Basic Mandarin 📣 105 Simple Phrases To Make Your Life Easier

Basic Mandarin 🤩 105 Hugely Useful Phrases To Learn

Learn all the basic mandarin you’ll ever need right here with LTL Mandarin School.

As you scroll why not listen to the audio?

This playlist contains all the basic mandarin sentence you’ll need to get around China!

⬇️⬇️⬇️ Basic Mandarin Quiz ⬇️⬇️⬇️

Basic Mandarin Greetings

  • Hello: 你好 – nǐ hǎo
  • I am: 我是 – wǒ shì
  • How are you?: 你好吗 – nǐ hǎo ma
  • I’m good thanks: 我很好的谢谢 – wǒ hěn hǎo xiè xiè
  • Have you eaten?: 你吃了吗 – nǐ chī le ma
  • Nice to meet you: 很高兴认识你 – hěn gāo xìng rèn shi nǐ
  • What is your name?: 你叫什么名字 – nǐ jiào shén me míng zì?
  • My name is: 我叫 – wǒ jiào
  • My friend’s name is: 我朋友叫 – wǒ péngyǒu jiào
  • I’m from X: 我来自 X – wǒ lái zì X
  • Where are you from?: 你来自哪里 – nǐ lái zì nǎ li
  • Goodbye: 再见 – zài jiàn
Basic Mandarin - My name is in Chinese
Basic Mandarin - Nice to meet you in Chinese

Check out some alternate ways to say hello in Mandarin or some more about basic greetings in Chinese here.

Thanks in Mandarin

  • Please: – qǐng
  • Thank you: 谢谢 – xiè xiè
  • You’re welcome: 不客气 – bú kè qì
  • I’m sorry: 对不起 – duì bu qǐ
  • Excuse me: 打扰一下 – dǎ rǎo yí xià
  • Yes: – shì
  • No: 不是 – bù shì
  • I’m good thanks: 我很好谢谢 – wǒ hěn hǎo xiè xiè
  • And you?: 你呢 – nǐ ne
Basic Chinese - I'm good thanks in Chinese
Basic Chinese - You're welcome in Chinese

Time in Chinese

  • Good morning (early morning): 早上好 – zǎo shàng hǎo
  • Good morning (late morning): 上午好 – shàng wǔ hǎo
  • Good afternoon (only to be used around midday): 中午好 – zhōng wǔ hǎo
  • Good afternoon: 下午好 – xià wǔ hǎo
  • Good evening: 晚上好 – wǎn shàng hǎo
  • Goodnight: 晚安 – wǎn ān
Good morning in Chinese
Good morning in Chinese
Goodnight in Chinese
Goodnight in Chinese

Asking Questions in Chinese

  • Where is X?: X在哪 – X zài nǎ
  • How do I get to X?: 怎么去X – zěn me qù
  • How far is X?: X 有多远 – X yǒu duō yuǎn
  • Can you show me on a map?: 你能在地图上给我看看吗 – nǐ néng zài dì tú shàng gěi wǒ kàn kan ma?
  • Can you write that down?: 你能把它写下来吗 – nǐ néng bǎ tā xiě xià lái ma?
  • How much does it cost?: 它的价格是多少 – tā de jià gé shì duō shǎo?
  • What is this?: 这是什么 – zhè shì shén me
  • What time is it?: 现在几点 – xiàn zài jǐ diǎn
  • Do you have X?: 你有 X 吗 – nǐ yǒu X ma
  • Do you have anything cheaper?: 你们有便宜一点的吗 – nǐ men yǒu pián yi yì diǎn de ma
  • Do you like?: 你喜欢 X 吗 – nǐ xǐ huan X ma
  • What is the best X?: 最好的X是什么 zuì hǎo de X shì shénme
  • How do you say X?: X 怎么说 – X zěn me shuō ?
  • What is fun to do in Beijing? 北京哪里好玩儿 Běijīng nǎ lǐ hǎo wán er
  • What do you recommend?: 你有什么建议 – nǐ yǒu shén me jiàn yì
  • Where can I X? 我在哪里可以 X – wǒ zài nǎ li kě yǐ X
Basic Mandarin - Where is in Chinese
Where is in Chinese
Basic Mandarin - What time is it in Chinese
What time is it in Chinese

Basic Mandarin Numbers

One:   yī
Two:   ér
Three:   sān
Four:   sì
Five:   wǔ
Six:   liù

Seven:   qī
Eight:   bā
Nine:   jiǔ
Ten:   shí
One hundred: 一百  yì bǎi
One thousand: 一千元  yì qiān yuán

Want to go all the way to a million? Listen to all the numbers 

Learn the numbers in Chinese here.

