Blog

Posted in Blog, Culture, Infographics

30 Best Chinese & Taiwanese Snacks You Should Try

30 Best Chinese and Taiwanese Snacks You Should Try

– The Ultimate Guide to Chinese Snacks and Taiwanese Snacks

Chinese snacks

Chinese candy

Who doesn’t love snacks? Around the world, Asian snacks are very well-known for their many varieties and tastes. I grew up in Taiwan and moved to the States in 2008. The city I live in does not have a huge Asian market, so that’s why every time when I am back to Taiwan to visit family and relatives, eating snacks is one of my daily, must-have routines! 

Here, I am going to introduce you to the 30 best Chinese snacks & Taiwanese snacks you should definitely try! 

In this article, it not only shows you what those snacks are, but also includes many pictures and videos that I took while I was in Taiwan. Let’s go unbox these delicious, tasty, and flavorful Chinese snacks.

 

Table of Contents 目录

凤梨酥 / 鳳梨酥 fènglí sū Pineapple Cakes

If you have tried some Chinese snacks, you must know pineapple cakes. But a fun fact you might not know is that traditional pineapple cakes did not have pineapples as an ingredient or main ingredient. The filling was mainly made from winter melon and sugar. Then in recent years, more and more people liked the filling to be not only sweet but also mixed with some sourness. So, people started making the filling with pineapple and sugar. 

You can make pineapple cakes at home. They are actually not hard to make. As an immigrant like me, it is not easy to find hometown snacks in some cities, so this is one of the traditional Chinese snacks you can make at home. 

I found this recipe on YouTube. I have tried this recipe quite a few times and really like it. But I did make some changes. I double the amount of the dough, while keeping the same amount of the filling. The baker in the video did not use a mold to shape the cakes. I found that it is doable if you don’t have one. Another reason I like to share this recipe is it also has English subtitles with the video.

 

科学面 / 科學麵 kēxué miàn Science Noodles

This Taiwan Instant Noodle has been popular since I was a child. The name Science Noodles is literally translated from its name on the package. “科學 / 科学 kēxué” is science. The most popular way to eat this noodle is to break the noodles into small chunks before the package is opened. Then when you open it, there is a seasoning package inside. Mix the seasoning package with the noodles and shake it!

Let’s watch this unpackaging video made by vividchinese.com.

Music: www.bensound.com

蛋卷 / 蛋捲 dàn juǎn Egg Roll

Egg rolls are one of the most popular Chinese snacks, but not every brand is classic. If you go to an Asian store to find egg rolls, Serena should be the first one you look for. 喜年来蛋卷 / 喜年來蛋捲 xǐ nián lái dàn juǎn. Serena egg rolls are made by Serena Foods Incorporation. Just like its name, the shape of the egg rolls is long and hollow. The egg roll is VERY fragile (as you can tell from the short clip below!). You have to have a container or a napkin to catch the crumbs while you are eating. 

Serena egg rolls package

egg roll package

 

Serena egg rolls: 4 rolls in a package

Chinese snack: egg roll

 

Serena egg rolls are long and hollow

egg roll hollow

 

义美泡芙 / 義美泡芙 / yì měi pào fú Puff

This mini puff is not like the kind that is freshly made from bakeries. They have 6 different flavors you can easily find in the stores in Taiwan. There are, chocolate, lemon, strawberry, milk, custard pudding, and vanilla choco. Their classic ones are chocolate, milk, and strawberry. 

The size of a puff is bite-sized. The texture of the crust is crispy. Some people find that it tastes even better after you freeze it! If you can get a box, try it this way!

Puff in the store

puff

 

Vanilla Choco puff

puff 

puff

 

牛肉干/ 牛肉乾 niúròu gān Beef Jerky

It is funny to say that beef jerky really gave me a culture shock when I just arrived in the States. When I first saw beef jerky in a store in the US, I thought it would be about the same as the ones I had in Taiwan. And I found out I was wrong. Most of the beef jerky in the United States is pretty dry. The ones in Taiwan are flavorful and not as dry as the ones in the US. The main reason is they are made in different ways. Most of the beef jerky from the United States is put in a dehydrator while the meat is still raw (after marinating). But the ones in Taiwan, they cook the meat first and then dehydrate or bake them in an oven. When they cook, most of the sauce from marinating will be cooked into the meat. The juice will make the jerky softer. Spicy beef jerky has become popular in recent years. 

Beef jerky in the store. 

Flavors:

Top row left to right: KaoLiang Spicy Flavor Beef Jerky, Original Flavor Beef Jerky

Bottom row left to right: Original Flavor, Spicy Hot Beef Jerky

beef jerky

 

Chinese beef jerky

 

巧克力酥片 / 巧克力酥片 qiǎokèlì sū piàn Crunchoco

This is a round and thick Crunchoco. It is made by one of the most famous food companies, “I MEI 義美 yì měi.” There are two flavors, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate. Crunchoco has sliced almonds on the top. It comes with in an individual pack. Crunchoco is easy to break apart. Some people prefer to eat as it whole, while some prefer to break it apart. I have not tried it personally, but I know some people even have it with milk! 

This is one of my TOP 3 snacks. 

Left to right: Original (milk chocolate), Dark chocolate. 

crunchoco

 

crunchoco

 

Crunchoco is pretty thick. It is as thick as the wide of my thumb.

crunchoco

 

北海鳕鱼香丝 / 北海鱈魚香絲 běihǎi xuěyú xiāng sī North Sea Fishnacks

Another snack that is well known to Asian snack seekers. North Sea Fishnack is made by the Yofeng food company. This is the original fishnacks. Since it is so popular, plenty of others have tried to follow suit. But if you can find the “North Sea,” stick with this brand and you won’t regret it! The original fishnacks were long and thin. But later on, they introduced a newer kind that is wide. North Sea Fishnacks are chewy and with a bit of spiciness, but the spiciness goes away fast. Most kids can handle it. Besides the original flavor, now they also have a spicy flavor.  

North Sea Fishnacks 

Left to right: Original thin Fishnacks, Wide spicy Fishnacks 

Chinese snack: North Sea Fishnacks

 

 

North Sea Fishnacks

 

虾味先 / 蝦味先 xiā wèi xiān Shrimp Strips

These shrimp strips are made by the Yuzong Food Company. The length of the strips is about the same as the vegetable strips you can find in the States. But the shrimp strips are not hollow. The strips are crispy. They have expanded from the original flavor to three more flavors. They are spicy, kimchi, and spicy pot as you can see from the picture below. 

Shrimp Strips

 

Shrimp Strips

 

可乐果 / 可樂果 kě lè guǒ Pea Crackers

The pea crackers have a unique shape, like spiral pasta. They are crispy. There was only the original flavor when I was a kid, but they have many fancy flavors now, like basil, wasabi, lemon pink salt, Szechuan spices, seaweed, and spicy. I have tried most of them and I loved everyone I tried!

Pea Crackers

 

Its shape is like a spiral pasta.

Pea Crackers

 

旺旺仙貝 / 旺旺仙贝 wàngwàng xiān bèi Want Want Senbei and 雪餅 / 雪饼 xuě bǐng Rice Crackers

I have included both “旺旺仙貝 wàngwàng xiān bèi” and “雪餅 xuě bǐng” in the same section because they are pretty similar. They are both crackers made of rice. The texture is crunchy. They are also both mixed with salty and sweet flavors. 

Want Want Senbei packages

Want Want Senbei

 

Want Want Senbei

 

Want Want Senbei

“雪餅 / 雪饼 xuě bǐng” literally means “snow crackers.” As you can see in the picture below, it has a white drops layer and it looks like snow. That’s where the name comes from. 

 

海苔 / 海苔 hǎitái Dried Seaweed, Roasted Seasoned Seaweed

Dried seaweed is another popular snack in Taiwan. They come in a few different sizes. Some of them are as small as half an iPhone 6 screen, while some of them are bigger and you can make a sushi roll out of it. 

Check out the video and see how many kinds of seaweed we have in a grocery store. They are all just like snacks. You can just open them and eat. One of the popular ways is to put rice on the top of a piece of seaweed and fold it. 

There are many dried seaweed choices in the store. They even have their own aisle! 

seaweed section

 

Small size seaweed, 6 pieces per pack. 48 packs in a bag.

small size seaweed

 

Bigger size seaweed that you can place rice in the middle and make rice sushi.

big size seaweed

 

蘇打餅乾 / 苏打饼干 sūdǎ bǐnggān Crackers

Besides my beef jerky shock, salty crackers also changed my expectations as well!

The square salty crackers we have in Taiwan are not plain slat. There are three main flavors you should be able to find, seaweed, vegetable, and green onion, as you can see in the picture below.

Chinese snack: crackers

 

沙其马 沙琪玛 / 沙其馬 沙琪瑪 Shā qí mǎ Sachima

This soft sugar-flour cake reminds me of an American snack, Rice Krispie Treats. They are similar but Sachima do not have marshmallows as an ingredient. The texture is fluffy. It mainly consists of flour, butter, and rock sugar.

Sachima

 

水果乾 / 水果干 shuǐguǒ gān Dried Fruits

Part of China and Taiwan are located in tropical areas. That is why we are able to get many different varieties of fruits. I believe that this one of the main reasons that dried fruit is so popular in China and Taiwan. Here is a long list with some pictures to prove how much we love our dried fruits!

芒果干 / 芒果乾 mángguǒ gān, Dried mangos

青芒果干 / 青芒果乾 qīng mángguǒ gān, Dried green mangoes

芭乐干 / 芭樂乾 bā lè gān, Dried guavas

红心芭乐干 / 紅心芭樂乾 hóng xīn bā lè gān, Dried red guavas

凤梨干 / 鳳梨乾 fènglí gān, Dried pineapples

草莓干 / 草莓乾 cǎoméi gān, Dried strawberries

杨桃干 / 楊桃乾 yángtáo gān, Dried star fruits

龙眼干 / 龍眼乾 lóngyǎn gān, Dried longans

洛神干 / 洛神乾 luòshén gān, Dried roselles

奇异果干 / 奇異果乾 qíyì guǒ gān, Dried kiwifruits

蕃茄干 / 蕃茄乾 fānqié gān, Dried tomatoes

香蕉干 / 香蕉乾 xiāngjiāo gān, Dried bananas

柠檬干 / 檸檬乾 níngméng gān, Dried lemons

橘子干 / 橘子乾 júzi gān, Dried oranges

柚子干 / 柚子乾 yòuzi gān, Dried pomelo fruits

 

蜜餞 / 蜜饯 mìjiàn Preserved Fruits 

Preserved fruits are usually not considered as healthy as fresh fruits and dried fruits, since they need to have added preservatives to keep the fruits edible for a long time. They are usually sourer than dried fruits. The most popular preserved fruit is plum. 

 

山楂餅 shānzhā bǐng / 仙楂餅 Xiān zhā bǐng Haw flakes 

Haw flakes are Chinese sweets made from the fruit of the Chinese hawthorn. Haw flakes can be as thin as two millimeters. But you also can find thicker ones in the stores. These can be as thick as 1 centimeter. 

This sweet and tangy Chinese snack is usually served to guests along with tea, or as a treat for children. A fun fact that some of you might know is that most of Chinese herbal medicine is made in a liquid form, and they are bitter. Some Chinese people take these flakes with these bitter Chinese herbal medicines or have a piece of haw flake after having bitter Chinese herbal medicines.

 

陳皮梅 Chan Pui Mui Preserved Plums

Chan Pui Mui is preserved and candied plums that are flavored with orange peel. It was made from plums, orange peel, and sugar. 

When I first tried Chan Pui Mu, its look did not amaze me. But I convinced myself to try it, since I love most preserved plums. I was glad I did try it. There is a reason why it has stayed in the market for such a long time! It is really tasty if you like sweet and sour snacks.

 

果凍 / 果冻 guǒdòng Jelly

“果凍 / 果冻 guǒdòng” literally means “fruit frozen.” The original idea was from freezing fruits. When I was a kid, jelly was a simple jelly. They had different colors for the different fruit flavors they were made from. The container was smaller than the ones I find these days.

Jelly has got so popular now, and I found the “coconut-jelly and lychee jelly” is most people’s favorite. The coconut-jelly is cut into small cubes. The lychee flavor jelly is mixed with a few small coconut-jelly cubes in a jelly container. 

The ones below are also popular with kids:

Coconut-Jelly Mango Flavor Jelly

Coconut-Jelly Assorted Jelly

Tropical Mix Fruit Jelly

Chinese snacks: Jelly

 

糖果 / 糖果 tángguǒ Candy

When talking about snacks, we can’t skip candy! Before we jump into the candies I love, let’s learn some candy-related vocabulary.

糖果 / 糖果 tángguǒ Candy 

軟糖 / 软糖 ruǎn táng Soft candy / Gummy 

硬糖 / 硬糖 yìng táng Hard candy

牛奶糖 / 牛奶糖 Niúnǎi táng Caramel

牛軋糖 / 牛轧糖 niú gá táng Nougat

棒棒糖 / 棒棒糖 Bàng bàng táng Lollipop

太妃糖 / 太妃糖 Tài fēi táng Toffee

棉花糖 / 棉花糖 Miánhuā táng Marshmallow

口香糖 / 口香糖 Kǒuxiāngtáng Chewing gum

泡泡糖 / 泡泡糖 Pàopaotáng Bubble gum

巧克力 / 巧克力 qiǎokèlì Chocolate

 

大白兔奶糖 / 大白兔奶糖 Dàbái tù nǎi táng White Rabbit Candy

White rabbit candy is definitely the top candy that defined many people’s childhoods. It is popular worldwide. People remember it has edible rice wrapper and the rich milk flavor comes right after. 

