minister named Qu Yuan, who committed suicide in the Miluo River due to the shame he felt after the emperor decided to become allies with Qin. Today, in remembrance of Qu Yuan, people have dragon boat races and eat 粽子 (zòng zi), a traditional dish made with sticky rice filling wrapped in bamboo leaves.

7. Conclusion

How many Chinese culture facts have you learned now? Hopefully a ton! The profound and ancient Chinese culture, though, is far deeper than what we’ve introduced here. You’ll need to really immerse yourself to get a real taste of it. 

If you want to experience Chinese culture in a more systematic way, ChineseClass101.com is here to provide you with a wide spectrum of materials taught by professional teachers. Our lesson structures are designed to create a fun and natural Chinese learning experience for you. Why not create your free account today and give it a try?

Happy learning!

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The Perfect Gourmet Guide to Chinese Food

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

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

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

Chinese Buns with Red Stamps on Top

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

1. Must-Try Dishes in Chinese Restaurants

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

A- Hot Pot – 火锅 (huǒ guō)

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

B- Dumplings – 饺子 (jiǎo zi)

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

C- Mapo Tofu – 麻婆豆腐 (má pó dòu fu)

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

D- Dim Sum – 早茶 (zǎo chá)

Several Chinese Dishes

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

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

E- Congee – 粥 (zhōu)

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

2. Authentic Chinese Food vs. Overseas Chinese Food

Chinese Spring Rolls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Unique Chinese Foods

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

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

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

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

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

C- Mooncake – 月饼 (yuè bǐng)

A Yellow-Colored Mooncake

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

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

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

D- Malatang – 麻辣烫 (má là tàng)

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

E- Youtiao – 油条 (yóu tiáo)

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

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

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

4. Food-Related Vocabulary

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

A- Food and Utensils

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

B- Common Phrases for Ordering and Cooking

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

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

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

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

Ingredients:

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

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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

Step 5

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

A Bowl of White Rice with Chopsticks In It

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

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

Ingredients:

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

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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

Step 5

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

Step 6

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

6. Conclusion

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

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

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

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A Beginner’s Guide to Chinese Grammar

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What is the backbone of every language? Definitely grammar. 

Using proper grammar showcases your professionalism and respect for others. 

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

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

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


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

1. General Rules of Chinese Grammar

A Green Belter Karate Woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Special Chinese Grammar Point #1: Particles

Bright Ideas

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

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

1. Clause + 吗 (ma

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

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

2. Clause + 吧 (ba

This particle is used to make a suggestion.

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

3. Clause + 呢 (ne)

This particle changes the emphasis on a topic.

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

4. Clause + 啊 (a)

This particle is used to express exclamation in a statement.

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

5. Clause + 啦 (la)

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

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

6. Clause + 嘛 (ma)

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

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

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

3. Special Chinese Grammar Point #2: Different Modifiers

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

1. Subject + 的 (de) + Object

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

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

2. Attribute + 的 (de) + Noun

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

3. Verb + 得 (de) + State

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

4. Adjective + 地 (de) + Verb

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

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

4. Special Chinese Grammar Point #3: Formality

Man and Woman Shaking Hands

A polite person always draws people closer.

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

1. The polite form: 您 (nín)

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

2. The casual form: 你 ()

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

5. Special Chinese Grammar Point #4: Common Adverbs

Woman Holding Her Laptop Thinking of Something

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

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

1. Able to: 会 (huì)

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

2. Allowed to/Could: 能 (néng)

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

3. Also: 也 ()

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

4. Still: 还 (hái)

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

5. Too: 太 (tài)

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

6. Very: 很 (hěn)

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

6. Special Chinese Grammar Point #5: Common Verbs

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

1. To have / To possess: 有 (yǒu)

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

2. To be somewhere: 在 (zài)

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

3. To be: 是 (shì)

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

4. To go: 去 ()

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

5. To come: 来 (lái)

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

7. Special Grammar Point #6: Negative Sentences

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

1. Subject + 不 () + Verb

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

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

2. Subject + 不 () + Verb

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

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

3. 不 () + Adjective

This structure expresses the negation of an adjective.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learning Stuff

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

8. Conclusion

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

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

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

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Classic Chinese Quotes You Need to Know

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

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

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

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

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

1. Quotes About Success

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

A Man Jumping on a Cliff

Success never comes easily.

