115+ Basic, Everyday Chinese Phrases That You Need to Know

Imagine you’ve just met a native Chinese speaker and they’re trying to communicate with you in English.

Even if they’ve learned a lot about the structure of the English language, it’s not all that useful if they don’t know basic greetings in an English-speaking country.

The same goes for you when you find yourself in a Chinese-speaking environment.

If you want to improve your speaking skills, here are over 115 useful phrases to facilitate communication with native Chinese speakers!


Chinese Greetings and Introductions


Basic Chinese Phrases


Asking for Help in Chinese


Chinese Small Talk Phrases


Conversational Chinese Phrases


Shopping Phrases in Chinese


Eating Out and Restaurant Phrases in Chinese


Travel and Transportation Phrases in Chinese


Saying Goodbye in Chinese


Why Memorize These Mandarin Phrases?


Learning any new language is a daunting prospect, but Chinese is especially difficult for many foreigners to learn. Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, and features a complex writing system that requires the memorization of many different characters. If you’re diving into Chinese language studies, you might not be sure where to start.

That’s where memorizing common phrases comes in. By learning just a handful of common phrases, you’re giving yourself a head start. Even without a more robust vocabulary, you’re suddenly awarded the ability to communicate, even if it’s on a very basic level.

Learning set phrases also gives you a leg up in perfecting Chinese pronunciation. Pronunciation plays a very important role in Chinese, and using the wrong tone for a word can turn it into a completely different word. The phrases in this post use 拼音 (pīnyīn), a system of romanization that was developed to help foreign speakers use the correct pronunciation. In addition, you can click on any phrase in this post to hear it pronounced. 

Learning these phrases is just the beginning. Use them as a jumping-off point to continue your studies and expand your knowledge of Mandarin Chinese. Take the next step in your studies with the help of a language learning program like FluentU. This authentic-video-based program can help you see the words from these phrases in new and realistic contexts.

FluentU uses real Mandarin Chinese-language videos like movie trailers and clips, funny commercials, inspirational talks and more. You can search for any word to see it in use in videos. Plus, as you’re watching, you can hover your mouse over or tap on any word in the dual-language subtitles to see its contextual definition.

Save words to your customizable vocabulary decks and use the built-in quizzes to study them. Flashcards display the word’s meaning, grammar info, example sentences and even clips from other videos on FluentU where the word appears.

With FluentU, you can take your learning from phrase memorization to actual knowledge. That way, you’ll be able to take the words and sentence structures from these phrases and apply them to actual Chinese conversations.


Mandarin Chinese can be tough, but remembering some run-of-the-mill phrases does help while you learn the structure of the language.

Just putting forth the effort to cram in these phrases and using them while traveling is an admirable venture.

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