 

森永牛奶糖 / 森永牛奶糖 sēnyǒng niúnǎi táng Morinaga Milk Caramel 

If you like Asian snacks, you must have heard of Morinaga before. Morinaga came from Japan originally. But Taiwan Morinaga was established in 1961.

Morinaga milk caramel was the very first product Taiwan Morinaga made. This milk caramel is soft and combines milk and caramel flavors. This definitely is the classic. The original package is a small box that contains 12 square milk caramels. Now they also have individual packs with cube shapes in it. 

 

嗨啾 / 嗨啾 hāi jiū Hi-Chew

When talking about candies, Hi-Chew may be many kids’ first candy that jumps into their mind. Hi-Chew is made by Morinaga. It was originally from Japan but soon became very popular everywhere. Hi-Chew has many flavors. If you visit a different country, you may find flavors that you are not able to find in your area. According to Wikipedia, Hi-Chew is available in 14 flavors in the United States: watermelon, strawberry, green apple, dragon fruit, mango, grape, peach, banana, melon, cherry, kiwi, açai, pineapple, and (exclusive to Hawaii) lilikoi. 

 

养乐多软糖 养乐多软糖 Yǎnglèduō ruǎn táng / 乳酸菌軟糖 Rǔsuānjùn ruǎn táng Yogurt Soft Candy 

Yogurt soft candy is popular among children as well. Like the ones in the picture below.

Some parents do not allow candy for their little ones, but they may consider giving them yogurt soft candy. Some of the brands add probiotic within it, so parents may believe it is better for kids.

 

番石榴糖 / 蕃石榴糖 Fān shíliú táng Guava Candy

Guava candy was loved by most of my students when I was a high school Chinese teacher in the United States. This guava candy is a round hard candy. It has a rich guava flavor. Since the candy size is pretty small, it is pretty easy to eat them non-stop!  

 

森永多乐糖 台湾特产水果硬糖 / 森永多樂糖 台灣特產水果硬糖 Sēnyǒng duō lè táng táiwān tèchǎn shuǐguǒ yìng táng Morinaga Taiwan Specialty Fruits Hard Candy

Another kind of candy that is made by the Morinaga Company. I did not have this kind of candy when I was little. I found this one a few years ago when I went back to visit my family in Taiwan. 

There are 5 fruit flavors in the can, mango, peach, passion fruit, lychee, and guava. They are all pretty close to the real fruit flavor in my opinion. My favorite is lychee!

 

牛轧糖 / 牛軋糖 niú gá táng Nougat

As you can tell from its Chinese name, you may guess “nougat” did not originate from the Chinese language. So probably it was not first made in our culture. Yes, you are right. There are different stories about where it was from. According to Wikipedia, many legends exist around nougat’s origins. The early recipes for white nougat were probably borrowed from Central Asia. 

The original nougats were made from honey, almond, and egg white. But when nougats came to Taiwan, the bakers changed the ingredients. They used milk powder as the main ingredient along with sugar, butter, egg white, nuts, and dried fruit bits. The texture is between soft candy and hard candy. 

 

口香糖 / 口香糖 kǒuxiāngtáng 泡泡糖 / 泡泡糖 pàopaotáng Chewing Gum, Bubble Gum

“口香糖 / 口香糖 kǒuxiāngtáng” literally means “mouth smell good candy.” And “泡泡糖 / 泡泡糖 pàopaotáng” literally means “bubble candy.”

When I was little, there were two famous gum brands. They were “青劍口香糖 / 青剑口香糖 qīng jiàn kǒuxiāngtáng” and “飛壘口香糖 / 飞垒口香糖 fēi lěi kǒuxiāngtáng.”

青劍口香糖 / 青剑口香糖 qīng jiàn kǒuxiāngtáng is the brand “Doublemint.” It is a piece of chewing gum. You can’t really make a bubble from it. But the minty flavor can help get rid of food smells in the mouth. 

Even though “飛壘口香糖 / 飞垒口香糖 fēi lěi kǒuxiāngtáng” prints “口香糖 / 口香糖 kǒuxiāngtáng” on its label, it is also a bubble gum. It was actually well known for being able to make a big bubble out of it.  

Now, Airwave and Extra gums are taking over the gum market in Taiwan. 

chewing gums

 

堅果 / 坚果 jiānguǒ Nuts

Nuts are one of the Chinese snacks we will give as a gift in Chinese culture. We like to have nuts while chatting, watching TV, watching movies, and when we get bored. There are some nuts we like that are pretty common in other cultures, like 開心果 / 开心果 kāixīn guǒ, pistachio, and 花生 / 花生 huāshēng, peanut. There is one I really like but I came to realize that some people find this Chinese snack “quite interesting,” it is 杏仁小魚 xìngrén xiǎo yú, Almond and Fish Snack Mix.

Nuts section in the store

Chinese snack: nuts

 

杏仁小魚 xìngrén xiǎo yú Almond and Fish Snack Mix

Its name says everything. It is mixed with almond and fish. But the fish is not the fresh big fish you find in the seafood department in a grocery store. There are small fish. Those small fish can be a few different kinds of fish but mainly are clove fish. 

“杏仁小魚 Almond and Fish Snack Mix,” its name says everything. It is a mix of almond sand fish. But the fish is not the fresh big fish you find in the seafood department in a grocery store. There are small fish. Those small fish can be a few different kinds of fish but are mainly clove fish. 

 

黄飞红麻辣花生 / 黃飛紅麻辣花生 Huáng fēihóng málà huāshēng Huangfeihong Spicy Peanuts

As spicy flavors are being accepted by more people, Huangfeihung peanuts have become a popular product when you go to Asian stores in the United States. If you like spicy flavors and nuts, this is the must-try snack. The peanuts are not only seasoned with dried red peppers, but also mixed with Sichuan peppercorns that will numb your tough. Some people enjoy the numb feeling. I will even keep the dried red peppers and the Sichuan peppercorns for later. I will have them to either eat straight or stir fried with vegetables or chicken. 



Chinese New Year Snack Box

When the time approaches for Chinese New Year, you may notice that many stores, shops, receptions of companies, apartments and residential building entrances will place a bowl or a box by the entrance. A variety of goodies are in there. When there are little kids visiting a relative’s house, the host will offer the box and let the little ones have whatever they would like to take. If you shop in a store, and they have a bowl with goodies, you are welcome to take a couple of them. All of these symbolize that you will have a sweet New Year.  

 

Posted in Blog, Culture, Infographics, Vocabulary

These 99 Chinese Expressions Are All You Need to Go From Zero to Hero

These 99 Chinese Expressions Are All You Need to Go From Zero to Hero

We are introducing these 99 Chinese expressions are you need to go from zero to hero. We have “Chinese Expressions for Greetings and Goodbyes,” “Emotion-Related Chinese Expressions,” “Manner Expressions in Chinese,” “Learning Chinese expressions, proverbs, and idioms,” “Chinese Classroom Expressions,” “Chinese Expressions for Travelers,” “Chinese restaurant expressions,” and “Popular Chinese Internet slang” these 8 categories in this article with four fun infographics!

 

Table of Contents 目录

Chinese Expressions for Greetings and Goodbyes 

Chinese expression greetings

 

你好 / 你好 nǐ hǎo Hello

hello in Chinese

In all of the Chinese textbooks, this is the one that will be used most. Hello in Chinese, 你好 nǐ hǎo. In a real life setting, we do use this Chinese expression to greet people, but usually to people that are not our close friends and family members. You can use 你好 nǐ hǎo to greet your colleagues, someone you just meet, or whoever does not have a close relationship with you. 

For instance, you are having a job interview..

Interviewee: 你好 Nǐ hǎo

Interviewee: Hello.

Interviewer: 你好,请你自我介绍一下。Nǐ hǎo, qǐng nǐ zìwǒ jièshào yīxià.

Interviewer: Hello. Please introduce yourself.

 

您好 / 您好 nín hǎo Hello

hello in Chinese

This has similar usage with the one above. The difference is “您好 nín hǎo” is a more polite way to greet. You usually greet someone with “您好 nín hǎo” who is older than your generation, or someone that you would respect, regardless of whether they are older or younger than you. 

I would like to express a cultural difference here. Not too long after I came to the States, I became a high school Chinese teacher. Teaching students Chinese was not my biggest challenge, communicating with my colleagues and the parents were. In Chinese culture, we highly prioritize social status. When we address other people, we most likely address them with their family name and title if they have one. 

For instance,

If someone is a lawyer and his last name is 王 wáng, then we call him 王律师 Wáng lǜshī.

If someone owns a business (she is the boss) and her last name is 林 lín, then we call her 林老板 Lín lǎobǎn.

If someone is a teacher and his last name is 张 zhāng, then we call him 张老师 Zhāng lǎoshī.

How is this cultural aspect related to this Chinese expression? Well, as mentioned before, we use “您好 nín hǎo” to greet someone who is older than you and someone you respect. But who do we respect in Chinese culture? Well, a very general way to explain it, is that someone who may have a higher social status, is someone for you to show your respect to. 

 

您贵姓?/ 您貴姓? Nín guìxìng? What is your surname?

what is your surname in Chinese

Literally this means “What is your honorable surname?” Use “您” and “贵” to be polite when asking people for their surnames.

 

最近怎么样? / 最近怎麼樣? zuìjìn zěnme yàng? How have you been lately?

how have you been in Chinese

This Chinese expression is translated as “how have you been lately?” “最近 zuìjìn” means lately, recently. And “怎么样 zěnme yàng” can be translated to “how about…” or “how is/are…” So, when you combine both together, you get the meaning.

People usually use this phrase to greet someone they know and haven’t seen them for a while. For instance,

好久不见,你最近怎么样?Hǎojiǔ bùjiàn, nǐ zuìjìn zěnme yàng?

Hey, long time no see! How have you been lately?

你知道他最近怎么样吗?Nǐ zhīdào tā zuìjìn zěnme yàng ma?

Do you know how he has been doing recently?

 

早上好(晚上好) / 早上好(晚上好) Zǎoshang hǎo (wǎnshàng hǎo) Good morning (Good evening)

good morning in Chinese

They usually are used in a general setting. You can use them to greet your friends, your co-workers, your boss, even someone you may not know. They also can be used as an opening to a speech when timing is appropriate. 

For instance,

各位先生女士,晚上好。Gèwèi xiānshēng nǚshì, wǎnshàng hǎo.

Good evening, Ladies and gentlemen!

 

喂 / 喂 wéi Hello (on the phone)

hello on the phone in Chinese

This Chinese expression is kind of vague since we only use it on the phone. It can be translated to “hello.” When answering the phone in Chinese, we usually say,

喂 wéi, (你好 nǐ hǎo / 您好 nín hǎo), (请问找哪位?qǐngwèn zhǎo nǎ wèi?)

Hello, (how are you?) (Who are you looking for?)

Since everyone is not exact the same when answering the phone, you can simply just say “喂 wéi,” or add a few more words like in the example above.

 

干嘛呢?/ 幹嘛呢? gàn ma ne? What are you doing?

what are you doing in Chinese

This Chinese expression is often in mainland China rather than in Taiwan. As I grew up in Taiwan, I was not used to this way of greeting. It sounded rude. It sounds like “Hey, what the heck are you doing!?” to me. But later on, I realized that in mainland China, especially in the north of China, people like to greet their friends or colleagues with this greeting. They are not really curious as to what you are really doing, it is just a way to start the conversation. I found it pretty neat!

 

再见 / 再見 zàijiàn Goodbye, See you

goodbye in chineses

This is the general way to say goodbye. It can be used in both formal and informal settings. 

 

拜拜 / 拜拜 bàibài Goodbye, see you!

goodbye in chineses

Even though 再见 is the one that all the textbooks used for goodbye in Chinese, I have to admit, I use 拜拜 bàibài much more often than 再见 zàijiàn when I say goodbye. 

As you can see from the pronunciation, 拜拜 comes from “bye bye.”

 

明天见 / 明天見 míngtiān jiàn See you tomorrow!

see you tomorrow in Chinese

This means to see you tomorrow! 

(End of school today, you are saying goodbye to your friend…)

A: 拜拜!Bàibài!

See you!

B: 再见!明天见!Zàijiàn! Míngtiān jiàn!

See you tomorrow!

You also can replace “明天 míng tiān” with other different time words if you have set an appointment to see each other again. For instance,  

星期五 xīngqīwǔ Firday 

我们星期五见!Wǒmen xīngqīwǔ jiàn!

See you Friday!

 

Or a time with more details

星期五晚上八点 8 pm Friday

Xīngqíwǔ wǎnshàng bā diǎn

那我们星期五晚上八点在电影院见吧!

Nà wǒmen xīngqíwǔ wǎnshàng bā diǎn zài diànyǐngyuàn jiàn ba!

Let’s meet at the theater at 8 pm on Friday! 

 

回头见 / 回頭見 huítóu jiàn See you later! Bye! 

see you later in Chinese

This is a more informal way to say bye. 

return, turn around

head

见 to see

If you combine those three words’ meanings together, it literally means “to see each other when you turn around the head.” You can think of it this way: when saying goodbye, that also means you are heading in a different direction. When you turn your head around, you are heading in the same direction, that’s when you will see each other again. 

