Guest Post: 10 Most Helpful Chinese Phrases

From my friends over at Learn Mandarin Now… they have given you some important basic Chinese to get you started on learning the #1 most spoken language in the world. Enjoy!

If you want to learn Mandarin for a trip to China, you may be wondering what are the most important phrases you should learn.  Here are ten of the most important Chinese phrases for travelers.  Use any of these phrases while you’re in China to get you started learning about the culture. For more Mandarin learning tips, feel free to visit our blog Learn Mandarin Now(insert link:


  •  ‘Too expensive’:   Tai Gui Le  太贵了

This phrase is an absolute must for haggling in the market.  Don’t forget to add in a few dramatic gestures to emphasize your point.  If you haven’t quite learned your numbers, most shopkeepers keep a calculator handy and they will be happy to enter the price and show the display.

  •  ‘I don’t understand’:    Ting Bu Dong  听不懂

This single phrase will help you out in a variety of situations.  If you’re in a situation that requires further communication, the other person will go in search of someone who understands English.

  •  ‘No hot pepper’:  Bu Yao La Jiao  不要辣椒

There are a number of places in China, especially Hunan or Sichuan Province, where they really like their spicy foods.  In places like this, this phrase is vital

  •  ‘Excuse me’ (‘let me by’):   Qing Rang Yi Xia  请让一下

China is quite crowded and occasionally you may find yourself needing to get past people.  This is the polite way to ask them to move so you may pass.

  •  ‘Where’s the bathroom?’:  Ce Suo Zai Na Li   厕所在哪里?

Is there anywhere in the world that this would not be a helpful phrase?

  •  ‘Please don’t smoke’:  Qing Bu Yao Chou Yan 请不要抽烟

Many Chinese people smoke, and non-smoking signs are often ignored.  This phrase can come in handy if you’re in a no-smoking area and someone lights up, especially if you don’t smoke.

  •  ‘Thank you’:  Xie Xie  谢谢

Being polite is important and Thank you is an important polite phrase.  There are several ways to say Thank you in Chinese, but this is the one used most often.

  •  ‘Hello’:  Ni Hao   你好

This is certainly a useful phrase, but you might be surprised that it’s just as common to greet someone by asking whether they’ve eaten.

  •  ‘How much is it?’:   Duo Shao Qian?  多少钱?

Obviously, you’re going to use this phrase before you complain it’s too expensive.

  •  ‘No, no, you needn’t’:  Bu Yong, Bu Yong   不用,不用

Chinese people have a tendency to go overboard with hospitality, especially with foreigners and it’s up to you to not take advantage.  Even when you do accept a generous gesture from a Chinese person, it’s polite to demur, at least verbally.

Learning these phrases is a great way to start out with learning Chinese(insert link: and will help you get around the country while you expand your horizons.



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