Posted in Blog, Culture, Infographics, Vocabulary

How Chinese Actually Express I Love You In Mandarin Chinese

How Chinese Actually Express I Love You In Mandarin Chinese

In this article, we are going to introduce how Chinese people actually express ‘I love you’, or their love towards someone, in Mandarin Chinese. We will also introduce some common vocabulary, slang, and idioms used in Chinese to describe relationships.  

I moved to the States about 10 years ago. Recognizing the difference between how Americans and Chinese express their love was an interesting topic. 

As many of you may know, how to say I love you in Chinese, is “我爱你 Wǒ ài nǐ.” But what you may not know, was that when I grew up in my family, I never heard my parents say “我爱你 Wǒ ài nǐ” to each other, at least not in front of me. And this is a very typical case in a Chinese family. Don’t get me wrong. My parents love each other. I have no doubt of that. They express their love in actions, not really verbally. They take care of each other whether they are rich or poor, whether they are healthy or sick. 

Love can be deep or shallow. But no matter what you experience, express it! Let the one you love know of your love for them, by your actions or verbally! 

Because of the cultural differences, do you know how Chinese actually say ‘I love you’ in Chinese? Let’s learn how Chinese actually express their love in Chinese.


How Chinese Actually Express love In Mandarin Chinese

我喜欢你。/ 我喜歡你。 Wǒ xǐhuān nǐ. I like you.

I like you in Chinese

This is the most common phrase used when Chinese express that they are attracted to someone. Keep this in mind, when we say “我喜欢你 Wǒ xǐhuān nǐ” in Chinese, it doesn’t necessarily mean we have less feelings towards someone compared to when you say “I love you” in English. We are just not used to saying the word “爱 ài” out loud! 


你很可爱。/ 你很可愛。nǐ hěn kě ài. You are cute.

you are cute in Chinese

This can be used when you think the person looks cute or you find their behavior adorable. 


你很漂亮。/ 你很漂亮。nǐ hěn piào liang. You are pretty.

you are pretty in Chinese

You can use this to tell a girl that you think she is pretty. It is not necessary for her to be your girlfriend. When people flirt in Chinese, this is something they will say to a girl.


你很帅。/ 你很帥。Nǐ hěn shuài. You are handsome.

you are handsome in Chinese

Pretty much the same usage as the one above. Just this is said to a boy or a man.


我觉得你很好看!/ 我覺得你很好看!Wǒ juédé nǐ hěn hǎokàn!I think you are pretty good looking.

I think you are pretty good looking in Chinese

好看 hǎokàn literally means “good to look.” If you think someone is pretty or handsome, besides telling them pretty or handsome, you can also use this general term, “好看 hǎokàn.” 


我想跟你在一起。/ 我想跟你在一起。 Wǒ xiǎng gēn nǐ zài yīqǐ. I want to be with you. 

I want to be with you

The translation is “I want to be with you,” we particularly refer to “to be with you” in a relationship, not just for a few minutes or a few hours. 


我很想你。 / 我很想你。 Wǒ hěn xiǎng nǐ. I miss you.

I miss you in Chinese

I will say this is another common and indirect way to express your love in Mandarin Chinese. If you haven’t seen your partner for a little while, this is a great way to tell them your love and feelings for them. 


妳可以做我女朋友吗? / 妳可以做我女朋友嗎? Nǎi kěyǐ zuò wǒ nǚ péngyǒu ma? Could you be my girlfriend? 

Could you be my girlfriend in Chinese

It used to be common for a boy to pursue a girl and it was rarely seen vice versa. But I have to say it is so different nowadays. So, of course, you are welcome to replace “女朋友 nǚ péngyǒu girlfriend” with “男朋友 nán péngyǒu boyfriend.”


我爱你。/ 我愛你。 Wǒ ài nǐ. I love you.

I love you in Chinese

In the older generation, people are not used to expressing their love by saying 我爱你. But I do notice that since the Internet and travel have become popular, western culture has started to mix with Chinese culture. The younger generation is not shy about expressing their feelings to their significant one with 我爱你. 

A fun fact about the “爱 ài love” character in Chinese: Whenever I teach the word “爱 ài” in Chinese, I always mention that I prefer this character in traditional Chinese rather than simplified. If you compare these two characters,

Simplified 爱

love in simplified Chinese

Traditional 愛

love in traditional Chinese

Do you see the difference? In the middle of the traditional character, there is a “心 xīn,” which means “heart” in Chinese. Who can love without a heart?! 


你愿意嫁给我吗? / 你願意嫁給我嗎? Nǐ yuànyì jià gěi wǒ ma? Would you marry me?