 

再联络 / 再聯絡 zài liánluò Keep in touch

keep in touch in Chinese

再 again

联络 to get in touch with, to contact

Example,

那我们再联络喔!Nà wǒmen zài liánluò ō!

Let’s keep in touch!

 

告辞 / 告辭 gàocí To say goodbye, to take one’s leave

goodbye in chineses

This is a formal and polite way to say goodbye. You can use this Chinese expression this way,

我先告辞了!Wǒ xiān gàocíle!

I will take my leave.

 

对不起,他还有点事,所以我们先告辞了。

Duìbùqǐ, tā hái yǒudiǎn shì, suǒyǐ wǒmen xiān gàocíle.

Sorry! He has some business to attend to later, so we will take our leave.

 

好久不见 / 好久不見 hǎojiǔ bùjiàn Long time no see

long time no see in Chinese

The first two words “好久” mean “long time,” and “不” means “no, not.” The last word “見” means to meet, to see. If you have not seen a friend for a while, when you finally meet him, you can simply greet him with “好久不見.”

 

后会有期 / 後會有期 hòuhuìyǒuqī Hope to see you again

hope to see you soon in Chinese

This idiom is used when saying goodbye. It means hope to see you again. The literal meanings of each word are:

后 means after.

会 means to see, to meet.

有 means to have, to exist.

期 means date.

So, it is not hard to understand the meaning when you put them together. When you say goodbye, you hope there is a date in the future, you will meet again.

 

一路顺风 / 一路順風 Yīlù shùnfēng Have a pleasant journey

have a pleasant trip in cheese

If you would like to wish your friend to have a safe and good trip.

For instance,

听说你下周要去美国读书了,祝你一路顺风!

Tīng shuō nǐ xià zhōu yào qù měiguó dúshūle, zhù nǐ yīlù shùnfēng!

I heard that you are going to study abroad in the United States, I wish you have a safe and good trip! 

 

Chinese Expressions for Greetings and Goodbyes Video

Music: Bensound.com

 

 

Emotion-Related Chinese Expressions

The Chinese expressions are listed in this section that can be used to express emotions. You can simply use the format: 

Subject + (觉得) + 很 + emotion Chinese expression if it is a adjective.

Chinese expression emotion

 

高兴 / 高興 gāoxìng happy, glad, willing (to do something), in a cheerful mood

happy, glad

我很高兴能帮到你!

Wǒ hěn gāoxìng néng bāng dào nǐ!

I am glad that I can help!

 

开心 / 開心 kāixīn to feel happy, to rejoice, to have a great time

rejoice

我今天玩得很开心!谢谢你请我来你家。

Wǒ jīntiān wán dé hěn kāixīn! Xièxiè nǐ qǐng wǒ lái nǐ jiā.

I had a great time today. Thank you for inviting me to your house.

Both 高兴 and 开心 mean “happy,” but they are not complete interchangeable. You can tell the difference from their translation. 

 

难过 / 難過 nánguò to feel sad, to feel unwell

feel sad

我很难过我没有拿到冠军。

Wǒ hěn nánguò wǒ méiyǒu ná dào guànjūn.

I am sad that I did not get to the championship. 

 

生气 / 生氣 shēngqì to get angry, to take offense, be angry

to get angry

我很生气,他居然没有问我就拿了我的书。

Wǒ hěn shēngqì, tā jūrán méiyǒu wèn wǒ jiù nále wǒ de shū.

I am angry because he did not ask me first and he just took my book.

 

紧张 / 緊張 jǐnzhāng nervous

nervous

明天的辩论比赛让我很紧张。

Míngtiān de biànlùn bǐsài ràng wǒ hěn jǐnzhāng.

Tomorrow’s debating contest is making me nervous.

 

兴奋 / 興奮 xīngfèn excited, excitement, (physiology) excitation

excited

我很兴奋因为我明天要去迪士尼啦!

Wǒ hěn xīngfèn yīnwèi wǒ míngtiān yào qù díshìní la!

I am excited that we are going to Disney tomorrow!

 

尴尬 / 尷尬 gāngà awkward, embarrassed

awkward

今天碰到了我的前男友,好尴尬啊!

Jīntiān pèng dàole wǒ de qián nányǒu, hǎo gāngà a!

I bumped into my ex-boyfriend today. It was awkward.

 

害怕 / 害怕 hàipà afraid, to be afraid, to be scared

afraid

这个新冠状病毒让民众非常害怕。

Zhège xīn guānzhuàng bìngdú ràng mínzhòng fēicháng hàipà.

This Covid-19 makes people really scared.

 

冷静 / 冷靜 lěngjìng calm, cool-headed

calm

保持冷静!

Bǎochí lěngjìng!

Keep calm!

 

惊讶 / 驚訝 jīngyà amazed, astonished, to surprise, amazing

amazed

我很惊讶看到他恢复得很好!

Wǒ hěn jīngyà kàn dào tā huīfù dé hěn hǎo!

I am amazed to see he has recovered really well.

 

累 / 累 lèi tired, weary, to wear out

tired

工作了一整天,爸爸妈妈都很累了。

Gōngzuòle yī zhěng tiān, bàba māmā dōu hěn lèile.

Dad and mom worked all day. They are really tired.

 

伤心 / 傷心 shāngxīn to grieve, to be broken-hearted, to feel deeply hurt

grieve

The literal meaning of this expression is “hurt heart.”

听到爷爷过世的消息,他伤心极了。

Tīng dào yéyé guòshì de xiāoxī, tā shāngxīn jíle.

He heard the news that his grandpa had passed away, it broke his heart.

 

不好意思 / 不好意思 bù hǎoyìsi to feel embarrassed, to find it embarrassing, to be sorry (for inconveniencing someone)

to feel embarrassed

From the meanings of 不好意思 bù hǎoyìsi, you should understand that this phrase can be used in a few different settings. See the examples below:

不好意思,我迟到了。

Bù hǎoyìsi, wǒ chídàole.

I am sorry (I feel embarrassed) that I am running late.

不好意思,可以麻烦你帮我拿那本书吗?太高了,我拿不到。

Bù hǎoyìsi, kěyǐ máfan nǐ bāng wǒ ná nà běn shū ma? Tài gāole, wǒ ná bù dào.

Sorry to trouble you, can you get that book for me? It is too high. I am not able to reach it.

 

好笑 / 好笑 hǎoxiào laughable, funny, ridiculous

laughable

他这个人很幽默,说话很好笑!

Tā zhège rén hěn yōumò, shuōhuà hěn hǎoxiào!

He has a really good sense of humor. The way he talks is funny!

 

担心 / 擔心 dānxīn anxious, worried, to worry, to be anxious

anxious

我们担心新冠状病毒疫情的扩散。

Wǒmen dānxīn xīn guānzhuàng bìngdú yìqíng de kuòsàn.

We worry that the outbreak of Covid-19 will spread.

 

火大 / 火大 huǒ dà angry, annoyed, pissed

pissed

This Chinese expression is more like slang. It literally means fire and big, big fire. If you describe a person who is in a “big fire,” that means he is pissed at the moment.

我现在很火大,不要跟我说话!

Wǒ xiànzài hěn huǒ dà, bùyào gēn wǒ shuōhuà!

I am pissed!  Don’t talk to me!

For emotion-related Chinese idioms, you can visit one of our trending posts, Emotion related Chinese idioms. There are five types of emotion, joy and happiness, smile and laugh, fear and dread, cry and weep, and anger and rage, with three frequently-used idioms for each type, totaling 15 idioms.

 

Emotion-Related Chinese Expressions Video


Music: Bensound.com

 

Manner Expressions in Chinese

manners in Chinese

请 / 請 qǐng Please

请帮忙!

Qǐng bāngmáng!

Please help!

 

谢谢 / 謝謝 xièxie Thanks, thank you

谢谢你的帮忙!

Xièxiè nǐ de bāngmáng!

Thank you for your help!

 

对不起 / 對不起 duìbùqǐ Sorry

对不起,我没看到!

Duìbùqǐ, wǒ méi kàn dào!

Sorry I did not see it!

 

抱歉 / 抱歉 bàoqiàn To be sorry, to feel apologetic, sorry!

我很抱歉我来晚了。

Wǒ hěn bàoqiàn wǒ lái wǎnle.

I am late. My apologies. 

 

请问 / 請問 qǐngwèn May I ask…

This is the term you should add when you would like to ask politely. You place this term at the beginning of the sentence. For instance,

请问,最近的星巴克怎么走?

Qǐngwèn, zuìjìn de xīngbākè zěnme zǒu?

May I ask (Excuse me), how to get to the closest Starbucks?

 

不用谢 / 不用謝 bùyòng xiè You are welcome

不客气 / 不客氣 bù kèqì You are welcome

Both “不用谢” and “不客气” mean “you are welcome”, they are just used in different regions. 

A: 谢谢你的帮忙!Xièxiè nǐ de bāngmáng!

Thank you for your help!

B: 不客气!Bù kèqì!

You are welcome!

 

没关系 / 沒關係 méiguānxì It is ok. It doesn’t matter.

学生: 老师,对不起,我忘了带作业。Xuéshēng: Lǎoshī, duìbùqǐ, wǒ wàngle dài zuòyè.

Student: I am sorry, teacher. I forgot to bring my homework.

老师: 没关系,请你明天带来。Lǎoshī: Méiguānxì, qǐng nǐ míngtiān dài lái.

Teacher: It is ok. Please bring it tomorrow.

 

没问题 / 沒問題 méi wèntí No problem

A: 我可以跟你借一下那本书吗?谢谢!Wǒ kěyǐ gēn nǐ jiè yīxià nà běn shū ma? Xièxiè!

May I borrow that book from you? Thank you!

B: 好的,没问题!Hǎo de, méi wèntí!

Sure! No problem!

 

借过 / 借過 jièguò Excuse me (i.e. let me through, please)

We use “excuse me” in different settings. “借过 / 借過 jièguò” is translated as “excuse me” but is only used when you would like to pass through somewhere.

对不起,借过一下!谢谢!

Duìbùqǐ, jièguò yīxià! Xièxiè!

Excuse me, just passing through. Thank you!

 

祝 / 祝 zhù to wish To wish, to express good wishes

We use this word quite often. Whenever we would like to wish others. For instance:

祝你生日快乐!Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè!

Wish you happy birthday!

 

祝你新年快乐!Zhù nǐ xīnnián kuàilè!

Wish you happy New Year!

 

祝你一路顺风!Zhù nǐ yīlù shùnfēng!

Wish you have a smooth trip!

 

祝你早日康复!Zhù nǐ zǎorì kāngfù!

Wish you get well soon!

 

辛苦 / 辛苦 xīnkǔ Exhausting, arduous, to work hard, hardship

谢谢妳很辛苦地照顾我们!

Xièxie nǎi hěn xīnkǔ de zhàogù wǒmen!

Thank you for your hard work in taking care of us.

 

久仰大名 / 久仰大名 jiǔyǎng dàmíng I have been looking forward to meeting you for a long time

久 long time

仰 raise the head to look; look up to

大 big, great

名 name

If you put all of the separate meanings together, you get the meaning. We use this idiom when we first meet a person that we have heard about (from others.) You already had a good impression about them. Then when you meet them, you can say,

 

您好,久仰大名!

Nín hǎo, jiǔyǎng dàmíng!

Hello! I have been looking forward to meeting you for a long time.

(I know it sounds weird when translating into English. No one will say that in English!! But in Chinese, we use a simple idiom to express our respect.)

 

目中无人 / 目中無人 mùzhōngwúrén To consider everyone else is beneath you, you’re so arrogant that no-one else matters

目 eye

中 center, middle

无 negative, no, not

人 people, mankind

It literally means there is no one in your eyes. You think you are above everyone else. 

For instance,

他目中无人的态度,让人很火大!

Tā mùzhōngwúrén de tàidù, ràng rén hěn huǒ dà!

His arrogant attitude really makes people pissed!!

 

Learning Chinese expressions, proverbs, and idioms

太…了 / 太…了 tài…le too…

This is the expression used when you would like to express something is too…. You can add an adjective in the blank. Below are some adjective examples:

 

难 / 難 nán hard, difficult 

今天的考试太难了!

Jīntiān de kǎoshì tài nánle!

Today’s test is too hard!

 

简单 / 簡單 jiǎndān simple, not complicated

这个问题很简单,别想复杂了!

Zhège wèntí hěn jiǎndān, bié xiǎng fùzále!

This problem is simple. Don’t complicate it!

 

容易 / 容易 róngyì easy

昨天的考试满容易的。

Zuótiān de kǎoshì mǎn róngyì de.

The exam yesterday was pretty easy.

 

多 / 多 duō many, much, often, a lot of, numerous

这个星期的作业很多。

Zhège xīngqí de zuòyè hěnduō.

There is a lot of homework this week.

 

少 / 少 shǎo few, less, to lack

我中文課上的同學很少,只有五個學生。

Wǒ zhōngwén kè shàng de tóngxué hěn shǎo, zhǐyǒu wǔ gè xuéshēng.

There are not many students in my Chinese class. Only five.

 

作业 / 作業 zuòyè school assignment, homework

功课 / 功課 gōngkè homework  / assignment

Both “作业 zuòyè” and “功课 gōngkè” can refer to homework. They are interchangeable.

 

学如逆水行舟,不进则退。 / 學如逆水行舟,不進則退。Xué rú nì shuǐ xíng zhōu, bù jìn zé tuì.

Study is like rowing upstream: not advancing is to drop back.

We use this proverb to encourage students that learning is a nonstop process. It is not only a motto for students, but also for everyone. If you do not learn something every day, that means you are worse off than yesterday.

