Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Victor: I’m Victor.
Amber: Hey, everybody, I am Amber. And welcome back to ChineseClass101.com. This is our absolute beginner series, season one, lesson 18.
Victor: Yes. And we’ll continue with the getting around section of the series.
Amber: Yes. Yes. And this is a very important lesson, “how do I get home?” You never know you might end up somewhere.
Victor: Right.
Amber: And you need to ask someone’s help to find your way back.
Victor: Right. And we taught you the words to send you out basically, to go wherever you want to go. But now you have to get home.
Amber: Yeah. And I think probably you’re going to be having lots of late nights out with your friends, singing KTV. So this will get you home in one piece. So today’s dialogue, you will learn to talk about taxi’s and subways and also distance, if something is far or near.
Victor: The conversation is between two friends as they leave dinner.
Amber: Yeah. And just before we listen to it, we just want to remind everyone if they are listening on an iPod or an iTouch, iPhone, there’s a bonus feature that is you just click the center button of the iPod or tap the screen of the iTouch or iPhone and you can see the lesson notes for this lesson while you listen.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Okay. So let’s listen to the conversation.
Amber: 我怎么回家?(Wǒ zěnme huíjiā?)
Victor: 你可以坐出租车。(Nǐ kěyǐ zuò chūzūchē.)
Amber: 这儿有地铁站吗?(Zhèr yǒu dìtiě zhàn ma?)
Victor: 地铁站有点儿远。(Dìtiě zhàn yǒu diǎnr yuǎn.)
Amber: One more time a little slower.
Amber: 我怎么回家?(Wǒ zěnme huíjiā?)
Victor: 你可以坐出租车。(Nǐ kěyǐ zuò chūzūchē.)
Amber: 这儿有地铁站吗?(Zhèr yǒu dìtiě zhàn ma?)
Victor: 地铁站有点儿远。(Dìtiě zhàn yǒu diǎnr yuǎn.)
Amber: One more time with the English.
Amber: 我怎么回家?(Wǒ zěnme huíjiā?)
Amber: How do I get home?
Victor: 你可以坐出租车。(Nǐ kěyǐ zuò chūzūchē.)
Amber: You can take a taxi.
Amber: 这儿有地铁站吗?(Zhèr yǒu dìtiě zhàn ma?)
Amber: Is there a subway station around here?
Victor: 地铁站有点儿远。(Dìtiě zhàn yǒu diǎnr yuǎn.)
Amber: The subway station is a little far away.
Amber: So I do find, Victor, that in, for example Shanghai, there is a lot of subway lines, but it’s true, the subway stops are quite far away. So sometimes taking a taxi is the easier and a cheap option.
Victor: Right. It’s not that expensive at all.
Amber: Yeah. Nothing compared to other big cities' taxi fare. So here this dialogue will give you a couple of options to use. So let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Victor: And now the vocab section.
Victor: 怎麼(zěnme)
Amber: How.
Victor: 回(huí)
Amber: To return.
Victor: 家(Jiā)
Amber: Home, family.
Victor: 可以(kěyǐ)
Amber: May, can.
Victor: 坐(zuò)
Amber: To sit.
Victor: 出租車(chūzūchē)
Amber: Taxi.
Victor: 這兒(zhèr)
Amber: Here.
Victor: 有(yǒu)
Amber: To have.
Victor: 地鐵(dìtiě)
Amber: Subway.
Victor: 站(zhàn)
Amber: Station.
Victor: 一點兒(yìdiǎnr)
Amber: A little.
Victor: 遠(yuǎn)
Amber: Far.
Amber: Okay. Let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of these words and phrases. Let’s start with home, Victor. Home is where the heart is.
Victor: Sure. Yeah.
Amber: How do you say “home” in Chinese? I want to go home.
Victor: 家(Jiā) is the word for “home.” So 家 (Jiā) is first tone and it’s actually also the word for family. Yeah.
Amber: So that kind of makes sense in a way.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Home, family, where the heart is.
Victor: And if you are looking the lesson notes right now, if you look at the character, it’s kind of like a family, because the top parts is kind of like a roof, and the bottom part actually means pig. I don’t say it’s for pig but, you know, that’s where the meat is.
Amber: Or maybe if your house is like a pig style, so...
Victor: You know, so it’s food, you know.
Amber: Yeah.
Victor: So it’s where people eat and on top there’s a roof. So that’s what home is.
Amber: Yeah. Okay. So if you wanted to go home, how would you say that?
Victor: Well, just use the word for “to return in front of home” which is 回(Huí) and it’s second tone.
Amber: So to return home or to go home is 回家(Huí jiā) put it together.
Victor: Correct. 回家(Huí jiā) and we can also use this formula to talk about returning to other places too. Like after you have been in China for awhile, and then you are going back home, you are returning to your own country, you just put 回(Huí) in front of the word for country 国(Guó).So you have 回国(Huíguó).
Amber: So just returning to your country, means like I’m going back home where I came from.
Victor: Yeah. 回国(Huíguó). is very simple.
Amber: Yeah. Okay. So I think the best way to get home is the taxi option.
Victor: Right.
Amber: So let’s start with that. How would you say take a taxi in Chinese?