Would you marry me in Chinese

A fun culture fact: Do you know we have a few different characters for being “married” to someone?

嫁 jià is used when a woman is “married” to a man. For instance,

她去年嫁给 Michael 了。Tā qùnián jià gěi Michael.

She married Michael last year.


娶 qǔ means a man “marries” a woman. For instance,

我娶了初恋女友。Wǒ qǔle chūliàn nǚyǒu.

I married my first girlfriend.


结婚 / 結婚 jiéhūn To get married

To get married

This is the most general term that we use for getting married in Chinese.

我们结婚了! Wǒmen jiéhūnle!

We got married! 


我们结婚吧! wǒ men jié hūn ba

Let’s get married!

If you are in a stable relationship and both of you commit to each other, then it is time for you to say this “我們結婚吧! wǒ men jié hūn ba!”


一见钟情 / 一見鍾情 yījiànzhōngqíng Love at first sight

Love at first sight in Chinese idiom

You can use this idiom when you have a crush on someone at first sight. For instance,

我对她一见钟情。 Wǒ duì tā yījiànzhōngqíng.

I fell in love with her at first sight.


执子之手,与子偕老 / 執子之手,與子偕老 zhí zǐ zhī shǒu, yǔ zi xiélǎo

To hold hands, to grow old with you in Chinese idiom

This idiom literally means 

to grasp

noun suffix

之 possessive particle


together with

偕老 to grow old together

So, if you combine the meanings together, to hold your hand, to grow old with you. We usually use this to bless them when someone gets married. I personally really like this idiom. The moment you decide to hold a person’s hand, you wish to hold that same hand to the end. In today’s generation there are now less and less couples willing to commit the rest of their lives together. This idiom reminds me that when making a commitment, you have to work at it.


有情人终成眷属 / 有情人終成眷屬 yǒuqíng rén zhōng chéng juànshǔ Love will find a way

Love will find a way in Chinese idiom

We use this saying to describe a couple that has been through some hard times and they have finally worked everything out to be together. For instance,


Jiějuéle shuāngfāng fùmǔ fǎnduì de wèntí, tāmen zhōngyú yǒuqíng rén zhōng chéng juànshǔ.

After solving the opposition from both of their parents, they finally are able to be together.


How Chinese Actually Express love In Mandarin Chinese Infographic

How Chinese Actually Express love In Mandarin Chinese infographic


How Chinese Actually Express love In Mandarin Chinese Video




Chinese Slang About Love

暗恋 àn liàn To have a crush on someone secretly

This phrase means you have a crush on someone secretly. The person you have a crush does not know your feelings toward him or her. For instance,


Wǒ ànliàn tā yī niánle.

I am secretly in love with him


表白 biǎo bái and 告白 gào bái To express feelings, confess to someone

Both phrases mean to express, to reveal one’s feelings. But we mostly use them when we adore or admire someone. For instance,


Tā ànliàn tā hěn zhǎng yīduàn shíjiānle, tā zhōngyú jīntiān yào qù gàobáile.

She has secretly been in love with him for a while. She will finally confess today.


专一 / 專一 zhuān yī One-track mind, focused on one thing

We use this phrase to describe a person who focuses on only one thing or one person at a time. When we use this in a relationship, it means someone is not looking around. He or she only has love for one person. 

There is another similar phrase, 专情 zhuān qíng, which we only use to describe a person who is faithful in a relationship. For instance,


Tā shì yīgè hěn zhuān qíng de rén, tā gēn tā nǚ péngyǒu zài yīqǐ wǔ niánle.

He is a faithful boyfriend. He and his girlfriend has been together for 5 years.


花心 / 花心 huāxīn Fickle (in love affairs), unfaithful

On the other hand, this is the phrase to describe a person opposite to the above. If we say someone is “花心 huāxīn,” it means someone who is unfaithful in the relationship.  


老牛吃嫩草 / 老牛吃嫩草 lǎo niú chī nèn cǎo A May-December relationship

This saying literally means

老牛 old cow

吃 to eat

嫩草 young grass

Two people in a relationship where there is a big age gap. This saying originally used to describe a romance where the man was significantly older than the woman. But it also can refer to a woman who is much older than the man.


网恋 wǎngliàn Internet dating, Internet relationship

This phrase is used to describe a relationship that starts on the Internet and may remain on the Internet for a while. For instance,


Tā hé tā nǚ péngyǒu shì wǎngliàn rènshì de.

He and his girlfriend got to know each other on the Internet.


What to Call and Introduce Our Significant One as in Mandarin Chinese

In this section, we will introduce some vocabulary that we use in Chinese to cell and introduce our significant one.