 

三人行,必有我师。Sānrén xíng, bìyǒu wǒ shī.

In a group of three people, there will always be one person I can learn from.

This means you always can learn something from others. 

 

青出于蓝,而胜于蓝 Qīngchūyúlán, ér shèng yú lán

Indigo blue is extracted from the indigo plant but is bluer than the plant it comes from.

It means the students surpass their teachers.

 

一分耕耘, 一分收获 / 一分耕耘, 一分收穫 Yī fēn gēngyún, yī fēn shōuhuò

No pain, no gain

耕耘 means plowing and weeding. But it also means to work or study diligently

收获 means to harvest, to reap, to gain

We usually use this proverb to encourage students that there are no freebies when it comes to learning and studying. You have to work hard first then you will gain. 

Example

一分耕耘, 一分收获,你的努力會有回報的。

Yī fēn gēngyún, yī fēn shōuhuò. Nǐ de nǔlì huì yǒu huíbào de.

No pain, no gain. Your hard work will pay off.

 

熟能生巧,勤能补拙 / 熟能生巧,勤能補拙 Shúnéngshēngqiǎo, qínnéngbǔzhuō

Practice makes perfect, diligence makes up for one’s dullness

熟能生巧 literally means with familiarity you learn the trick.

It is all about practicing. How can you become familiar with something new? Practice. If you think you are lacking some skills, you can make up by practicing over and over!

 

好学不倦 / 好學不倦 hàoxué bù juàn

好学 eager to study

不倦 tireless

This idiom is used to describe a learner that is eager to learn and does not get tired of learning. 

Example

他是一個好學不倦的學生,他覺得學習是件有趣的事。

Tā shì yīgè hào xué bù juàn de xuéshēng, tā juédé xuéxí shì jiàn yǒuqù de shì.

He is a student who is diligent in learning. He has found learning is quite interesting. 

 

学海无边 / 學海無邊 xué hǎi wúbiān

No limits to what one still has to learn

学海 Sea of learning

无边 no horizon, no limit 

Example,

学海无边,人可以一生都在学习。

Xué hǎi wúbiān, rén kěyǐ yīshēng dōu zài xuéxí.

There is no end to learning. You can be learning your whole life.

 

不耻下问 / 不恥下問 bùchǐxiàwèn

Not to feel ashamed to ask and learn from one’s subordinates

Example,

奶奶虽然退休了,她仍不耻下问,想跟年轻人学习如何使用智慧型手机。

Nǎinai suīrán tuìxiūle, tā réng bùchǐxiàwèn, xiǎng gēn niánqīng rén xuéxí rúhé shǐyòng zhìhuì xíng shǒujī.

Even though my grandma is retired, she does not feel ashamed to ask and learn from young people how to use smart phones.

 

因材施教 / 因材施教 yīn cái shī jiào

to teach in line with the student’s ability

This idiom means a teacher that teaches each student according to their individual ability. 

Example,

一个班级如果人数太多,只有一位老师是很难因材施教的。

Yīgè bānjí rúguǒ rénshù tài duō, zhǐyǒu yī wèi lǎoshī shì hěn nán yīncáishījiào de.

If there are too many students in a class with only one teacher, it is hard to teach each student according to their ability.

 

Chinese Classroom Expressions

Below are some Chinese expressions that can help you survive in a Chinese classroom.

请再说一次 / 請再說一次 qǐng zàishuō yīcì Please say it one more time!

懂了 / 懂了 dǒngle Understood

不懂 / 不懂 bù dǒng No, I don’t understand

“…” 中文怎么说?/ “…” 中文怎麼說? “…” Zhōngwén zěnme shuō? How do you say “…” in Chinese?

“…” 是什么意思?/ “…” 是什麼意思? “…” Shì shénme yìsi? What does “…” mean?

这是什么?/ 這是什麼? zhè shì shénme? What is this?

请跟我说 / 請跟我說 qǐng gēn wǒ shuō Please repeat after me.

 

Chinese Expressions for Travelers

有没有…? / 有沒有…? Yǒu méiyǒu…?  Do you have…?

When you would like to ask if someone has something, use this Chinese expression,

(你) 有没有….? Place the object in the blank. For instance,

你有没有地图?

Nǐ yǒu méiyǒu dìtú?

Do you have a map?

 

… 多少钱? / … 多少錢?… Duōshǎo qián? How much is …?

When traveling, we often want to buy some souvenirs or something we may not get in our own country. To know how to ask how much a product costs is an important skill!

这个多少钱?

Zhège duōshǎo qián?

How much is this? 

 

我想去… / 我想去… Wǒ xiǎng qù…  I would like to go to …

我想去东方明珠。

Wǒ xiǎng qù dōngfāngmíngzhū.

I want to go to The Oriental Pearl Tower.

 

… 在哪里?/ … 在哪裡?… Zài nǎlǐ? Where is …?

请问,这家饭馆在哪里?

Qǐngwèn, zhè jiā fànguǎn zài nǎlǐ?

Excuse me, where is this restaurant?

 

厕所 / 廁所 Cèsuǒ Restroom

If you are in a hurry to go to a restroom, use this word or with the sentence structures above!

For instance,

请问,厕所在哪里?

Qǐngwèn, cèsuǒ zài nǎlǐ?

Excuse me, where is the restroom?

 

你会说英文吗?/ 你會說英文嗎?Nǐ huì shuō yīngwén ma? Can you speak English?

You can’t deny that English is the universal language. When you travel to a country that does not speak your native language, English probably is the one you may have in common with others. If you travel to China, Taiwan, or other areas that speaks Chinese, try this, 你会说英文吗?Nǐ huì shuō yīngwén ma?

 

Chinese Restaurant Expressions

Chinese Restaurant Expressions

Arriving at a Chinese restaurant expression

订位 / 訂位 dìng wèi  Making a reservation

Here are a few examples of how you can use this phrase in a Chinese expression.

请问有订位吗?/ 請問有訂位嗎?qǐngwèn yǒu dìng wèi ma? 

Do you have a reservation?

我有订位 / 我有訂位 Wǒ yǒu dìng wèi

I have a reservation. 

我没有订位 / 我沒有訂位 Wǒ méiyǒu dìng wèi 

I do not have a reservation. 

 

几位? / 幾位?jǐ wèi? How many people?

The waiter or waitress may ask you how many people when they greet you. This is usually how they ask and how you should respond.

服务员:几位? Fúwùyuán: Jǐ wèi?

Waiter: How many?

客人:四位。 Kèrén: Sì wèi.

Customer: Four.

服务员:好的,三加一。 Fúwùyuán: Hǎo de, sān jiā yī.

Waiter: Ok. Three plus one.

The reason I use “four” people here is because I would also like to talk about Chinese culture. Since four is an unlucky number in Chinese culture, service people are trained to avoid saying this number in front of their customers. They are not sure if their customers would mind. If they need to say the number 4, they usually use 3+1 instead. Isn’t that cool?

 

Ordering and eating food, Chinese expressions

菜单 / 菜單 càidān menu

这是我们的菜单,您先看一下 zhè shì wǒmen de càidān, nín xiān kàn yīxià.

This is our menu, you can take a look first.

 

今日特餐 / 今日特餐 jīnrì tè cān Today’s special

你们的今日特餐是什么?nǐmen de jīnrì tè cān shì shénme?

What is today’s special?

 

点,点餐 / 點,點餐 diǎn, diǎn cān order, order meal

A: 您要点餐了吗?

Nín yàodiǎn cānle ma?

Are you ready to order?

B: 好,我要点一份猪肉炒饭。

Hǎo, wǒ yàodiǎn yī fèn zhūròu chǎofàn.

Yes. I would like to order a pork fried rice.

甜点 / 甜點 tiándiǎn dessert

饮料 / 飲料 yǐnliào drink

 

我可以有…? / 我可以有…? wǒ kěyǐ yǒu…?  May I have…?

可以(请你)给我…吗?/ 可以(請你)給我…嗎?Kěyǐ (qǐng nǐ) gěi wǒ… Ma? Could you give me…?

If you need something, here are the sentence structures you can use. Below is some vocabulary that you may need in a restaurant.

 

餐具 / 餐具 cānjù tableware

可以再给我一套餐具吗?

Kěyǐ zài gěi wǒ yī tào cānjù ma?

Could you give me another set of tableware?

 

筷子 / 筷子 kuàizi chopsticks

汤匙 / 湯匙 tāngchí spoon

叉子 / 叉子 chāzi fork

酱油 / 醬油 jiàngyóu soy sauce

盐 / 鹽 yán salt

辣椒酱 / 辣椒醬 làjiāo jiàng spicy sauce, spicy paste

醋 / 醋 cù vinegar

茶 / 茶 chá tea

 

对不起,我没有点这道菜。Duìbùqǐ, wǒ méiyǒu diǎn zhè dào cài.

Sorry, I did not order this dish.

 

对不起,可以再给我一双筷子吗? Duìbùqǐ, kěyǐ zài gěi wǒ yīshuāng kuàizi ma?

Excuse me, could you give me another pair of chopsticks?

 

买单 / 買單 mǎidān or 结帐 / 結帳 jié zhàng Bill please?

服务员,我要买单。

Fúwùyuán, wǒ yāo mǎidān.

Waiter, can I have the bill please?

 

信用卡 / 信用卡 xìnyòngkǎ Credit card

你们收信用卡吗?Nǐmen shōu xìnyòngkǎ ma?

Do you take credit cards?  (Can I pay with a credit card?)

 

付现 / 付現 fù xiàn pay with cash

我付现。

Wǒ fù xiàn.

I will pay with cash.

 

谢谢光临,欢迎再来!/ 謝謝光臨,歡迎再來!Xièxiè guānglín, huānyíng zàilái!

Thank you for coming! We are looking forward to seeing you again!

 

Popular Chinese Internet Slang

剩女 / 剩女 shèngnǚ 

This Chinese expression is literally translated as “Left-Over Women.” It is used to describe a woman who is  passing the age that most women would get married at, which is around the mid 30s. 

 

留守儿童 / 留守兒童 liúshǒu értóng Left-Behind Children

This phrase is used to describe children that are not living with their parents. It is becoming a big social problem that young couples go to work in the city to have a better income. Their children have to stay in the country for many reasons. One of the main reasons is both parents are working, and no one can take care of the young kids. Sending them to daycare is another expense. Another reason is if the parents are not residents of the city, they and their kids are not qualified to receive some benefits and even education. So, the children will stay in the country with their grandparents. We call this kind of children, “left-behind” children. 

 

学霸 / 學霸 xué bà top student

学 studying, learning, knowledge

hegemon, tyrant , feudal chief, to rule by force, (in modern advertising) master

We combine these two words to a phrase to describe a person that is good at studying. He or she is the top student in the class. But this phrase only applies to those people that are good at academic subjects. They are not necessarily good at other skills.   

Example,

他从小在学校里就是个学霸,什么考试都难不倒他。

Tā cóngxiǎo zài xuéxiào lǐ jiùshì gè xué bà, shénme kǎoshì dōu nàn bù dǎo tā.

He has been the top student since he was little. None of the exams or tests can defeat him. 

 

网红 wǎng hóng Internet celebrity

网 means Internet, net.

红 means red, hot

This phrase has become quite popular in recent years in China and Taiwan. Since everyone (or almost everyone!) has a smartphone and Internet, people start making their own videos. Some videos go viral and the person becomes famous. We call this kind of people “网红 wǎng hóng.” It is like our YouTubers here, but there is no YouTube in China. 

 

友谊的小船说翻就翻 / 友誼的小船說翻就翻 yǒuyì de xiǎochuán shuō fān jiù fān

Let’s talk about the literal meaning of this Chinese expression below..

友谊 friendship

小船 little boat

翻 capsize, overturn

说 + action + 就 + action… It literally means as soon as you say something then you immediately do it. The sentence structure means that a specific action is made without serious consideration. 

This literally translates to “Friendship is like a little boat, it easily capsizes”. The Chinese expression is used to express when someone feels let down by their friend. 

 

富二代 / 富二代 fù èr dài Rich second generation

The actual meaning is also the literal meaning. This phrase is used to describe the children of entrepreneurs who became wealthy under Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms in the 1980s. This phrase has a negative meaning. It implies that a child that does not have his or her own ability to make money. They are used to living a wealthy life. They just rely on their parents’ wealth. 

But if people would like to describe a person who has that background, but yet still works hard, they can still use this phrase but add more details after. For instance,

他虽然是个富二代,但是还是从公司的基层员工做起。

Tā suīrán shìgè fù èr dài, dànshì háishì cóng gōngsī de jīcéng yuángōng zuò qǐ.

Even though he is from a wealthy family, he still works as a basic level worker in a company.

 

官二代 / 官二代 guān èr dài children of officials

In China, being an official means you hold some power in your hands. Having this power and relationships sometimes is even more powerful than having money. With that being said, a child of officials may have more privileges than other kids.

 

官宣 guān xuān Official announcement

This term is short for “官方宣布.” 

官方 means Official

宣布 means to announce, announcement

官宣 guān xuān is originally used as a noun, but now we sometime use it as a verb. This new phrase was first used in 2018 on China social media saying that a famous Chinese actress “官宣 guān xuān” her marriage news on Webo. Soon this phrase was being used everywhere. 

他还没承认他们的关系,等官宣吧!

Tā hái méi chéngrèn tāmen de guānxì, děng guān xuān ba!

