Useful Chinese Phrases

China’s official language is Mandarin, which is also called Putonghua (普通话, means “common speech”) in China. There are many dialects in China, and many of them are mutually unintelligible. However, standard Mandarin is taught all over the country, and it’s close to Beijing dialect. All dialects in China use the same set of characters in reading and writing, so even if people with different dialects can’t understand each other, they can read what the other writes.

Mandarin pronunciation uses Hanyu Pinyin, or Pinyin as its official phonetic system. If you understand how Pinyin works, then it will allow you to pronounce Chinese accurately. To learn Chinese and pronounce it correctly, the first step is to learn the principle of Pinyin. There are many Pinyin tutorials on Internet, both in text and video. Travelers can learn the basic use of it before travelling to China.

Here we list some basic and common Chinese phrases that will be useful in the trip. Check it when necessary.

Basics

English Chinese Pinyin
Yes Shì
No 不是 Búshì
Hello 你好 Nǐ hǎo
How are you 你好吗 Nǐ hǎo ma
Fine, thank you 很好, 谢谢 Hěn hǎo, xièxie
May I please ask, what is your name 请问你叫什么名字 Qǐngwèn nǐjiào shěnme míngzi
What is your name 你叫什么名字 Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi
My name is _____ 我叫 _____ Wǒ jiào ______
Nice to meet you 很高兴认识你 Hěn gāoxìng rènshì nǐ
Please Qǐng
Thank you 谢谢 Xièxiè
You're welcome 不客气 Bú kèqi
Excuse me. (getting attention 请问 qǐng wèn
Excuse me. (begging pardon 打扰一下/麻烦您了 Dǎrǎo yixià/Máfán nín le
Excuse me. (coming through 对不起/请让一下 Duìbùqǐ/Qǐng ràng yixià
I'm sorry 对不起 Duìbùqǐ
It's okay(polite response to "I'm sorry") 没关系 méiguānxi
Goodbye 再见 Zàijiàn
Byebye 拜拜 Bāi-bāi
I can't speak Chinese 我不会讲中文 Wǒ bú huì jiáng zhōngwén
Do you speak English 你会说英语吗 Nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma
DIs there someone here who speaks English 这里有人会说英语吗 Zhèlĭ yǒu rén hùi shuō Yīngyǔ ma
Help! (in emergencies) 救命 Jiùmìng
Good morning 早安 zǎo ān
Good evening 晚上好 Wǎnshàng hǎo
Good night 晚安 Wǎn'ān
I don't understand (something heard) 我听不懂 Wǒ tīng bù dǒng
I don't understand (something read) 我看不懂 Wǒ kàn bù dǒng

Asking for Help and Directions

English Chinese Pinyin
I'm lost 我迷路了 Wǒ mílù le
Can I help you? 有什么需要我帮你的 Yǒu shénme xūyaà wǒ bang nĭ de
Can you help me 你能帮助我吗
Where is the (bathroom/pharmacy) (洗手间/药房)在哪里 (Xǐshǒujiān/yào fáng) zaì nǎlǐ
Go straight! then turn left/ right! 直往前走!左/右拐弯到 Zhízǒu wǎngqián! Zuǒ/yóu guaǐwān dào
I'm looking for_____ 我在找_____ Wǒzaì zhǎo
One moment please! 请等一下 Qǐng děngyíxià
Hold on please! (phone) 请稍后 Qǐng shāohóu

Hotels

English Chinese Pinyin
Do you have any rooms available 你们有房间吗 Nǐmen yǒu fángjiān ma
Does the room come with...  房间有没有... Fángjiān yǒu méiyǒu...
...bedsheets ...床单 ..chuángdān
...bathroom ...浴室 ...yùshì
...a telephone ...电话 ...diànhuà
...a TV ...电视 ...diànshì 
I will stay for _____ night(s) 我打算住_____夜 Wǒ dǎsuàn zhù _____ yè
Do you have a safe 你们有没有保险箱 Nǐmen yǒu méiyǒu bǎoxiǎn xiāng
Can you wake me at _____ 请明天早上_____叫醒我 Qǐng míngtiān zǎoshàng _____ jiàoxǐng wǒ
I want to check in 我要入住 Wǒ yào rùzhù
I want to check out 我现在要走 Wǒ xiànzài yào zǒu

Eating

English Chinese Pinyin
Can I look at the menu, please 请给我看看菜单 qǐng gěi wǒ kànkan Càidān
Do you have an English menu 你有没有英文菜单... nǐ yŏu méi yǒu yīngwén Càidān..
Yes, we have one Yǒu
No, we don't 没有 Méi yǒu
I'm a vegetarian 我吃素的 wǒ chī sù de
It was delicious 好吃极了 hǎochī jí le
The check, please 请结帐 qǐng jiézhàng
Do you have a safe 你们有没有保险箱 Nǐmen yǒu méiyǒu bǎoxiǎn xiāng

Numbers

Arabic Numerals Chinese Pinyin
0 líng
1
2 è
3 sān
4
5
6 liù
7
8
9 jiǔ
10 shí
100 一百 yī-bǎi
1,000 一千 yī-qiān
10,000 一万 yī-wàn
100,000 十万 shí-wàn
1,000,000 一百万 yī-bǎi-wàn
10,000,000 一千万 yī-qiān-wàn
100,000,000 一亿 yī-yì

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