Victor: You can say 坐出租车 / i坐s(Zuò chūzū chē/ i zuò s) fourth tone and it means “tosit.” And the phrase for “taxi” is 出租车 / 出(Chūzū chē/ chū) is first tone, 租(Zū) is first tone and 车(Chē) is also first tone.
Amber: Right. So first of all, the verb in Chinese that you use to say “to take a taxi” is actually the same verb as the word for “to sit.”
Victor: Right.
Amber: The same character. So you can 座(Zuò) a taxi, which means “to take a taxi” or literally “sit a taxi.”
Victor: Right.
Amber: We also use the same verb when we’re talking about taking a bus or a subway right, Victor?
Victor: Right. So you can sit a bus or you can sit the subway.
Amber: And it’s true if you’re lucky, you’ll get a seat, get to sit. You might be standing the bus. Good. So if you wanted to say “to take a bus” how would you say that, Victor?
Victor: You can say, ‘坐公交车’(Zuò gōngjiāo chē) is the phrase for “bus” and all three characters are first tone.
Amber: Good. Okay. So now back to the word for “taxi.” Literally, let’s break this down because it’s kind of interesting. It literally means “rent out car” for a taxi.
Victor: Right. Yeah.
Amber: So in China, most people don’t have their own cars. So definitely anytime, anywhere, you’re going to see taxis flying by. Only thing is, a word of warning, if it’s a rainy day, sometimes it’s very, very difficult to get a taxi.
Victor: Right.
Amber: I’ve waited like 45 minutes before...
Victor: Now, have you been in this situation where the taxi drivers are kind of pick and chose customers? They don’t want to go to certain places.
Amber: It’s true.
Victor: And you just like, I...
Amber: The ball is in their court at that point.
Victor: It’s really frustrating because I’m paying, you know, I’m trying to go places, but they don’t take you.
Amber: I know. Yeah. So just as a side option, you might, in these kinds of situations, want to take the subway.
Victor: Right.
Amber: So we give you the option for that as well.
Victor: So remember the word for subway was 地铁(Dìtiě).
Amber: Yeah. We learned that in lesson 11.
Victor: Yeah. And to remind everyone 地(De) is fourth tone, 铁(Tiě) is third tone. Well, when you want to be even more specific, you of course need to find the “subway stop” which is 地铁站(Dìtiě zhàn). And 站(Zhàn) being the word for “to stand” actually. So I guess it kind of makes sense, you know, they call the “stop” a 站(Zhàn).
Amber: Yeah, fourth tone. And actually this applies to how we just learned the word for bus because the bus stop also uses the word 站(Zhàn) in it. So, Victor, what is the word for “bus stop?”
Victor: The bus stop will be 坐公交车站(Zuò gōngjiāo chē zhàn)
Amber: Right. That’s pretty long. Is there a short version of that? Could you just say 车站(Chēzhàn)
Victor: Yeah, you can say that.
Amber: I think I heard people say that, yeah.
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: Okay. So next in the dialogue, we hear kind of bad news that a subway stop is a little far.
Victor: Right.
Amber: So do you remember the word for “far” everybody? We learned it in the previous lesson?
Victor: It’s 远(Yuǎn)
Amber: Yeah.
Victor: 远(Yuǎn)
Amber: And just for good measure, what the word for “near?”
Victor: 近(Jìn)
Amber: Yeah, fourth tone. Okay. It’s grammar time.
Victor: It’s grammar time.
Amber: So we have lots of good grammar today.
Victor: Well, first off, we’ll learn another very important question, which is the word for “how” and it’s 怎么(Zěnme) it’s a third tone and neutral tone.
Amber: Yes. So maybe if you wanted to say, “how do I do something?” You can make a sentence like the one in our dialogue. So let’s listen to the one in our dialogue that used 怎么(Zěnme) and notice the word order.
Victor: 我怎么回家?(Wǒ zěnme huí jiā?)
Amber: Right. 我怎么回家?(Wǒ zěnme huí jiā?) let’s break it down. To directly translate that to English, it would be “I how return home?” So something to take note of is that that the “how” comes after the subject. Not like English where it would come first.
Victor: Right.
Amber: So just so that we can hear it in a few more sentences to get a better sense of it, Victor, can you give us maybe another example with the 怎么(Zěnme) phrase?
Victor: Sure. Here’s a really useful “how” phrase, you can use it for directions. You can ask ‘怎么走’(Zěnme zǒu). the word for “to walk” or “to go” is 走(Zǒu). So you’re basically saying “how do I walk?” or “how do I go?”
Amber: Yeah, 怎么走。(Zěnme zǒu.) So interestingly, you might be thinking hey, wait a minute, the “how” is coming first here 怎么(Zěnme). But actually it’s because the subject is omitted.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Really you’re saying like 我怎么走(Wǒ zěnme zǒu) “How do I go?”
Victor: Right.
Amber: But in Chinese, when the subject is known, it’s okay to just leave it off.
Victor: Right.