男朋友 / 男朋友 nán péngyǒu Boyfriend and

女朋友 / 女朋友 nǚ péngyǒu Girlfriend

These two are the most common phrases to refer to your boyfriend or girlfriend. But there is one thing to keep in mind. In English, some females will use “girlfriend” to refer to their close female friends. We never used “女朋友 nǚ péngyǒu” in this situation.


宝贝 bǎo bèi Baby and 

北鼻 běi bí  baby

Both phrases have similar pronunciations with the English word “baby.” We use these two phrases when describing our significant one. We use them in conversations, as well as in text messages. 


未婚夫 wèi hūn fū iancé and 

未婚妻 wèi hūn qī fiancée

When you would like to introduce your fiancé or fiancée to others, you can say,

他是我未婚夫。Tā shì wǒ wèihūnfū.

He is my fiancé.


她是我未婚妻。Tā shì wǒ wèihūnqī.

She is my fiancée.


We have quite a few phrases to describe husband and wife in Chinese. Let’s learn how to use them!

老公 lǎo gōng, this is the most common one to call your husband. You can use it privately. You can also use it to introduce your husband in a rather informal setting. Same usage as 老婆 lǎo pó. Let’s see some examples,

女:老公,我穿这件衣服漂亮吗? Nǚ: Lǎogōng, wǒ chuān zhè jiàn yīfú piàoliang ma?

Woman: Honey, do I look pretty in these clothes?


女:这是我老公。他叫做 David. Nǚ: Zhè shì wǒ lǎogōng. Tā jiàozuò David.

Woman: This is David. He is my husband..


男:老婆,你今天几点会回来?Nán: Lǎopó, nǐ jīntiān jǐ diǎn huì huílái?

Man: Honey, what time will you be back today?


男:这是我老婆,她叫 Karen. Nán: Zhè shì wǒ lǎopó, tā jiào Karen.

Man: This is Karen. She is my wife. 


先生 xiān sheng Husband and

太太 tài tai Wife

This pair of phrases can be used in both formal and informal settings. 


丈夫 zhàng fu Husband and

妻子 qī zi Wife

These two phrases are usually used in a formal setting. For example, when you make your vows at the wedding, 

你愿意他 / 她成为你的丈夫 / 妻子…

Nǐ yuànyì tā/ tā chéngwéi nǐde zhàngfū/ qīzi…

Your officiant: “Will you take this woman/man to be your wife/husband, …” 


We have published two other fun Love-Related posts, check them out!

Valentine’s Day



Valentine’s Day – Related Vocabulary







Relationship Related Chinese Slang


Relationship Related Chinese Slang









You have learned how to say I love you in Chinese and the many related vocabulary, sayings, and idioms. What do you call your significant one in your language? Share with us in the comments!


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!


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


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


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


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.



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,


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




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


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



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


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


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



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



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



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



Zhège xīn guānzhuàng bìngdú ràng mínzhòng fēicháng hàipà.

This Covid-19 makes people really scared.


冷静 / 冷靜 lěngjìng calm, cool-headed



Bǎochí lěngjìng!

Keep calm!


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



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



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


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


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:


Bù hǎoyìsi, wǒ chídàole.

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


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



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



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


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.


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



Manner Expressions in Chinese

manners in Chinese

请 / 請 qǐng Please


Qǐng bāngmáng!

Please help!


谢谢 / 謝謝 xièxie Thanks, thank you


Xièxiè nǐ de bāngmáng!

Thank you for your help!


对不起 / 對不起 duìbùqǐ Sorry


Duìbùqǐ, wǒ méi kàn dào!

Sorry I did not see it!


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


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,


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.


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


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,



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,


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 


Jīntiān de kǎoshì tài nánle!

Today’s test is too hard!


简单 / 簡單 jiǎndān simple, not complicated


Zhège wèntí hěn jiǎndān, bié xiǎng fùzále!

This problem is simple. Don’t complicate it!


容易 / 容易 róngyì easy


Zuótiān de kǎoshì mǎn róngyì de.

The exam yesterday was pretty easy.


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


Zhège xīngqí de zuòyè hěnduō.

There is a lot of homework this week.


少 / 少 shǎo few, less, to lack


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. 


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. 



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 



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



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. 



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,


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!


Zhège duōshǎo qián?

How much is this? 


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


Wǒ xiǎng qù dōngfāngmíngzhū.

I want to go to The Oriental Pearl Tower.


… 在哪里?/ … 在哪裡?… Zài nǎlǐ? Where is …?


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,


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


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?


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


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.   



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,


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. 


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.

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

0零 / 〇Líng
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. 






