Survival Chinese: Essential Phrases to Get By in China

Living or traveling in China can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it can also present challenges, especially if you don’t speak the language. Communication is key to navigating daily life smoothly, and mastering some essential Chinese phrases can make a significant difference. Whether you’re greeting locals, ordering food, or seeking help in an emergency, knowing a few key phrases can go a long way. Let’s explore some indispensable Chinese phrases for various aspects of daily life in China.

Daily life in China

1. Greetings:

  • Hello: 你好 (Nǐ hǎo)
  • Good morning: 早上好 (Zǎoshang hǎo)
  • Good afternoon: 下午好 (Xiàwǔ hǎo)
  • Good evening: 晚上好 (Wǎnshàng hǎo)
  • Goodbye: 再见 (Zàijiàn)

2. Polite Expressions:

  • Please: 请 (Qǐng)
  • Thank you: 谢谢 (Xièxiè)
  • You’re welcome: 不客气 (Bú kèqì)
  • Excuse me: 对不起 (Duìbùqǐ)

3. Basic Communication:

  • Yes: 是的 (Shì de)
  • No: 不 (Bù)
  • I don’t understand: 我听不懂 (Wǒ tīng bù dǒng)
  • Can you help me?: 你能帮助我吗?(Nǐ néng bāngzhù wǒ ma?)
  • I’m sorry: 对不起 (Duìbùqǐ)

4. Asking for Directions:

  • Where is…?: …在哪里?(… Zài nǎlǐ?)
  • How do I get to…?: 怎么去…?(Zěnme qù…?)
  • Left: 左边 (Zuǒbiān)
  • Right: 右边 (Yòubiān)
  • Straight ahead: 往前走 (Wǎng qián zǒu)

5. Shopping and Dining:

  • How much is this?: 这个多少钱?(Zhège duōshǎo qián?)
  • I would like…: 我想要… (Wǒ xiǎng yào…)
  • Do you accept credit cards?: 你们收信用卡吗?(Nǐmen shōu xìnyòngkǎ ma?)
  • Delicious: 好吃 (Hǎochī)
  • Cheers!: 干杯!(Gānbēi!)

6. Emergencies:

  • Help!: 救命!(Jiùmìng!)
  • Police: 警察 (Jǐngchá)
  • Hospital: 医院 (Yīyuàn)
  • I need a doctor: 我需要看医生 (Wǒ xūyào kàn yīshēng)

7. Numbers:

  • 1: 一 (Yī)
  • 2: 二 (Èr)
  • 3: 三 (Sān)
  • 4: 四 (Sì)
  • 5: 五 (Wǔ)
  • 10: 十 (Shí)
  • 100: 一百 (Yī bǎi)
  • 1,000: 一千 (Yī qiān)
  • 10,000: 一万 (Yī wàn)

Mastering essential Chinese phrases is invaluable for navigating daily life in China. If you want to learn more authentic Chinese and communicate effortlessly with locals, come join us to learn Chinese with native teachers in one-on-one online Chinese classes. You can get a free trial class and access a wealth of free learning materials today.

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