Amber: So remember this phrase 怎么走(Zěnme zǒu) it’s a really good way to ask directions. You could just basically put the place you want to go in front and say 怎么走(Zěnme zǒu) after.
Victor: Right.
Amber: Okay. So now also in our grammar today, we get the chance for a little review. Now, remember we learned before how to express existence in Chinese, which means basically how to say, there is something somewhere. So we hear another example of this kind of sentence in the dialogue today.
Victor: Yeah. Remember to express existence in Chinese, we use the verb “to have” which is 有(Yǒu).
Amber: Right, third tone. So in the dialogue today, the person wants to know “is there a subway stop here?” or “around here.”
Victor: So in Chinese, we say 这儿有地铁站吗?(Zhè'er yǒu dìtiě zhàn ma?)
Amber: Right. Which is literally “here have subway stop” and then question mark which is our 吗(Ma) word.
Victor: Right. 这儿有地铁站吗?(Zhè'er yǒu dìtiě zhàn ma?)
Amber: Right. “Is there a subway stop here?”
Victor: Yeah. And of course as we know, as Amber said earlier, the subway stops are a little bit further apart in China than some other places, generally. So our next word comes in very handy.
Amber: Yeah. The answer to the question “is there a subway stop here?” is in this case that it’s a little far away. So we know the word for far is...
Victor: 远(Yuǎn)
Amber: But how do we say, “it’s a little far.” Well, we heard it in the dialogue, they said...
Victor: 有点儿远。(Yǒudiǎn er yuǎn.)
Amber: Right. So to say something is a little or somewhat, something, you basically just combine 有(Yǒu) again, our very “to have.”
Victor: Right.
Amber: It’s a handy little verb, plus 有(Yǒu) plus 点儿(Diǎn er) plus the adjective which in this case was “far.” So to say something was a little far, it was...
Victor: 有点儿远。(Yǒudiǎn er yuǎn.)
Amber: Right. Now, here’s a side tip. Again, Chinese likes to give you options to make things shorter. Okay. So this is one way of saying that something is a little far, actually it’s kind of the shortened form. You can also use a longer form which sometimes you will hear people use, don’t get confused, but they add the 一 inside. How does that sound, Victor?
Victor:有一点儿(Yǒu yīdiǎn er)
Amber: Yeah.
Victor: 有一点儿远。(Yǒu yīdiǎn er yuǎn.)
Amber: That’s right. So sometimes people just say,点(Diǎn) it means a “little.”
Victor: Yeah.
Amber: Sometimes people say the full word which is actually 一点(Yīdiǎn)
Victor: It’s almost exactly like the word “bit” in English.
Amber: Yeah.
Victor: “A bit.”
Amber: Exactly.
Victor: And sometimes you say “bit” whatever. So 有一点儿 / 有(Yǒu yīdiǎn er/ yǒu) as we know, is third tone, 一 is first tone but here because of the tone change rule, it’s fourth tone and 点儿(Diǎn er) is third tone.
Amber: Yeah. And actually now that I think of it Victor, is even another way because some people don’t add the 儿(Er) in the end. They just say, 一点(Yīdiǎn).
Victor: 一点(Yīdiǎn)
Amber: Yeah.
Victor: That would be more in the South, where people don’t use the 儿
Amber: Yeah. So you might hear all of these different options. Don’t get confused. It’s all the same word. We promise. Okay. So let’s put this into a real life example. Maybe, Victor, I want to know if stinky tofu is very smelly. So I would ask you, is stinky tofu smelly? How would you answer?
Victor: Sure. We can say 有一点儿臭(Yǒu yīdiǎn er chòu)
Amber: 臭(Chòu) is the word for “stinky.”
Victor: For “stinky, smelly” and it’s fourth tone is 臭(Chòu)
Amber: Yeah. So I think you’re being very kind to tofu by saying a 一点儿(Yīdiǎn er)
Victor: I think so too. I think we’re just or just for the sake of teaching 一点儿(Yīdiǎn er) but if you had real stinky tofu, it’s really stinky.
Amber: It’s more than a little stinky. Okay. Well, what if we wanted to describe today’s lesson? This is maybe more accurate. Was today’s lesson difficult?
Victor: Not so much. So I can just say...
Amber: Yeah, maybe a little.
Victor: 有一点儿难(Yǒu yīdiǎn er nán).
Amber: So 难(Nán) is the word for “difficult.”
Victor: Yes.
Amber: 有一点儿难(Yǒu yīdiǎn er nán). or we could say 有一点难(Yǒu yīdiǎn nán). depends on your accent, but both works.
Victor: Right. So something like, you know, not too bad, just a little bit.
Amber: Yeah. Okay. Well, that’s about does it for today. We’re going to let you guys listen to the dialogue one more time. But just before we go, we’re going to tell you, premium members, don’t forget to try out the review tract. It’s in the premium section of the website, the learning center. And also in the iTunes feed. And basically it gives you the vocabulary and phrases that we learn in today’s lesson, followed by a pause, in which you can repeat back the words to try and aid your memory in memorizing them.
Victor: Right. It’s a very good way to get really good very fast.
Amber: Yeah. So we’ll let you listen to the dialogue one more time.