Places in Chinese

Here: – zhè
There: – nà
Place: 地方 – dì fang
Restaurant: 餐厅 – cān tīng
Cafe: 咖啡馆 – kā fēi guǎn

Hotel: 酒店 – jiǔ diàn
Airport: 机场 – jī chǎng
Train station: 火车站 – huǒ chē zhàn
Bus station: 汽车站 – qì chē zhàn
Supermarket: 超市 – chāo shì

Vehicles in Chinese

  • Airplane: 飞机 – fēi jī
  • Train: 火车 – huǒ chē
  • Taxi: 出租车 – chū zū chē
  • Car: – chē
  • Bus: 公共汽车 – gōng gòng qì chē
Bus in Chinese
Bus in Chinese
Train in Chinese
Train in Chinese

Check out our useful tips for learning a language

Directions in Chinese

  • Left: 左边 – zuǒ biān
  • Right: 右边 – yòu biān
  • Straight: 直 – zhí
  • Backwards: 向后 – xiàng hòu

Learn the directions in Chinese here.

Likes and Dislikes in Chinese

  • I like: 我喜欢 – wǒ xǐ huān
  • I don’t like: 我不喜欢 – wǒ bù xǐ huān
  • I’d like to go to X: 我想去 X – wǒ xiǎng qù X
  • I’m allergic to X: 我对 X 过敏 – wǒ duì X guò mǐn

Ordering in Chinese

  • I would like X: 我想 X – wǒ xiǎng X
  • Can I have X?: 你们有X吗?nǐmen yǒu X ma?
  • Do you speak English?: 你会说英语吗 – nǐ huì shuō yīng yǔ ma
  • Menu, please: 请给我菜单 – qǐng gěi wǒ cài dān
  • Bill please: 买单 – mǎi dān
  • This: – zhè
  • That: – nà
Menu in Chinese
Menu in Chinese
Bill in Chinese

Make sure your pronouncing your initials and finals correctly.

Food in Chinese

  • Noodles: 面条 – miàn tiáo
  • Rice: 米饭 – mǐ fàn
  • Chicken: 鸡肉 – jī ròu
  • Beef: 牛肉 – niú ròu
  • Pork: 猪肉 – zhū ròu
  • Vegetarian: 素食者 – sù shí zhě
Beef-in-Chinese
Beef in Chinese
Chicken-in-Chinese
Chicken in Chinese

Basic Mandarin tip: Expressing that you are vegetarian or vegan can be difficult in China. A good way to be understood is to say you are Buddhist (佛教) fó jiào. Typically people will understand your diet if you say this.

How to Decode a Chinese Menu Like a Pro 🍜 Chinese Menus Explained + The Complete Cheat Sheet Thumbnail

How to Decode a Chinese Menu Like a Pro 🍜 Chinese Menus Explained + The Complete Cheat Sheet

Chinese Menus. How to read them, how to decode them? Not so easy right? Well with our FREE Chinese Menu cheat sheet and tips, you’ll have no problems!

Drinks in Chinese

Water: 水 – shuǐ
Coffee: 咖啡 – kā fēi
Cola: 可乐 – kě lè
Beer: 啤酒 – pí jiǔ

Basic Mandarin - Coffee in Chinese
Basic Mandarin – Coffee in Chinese
Basic Mandarin - Cola in Chinese
Basic Mandarin – Cola in Chinese

PRO TIP || gānbēi (干杯) means “dry cup”, or to finish your drink. So be careful to use the term loosely.

Find out the most popular traditional Chinese dishes here.

Also when clinking glasses, be sure your glasses are at even level as high will indicate you believe yourself to be of higher status and lower will be interpreted as the opposite.