He has not admitted their relationship yet. Let’s wait for the official announcement.

 

佛系 fó xì Buddhist style

This phrase is used to describe a ‘Zen’ attitude. It can be used in both positive and negative ways. For example, Coronavirus is a big thing in 2019 and 2020. Some people are being sarcastic when they say their government uses “佛系 fó xì” attitude to prevent the outbreak. It means they think their government is not as proactive as they would like. 

 

补刀 bǔ dāo

补 to add on, to make up for

刀 knife

This slang means to attack someone who is already under fire.

There is another saying that has a similar meaning, 伤口上撒盐 Shāngkǒu shàng sā yán, which literally means pouring salt on the wound.

 

吃货 chī huò foodie

吃 to eat

货 the goods

This Chinese expression is used to describe a person that can really eat a lot, or a person that puts eating above all other interests. 

He is really a foodie! He finished two bowls of rice and he is only three!

Posted in AP Exam, Blog, Grammar, Infographics, Vocabulary

Chinese Numbers 1-100 and Everything You Need to Know about Chinese Numbers!

Chinese numbers in Chinese characters

Counting from 1-100 is a must-have skill when it comes to learning a new language. In this article, we will cover Chinese numbers 1-100 and everything you need to know about Chinese numbers! This article will take about at least 30 minutes to read. Worth to read. But if you do not have enough time to read the whole article, use the table of contents below and jump to the “Numbers in Mandarin Chinese Conclusion” section. Here are the topics we will talk about…

Let’s learn the numbers in Mandarin Chinese!! We start with Chinese numbers 1-100.

Table of Contents 目录

Chinese Numbers 1-10

Here is how we write numbers 1 to 10 in Mandarin Chinese. In my opinion, there is not really a shortcut for numbers 1-10. You just have to memorize it. 

Let’s start with the first three, the easest numbers to remember.

Number 1 in Chinese is just one horizontal line:   1   yī

Number 2 in Chinese just adds one more line. 2  èr. The bottom line is slightly longer than the one above 

Number 3 in Chinese Three horizontal lines. Keep in mind that the middle line is the shortest. And the bottom line is the longest: 3   sān

Wouldn’t it be nice if number 4 follows the same pattern as numbers 1 to 3? But it doesn’t. Let’s list the next numbers from 4-10.

4 四  sì

5 五  wǔ

6 六  liù

7 七  qī

8 八  bā

9 九  jiǔ

10 十  shí

Chinese numbers 1-10

Chinese Numbers 11-19

Don’t worry about learning memory any tricks. Just memorize and practice a few more times if necessary. Once you are familiar with the numbers 1-10, the numbers 11-20 are actually pretty easy, since it follows a simple pattern.

The pattern goes like this…

11=10+1, so 11 in Chinese is 十一 shíyī  (literally “ten one”)

12=10+2, so 12 in Chinese is 十二 shíèr (“ten two”)

The same pattern applies to 13 through 19. Try saying those numbers before reading below! 

Did you get those right? 

13=10+3, so 13 in Chinese is 十三 shísān (“ten three”)

14=10+4, so 14 in Chinese is 十四 shísì (“ten four”)

15=10+5, so 15 in Chinese is 十五 shíwǔ (“ten five”)

16=10+6, so 16 in Chinese is 十六 shíliù (“ten six”)

17=10+7, so 17 in Chinese is 十七 shíqī (“ten seven”) 

18=10+8, so 18 in Chinese is 十八 shíbā (“ten eight”)

19=10+9, so 19 in Chinese is 十九 shíjiǔ (“ten nine”)

Chinese numbers 11-19

Chinese Numbers Pattern for Tens

After learning numbers 1 through 19, we come to the number 20. 

In Mandarin Chinese, the tens numbers follow the same pattern as hundreds, thousands, etc.

For example, we say two hundred to mean two hundred (2 x 100). So instead of twenty, we say “two ten.”

So 20 in Chinese is 二十 èrshí (literally “two ten”)

All the tens numbers follow this pattern.

30 in Chinese is 三十 sānshí (“three ten”)

40 in Chinese is 四十 sìshí (“four ten”)

You can guess the rest.

Chinese numbers pattern for tens

Chinese Numbers 21-100

With the two patterns, you can form any number less than from 1 to 99.

Here are some examples…

21=20+1, so 21 in Chinese is 二十一 èrshíyī (literally “two ten one”)

22=20+2, so 22 in Chinese is 二十二 èrshíèr (“two ten two”)

29=20+9, so 29 in Chinese is 二十九 èrshíjiǔ (“two ten nine”)

38=30+8, so 38 in Chinese is 三十八 sānshíbā (“three-ten eight”)

66=60+6, so 66 in Chinese is 六十六 liùshíliù (“six-ten six”)

And so on…

The last thing you are going to learn in this section is 100!

Hundred is “百 bǎi”

One hundred is 一百 *yìbǎi

* Notice that the tone for “一” has changed from the first tone to the fourth tone. See “Tone Change Rules” below for detail.

Chinese numbers 21-100

To review, here is the table below for Chinese numbers 1-100

NumberHanziPinyin
0零 / 〇Líng
1
2Èr
3Sān
4
5
6Liù
7
8
9Jiǔ
10Shí
11十一Shí yī
12十二Shí èr
13十三Shí sān
14十四Shí sì
15十五Shí wǔ
16十六Shí liù
17十七Shí qī
18十八Shí bā
19十九Shí jiǔ
20二十Èr shí
21二十一Èr shí yī
22二十二Èr shí èr
23二十三Èr shí sān
24二十四Èr shí sì
25二十五Èr shí wǔ
26二十六Èr shí liù
27二十七Èr shí qī
28二十八Èr shí bā
29二十九Èr shí jiǔ
30三十Sān shí
31三十一Sān shí yī
32三十二Sān shí èr
33三十三Sān shí sān
34三十四Sān shí sì
35三十五Sān shí wǔ
36三十六Sān shí liù
37三十七Sān shí qī
38三十八Sān shí bā
39三十九Sān shí jiǔ
40四十Sì shí
41四十一Sì shí yī
42四十二Sì shí èr
43四十三Sì shí sān
44四十四Sì shí sì
45四十五Sì shí wǔ
46四十六Sì shí liù
47四十七Sì shí qī
48四十八Sì shí bā
49四十九Sì shí jiǔ
50五十Wǔ shí
51五十一Wǔ shí yī
52五十二Wǔ shí èr
53五十三Wǔ shí sān
54五十四Wǔ shí sì
55五十五Wǔ shí wǔ
56五十六Wǔ shí liù
57五十七Wǔ shí qī
58五十八Wǔ shí bā
59五十九Wǔ shí jiǔ
60六十Liù shí
61六十一Liù shí yī
62六十二Liù shí èr
63六十三Liù shí sān
64六十四Liù shí sì
65六十五Liù shí wǔ
66六十六Liù shí liù
67六十七Liù shí qī
68六十八Liù shí bā
69六十九Liù shí jiǔ
70七十Qī shí
71七十一Qī shí yī
72七十二Qī shí èr
73七十三Qī shí sān
74七十四Qī shí sì
75七十五Qī shí wǔ
76七十六Qī shí liù
77七十七Qī shí qī
78七十八Qī shí bā
79七十九Qī shí jiǔ
80八十Bā shí
81八十一Bā shí yī
82八十二Bā shí èr
83八十三Bā shí sān
84八十四Bā shí sì
85八十五Bā shí wǔ
86八十六Bā shí liù
87八十七Bā shí qī
88八十八Bā shí bā
89八十九Bā shí jiǔ
90九十Jiǔ shí
91九十一Jiǔ shí yī
92九十二Jiǔ shí èr
93九十三Jiǔ shí sān
94九十四Jiǔ shí sì
95九十五Jiǔ shí wǔ
96九十六Jiǔ shí liù
97九十七Jiǔ shí qī
98九十八Jiǔ shí bā
99九十九Jiǔ shí jiǔ
100一百Yì bǎi

And you also can download this infographic (just right click and download it!)  

Chinese numbers 1-100

If you are a teacher, you are welcome to check out those vivid Chinese posters, including numbers in Chinese poster.

After learning Chinese numbers 1-100, let’s move on to the higher numbers.

Chinese Numbers 100 and Up (Large Numbers in Chinese)

– Chinese Characters for Hundred, Thousand, Ten Thousand, Hundred Million and Trillion.

 

Hundred: 百 bǎi – 100 (2 zeros)

Thousand: 千 qiān – 1000 (3 zeros)

Ten thousand: 万 wàn – 10000 (4 zeros)

Hundred million: 亿 yì – 10000000 (7 zeros)

Trillion: 兆 zhào – 1000000000000 (12 zeros)

– Numbers 101-109

This is how we read the number 101 in Chinese,

101 一百零一 yì bǎi líng yī (零 líng means “zero”)

 一百零一 broke down into individual character, literally means “one-hundred-zero-one”

 

102 一百零二 yì bǎi líng èr

“一百” “零” and “二” literally means “one-hundred-zero-two”

Follow the same pattern for the next few numbers up to 109.

Chinese numbers 101-109

– Numbers 110-119

For the numbers 10 to 19 within large numbers, it gets a bit tricky. 

For number 110, we read as “一百 一十 yìbǎi yīshí” instead of “一百 yìbǎishí.” Normally we just say 十 shí for ten, but in the large numbers, we add 一 yī in front of 十 shí. 

Same for the rest, 

111, we read as “一百 一十一 yìbǎi yīshíyī” literally means “one-hundred-one-ten-one.”

112, we read as “一百 一十二 yìbǎi yīshíèr” literally means “one-hundred-one-ten-two.” 

This will apply to all the larger numbers when 10 to 19 are involved. For 3910, we read as “三千九百 一十 sān qiān jiǔ bǎi yī shí.” Or literally “three-thousand-one-hundred-one-ten.” 

Chinese numbers 110-119

– Numbers 120-200

These next numbers are pretty straight forward. 

120 is read as 一百二十     (one-hundred-two-ten)

156 is read as 一百五十六     (one-hundred-five-ten-six)

178 is read as 一百七十八     (one-hundred-seven-ten-eight)

190 is read as 一百九十   (one-hundred-nine-ten)

200 can be read as 二百, but the more common way say 200 is “两百 liǎngbǎi.” You can learn more about this in the “Chinese number 2: When to say 二 èr? When to say 两 liǎng?” section below.

– Numbers 201-999

Let’s try some bigger numbers. See if you can say them correctly. 

506  

418

790

816

999

Check your answers below.

506 五百零六   “five-hundred-zero-six”

418 四百一十八 “four-hundred-one-ten-eight”

790 七百九十  “seven-hundred-nine-ten”

816 八百一十六 “eight-hundred-one-ten-six”

999 九百九十九 “nine-hundred-nine-ten-nine”

Chinese numbers 120-999

 

Download this infographic! It not only includes Chinese numbers 1-100, also the numbers up to

Numbers up to 999 in Chinese

– Numbers 1000 and up

When talking about large numbers, the main points we should address,

Large numbers in Chinese

First, We place commas every four digits, unlike in English, where commas are placed every three digits. (Note: since international communications are very common nowadays, placing commas every three digits are getting popular in China and Taiwan.) 

In Mandarin Chinese, here are the categories for each comma in ascending order: “small number,” “万 wàn, Ten thousand,” “亿 yì, Hundred Million,” and “兆 zhào, Trillion.”  

As you can see from the infographic above, there are 4 digits in each category.

The place values for each category are as follows:

Small numbers category: 个 ge, 十 shí, 百 bǎi, and 千 qiān. 

万 wàn category: 万, 十万,  百万, and 千万

亿 yì category: 亿, 十亿,  百亿, and 千亿

兆 zhào category: 兆, 十兆,  百兆, and 千兆

 

Let’s use this big number as an example: 7915348

large numbers to Chinese character

How do we write and read this number in Chinese? Don’t panic! Let’s learn this step by step!

  1. Write down the numbers in numerals (just the numbers). → 7915348
  2. Place a comma every 4 digits → 791,5348.
  3. The first 3 numbers are 791, which you will say 七百九十一 (“seven-hundred-nine-ten-one”). Because this number is in the “万 Wàn category,” we combine them as “七百九十一” (“seven-hundred-nine-ten-one-ten thousand“).
  4. The last 4 numbers are 5348, which you will say 五千三百四十八. (“five-thousand-three-hundred-four-ten-eight”)
  5. Combine step 3 & 4, this is how you say this number 七百九十一万五千三百四十八. (“seven-hundred-nine-ten-one-ten thousand-five-thousand-three-hundred-four-ten-eight“)

Not too hard, right!?  

And what happens if you hear someone say a large number in Chinese? Here is how to figure out what that number is: 

When you hear a number in Chinese

  1. Write down the number in Chinese characters or pinyin. For instance, you hear 九十八万七千一百二十 jiǔ shí bā wàn qī qiān yī bǎi èr shí
  2. See if there is/are “万” “亿”, “兆” in the number. In this case, you will find “万” 
  3. Separate them by categories. In this case, the number is separated into two categories, 1. small numbers, and 2. 万 wàn ten thousand.
  4. In the 万 wàn category, you see the characters “九十八”, and that is “98” (don’t worry about “万” here. It is just for the category.)
  5. In the small numbers group, you see the characters “七千一百二十,” and that is “7120.”
  6. Combine step 4 & 5, and we get the number 987120.

 

Do you know how to deal with large numbers in Chinese now? Try quizzing yourself with this infographic. The answer key is upside down.

