Please, Thank You, Sorry and Excuse Me in Chinese

In this post I want to explain how you say please, thank you, sorry and excuse me in Chinese. These may seem like very simple words that should have simple equivalents, but there are a few things you need to know about how they are used, and different phrases to know. How to say thank you in Chinese Thank you is the easiest of these phrases to learn. In most situations, you can just use 谢谢 xièxie or 谢谢 xièxie nǐ (the nǐ means 'you) The first syllable is pronounced in the 4th tone, Continue Reading

How Do You Say ‘And’ in Chinese?

One common mistake that a lot of beginner Chinese learners make is how to say 'and' in Chinese. It's natural, when you're trying to speak Chinese, to use your native language as a point of comparison and to try to 'translate' what you're trying to say into Chinese. However, because there are so many differences between the two languages, this can often cause problems, and 'and' is just one of those words that can trip you up if you treat it the same way as in English, and the result is Continue Reading

How to Address People Politely in Chinese

Addressing people in Chinese is something that isn't really taught properly in textbooks. You are often taught that 你好 (nǐhǎo) is 'hello' and 您好 (nínhǎo) is a polite way of saying hello, and that's it, whereas in fact there is a lot more subtlety to how you address different people in Chinese to show politeness and respect. Whether you're travelling in China or you're doing business in a Chinese speaking region, it's important to know how to address people in the correct way, to avoid any Continue Reading

The Basics of Chinese Grammar Explained in Under 10 Minutes

Some people say that Chinese doesn't have grammar, but in fact, although there is greater flexibility in Chinese grammar than in the grammar in other languages, there is still often a clear difference between 'right' and 'wrong'. The most important aspect of Chinese grammar is the order of the words in the sentence. In this post, I want to explain the basics of how you put together sentences in Chinese, through easy to understand examples. Chinese grammar in simple sentences For Continue Reading

What are Chinese Measure Words? – The Ultimate Guide

Measure words can be a difficult concept for beginner Chinese learners, so in this guide I want to explain as simply as I can what they are and how they work. What are measure words and when do you use them? Measure words are one of the key differences between Chinese and other languages. Let me explain how they work by giving you some practical examples. In English, you would say 'two boys', but in Chinese you have to say 'two + a measure word + boys'. (两个男孩) 'Two cats' would be 'two Continue Reading

8 Things to Look For When Choosing a Chinese Teacher

Choosing a good Chinese teacher is one of the key factors that will determine whether you can be successful and persist in learning Chinese, or whether you just end up giving up or becoming demotivated. If you are in China or another Chinese speaking area, at first it can seem like you have an unlimited supply of teachers. After all, you are surrounded by native speakers, who could all potentially help you to learn their language. You might even get offers of help with your Chinese, in return Continue Reading

How to Order Food in Chinese – 10 Top Dishes

Chinese food is a big reason why many of us are learning Chinese. Whether you're travelling around China and you want to order Chinese food like a local or you just want to raise a smile by ordering Chinese food at your local Chinese restaurant, it's fun to learn some of the names of Chinese dishes in Mandarin. Here I've chosen 10 of my favourites, and also some of the most popular dishes you'll find all around the world. Here are some phrases you can use to order them: 我要一个。。       wǒ Continue Reading

Chinese New Year Song – May You Be Prosperous

Here's a Chinese song to get you in the Chinese New Year mood! May You Be Prosperous (恭喜发财) by Andy Lau (刘德华). If you've been in China around the Chinese New Year, you've probably heard this one before, even if you don't know what it's called. You hear it in shops and restaurants, and it gets stuck in your head without you even knowing it. Andy Lau is a singer and actor from Hong Kong (most people seem to think that he's better at the acting than he is at singing), and this is one of the Continue Reading

How to Write the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animal Signs

You've probably already heard of the 12 Chinese zodiac animal signs. In the traditional Chinese calendar there is a repeating cycle of 12 years, and each year is represented by a different animal sign. In order, the animals are the mouse (rat), ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep (goat), monkey, chicken (rooster), dog and pig. If you want to ask somebody which animal they are you can say 你属什么? nǐ shǔ shénme? (literally, what do you belong too). It's also a subtle way of Continue Reading

Learn Chinese Through Songs #10 – Look Over, Girl Opposite

This song was originally written by the Malaysian singer A Niu (阿牛), but it became more widely popular after it was covered by Richie Ren (任贤齐). The lyrics are fun and light-hearted, and it's a really catchy song. It's also a really popular song for guitar players to learn. When you hear it, you'll understand why! You'll find the lyrics in the video in traditional characters, and in Pinyin, simplified characters and English below. duì miàn de nǚ hái kàn guò lái 对面 的 女孩 看 过来 Look Continue Reading