Misunderstandings in Chinese

  • Repeat, please: 请再说一遍 qǐng zài shuō yībiàn
  • More slowly, please: 请慢嗲 – qǐng màn diē
  • I don’t understand: 我不明白 – wǒ bù míng bái
  • I’m sorry, I don’t speak Mandarin: 对不起, 我不会说汉语 duìbùqǐ, wǒ bù huì shuō hànyǔ
  • What does X mean?: X 是什么意思 – X shì shén me yì si

Help in Chinese

  • Help: 帮助 – bāng zhù
  • Caution: 谨慎 – jǐn shèn
  • Danger: 危险 – wēi xiǎn
  • Emergency: 紧急 – jǐn jí
  • Fire: – huǒ

Want all these basic mandarin phrases on flashcards?

Check out our official Pinterest account.


If you want to dig deeper into your Chinese let’s get started on some grammar structures and techniques.

Basic Mandarin || Quiz

Welcome to Basic Mandarin Quiz! Enter your First name and email to begin. Don't worry you can unsubscribe at any time!

First Name
Email
Water

你吃了吗 (nǐ chī le ma)

请 (qǐng)

Rice

Beer

Backwards

Right

Coffee

对不起 (duì bu qǐ)

Left

Yes

I like

你好 (nǐ hǎo)

Hotel

Bus

Car

在哪 (zài nǎ)

Restaurant

No

Noodles

I don’t like

我叫 (wǒ jiào)

Airplane

Beef

我来自 (wǒ lái zì)

再见 (zài jiàn)

谢谢 (xiè xiè)

Chicken

不客气 (bú kè qì)

Straight

Train

Cola

Airport

Café

你好吗 (nǐ hǎo ma)

Fancy trying your hand at some other languages? Check out our guide to the most basic Japanese phrases you need, useful Russian phrases and a beginners guide to Korean.

And what about Vietnamese? The popularity of the language is also growing quite fast. We teach you the absolute basics for Vietnamese here.

So much to discover with LTL! Happy studying 🤩

Basic Mandarin || FAQs

Can I pass HSK 1 quickly?

Within a couple of weeks of intensive Chinese at LTL you’d be passing HSK 1 with no problem.

You can take a free HSK 1 vocab test here.

How do you say Mandarin in Chinese?

Mandarin in Chinese is 普通话 (Pǔtōnghuà).

How do you say Hello in Chinese?

Hello in Chinese is 你好 (nǐ hǎo).

How can I learn Basic Mandarin?

There are proven neurological ways to retain basic mandarin with language learning such as using images, spaced repetition systems (SRS) and instant feedback to improve retention of any language.

How long does it take to learn the basics of Mandarin?

Two elements that contribute to the time taken to learn basic mandarin are the frequency of practice and learning methods used.

Completing 1 semester at LTL Mandarin School a low-level student could expect to pass HSK 3.

How can I speak basic Chinese?

Mandarin is a tonal language. Achieving speaking basic Chinese would involve several hours practising tones, initials and finals.

From this point, learners would be able to verbalise correctly basic mandarin words.

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Sign up below and become part of our ever-growing community.

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26 comments

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  1. hnikol
    Reply

    Bus: 总线 – zǒng xiàn
    don’t they use 公共汽车 for bus?

    1. LTL Team HQ
      Reply

      Yes they have a number of ways to say this actually but upon reflection 公共汽车 Gōnggòng qìchē is the most widely used so we have changed that!

      Thanks for your feedback

    2. Shivang Vyas
      Reply

      i like chinese language and culture of music and art

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  7. Jaime
    Reply

    This is so useful LTL, hopefully I can learn these all soon 💪

    1. Katie Coy
      Reply

      Thank you Jaime! Good luck with learning them 加油!

      LTL

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  9. Really helpful, thank you! Ryan

    1. Katie Coy
      Reply

      Thanks Ryan, glad you found it helpful!

      The LTL Team

  10. Alberto
    Reply

    👏👏👏

    1. LTL Team HQ
      Reply

      🍻

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  14. Tamsin Parker
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    Why is there a picture of Jay Gatsby featured here?

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  16. SnowGirl
    Reply

    very useful for the begginer like me 🙂 thank you very much <3

    1. Max Hobbs
      Reply

      Pleasure! Always happy to help 🙂

  17. eddie
    Reply

    bookmarked!!, I love your websіte!

  18. juvy
    Reply

    Not bad 23 correct out of 35 yahoooo, i love mandarin and starting some basic words thank you and KUDOS LTL xie xie…..

    1. Max Hobbs
      Reply

      Great score, well done Juvy! Keep up the great work 🙂