Basic Chinese – 10 Easy Sentences for Beginners

  • May 22, 2019
 

Whether you just need survival Mandarin for a trip in China, or are a beginner learning the building blocks of basic Chinese, these 10  easy sentences (with video examples!) are a great start. Both pinyin and characters are provided.

1. What’s your name?

你叫什么名字?

Nǐ jiào shén me míng zì?

In English, questions usually begin with an interrogative word, but you can see in this Chinese example it begins with the subject. This is common in basic Chinese questions, and you’ll see it again in most of the other question examples.

2. Where are you from?

你来自哪里?

Nǐ lái zì nǎ li?

3. What is this?

这是什么?

Zhè shì shén me?

 

“This” can also be translated as 这个(Zhè ge), but Chinese people often leave out the 个 (ge) in spoken Mandarin.

 

4. I’d like to buy _____.

我想买 _____。

Wǒ xiǎng mǎi  _____ 。

 

Good news! Just like in English, declarative sentences in Chinese usually follow the subject-verb-object order. As you build your mandarin vocabulary, simply add any noun into this sentence structure.

5. How much is it?

多少钱?

Duō shǎo qián?

6. What time is it?

现在几点?

Xiàn zài jǐ diǎn?

 

几 jǐ can mean “how many?” or, when referencing a list of numbers, it can mean “which (number)?”点 can mean “hour.” So 几点 literally means “which hour?”If a Chinese person invites you to dinner, you can ask “几点 jǐ diǎn?”

7. Where do you want to go?

你想去哪里?

Nǐ xiǎng qù nǎ li?

 

To respond, just add the Chinese word for where you’d like to go onto this structure:

我想去 _____ 。

Wǒ xiǎng qù _____ .

8. How do I get to the ______ ?

_____ 怎么走?

_____ Zěn me zǒu?

 

Remember to add your subject before the verb when asking how to get somewhere!

9. How is the weather in _____ ?

_____ 的天气怎么样?

______ de tiān qì zěn me yang?

 

 

怎么样 (zěn me yang) can be used to ask for someone’s opinion on anything. Just ask “ (subject) 怎么样?“

 

 

10. What’s wrong?

你怎么了?

Nǐ zěn me le?

 

 

You may have noticed that some of the basic Chinese words used here contain pronunciations that aren’t included in the English language. To learn how to pronounce these sounds, check out our article on the 5 Chinese pronunciations that are different from English.  https://www.omeidachinese.com/chinese-pronunciation-c-q-r-x-z/

 

 

If you’re interested in studying Chinese in China, you may want to read our guide on how to choose the right Chinese language school for you. https://www.omeidachinese.com/chinese-language-school-factors/

Whether you just need survival Mandarin for a trip in China, or are a beginner learning the building blocks of basic Chinese, these 10  easy sentences (with video examples!) are a great start. Both pinyin and characters are provided.

1. What’s your name?

你叫什么名字?

Nǐ jiào shén me míng zì?

In English, questions usually begin with an interrogative word, but you can see in this Chinese example it begins with the subject. This is common in basic Chinese questions, and you’ll see it again in most of the other question examples.

2. Where are you from?

你来自哪里?

Nǐ lái zì nǎ li?

3. What is this?

这是什么?

Zhè shì shén me?

 

“This” can also be translated as 这个(Zhè ge), but Chinese people often leave out the 个 (ge) in spoken Mandarin.

 

4. I’d like to buy _____.

我想买 _____。

Wǒ xiǎng mǎi  _____ 。

 

Good news! Just like in English, declarative sentences in Chinese usually follow the subject-verb-object order. As you build your mandarin vocabulary, simply add any noun into this sentence structure.

5. How much is it?

多少钱?

Duō shǎo qián?

6. What time is it?

现在几点?

Xiàn zài jǐ diǎn?

 

几 jǐ can mean “how many?” or, when referencing a list of numbers, it can mean “which (number)?”点 can mean “hour.” So 几点 literally means “which hour?”If a Chinese person invites you to dinner, you can ask “几点 jǐ diǎn?”

7. Where do you want to go?

你想去哪里?

Nǐ xiǎng qù nǎ li?

 

To respond, just add the Chinese word for where you’d like to go onto this structure:

我想去 _____ 。

Wǒ xiǎng qù _____ .

8. How do I get to the ______ ?

_____ 怎么走?

_____ Zěn me zǒu?

 

Remember to add your subject before the verb when asking how to get somewhere!

9. How is the weather in _____ ?

_____ 的天气怎么样?

______ de tiān qì zěn me yang?

 

 

怎么样 (zěn me yang) can be used to ask for someone’s opinion on anything. Just ask “ (subject) 怎么样?“

 

 

10. What’s wrong?

你怎么了?

Nǐ zěn me le?

 

 

You may have noticed that some of the basic Chinese words used here contain pronunciations that aren’t included in the English language. To learn how to pronounce these sounds, check out our article on the 5 Chinese pronunciations that are different from English.  https://www.omeidachinese.com/chinese-pronunciation-c-q-r-x-z/

 

 

If you’re interested in studying Chinese in China, you may want to read our guide on how to choose the right Chinese language school for you. https://www.omeidachinese.com/chinese-language-school-factors/

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