Top 30+ Basic Chinese Words You Need

When did you start learning the 中文 (pronounced as Zhōngwén) or Chinese language? If you just started yesterday, then we understand how overwhelmed you must be feeling right now! When it comes to mastering this Asian language, we recommend that you start by familiarizing yourself with the basic Chinese words and expressions. Having knowledge of these can certainly help you improve your chances of creating meaningful sentences in the future.

Whether you are planning to simply travel to 中国 (pronounced as Zhōngguó) or work with Chinese people, having an understanding of the basic characters is important for you to connect and understand them better. Though it may be complex, the Chinese characters can also help you understand other related languages like Japanese (Kanji) and Korean (Hanja). Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

What Is China?

If someone makes you guess which country has the world’s oldest culture, we can imagine that China would be your answer. China is an enormous country located in East Asia. If you wonder how big China is, it covers five time zones, and its border is close to 14 countries! The current population in China in 2022 is 1.4 billion people, and over 50 ethnic groups reside in China. So you can imagine how colorful Chinese culture and language dialects are.

What Is The Difference Between Chinese And Mandarin?

Basically, Chinese and Mandarin are spoken widely in China and Taiwan. However, Chinese is the term to describe every dialect, while Mandarin refers to one specific dialect in modern Chinese. So non-Chinese speakers commonly refer to the Chinese language without a particular dialect with the term Chinese. On the other hand, Mandarin is an official language. To explain it more clearly, Mandarin is standard Chinese, and the largest group of all Chinese speakers widely speaks, such as people in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, and Taiwan.

basic Chinese words and phrases

Basic Chinese Words

Short Answers In Chinese

  • 是 / shì / Yes
  • 不是 / bù shì / No
  • 对 / duì / Correct
  • 不对 / bù duì / Incorrect
  • 好 / hǎo / Good
  • 不好 / bù hǎo / Bad
  • 去 / qù / Go
  • 来 / lái / Come
  • 喜欢 / xǐhuān / Like
  • 不喜欢 / bù xǐhuān / Dislike
  • 吃 / chī / Eat
  • 喝 / hē / Drink
  • 睡觉 / shuìjiào / Sleep
  • 今天 / jīntiān / Today
  • 昨天 / zuótiān / Yesterday
  • 明天 / míngtiān / Tomorrow

Numbers In Chinese

  • 一 / yī / One
  • 二 / èr / Two
  • 三 / sān / Three
  • 四 / sì / Four
  • 五 / wǔ / Five
  • 六 / liù / Six
  • 七 / qī / Seven
  • 八 / bā / Eight
  • 九 / jiǔ / Nine
  • 十 / shí / Ten

Basic Chinese Phrases

Chinese Greetings

  • 你好 / nǐ hǎo / Hello
  • 你好 吗 / nǐ hǎo ma / How are you?
  • 我很好 / wǒ hěn hǎo / I am fine
  • 很高兴见到你 / hěn gāo xìng jiàn dào nǐ / Nice to meet you
  • 早上 好 / zǎo shàng hǎo / Good morning
  • 下午 好 / xiàwǔ hǎo / Good afternoon
  • 晚上 好 / wǎn shàng hǎo / Good evening
  • 晚安 / wǎn ān / Good night
  • 再见 / zàijiàn / Goodbye
  • 慢走 / màn zǒu / Take care
  • 谢谢 / xiè xie / Thank you
  • 回头见 / huí tóu jiàn / See you later
  • 生日快乐 / shēngrì kuàilè / Happy birthday
  • 不客气 / bù kèqì / You’re welcome
  • 恭喜 / gōng xǐ / Congratulations

Common Chinese Phrases

  • 我明白 / wǒ míng bái / I understand.
  • 我不明白 / wǒ bù míng bái / I do not understand.
  • 我不知道 / wǒ bù zhī dào / I do not know.
  • 我知道 / wǒ zhī dào / I know
  • 我爱你 / wǒ ài nǐ / I love you.
  • 对不起 / duì bù qǐ / I am sorry.

Introduce Yourself In the Chinese Language

  • 我叫 (your name) / wǒ jiào (your name) / My name is (your name)
  • 我是美国人 / wǒ shì měiguó rén / I am American.
  • 我会说中文 / wǒ huì shuō zhōngwén / I can speak Chinese.
  • 我不会说英语 / wǒ bù huì shuō yīngyǔ / I cannot speak English.
  • 我是学生 / wǒ shì xuéshēng / I am a student.
  • 我十八岁了 / wǒ shíbā suìle / I am eighteen years old.

Ask People In Chinese

  • 你叫什么名字? / nǐ jiào shénme míngzì / What is your name?
  • 你 会说 英语 吗? / nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma? / Can you speak English?
  • 你今年多大了? / nǐ jīnnián duōdà / How old are you?
  • 洗手间在哪里? / xǐshǒujiān zài nǎlǐ / Where is the toilet?
  • 火车站在哪里? / huǒchē zhàn zài nǎlǐ ne / Where is the train station?
  • 多少钱?/ duōshǎo qián? / How much?
  • 你在哪 / nǐ zài nǎ / Where are you?
  • 你吃了吗 / nǐ chī le ma / Have you eaten?
  • 什么意思? / shén me yì si / What do you mean?
basic Chinese words and phrases


The next time you visit China, we urge you to jump out of your comfort zone and try to interact with the locals in their native language. First, you should familiarize yourself with all these useful Chinese words and expressions we covered above. Don’t be afraid of committing linguistic mistakes, as the locals will surely appreciate your passion for learning their language. Even though you are a beginner, having a chance to use even the Chinese greetings will help you advance your speaking skill quickly.

Though remembering even one basic Chinese word or only knowing how to say good morning in Chinese is not enough to break the barrier between you and a Chinese person. If you want to truly connect better, using a resource like the Ling App is a must.

Learn Chinese Words And Phrases With The Ling App

Learn Chinese with the Ling App

Planning to learn a new language, and Chinese is the one you want to start? Whether China is your next destination for a long holiday or you plan to study in China, stop using the English word to make your life easy. Instead, it is time to bring your Chinese skill to the world!

The Ling App offers Chinese and 60+ languages. In addition, we created various features you can enjoy, such as word and phrase practice, pronunciation recheck, listening to a native accent and conversation examples via the chatbot. So let’s surprise people with your Chinese language skill by learning using the Ling App today! Download it now!

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