Large number practice

You can come here to download the high-quality “big numbers in Chinese” infographic.

The Use of Zero in Chinese

zeros in Chinese

Zero is a bit tricky in Chinese. That is why there is a whole section devoted to this. But don’t worry, once you learn the rules, it’ll become second nature to you.

– When The Tens Digit Is Zero in Numbers Larger Than 100

For numbers greater than 100 with a zero in the tens place, the structure is like this: x + 百 + 零 + y

101: 一百零一 (one-hundred-zero-one)

305: 三百零五 (three-hundred-zero-five)

407: 四百零七 (four-hundred-zero-seven)

908: 九百零八 (nine-hundred-zero-eight)

When the tens digit is zero in numbers larger than 100

– Zero in The Ones Digit 

The structure is like this: x + 百 + y + 十 

110: 一百一十 (one-hundred-one*-ten)

760: 七百六十 (seven-hundred-six-ten)

920: 九百二十 (nine-hundred-two-ten)

*If the number is just 10, we just say ten 十 shí. But in numbers above 100, we say “one” before the ten.

 

Zero in the ones digit 

– One Thousand and Up

Similar to the rules in hundreds. But if you have more than ONE ZERO in a row, you just say “zero” once.

1001: 一千零一 (one-thousand-zero)

3,0002: 三万零二 (three-ten thousand-zero-two)

5080: 五千零八十  (five-zero-eight-zero)

One thousand and up

But wait! You may be asking… what if you hear someone say a large number and you hear “líng,” how do you know if that is just one zero or multiple zeros? Let’s cover that now.

big number in Chinese with zeros example

 

If you hear… 八亿零五十万零九十  bā yì líng wǔ shí wàn líng jiǔ shí

  1. Separate by categories: “兆”, “亿”, “万” and small numbers. So in this case, it becomes “八亿”  “零五十万” and “零九十”. 
  2. Remember in Chinese each category has 4 digits since we put commas at every 4 digits.
  3. The first one is “八亿”, so you can write “8.” Then we have “零五十万” which is “五十.” So that is a “50” in the 万 category. Because there are 4 digits in each category, we need to put 2 zeros before the 50. It becomes “0050.” Then “零九十”, which is “九十 90.” So it becomes “0090.” Combine all of them together and we get the number “8,0050,0090.” 

Practice with the numbers below. Answers are upside down.

big number with zeros practice

 

If you would like to download the high-quality “zeros in Chinese,” click here!

Watch this video to learn!

Now that we have learned how to say any numbers from zero to 1,000,0000,0000 in Chinese, you may wonder if there are ways to say even bigger numbers in Chinese? Of course, there are higher numbers, but we won’t go into it here. The numbers from zero to a trillion should keep you busy for a while.

Chinese Number 2: When to Say 二 èr? When to Say 两 liǎng?

If you have learned Chinese for a little while, you may notice that when we see “2,” we sometimes pronounce it as “二 èr,” but sometimes we say it as “两 liǎng.” So when do we say which? The infographic below will walk us through it.

 

 

  • We use 二 èr in these two circumstances:
  1. When giving a phone number

If your number is 432-722-1272, we read it as 四三二  七二二 一二七二

       2.When saying the ordinal number, which means “second”

For the “second one,” we read it as 第二个 (dì èr ge)

For the “second time,” we read it as 第二次 (dì èr cì)

  • We use 两 liǎng…

When talking about “two of something” or “both”

For “two cups of tea,” we say 两杯茶

When counting numbers, it becomes a bit tricky… But don’t worry. Let me explain. Here is an example number: 2,2222,2222,2222

 

Rule #1: We always read “2” as “二” if it is in the “ones” place of the small numbers category. 

Rule #2: Every “2” in the “tens” place of “兆”, “亿”, “万” or “small numbers”  categories, we always read as ““. Which you can see in red. (So ALL THE RED ONES read as )

Rule #3: Every “2” in the “thousands” and “hundreds” place of “兆”, “亿”, “万” and “small numbers” categories, we always read as “两”. Which you can see in blue.

Rule #4: If the “2” is the only number in its category, e.g., 2,3782, we read the 2 as “” even though it is in the ones place of that category. So we say “两万三千七百八十二.” Notice that the second “2” is “二” which follows Rule #1 above.

Another example, 2,8503,9278, we read the 2 as “两” even though it is in the ones place of that category. So we say “两亿八千五百零三万九千两百七十八.” Notice that the second “2” is “两” as well, which follows Rule #3 above.

Rule #5: If the “2” is in the “ones” place of “兆”, “亿”, “万” categories, but has other numbers before it, then we read it as “二.” E.g., 32, 6282, we say 三十二万六千两百八十二

Quick review

Just remember the number above, 

  • 2 in reds place say “二”, 
  • 2 in blues say “两”,
  • 2 in highlights: if they are the only number in their category, say “两”, otherwise say “二.”

We made a video to teach you step-by-step (up to 4 digits). Visit our Patreon page to check out more videos and infographics.

Chinese Phone Numbers

  • In China

When giving a phone number, you just read the digits. But there is one thing to keep in mind,

For the number “1,” when giving the phone number in China, we pronounce it as “yāo.” The reason for doing this is to differentiate the sound of the number “1” from the number “7,” which is “qī.” Normally “1” is pronounced 一 yī which can sometimes be confused with 七 qī.

In mainland China, cell phone numbers have 11 digits in the format 1xx-xxxx-xxxx. The first three digits (e.g. 13x, 14x,15x,17x and 18x) designate the mobile phone service provider.  

For instance, if you are giving your cell phone number to a new friend, your cell phone number is 134-5678-9012 (This is just a made-up number, but it could still be a real number. Don’t actually call this number.)

To say this number in Chinese, you would say Yāo sān sì wǔ liù qī bā jiǔ líng yāo èr

 

  • In Taiwan, the number 1 is pronounced as “yī.”

In Taiwan, cell phone numbers have 10 digits in the format 09xx-xxx-xxx. Originally, the first four digits were used to designate the service provider. But a few years ago, they changed the policy, so that you can transfer your number to a different provider. 

Emergency Numbers in China and Taiwan

  • In China

Police 110 

Ambulance 120

Fire 119

  • In Taiwan

Police 110

Ambulance and Fire: 119

It seems like a lot of numbers to remember, but the most important number is 110. In any emergency, just call this number and they will connect you to the proper department.

Dates and Times in Chinese

Soon after I started learning English as a second language, I realized that the months and the dates of the week are complicated in English. (So please don’t complain Chinese is hard.)

In Mandarin Chinese, once you know the numbers, you pretty much can say any time element in Chinese. Let’s dive in! 

Keywords to know: 

  • Year in Chinese: 年 nián. 

The year of 2019:  二〇一九 年 (èr líng yī jiǔ nián, “two-zero-one-nine-year”). 

The year of 2020: 二〇二〇 年 (èr líng èr líng nián, “two-zero-two-zero-year”). 

  • Month in Chinese: 月 yuè. 

January:  一月 yīyuè. The first month of the year, simply just add number 1, 一 yī, before 月 yuè. The same pattern applies to all the months.

March: 三月 (sān yuè). 

December: 十二月 (shí èr yuè)

  • Date: 日 rì or 号 hào.

3rd day of the month: 三日 (sān rì)

October 6: 十月六日 (shí yuè liù rì) or 十月六号 (shí yuè liù hào)

  • Week: 星期 xīngqī*

Monday: 星期一 (xīngqī yī)

Tuesday: 星期二 (xīngqī èr)

Friday: 星期五 (xīngqī wǔ)

Sunday: 星期日 (xīngqī rì) or 星期天 (xīngqītiān).

* 星期 xīng is used in China, whereas 星期 xīngis used in Taiwan. Note the difference in tones.

  • Hour: 点 diǎn

3 o’clock: 三点 (sān diǎn)

9 o’clock: 九点 (jiǔ diǎn)

  • Minute: 分 fēn 

9:10: 九点十分 (jiǔ diǎn shí fēn)

12:59: 十二点 五十九分 (shíèr diǎn wǔshíjiǔ fēn)

  • Second: 秒 miǎo

One second: 一秒 (yì miǎo)

Ten seconds: 十秒 (shí miǎo)

A little tip in Chinese grammar: whenever we talk about time, we always put the time elements in the order from largest to smallest. (I call it the Chinese time order slide. Check out the infographic below.)

Time order in Chinese

For instance,

3 o’clock on Tuesday → We say the day first, then the time → 星期二 三点

September 11th, 2001→ We say the year first, then the month, and lastly the day → 两千零一 年 九月十一日

You can check out more details about time in these two articles with infographics. Time order in Chinese and Time (Past, Present, Future).

Age in Chinese

Numbers can be used when talking about age. Here are some keywords for you to know first.

HanziPinyinEnglish  

suìYear old
yuèMonth
How many
几岁jǐsuìHow old

bànHalf

Simple phrase examples:

Six years old: 六岁 (liù suì)

Three and a half years old: 三岁 半 (sān suì bàn)

Eight months old: 八个月 (bā ge yuè)

How old: 几岁 (jǐ suì)

 

Full-sentence examples:

I am six years old this year: 我今年六岁。(wǒ jín nián liù suì)

My dad is forty years old: 我爸爸四十岁

 

A: How old is your little brother? 你弟弟几岁?

B: He is three and a half years old. 他三岁半。

Chinese Ordinal Numbers

Earlier when we talked about dates in Chinese, you may have noticed that Chinese is simpler than English. Ordinal numbers work the same way.

These are pretty straight forward. The structure of a simple phrase is just adding the word “第 dì” before the number.

Simple phrase examples:

First: 第一 (dì yī)

Second: 第二 (dì èr)

Third: 第三 (dì sān)

When we use ordinal numbers, they usually don’t appear by themselves. For instance,

If you won “first place” in a competition. (“first” is accompanied with “place”)

If you are having the second cup of coffee today.

If you just finished watching the “third movie” for the day.

 

In Chinese, the structure will look like this:

第 + number + (measure word) + noun

Examples:

First place: 第一名(dì yī míng)

Second cup of coffee: 第二杯咖啡 (dì èr bēi kā fēi)

Third movie: 第三个电影 (dì sān ge diàn yǐng)

What Are The Lucky Numbers in Chinese? And What Are Unlucky Numbers in Chinese?

In most cultures, some numbers are more meaningful than others. Knowing the lucky, as well as unlucky, numbers in Chinese will help you understand a bit of Chinese culture. Let’s start with the auspicious numbers in Mandarin Chinese.

Number 2 is considered a lucky number in Chinese. In Chinese culture, good things come in pairs. 

Number 6 is also considered a lucky number in Chinese. Its pronunciation “liù” is close to the word “流 liú” which means “flow.” Many businesses display this number somewhere in their facility, especially by the front entrance. They believe that display this number will signify that fortune will flow in.

Number 8 is another lucky number in Chinese. Its pronunciation “bā” rhymes with the word “发 fā” which means “worth” and “fortune.” The year when China hosted the Beijing Olympics, the opening ceremony started at 8:08 pm on 8/8/2008. And that is no coincidence!

Number 9 is considered a lucky number in Chinese. Its pronunciation “jiǔ” is the same as the word “久 jiǔ” which means long and forever. It is believed that this number represents a long-lasting life. 

So far we’ve looked at the common lucky numbers in Chinese culture.

 

Are there any inauspicious numbers in Chinese?

Number 4 is considered unlucky in Chinese because its pronunciation is very close to 死 sǐ, which means “death” in Chinese. In many buildings in China, like hospitals and apartments, they even skip the “fourth-floor.” So there is a third floor and the floor above it is the “fifth floor.”

 

Other numbers can be either lucky or unlucky depending on the occasion. 

Number 0

Lucky: Some consider this number as the beginning of everything.

Unlucky: Zero represents “no” or “nothing.” Some believe it brings “no fortune.”  

Number 1

Lucky: It can mean the first place in a competition. 

Unlucky: It can also mean loneliness or solitude, not able to be paired. The “Singles Day” in China is November 11 (11/11.)

Number 3 

Lucky: 三 sān sounds like “生 shēng.” 生 shēng means “birth” and “life.”

Unlucky: But 三 sān also sounds like “散 sàn,” which means “break” or “separate,” as in relationships.

Number 5

Lucky: Five is associated with the five elements in Chinese philosophy. We call it “五行 wǔ xíng,” which includes Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, and Wood. Another example of number five in Chinese history is that the Tiananmen gate has five arches.

Unlucky: The pronunciation for number 5 is “wǔ,” and sounds like the word “无 wú,” which means “do not have any.”

Number 7

Lucky: “七 qī,” Chinese Valentine’s Day is on the seventh month of the lunar calendar.

Unlucky: The seventh month of the lunar calendar is also known as the “ghost” month. Some people believe the door of hell will open on the first day and close on the last day of the month.

lucky and unlucky numbers in Chinese

Chinese Number Slang

The internet and texting have become important parts of our life. So knowing some Chinese internet slang may be necessary. Let’s talk about some Chinese number slang.

Chinese number slang

1314 (yī sān yī sì)

Meaning: Forever.

1314 sounds similar to 一生一世  (yì shēng yí shì), which means “for the rest of my life” or “forever.” 

250 (èr bǎi wǔ):

Meaning: Idiot

Many of the Chinese slang is related to the pronunciation, but not this one. This is an insulting slang. It comes from the fact that Chinese coins used to have a hole in the middle so that they could be strung together in amounts of 1000 (called a diào (吊).  The term bàn diào zi (半吊子), or half a diào, referred to someone not having full knowledge.  Bàn diào zi (半吊子) was used to describe oneself in a humble manner and not necessarily negative. However, half of a half diào, which is 250, or èr bǎi wǔ (二百五) was half of the half-wit, which definitely is an insult.  

