If you’re on a short trip to China and need to learn some survival Chinese phrases, these probably aren’t the phrases for you. But if you’re beginning your journey to learn Mandarin in China, these are 20 phrases you’ll encounter frequently in your daily life in China. They’ll also help show you basic examples of how to form sentences. Join Twelve and Lucy as they show you how to use them!
1. Long Time No See!
✌️Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn！
✌️Long time no see!
2. Is anyone sitting here?
🤷♀️Is anyone sitting here?
🤷♀️Zhè li yǒu rén zuò ma?
3. Do you drink Bai Jiu or Beer?
🍺Nǐ hē bái jiǔ hái shì pí jiǔ?
🍺Do you drink Chinese white spirits or beer?
4. Are you coming to KTV with us?
🎤Nǐ gēn wǒ men yī qǐ qù KTV ma？
🎤Are you coming to KTV with us?
5. Have you eaten?
🍕 Nǐ chī guò le ma？
🍽 Have you eaten?
6. What kind of gifts do Chinese people like?
🎁Zhōng guó rén xǐ huān shén me lǐ wù?
🎁What gifts do Chinese people like?
7. Can I add your Wechat?
✅Wǒ kě yǐ jiā nǐ wēi xìn ma？
✅Can I add your WeChat?
8. Can I drink the tap water?
💦Zì lái shuǐ kě yǐ hē ma?
💦Can I drink the tap water?
9. Can I smoke in here?
🤷♀️Can I smoke here?
🤷♀️Wǒ zài zhè lǐ kě yǐ chōu yān ma?
10. Happy Birthday!
🎁Zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè!
11. This chicken has bones in it.
😳The chicken has bones in it.
😳Jī ròu li yǒu gǔtou。
12. What is that sound?
😳Shén me shēng yīn？
😳What was that sound?
13. Let’s Order Takeout.
🤷♀️Wǎn shàng wǒ men chī shén me？
🤷♀️What are we eating tonight?
📱Diǎn wài mài ba.
📱Let’s order takeout.
14. Drink more hot water.
🍵Duō hē rè shuǐ
🍵Drink more hot water
15. You’ve got the wrong number.
☎️Nǐ dǎ cuò diàn huà le
☎️You’ve called the wrong number
16. I still haven’t finished my homework.
😅Méi yǒu, wǒ hái méi zuò wǒ de zuò yè。
😅No, I still haven’t finished my homework.
In China, people say 茄子 when they take a photo.
18. What are you doing at 1pm today?
🤷♀️Nǐ jīn tiān zhōng wǔ yī diǎn zuò shén me？
🤷♀️What are you doing today at 1 o’ clock in the afternoon?
19. Time for class!
⏰Shàng kè le!
⏰Time for class!
20. Have a pleasant trip!
✈️Zhù nǐ yī lù shun fēng
✈️Have a pleasant trip!
Are you a beginner learning Chinese? Need help with speaking, pronunciation, grammar, writing characters, etc? There’s many wonderful resources such as language apps and language schools that can help you. Check out our language school vs app guide to determine which is right for you.