良好的开端,等于成功的一半。

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

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

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

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

要做的事情总找得出时间和机会;不愿意做的事情也总能找得出借口。

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

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

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

Source: Unknown.

没有最好,只有更好。

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

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

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

Source: Unknown.

2. Quotes About Life

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


生活就像一面镜子,你对他笑,他就对你笑;你对他哭,他也对你哭。

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

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

Meaning: Our attitude determines the way our life goes. 

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

生活不是一场赛跑,生活是一场旅行,要懂得好好欣赏每一段的风景。

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

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

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

Source: Unknown.

3. Quotes About Time

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


种树最好的时机是二十年前,其次就是现在。

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

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

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

我把别人喝咖啡的时间用在工作上。

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

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

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

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

时间就像海绵里的水,只要愿挤,总还是有的。

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

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

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

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

4. Quotes About Love

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

Men and Women Forming Hearts with Their Hands

Cherish the love you have.

爱之深,责之切。

Pinyin: Ài zhī shēn, zé zhī qiè. 

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

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

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

两情若是长久时,又岂在朝朝暮暮。

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

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

Meaning: True love can withstand long distances.

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

喜欢是放肆,爱是克制。

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

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

Meaning: True love needs restriction and sacrifice.

Source: Unknown.

如果你想要被爱,就要去爱,并要让自己值得被爱。

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

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

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

Source: This quote is originally from Benjamin Franklin.

5. Quotes About Family

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

Family Going to Watch Movies

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

家永远是我们温暖的避风港。

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

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

Meaning: Families are always there to support us.

Source: Unknown.

人生就是旅途,不管我们漂到哪,最终还是会回到家。

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

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

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

Source: Unknown.

6. Quotes About Friendship

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

Four Women Standing with Each Other

True friends will always be there for you.

时间会替你筛选出那些真正属于你身边的人。

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

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

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

Source: Unknown.

有福同享,有难同当。

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

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

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

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

7. Quotes About Food

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

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

人是铁,饭是钢,一顿不吃饿得慌。

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

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

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

Source: Unknown.

好吃不过饺子。

Pinyin: Hǎo chī bú guò jiǎo zi.

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

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

Source: Unknown.

8. Quotes About Health

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

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

身体是革命的本钱。

Pinyin: Shēn tǐ shì gé mìng de běn qián. 

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

Meaning: Health always comes first.

Source: This quote is originally from Chairman Mao

健康是一个人最大的财富。

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

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

Meaning: Health is the most valuable thing.

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

9. Quotes About Language Learning

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


掌握另一种语言就是拥有第二个灵魂。

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

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

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

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

语言是这世界上最强大的武器。

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

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

Meaning: Languages can become powerful if used correctly.

Source: Unknown.

10. Quotes About Studying

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

A Woman Reading Book while Standing on a Train

Study hard whenever you can.

读书要眼到、口到、心到、手到、脑到。

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

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

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

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

好好学习,天天向上。

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

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

Meaning: Study hard and try to improve.

Source: This quote is originally from Chairman Mao. 

11. Conclusion

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

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

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

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Chinese Business Phrases: How to Talk Like a Professional

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

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

Now, let’s get down to business!

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

1. Nail a Job Interview

Job Interview

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

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

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

A- Talking About Yourself 

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

1. 您好,我是 ___。/ 我叫 ___。

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

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

2. 这是我的简历。

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

Key Vocabulary:

  • 简历 (jiǎnlì) – “resume”

3. 我有过___的经验。

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

Key Vocabulary:

  • 经验 (jīngyàn) – “experience” 

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

4. 我会___。

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

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

5. 我擅长___。

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

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

6. 我曾经获得___。

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

Key Vocabulary:

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

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

B- Polite Phrases

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

7. 谢谢您给我面试的机会。

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

Key Vocabulary:

  • 机会 (jīhuì) – “opportunity”

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

8. 对不起,能再说一遍吗?