484 (sìbāsì)

Meaning: Yes or no.

484 sounds similar to 是不是  (shì bú shì), which means yes or not in Chinese.

520 (wǔ èr líng)

Meaning: I love you. The pronunciation of 520 is pretty close to “I love you” in Chinese, which is 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ). 

I have heard people tell me that they don’t think 520 sounds like 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ). Well, I understand the point. But expressing love is always an important part of any language. Typing numbers is pretty fast and easy. These three numbers are the closest pronunciation to express “I love you” in Chinese. So that’s why it is used!  

555 (wǔ wǔ wǔ)

Meaning: Crying noise.

555 sounds similar to the Chinese onomatopoeia for the crying noise, which is 呜呜呜(wū wū wū).

7456 (qī sì wǔ liù):

Meaning: I am so angry!

气死我了(qì sǐ wǒ le) sounds like 7456. It literally means (something or someone) is angering me to death!

88 (bābā) (881, 886)

Meaning: Goodbye.

88 sounds like “bye-bye” in English. 881 sounds like bye byeeee. And 886 represents adding “了” after bye-bye. It could roughly translate to “bye-bye then” in English.

995 (jiǔjiǔwǔ):

Meaning: Help me!

995 sounds like 救救我(jiùjiùwǒ) which means “help me.”

Like Chinese slang? We made another fun infographic about Relationship Related Chinese Slang! Check it out!

Simple Math in Chinese

Don’t worry! We’re not doing any difficult math here. Just a few examples to show you how to say some simple math in Chinese.

Keywords to know

Math symbolHanziPinyin  
jiā
jiǎn 
✖️乘(以)chéng (yǐ)
除(以)chú (yǐ)
=等于děngyú
…%百分之... bǎifēnzhī…
.diǎn
X / YY分之XY fēnzhī X
>大于dàyú
<小于xiǎoyú

  • 3+5=8, we read as “三 加 五 等于 八”
  • 9-7=2, we read as “九 减 七等于 二”
  • 4*6=24, we read as “四 乘以 六 等于 二十四”
  • 72/8=9, we read as “七十二 除以 八 等于 九”
  • 45.6, we read as “四十五 点 六”
  • 0.03, we read as “零 点 零 三”
  • ½, we read as “二 分之 一” (In Chinese, the denominator is first, then the numerator)
  • 80%, we read as “百分之 八十” (80% equals 80/100, so we say the 100 first, then the 80)
  • 5 > 3, we read as “五 大于 三”
  • 4 < 8, we read as “四 小于 八”

Tone Change Rules for Number 1

Tone change rules for number 1

There are a few cases in Chinese where you have to change the pronunciation of a certain character. Number 1 一 yī happens to be one of them.

  • We read 一 as “yī” when “一” appears as a number in a series, address, dates, etc…

For instance:

2011年1月11日: we read it as èr líng yīyī nián yī yuè shíyī rì 

311: we read as sānbǎi yīshíyī

 

  • We read 一 as “yí” when “一” is followed by a character in the 4th tone 

For instance: 一片 yí piàn. 片 piàn is in the 4th tone, so 一 is pronounced in the 2nd tone 

 

  • We read 一 as “yì” when “一” is followed by a character in the other tones (1st, 2nd, 3rd and neutral tone)

For instance: 

一双 yì shuāng

一条 yì tiáo

一本 yì běn

一个 yì ge

If you are curious about what other situations the tone would be changed, check out this article “Tone change rules.” 

Chinese Number Writing in Complex Forms

It is rarer to see this in daily life. Here is the list of the complex forms of numbers in Mandarin Chinese characters.

0: 零 líng

1: 壹 yī

2: 貳 èr

3: 參 sān

4: 肆

5: 伍

6: 陸 liù

7: 柒

8: 捌

9: 玖 jiǔ

10: 拾 shí

100: 佰 bǎi

1000: 仟 qiān

10000: 萬 wàn

1,0000,0000: 億 yì

1,0000,0000,0000: 兆 zhào

NumberNormal Chinese CharacterComplex FormPinyin 
0零/〇líng
1
2èr
3sān
4
5
6liù
7
8
9jiǔ
10shí
100bǎi
1000qiān
10000wàn
1,0000,0000亿
1,0000,0000,0000zhào

Chinese numbers in complex forms are used mainly in notarized, official documents (like contracts), and when writing checks. An exception is zero; the complex form is much more widely used than a casual circle (“0”). The complex forms are known in English as banker’s anti-fraud numerals, in  Mandarin Chinese as 大寫 dàxiě (which is the same term for “capitalized letters”). They are necessary because normal Chinese characters are too simple, so a forger could easily change some numbers. For instance, let’s take the number 110, which is 一百一十. A forger just needs to add three strokes (shown in red below) to change 110 to 370, 三百七十. Using the complex form (參佰柒拾) will prevent this kind of forgery.

Chinese Number Gestures 

Number gestures are similar around the world. Below is the table of the most commonly used gestures for numbers 1-10 in different parts of the Chinese speaking world. Numbers 1-6 are the same. But 7-10 differ based on the region. How do these hand gestures compare to yours?

Chinese numbers hand gesters

 

Numbers in Mandarin Chinese Conclusion 

Chinese Numbers 1-10

1 一  yī

2 二  èr

3 三  sān

4 四  sì

5 五  wǔ

6 六  liù

7 七  qī

8 八  bā

9 九  jiǔ

10 十  shí

Chinese Numbers 11-19 Pattern

11=10+1, so 11 in Chinese is 十一 shíyī  (literally “ten one”)

The same pattern applies to 12 through 19

Chinese Numbers Pattern for Tens

20 in Chinese is 二十 èrshí (literally “two ten”)

All the tens numbers follow this pattern.

Chinese Numbers 21-100

21=20+1, so 21 in Chinese is 二十一 èrshíyī (literally “two ten one”)

The same pattern applies to 12 through 99

One hundred is 一百 yìbǎi

 

Chinese Numbers 100 and Up (Large Numbers in Chinese)

Hundred: 百 bǎi – 100 (2 zeros)

– Numbers 101-109

101 一百零一 yì bǎi líng yī (零 líng means “zero”)

The same pattern applies to 102 through 109

– Numbers 110-119

110 一百 一十 yìbǎi yīshí

111 一百 一十一 yìbǎi yīshíyī

The same pattern applies to 112 through 119

 

– Numbers 120-200 Examples

120 一百二十     

156  一百五十六     

200 is “两百 liǎngbǎi

 

– Numbers 201-999 Examples

506 五百零六   “five-hundred-zero-six”

418 四百一十八 “four-hundred-one-ten-eight”

 

– Numbers 1000 and up

Thousand: 千 qiān – 1000 (3 zeros)

Ten thousand: 万 wàn – 10000 (4 zeros)

Hundred million: 亿 yì – 10000000 (7 zeros)

Trillion: 兆 zhào – 1000000000000 (12 zeros)

 

The Use of Zero in Chinese

– When The Tens Digit Is Zero in Numbers Larger Than 100

x + 百 + 零 + y

101: 一百零一 (one-hundred-zero-one)

305: 三百零五 (three-hundred-zero-five)

– Zero in The Ones Digit 

x + 百 + y + 十 

760: 七百六十 (seven-hundred-six-ten)

– One Thousand and Up

Similar to the rules in hundreds. But if you have more than ONE ZERO in a row, you just say “zero” once.

1001: 一千零一 (one-thousand-zero)

 

Chinese Number 2: When to Say 二 èr? When to Say 两 liǎng?

We use 二 èr when…

Giving a phone number

Saying the ordinal number, which means “second”

For the “second one,” we read it as 第二个 (dì èr ge)

 

We use 两 liǎng…

When talking about “two of something” or “both”

For “two cups of tea,” we say 两杯茶

Chinese Phone Numbers

  • In China

When giving a phone number, you just read the digits. For the number “1,” when giving the phone number in China, we pronounce it as “yāo.” 

  • In Taiwan, the number 1 is pronounced as “yī.”

Emergency Numbers in China and Taiwan

  • In China

Police 110 

Ambulance 120

Fire 119

  • In Taiwan

Police 110

Ambulance and Fire: 119

Dates and Times in Chinese

whenever we talk about time, we always put the time elements in the order from largest to smallest.

September 11th, 2001→ We say the year first, then the month, and lastly the day → 两千零一 年 九月十一日

Age in Chinese

Six years old: 六岁 (liù suì)

Three and a half years old: 三岁 半 (sān suì bàn)

Chinese Ordinal Numbers

First: 第一 (dì yī)

Second: 第二 (dì èr)

Third: 第三 (dì sān)

The Lucky Numbers and Unlucky Numbers in Chinese

Lucky numbers: 2, 6, 8, 9

Unlucky number: 4

Chinese Number Slang

1314 (yī sān yī sì), Meaning: Forever.

250 (èr bǎi wǔ), Meaning: Idiot

484 (sìbāsì), Meaning: Yes or no.

520 (wǔ èr líng), Meaning: I love you. 

555 (wǔ wǔ wǔ), Meaning: Crying noise.

7456 (qī sì wǔ liù), Meaning: I am so angry!

88 (bābā) (881, 886), Meaning: Goodbye.

995 (jiǔjiǔwǔ), Meaning: Help me!

 

Simple Math in Chinese Examples

  • 3+5=8, we read as “三 加 五 等于 八”
  • 9-7=2, we read as “九 减 七等于 二”
  • 4*6=24, we read as “四 乘以 六 等于 二十四”
  • 72/8=9, we read as “七十二 除以 八 等于 九”
  • 45.6, we read as “四十五 点 六”
  • 0.03, we read as “零 点 零 三”
  • ½, we read as “二 分之 一” (In Chinese, the denominator is first, then the numerator)
  • 80%, we read as “百分之 八十” (80% equals 80/100, so we say the 100 first, then the 80)
  • 5 > 3, we read as “五 大于 三”
  • 4 < 8, we read as “四 小于 八”

 

Tone Change Rules for Number 1

  • We read 一 as “yī” when “一” appears as a number in a series, address, dates, etc…
  • We read 一 as “yí” when “一” is followed by a character in the 4th tone 
  • We read 一 as “yì” when “一” is followed by a character in the other tones (1st, 2nd, 3rd and neutral tone)

Chinese Number Writing in Complex Forms

0: 零 líng

1: 壹 yī

2: 貳 èr

3: 參 sān

4: 肆 sì

5: 伍 wǔ

6: 陸 liù

7: 柒 qī

8: 捌 bā

9: 玖 jiǔ

10: 拾 shí

100: 佰 bǎi

1000: 仟 qiān

10000: 萬 wàn

1,0000,0000: 億 yì

1,0000,0000,0000: 兆 zhào

 

Posted in Grammar, Infographics

12 Most Common Chinese Punctuation

Chinese punctuations are quite different from the ones we use in English. In this article we are going to introduce the 12 most common Chinese punctuations, and how to type these Chinese punctuations on a Mac. This article will take about 7 minutes to read. If you do not have enough time to read the whole article, use the table of contents below and jump to the Chinese Punctuation Infographic and download those two infographics. You can study the subject more when you have time.

First, you should learn how to say “punctuation” in Chinese, which is 标点符号(Biāodiǎn fúhào)

Chinese punctuation title

 

12 Most Common Chinese Punctuation

Chinese punctuation title

And here is the list of the Chinese punctuations that we will introduce in this article.

Full Stop 句号(Jùhào)

Comma 逗号(Dòuhào)

Enumeration comma 顿号(Dùnhào)

Quotation mark 引号(Yǐnhào)

Colon 冒号(Màohào)

Question mark 问号(Wènhào)

Semicolon 分号(Fēnhào)

Parentheses 括号(Guāhào)

Exclamation mark 惊叹号(Jīngtànhào)

Title mark 书名号(Shūmínghào)

Ellipsis 省略号(Shěnglüèhào)

Middle dot 间隔号(Jiàngé hào)

 

We are going to introduce them one by one.

Full Stop 句号(Jùhào)

It has the same function as a period, but the shape is a bit different than in English. The Chinese full stop is a full-width small circle. Positionally, in both vertical and horizontal text, the 句号(jùhào) is aligned to the bottom and right of the last character in the sentence.

Example,

我喜欢中文。 Wǒ xǐhuān zhōngwén

I like Chinese.

Chinese punctuation: full stop

 

 

Comma 逗号(Dòuhào)

The usage of a comma in Chinese is similar to that in English, but a big difference is that in Chinese, the comma cannot be used for enumerating a list. We have another punctuation for that (see the next punctuation).

Example,

我今天早上起床以后,马上就出门了。

Wǒ jīntiān zǎoshang qǐchuáng yǐhòu, mǎshàng jiù chūménle.

I left home as soon as I woke up this morning.

Chinese punctuation: comma

 

 

Enumeration comma 顿号(Dùnhào)

The enumeration comma must be used instead of the regular comma when separating words constituting a list.

Example,

我喜欢猫、狗、鸟。 Wǒ xǐhuān māo, gǒu, niǎo.

I like cats, dogs, and birds.

enumeration comma

 

 

Quotation mark 引号(Yǐnhào)

Since quotation marks are completely different in simplified and traditional Chinese writing, both of them are introduced in the infographic. In simplified Chinese, the format is the same as in English: “ … ‘…’ …  ”. In traditional Chinese, brackets are used instead:「 …『…』… 」.