Chinese Grammar Made Easy - Unlock This Lesson’s Grammar Guide

Easily master this lesson’s grammar points with in-depth explanations and examples. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

A one way subway trip in Beijing will only cost you 2RMB (.$30) no matter how far you travel.

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 07:44 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello William Gourley,

Thank you for your comment. 坐 means 乘坐 (chéngzuò), it means to travel by [a type of transportation]. It may sound strange but that's how we express it in Chinese. 😉

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

William Gourley
Sunday at 06:05 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Why can't the actual existing verbs To take, to get, to use or something more logical? Instead of needing to remember the odd version of To Sit... "you can sit a taxi."

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 05:17 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

你好 robert groulx and Steven!

谢谢 for taking the time to leave us your comments. 😇

We are very happy to have you here.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Friday at 05:52 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

thank you for the lesson transcript

favorite phrase is 有一点儿臭


Thursday at 08:40 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

How will I get back to my home country china?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 12:11 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi, Karun Murugan,

Thank you for your posting.

We usually provide pinyin with simplified Characters and traditional ones and English translations.

So if you the pinyin was missing, please do a favor to tell us in detail, and we will fix it later.


Team ChineseClass101.com

Karun Murugan
Wednesday at 02:09 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

It would be a very much more helpful if the pinyin equivalents could also be provided. I am still a early beginner in the language and my knowledge of the Mandarin characters is very limited. I look forward to your factoring this into your lessons in future. Thank you

Wednesday at 09:22 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

How do I go back to my home country?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 10:12 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi, Tara,

Sorry for the late reply.

There are some characters have 2 or 3 pronunciations to express different meanings.

For example,

便宜(pián yi, cheap) and 方便(fāng biàn, convenient).

行走(xíng zǒu, walk) and 第一行(dì yì háng, the first line)


Team ChineseClass101.com

Saturday at 03:00 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I thought the pinyin for 便 is pián as in 便宜 but in the this lesson's lesson notes, it has the word 方便 with pinyin biàn, can you explain?