Basic Mandarin Phrases for Daily Life in China

Now that you have this list of useful Chinese phrases, you’re going to have to learn it. That way, you won’t have to fumble through a search as you try to translate that you really need to know where the restroom is.If you have little to no experience with Mandarin, you should first learn or review Mandarin’s pronunciation rules. You don’t have to learn to speak Chinese perfectly, but you should be aware that you can’t simply read the pinyin out loud as if it were English. Try to hear the words and phrases spoken by a native speaker in person or through a recording, and then try to imitate them.Once you have a working knowledge of Mandarin’s sound system, you should study your vocabulary. Some of the best techniques to learn Chinese words include studying every day and taking advantage of techniques like spaced repetition. If you add these words and phrases to a Hack Chinese profile, you can benefit from Hack Chinese’s streamlined approach to learning Chinese as well as its many other resources on Chinese for English speakers.

Basic Mandarin Phrases for Daily Life in China

If you’re an English teacher in China or otherwise new to living in the country, you have to know some basic Mandarin phrases to get around. Unfortunately, the technological magic of Google Translate doesn’t quite cut it on its own.

If you don’t know where to start, below are some useful Mandarin phrases and tips on how to memorize them. Knowing these words will help you manage your daily life in China, from simple greetings to asking how to get somewhere.

Survival Mandarin Phrases

English

Chinese

Pinyin

Hello!

你好!

Nǐ hǎo!

Goodbye!

再见!

Zài jiàn!

Good morning.

早上好。

Zǎo shàng hǎo.

Good evening.

晚上好。

Wǎn shàng hǎo.

How are you?

你好吗?

Nǐ hǎo ma?

I’m fine.

我很好。

Wǒ hěn hǎo.

And you?

你呢?

Nǐ ne?

Thank you!

谢谢!

Xiè xie!

You’re welcome!

不客气!

Bù kè qì!

My name is [name]. What about you?

我叫[name], 你呢?

Wǒ jiào [name], nǐ ne?

May I please have your family name?

请问,您贵姓?

Qǐng wèn, nín guì xìng?

Pleased to meet you!

很高兴见到你!

Hěn gāo xìng jiàn dào nǐ!

Please…

请…

Qǐng…

I’m sorry.

对不起。

Duì bù qǐ.

No problem.

没关系。

Méi guān xì.

I don’t speak Chinese.

我不会说中文。

Wǒ bù huì shuō zhōng wén.

I speak a little Chinese.

我会说一点中文。

Wǒ huì shuō yī diǎn zhōng wén.

Do you speak English?

你会说英语吗?

Nǐ huì shuō yīng yǔ ma?

How do you say this in Chinese?

这个用中文怎么说?

Zhè gè yòng zhōng wén zěn me shuō?

Could you please repeat that?

请你再说一遍好吗?

Qǐng nǐ zài shuō yī biàn hǎo ma?

Please speak more slowly.

请说慢一点。

Qǐng shuō màn yī diǎn.

Please write it down.

请写下来。

Qǐng xiě xià lái.

I understand.

我明白。

Wǒ míng bái.

I don’t understand.

我不明白。

Wǒ bù míng bái.

I know.

我知道。

Wǒ zhī dào.

I don’t know.

我不知道。

Wǒ bù zhī dào.

Entrance

入口

rù kǒu

Exit

出口

chū kǒu

Restroom

厕所

cè suǒ

Man

nán

Woman

Excuse me, where is/are [noun]?

请问,[noun]在哪里?

Qǐng wèn, [noun] zài nǎ lǐ?

Excuse me, where are the restrooms?

 

请问,厕所在哪里?

Qǐng wèn, cè suǒ zài nǎ lǐ?

 

Excuse me, is there Wi-Fi here?

请问,这里有Wi-Fi吗?

Qǐng wèn, zhè lǐ yǒu Wi-Fi ma?

What’s the password?

密码是多少?

Mì mǎ shì duō shǎo?

Wait a moment

等一下。

Děng yī xià.

Excuse me, how do you get to [place]?

请问,怎么去[place]?

Qǐng wèn, zěn me qù [place]?

Please excuse me. (to someone in your way)

借过一下。       

Jiè guò yī xià.

I’m lost.

我迷路了。

Wǒ mí lù le.

Excuse me, what time is it?

请问,现在几点了?

Qǐng wèn, xiàn zài jǐ diǎn le?

What is this/that?

这是什么?/ 那是什么?

Zhè shì shén me? / Nà shì shén me?

I want…

我要…

Wǒ yào…

How much is this?

这个多少钱?

Zhè ge duō shǎo qián?

The bill, please. Thank you.

结账,谢谢。

Jié zhàng, xiè xie.

It’s too expensive.

太贵了。

Tài guì le.

Can you help me?

你可以帮我吗?

Nǐ kě yǐ bāng wǒ ma?

Thank you for your help!

谢谢您的帮助!

Xiè xiè nín de bāng zhù!

Chinese Phrases for everyday life

Learning Your Survival Mandarin Phrases

Now that you have this list of useful Chinese phrases, you’re going to have to learn it. That way, you won’t have to fumble through a search as you try to translate that you really need to know where the restroom is.

If you have little to no experience with Mandarin, you should first learn or review Mandarin’s pronunciation rules. You don’t have to learn to speak Chinese perfectly, but you should be aware that you can’t simply read the pinyin out loud as if it were English. Try to hear the words and phrases spoken by a native speaker in person or through a recording, and then try to imitate them.

Once you have a working knowledge of Mandarin’s sound system, you should study your vocabulary. Some of the best techniques to learn Chinese words include studying every day and taking advantage of techniques like spaced repetition. If you add these words and phrases to a Hack Chinese profile, you can benefit from Hack Chinese’s streamlined approach to learning Chinese as well as its many other resources on Chinese for English speakers.

The Journey Begins

With these basic phrases and a study plan in tow, your early experiences in China should go much smoother. You can even add some of the most common Mandarin words to your list of Chinese words to know, thereby preparing yourself for a greater variety of situations.

In any case, as you live in China, you’re bound to confront even more Mandarin phrases and words that you’d like to remember. Just ask someone to write them down for you so you can add them to your study schedule, and you’re on your way to achieving Mandarin proficiency!