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

9. 冒昧地问一下___。

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

Key Vocabulary:

  • 冒昧 (màomèi) – “presumptuous” 

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

10. 期待您的答复。

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

Key Vocabulary:

  • 答复 (dáfù) – “reply” / “response” 

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

2. Interact with Coworkers

A Man and Two Women in an Office

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

A- Asking for Help

11. 能帮我一下吗?

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

12. 这个怎么用?

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

13. 您有空教我一下吗?

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

Key Vocabulary: 

  • 有空 (yǒukòng) – “to have time”

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

B- Expressing Gratitude and Giving Compliments

14. 太谢谢你了。

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

15. 辛苦了。

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

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

16. 你太厉害了!

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

Key Vocabulary: 

  • 厉害 (lìhai) – “awesome”

17. 我要多向你学习。

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

C- Socializing After Work

Asian Woman and Caucasian Man at a Party

18. 下班后有安排吗?

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

Key Vocabulary:

  • 安排 (ānpái) – “arrangement” 

19. 我请你___。

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

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

20. 我可以搭你的顺风车吗?

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

Key Vocabulary: 

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

3. Sound Smart in a Meeting

Business Phrases

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

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

A- Expressing Opinions

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

21. 我觉得___。

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

22. 我个人认为___。

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

23. 我同意/不同意这个看法。

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

Key Vocabulary: 

  • 看法 (kànfǎ) – “view” / “opinion” 

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

24. 我建议___。

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

25. 要不这样吧___。

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

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

B- Making Negotiations

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

26. 这个价格我们没办法接受。

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

Key Vocabulary: 

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

27. 如果贵公司愿意___我们就___。

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

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

Key Vocabulary: 

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

C- Giving Presentations

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

28. 请看这个图表。

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

29. 我来汇报一下上个月的公司业绩。

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

Key Vocabulary:

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

30. 请各部门配合我们的工作。

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

Key Vocabulary:

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

4. Handle Business Phone Calls and Emails

Black Telephone

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

A- Phone Phrases

31. 你好,我是___ / 这里是___。

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

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

32. 您好,请问是___吗?

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

Key Vocabulary:

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

33.  ___在吗?

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

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

34. 我是。有什么可以帮你的吗?

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

35. 好的,没问题

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

36. 我们___见。

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

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

B- Email Phrases

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

37. 尊敬的 ___

Pinyin: Zūnjìng de ___
Translation: “Honorable ___”

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

38. 请注意查收。

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

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

39. 如有疑问,请随时和我们联系。

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

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

40. 祝好。

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

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

5. Go on a Business Trip

Man and Woman at an Airport

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

A- Before the Trip

41. 我需要订___

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

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

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

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

42. 这是我们的行程单, 请过目

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

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

B- During the Trip

43. 你好,我是___公司的___,很高兴认识你。

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

44. 这是我的名片。

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

Key Vocabulary: 

  • 名片 (míngpiàn) – “business card”

45. 谢谢你们送我们回酒店。

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

46. 你好,我有预订,名字是___。

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

Key Vocabulary:

  • 预订 (yùdìng) – “reservation”

47. 明天的会议几点开始?

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

Key Vocabulary:

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

48. 附近有可以游览的地方吗?

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

Key Vocabulary:

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

C- At the End of the Trip

49. 感谢各位的热情招待。

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

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

50. 我们合作得很愉快,期待下次再见。

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

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

Jobs

6. Learn More on ChineseClass101.com

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

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

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

Happy learning! 