Mom said: “my two-year-old brother likes to ‘help’ clean the house.”

Example,

妈妈说:“两岁的弟弟喜欢 ‘帮忙’ 打扫家里。”

Liǎng suì de dìdì xǐhuān bāngmáng dǎsǎo jiālǐ

Mom said: “my two-year-old brother likes to ‘help’ clean the house.”

quotation mark

 

 

Group of 5 punctuation

Here, we’ve grouped together 5 punctuation marks because of their similarity to Western punctuation.

These include:

  • Colon 冒号(Màohào)

Example,

老师说:上课了。
Lǎoshī shuō: Shàngkèle.

Teacher: Let’s begin the class.

 

  • Question mark 问号(Wènhào)

Example,

他是你男朋友吗?
Tā shì nǐ nán péngyǒu ma?

Is he your boyfriend?

 

  • Semicolon 分号(Fēnhào)

    Example,

    明天如果冷,我们就吃火锅 ; 明天如果不冷,我们就吃便当。
    Míngtiān rúguǒ lěng, wǒmen jiù chī huǒguō; míngtiān rúguǒ bù lěng, wǒmen jiù chī biàndang.

    If it is cold tomorrow, we will have hot pot. If it is not cold tomorrow, we will have bento.

  • Exclamation mark 惊叹号(Jīngtànhào)

Example,

她上个星期天结婚了!
Tā shàng gè xīngqítiān jiéhūnle!

She got married last Sunday!

 

  • Parentheses 括号(Guāhào)

Example,

今天是中国新年 (农历一月一日)。
Jīntiān shì zhōngguó xīnnián (nónglì yī yuè yī rì).

Today is Chinese New Year (Lunar calendar January first).

For the 5 punctuations above, their shapes and usage are all similar to Western punctuation.

marks similar to European punctuation

 

 

Title mark 书名号(Shūmínghào)

This punctuation literally means “book name mark,” and it is used for titles of books, films, and so on. Full-width double angle brackets are used.

Example,

我很喜欢李连杰演的电影《英雄》。

Wǒ hěn xǐhuān lǐliánjié yǎn de diànyǐng yīngxióng

I like the movie “Hero” that Jet Li starred in. 

title mark

 

 

Ellipsis 省略号(Shěnglüèhào)

In Chinese, the ellipsis is written with 6 dots, instead of 3 in English. The ellipsis occupies the same space as two Chinese characters.

Example,

妈妈:你为什么没有做功课?

我:……

Māmā: Nǐ wèishéme méiyǒu zuò gōngkè?

Wǒ: ……

Mom: why didn’t you do homework?

Me: ……

Chinese punctuation: ellipsis

 

 

Middle dot 间隔号(Jiàngé hào)

Chinese uses a middle dot to separate characters in non-Han personal names. When we translate and write a non-Han personal name, we put a middle dot between the first, middle, and last names.

Example,

詹姆士·庞德

Zhān mǔ shì·páng dé

James Bond

middle dot

 

 

Chinese Punctuation Infographic

Chinese punctuation

 

 

How to type Chinese punctuation on a Mac

Typing has become very important nowadays. We are going to introduce you to how to type Chinese punctuation on a Mac. 

Since you would like to type Chinese punctuation, it would make sense if you add a Chinese keyboard input. We are using the most common one as an example, which is “Pinyin.”

Check out the video below that teaches you how to add Chinese pinyin input on your Mac.

Music: www.bensound.com

 

How do you add “pinyin” input on a Mac? This video shows you how.

Step 1: Open system preference on the top left of the screen.

Step 2: Click keyboard

Step 3: Click input resources

Step 4: Click “+” on the left bottom

Step 5: Find “Chinese Simplified” in the left column and click

Step 6: Find “Pinyin – Simplified” in the right column and click

Step 7: Click Add 

Now you have a pinyin keyboard on your Mac!

 

Let’s start learning how to type Chinese punctuation on a Mac with the pinyin input.

Full Stop 句号(Jùhào)

Simply click the key that has > and . 

Full Stop 句号

 

Comma 逗号(Dòuhào)

Simply click the key that has < and ,

Comma 逗号

 

Enumeration comma 顿号(Dùnhào)

Simply click the keyboard that has | and \

Enumeration comma 顿号

 

Quotation mark 引号(Yǐnhào)

Hold “shift” and click the key that has “ and ’. Click twice to get a set of the quotation marks.

Quotation mark 引号

 

Colon 冒号(Màohào)

Hold “shift” and click the key that has : and ;

Colon 冒号

 

Question mark 问号(Wènhào)

Hold “shift” and click the key that has ? and /

Question mark 问号

 

Semicolon 分号(Fēnhào)

Simply click the key that has : and ;

Semicolon 分号

 

Parentheses 括号(Guāhào)

Hold “shift” and click the key that has ( and 9

Hold “shift” and click the key that has ) and 0

Parentheses 括号

 

Exclamation mark 惊叹号(Jīngtànhào)

Hold “shift” and click the key that has ! and 1

Exclamation mark 惊叹号

 

Title mark 书名号(Shūmínghào)

Hold “shift” and click the key that has < and ,

Hold “shift” and click the key that has > and .

Title mark 书名号

 

Ellipsis 省略号(Shěnglüèhào)……

Hold “shift” and click the key that has ^ and 6

The reason for choosing 6 is because there are 6 dots. Isn’t that easy to remember? 

Ellipsis 省略号

 

Middle dot 间隔号(Jiàngé hào)

Simply click the key that has ~ and `

Middle dot 间隔号

Lion vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

 

Here is the video that shows you how to type the 12 most common Chinese punctuations we tough above

Music: www.bensound.com

 

Conclusion

Knowing the difference between Western and Chinese punctuation is quite important. Let’s review them again.

Full Stop 句号(Jùhào) → 。

Comma 逗号(Dòuhào) → ,

Enumeration comma 顿号(Dùnhào) → 、

Quotation mark 引号(Yǐnhào) → “ ”

Colon 冒号(Màohào) → :

Question mark 问号(Wènhào) → ?

Semicolon 分号(Fēnhào) → ;

Parentheses 括号(Guāhào) → ( )

Exclamation mark 惊叹号(Jīngtànhào) → !

Title mark 书名号(Shūmínghào) → 《 》

Ellipsis 省略号(Shěnglüèhào) → ……

Middle dot 间隔号(Jiàngé hào) → ·

 

Posted in Blog, Culture, Infographics, Vocabulary

Fruits in Chinese

Fruits in Chinese

Who doesn’t love fruit?! Everyone loves it! But how do you say these different fruits in Mandarin Chinese? We have listed more than 30 fruits in the infographic below. We include names of fruits in Mandarin Chinese, Pinyin, English and in pictures.

Fruit-related Vocabulary in Chinese

Before learning the whole list of fruits, let’s start with some fruit-related vocabulary:

Fruit 水果 shuǐguǒ

Tropical fruits 热带水果 rèdài shuǐguǒ

Imported fruits 进口水果 jìnkǒu shuǐguǒ

Sour 酸 suān

Sweet 甜 tián

Taste 味道 wèidào

Color 颜色 yánsè

 

Fruits in Chinese List

苹果 píngguǒ, Apple

apple

 

莲雾 lián wù, Wax apple

wax apple

Wax apples

The picture was taken in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

 

草莓 cǎoméi, Strawberry

strawberry

 

覆盆子 fù pénzi, Raspberry 

raspberry

 

樱桃 yīngtáo, Cherry

cherry

 

火龙果 huǒlóng guǒ, Dragon fruit

dragon fruit

Dragon fruit

 

We also made a video to show what dragon fruit looks like when you cut it open

西瓜 xīguā, Watermelon

watermelon

 

葡萄柚 pútáo yòu, Grapefruit

grapefruit

 

杏 xìng, Apricot

apricot

 

菠萝 bōluó, Pineapple

*凤梨 fènglí

* In mainland China, it is called: 菠萝 bōluó.

In Taiwan, it is called: 凤梨 fènglí

But both of them can be understood in both places.

pineapple

 

桃子 táozi, Peach

peach

 

橙子 chéngzi, Orange

orange

 

柿子 shìzi, Persimmon

persimmon

 

哈密瓜 hāmìguā, Cantaloupe

cantaloupe

 

柠檬 níngméng, Lemon

lemon

 

木瓜 mùguā, Papaya

papaya

 

芒果 mángguǒ, Mengo

mango

 

香蕉 xiāngjiāo, Banana

banana

 

梨 lí, Pear

pear

 

莱姆 lái mǔ, Lime

lime

 

牛油果 niúyóuguǒ, Avocado

**酪梨 lào lí

** In mainland China, it is called: 牛油果 niúyóuguǒ.

 In Taiwan, it is called: 酪梨 lào lí

The name “牛油果 niúyóuguǒ” is not that popular in Taiwan. Avocados are not a fruit that you can easily find in the market. And when you do, it is quite expensive in Taiwan. 

avocado

 

猕猴桃 Míhóutáo, Kiwi

***奇异果 qíyì guǒ

***In mainland China, it is called: 猕猴桃 Míhóutáo.

In Taiwan, it is called: 奇异果 qíyì guǒ

kiwi

 

青苹果 qīng píngguǒ, Green apple

green apple

 

山竹 shānzhú, Mangosteen

mangosteen

 

百香果 bǎixiāng guǒ, Passion fruit

passion fruit

 

李子 lǐzǐ, Plum

plum

 

无花果 wúhuāguǒ, Fig

fig

 

葡萄 pútáo, Grape

grape

 

蓝莓 lánméi, Blueberry

blueberry

 

黑莓 hēiméi, Blackberry

blackberry

 

Fruits in Chinese Infographic

Fruits in Chinese Infographic

 

Chinese Exotic Fruits

Most of the fruits we listed above are pretty common, but some are pretty unique that you rarely find in grocery stores in the States. For instance, “山竹 shānzhú, mangosteen,” “火龙果 huǒlóng guǒ, dragon fruit,” and “莲雾 lián wù, wax apple.” We list a few more Chinese exotic fruits and have a brief introduction for each of them. I hope one day you will have a chance to enjoy them. But in the meantime, let’s get to know some Chinese fruits!

 

龙眼 lóngyǎn, Longan

The Chinese name of longan literally means dragon eye. Longan is a tropical fruit. The skin color of the longan is brown and it is not edible. Since it is a tropical fruit, it is not easy to grow in the climate of most areas in the States. The fruit is sweet and juicy. The color of the fruit is white and slightly clear. The seed is in the middle and is round with a dark brown/black color. 

 

荔枝 lìzhī, Lychee

Lychee is similar to longan, and is really sweet. It is also a tropical fruit. The size is a bit bigger than a longan. The skin color is usually dark red, although if it is picked before it is ripe, its skin color might be a mix with a bit of green and red. Its seed is smaller than a longan, and its shape is not round but oval.

 

释迦 shì jiā, Sugar Apple 

释迦 shì jiā is literally the shortened name of Buddha. The reason they name this fruit “释迦 shì jiā” is because of this shape. Its shape looks like a Buddha’s head. See the picture below.

释迦 shì jiā, Sugar Apple

释迦 shì jiā is a high-carb fruit, as you can tell from its English name. It is a very sweet fruit. It contains many seeds in one fruit.

We made you a video to show you how 释迦 shì jiā looks like when you open it! Check out this video

 

There is another new kind of fruit called, Cherinoia “凤梨释迦 fènglí shì jiā.”  凤梨 fènglí is pineapple. It looks a bit different from the original one, and the bumps are not as big and round. The fun fact about this fruit is that it is not a mix of sugar apple and pineapple. The name is actually from the shape. The fruit is a cross between Annona cherimola and Annona squamosa. The taste is not as sweet as sugar apples. 

 

This is what Cherinoia “凤梨释迦 fènglí shì jiā” looks like. As you can see from the picture below, the shape is a bit different from 释迦 shì jiā.

凤梨释迦 fènglí shì jiā sugar apple

 

杨桃 yángtáo, Star Fruit / Carambola

The tree of this fruit is cultivated throughout tropical areas. The fruit has distinctive ridges running down its sides. The entire fruit is edible and it is usually eaten out of your hand. Star fruit juice is a popular street drink in Taiwan. In the United States, carambolas are grown in tropical and semitropical areas, including Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana, California, Virginia, Florida, and Hawaii. The color of the fruit is usually yellow or green.

 

番石榴 fān shíliú / 芭乐 bā lè, Guava

Guavas usually have light green skin with either a white or red color inside. You can see the pictures below. The skin is edible, there is no need to peel it. There are seeds in the center, and the center is usually softer and sweeter. Some people do not like the seeds so they will cut and shape the guavas in a crescent-shape. The size of a guava fruit is about the size of a baseball. 

Guavas are not usually as sweet as longans and lychees. But Guavas are rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C, with moderate levels of folic acid, and low in calories for a typical serving. 
Guavas

 

This is what guava looks like when you cut it open

 

榴梿 liú lián, Durian

To be honest, as a fruit lover, I have only tried durian ONCE. From many people I know and from what I’ve heard, people who try durians either love it a lot or never try it again. 

The shape of the durian fruit ranges from oblong to round, the color of its husk from green to brown, and its flesh from pale yellow to red, depending on the species. Durian has a strong and unique odor. Some people find it unpleasant, while others think it is a pleasantly sweet fragrance.

The durian fruit is ready to eat when its husk begins to crack. The fruit can grow up to a size of about 12 inches.