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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 takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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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.

And One More Thing...

If you want to continue learning Chinese with interactive and authentic Chinese content, then you'll love FluentU.

FluentU naturally eases you into learning Chinese language. Native Chinese content comes within reach, and you'll learn Chinese as it's spoken in real life.

FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos.

FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.

FluentU's Learn Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you're learning.

The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a 100% personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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