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

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

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Learn Chinese: YouTube Channels to Help You Thrive

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

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

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

Woman Reading Book While Standing on a Bus

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

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

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

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

1. 杰里德JARED

Elderly Woman Laughing

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

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

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

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

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

2. Kevin in Shanghai

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

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

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

3. LIT 我的海漂时代

A Woman Playing Musical Instrument

Embrace Chinese culture

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

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

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

4. MYBY孟言布语

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

Dog Facing the Electric Fan

You know you love it when something makes you laugh!

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

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

5. Grace Mandarin Chinese

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

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

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

6. OMG XIAOBA

Food

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

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

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

7. Mamahuhu

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

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

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

8. Learn Chinese with Litao

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

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

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

9. 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris

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

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

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

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

10. ChineseClass101

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

ChineseClass101

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

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

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

11. Conclusion

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

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

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

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Chinese Final Particles: Signals for Tone of Voice

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Let’s take a look at these three sentences:

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Most Common Final Particles Used in Sentences

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

1- 啊 (a)

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

Kid with Open Mouth

Example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2- 了 (le)

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

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

A- Usage 1: indicating completed actions and past events

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

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

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

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

B- Usage 2: indicating change of status or state

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

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

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

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

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

3- 啦 (la)

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

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

For example:

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

  • 你胖啦! 
    Nǐ pàng la!
Big Belly

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

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

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

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

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

This usage is very common in Taiwanese Mandarin.

Example:

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

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

4- 吧 (ba)

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

A- Usage 1: making suggestions

Example:

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

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

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

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

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

Example: 

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

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

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

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

5- 哦 (o)

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

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

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

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

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

6- 呢 (ne)

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

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

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

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

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

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

7- 嘛 (ma)

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Most Common Final Particles Used in Questions

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

1- 吗 (ma)

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

Woman Holding a Yes and a No Card

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

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

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

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

2- 啊 (a)

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

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

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

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

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

3- 吧 (ba)

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

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

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

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

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

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

4- 呢 (ne) 

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

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

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

B- Usage  #2: meaning “where”

woman looking over the horizon with hand over forehead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Comparison of Chinese Sentence Ending Particles

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

Chair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Say Goodbye in Chinese in Any Situation

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

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

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

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

1. The Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye

Most Common Goodbyes

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

1 – 

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

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

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

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

2 –

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

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

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

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

2. More Specific Ways to Say Goodbye

A College Student Waving Goodbye to Her Friends

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

1 – 

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

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

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

2 –

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

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

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

3 –

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

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

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

A Businesswoman Scratching Her Head in Confusion

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

4 –

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

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

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

Close-up of a Woman Talking on the Telephone

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

5 –

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

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

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

6 –

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

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

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

7 –

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

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

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

8 – 

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

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

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

3. Untranslatable Goodbye Phrases in Chinese

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

1 –

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

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

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

2 –

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

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

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

3 –

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

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

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

4 –

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

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

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

5 –

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 – 

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

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

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

2 –

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

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

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

3 –

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

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

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

5. Conclusion

How do you say goodbye in Chinese? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Definitely not! 

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

Never! 

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

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

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

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

A- What’s the easy part of Chinese?

Grammar.

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

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

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

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

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

Basic simple tense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

i. Chinese Characters

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

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

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

Snack on Shelves

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

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

ii. Tones

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

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

Some quick facts about Chinese tones:

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

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

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

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

For example:

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

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

Here’s another:

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

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

Guy Scratching Head Looking Baffled

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

2. Getting Serious: Start Off on the Right Foot

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

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

A- Pinyin Chart ᠆ Your Secret Pronunciation Weapon

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

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

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

B- Common Core Words – Your Daily Love Notes

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

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

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

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

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

Roses, Sweets in a Box and a Note

i. How to Make Study Plans

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

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

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

ii. How to Keep Yourself Going

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

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

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

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

3. A Little Professional Help Goes a Long Way

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

Blind-folded Man Walking on an Imaginary Bridge

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

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

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

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

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

Wedding Bouquet with a Couple in the Background

恭喜! (Gōngxǐ!) – “Congratulations!”

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

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

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