100 Basic Chinese Phrases for Beginners 

Essential Beginner Chinese Phrases: Your First Step to Fluency

Embarking on the journey of learning Chinese opens up a new realm of opportunities and cultural experiences. Mastering the basics can significantly enhance your travels, business, and personal connections in Chinese-speaking countries. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the 100 essential Chinese phrases that beginners should prioritize to kickstart their linguistic adventure.

Greetings and Polite Expressions

A man and a woman standing on a street, smiling at each other in conversation. The man is wearing a white t-shirt and the woman is in a gray shirt, both in a casual urban setting.

First impressions matter. Knowing how to greet someone in Chinese sets the tone for a respectful and friendly interaction.

  • Hello: "你好 (Nǐ hǎo)"
  • Goodbye: "再见 (Zài jiàn)"
  • Please: "请 (Qǐng)"
  • Thank you: "谢谢 (Xièxiè)"
  • You're welcome: "不客气 (Bù kèqì)"

These phrases are the building blocks of polite conversation, reflecting your willingness to engage with the Chinese language and culture.

Navigating Your Way

A young man with a backpack standing on a busy city sidewalk, looking pensively ahead, with pedestrians and city buildings in the background.

As a traveler or someone living in a Chinese-speaking region, being able to ask for directions and express your needs is crucial.

  • Where is the bathroom?: "洗手间在哪里? (Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎlǐ?)"
  • How much is this?: "这个多少钱? (Zhège duōshao qián?)"
  • I don’t understand: "我不懂 (Wǒ bù dǒng)"
  • Do you speak English?: "你会说英文吗? (Nǐ huì shuō Yīngwén ma?)"

These practical expressions ensure that you can navigate through most daily situations with ease.

Food and Dining

An elegant restaurant interior with tables set for dining, wine glasses, and cutlery on each table, and a bar in the background with bottles on shelves.

Exploring Chinese cuisine is a highlight for many. Communicate your dietary preferences and savor the vast array of dishes available.

  • I'm vegetarian: "我吃素 (Wǒ chīsù)"
  • Please reserve a table for two, please: "请给我预订一张二人桌 (Qǐng gěi wǒ yùdìng yī zhāng èr rén zhuō)"
  • Check, please: "买单 (Mǎidān)"

Whether you're dining out or ordering in, these phrases will help you enjoy China's culinary delights without the guesswork.

Emergency and Health

A building with a large red cross sign, indicating a hospital or medical facility, surrounded by greenery with a clear sky above.

In case of an emergency, knowing how to ask for help is paramount.

  • Help!: "救命! (Jiùmìng!)"
  • I need a doctor: "我需要医生 (Wǒ xūyào yīshēng)"
  • Where is the hospital?: "医院在哪里? (Yīyuàn zài nǎlǐ?)"

Prioritizing these phrases can ensure your safety and well-being during your stay in Chinese-speaking regions.

Making Connections

Language is about connection. Express interest in others and share about yourself to foster friendships and deeper understanding.

  • What's your name?: "你叫什么名字? (Nǐ jiào shénme míngzì?)"
  • My name is…: "我的名字是... (Wǒ de míngzì shì...)"
  • I'm from (insert country): "我来自(insert country)... (Wǒ láizì...'insert country')"

Through simple introductions and sharing personal details, you can build meaningful relationships despite being a beginner in the language.


Embarking on the journey of learning Chinese with these 100 basic Chinese phrases for beginners equips you with the tools to navigate new experiences, foster connections, and immerse yourself in a rich cultural tapestry. Remember, every phrase you learn is a step closer to fluency. Dive into the beauty of the Chinese language and culture with confidence.

if you enjoyed this post you may enjoy studying our 1000 Common Chinese Words course.

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