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.


suìYear old
How many
几岁jǐsuìHow old


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


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  
✖️乘(以)chéng (yǐ)
除(以)chú (yǐ)
…%百分之... bǎifēnzhī…
X / YY分之XY fēnzhī X

  • 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 

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 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



莲雾 lián wù, Wax apple

wax apple

Wax apples

The picture was taken in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


草莓 cǎoméi, Strawberry



覆盆子 fù pénzi, Raspberry 



樱桃 yīngtáo, 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



葡萄柚 pútáo yòu, Grapefruit



杏 xìng, 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.



桃子 táozi, Peach



橙子 chéngzi, Orange



柿子 shìzi, Persimmon



哈密瓜 hāmìguā, Cantaloupe



柠檬 níngméng, Lemon



木瓜 mùguā, Papaya



芒果 mángguǒ, Mengo



香蕉 xiāngjiāo, Banana



梨 lí, Pear



莱姆 lái mǔ, 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. 



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



青苹果 qīng píngguǒ, Green apple

green apple


山竹 shānzhú, Mangosteen



百香果 bǎixiāng guǒ, Passion fruit

passion fruit


李子 lǐzǐ, Plum



无花果 wúhuāguǒ, Fig



葡萄 pútáo, Grape



蓝莓 lánméi, Blueberry



黑莓 hēiméi, Blackberry



Fruits in Chinese Infographic

Fruits in Chinese Infographic


Fruits in Chinese Video


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. 


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. 


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

How to Say Yes in Chinese

How to say Yes in Chinese

Knowing how to say YES in a new language that you are learning, is quite important and very useful. Is “yes” in Chinese as simple as in English? The answer is, nope! But it is not hard, either! Even though we do not have direct answers for “yes” in Chinese, we have some rules for you to follow. In this article, we will talk about how to say yes in Mandarin Chinese.


11 Ways to Say Yes in Chinese

There are many situations in which we will say YES! Let’s learn some common ways to say yes in Mandarin Chinese. 


Saying Yes to Yes/No Questions

yes-or-no in Chinese


When answering a yes or no question, it depends on the “verb” or the “adjective” in the question. If the answer is “yes,” you can simply repeat the verb or adjective as a short answer. If the answer is “no,” you add “不” or “没” before the verb. You can see the article on how to say no in Chinese, for more “NO” details.

The pattern looks like this:

Answer with “yes”

Short answer: verb / adjective

Sentence answer: Subject + verb  + adjective (+ object)

Example 1,

A: May I ask, are you Li Ming?


Qǐngwèn, nǐ shì lǐ míng ma?

B: Yes, I am.


Shì, wǒ shì.


Example 2,

A: Is he your dad?


Zhè wèi shì nǐ bàba ma?

B: Yes, he is my dad.


Shì, tā shì wǒ bàba.


Example 3,

A: Are you coming tomorrow?


Nǐ míngtiān lái bu lái?

B: Yes, I will come.


Lái! Wǒ huì lái.


Example 4,

A: Is she pretty?


Tā piàoliang ma?

B: Yes. I think she is very pretty.


Piàoliang! Wǒ juédé tā hěn piàoliang.


Saying Yes to accept an invitation


Sure, ok 好 hǎo

yes invitation in Chinese

There are a variety of situations when you respond yes to an invitation. We have listed just the one keyword above, but it does not mean you can only use this word to say yes. “好 hǎo” is a general word to say yes to an invite. 


Example 1,

A: I would like to invite you and your family over for my son’s birthday party this Saturday at 3.


Wǒ xiǎng yāoqǐng nǐ hé nǐ jiārén lái wǒ érzi de shēngrì pàiduì, zhè de xīngqíliù xiàwǔ sān diǎn.

B: Thank you. Yes, we can come.


Xièxiè nǐ! Hǎo, wǒmen huì qù.


Example 2,

A: I would like to take you out for dinner. Are you available tomorrow night?


Wǒ xiǎng qǐng nǐ chīfàn, nǐ míngtiān wǎnshàng yǒu kòng ma?

B: Sure, I am available tomorrow.


Hǎo, wǒ míngtiān wǎnshàng yǒu kòng.


*OK, yes, sure 好 hǎo

*Emoji fun fact: If you type “hao” on your Chinese pinyin keyboard (at least on iPhones and Macs), do you know what you will get?

Let’s try it! You will get this → 👌 Isn’t it cool?


Saying Yes to express pleasure 

Sure; ok! 好啊 hǎo a

Of course 当然 dāngrán

That’s great, that would be great! 太好了!Tài hǎole!

**Yay 耶!yē! 

happy yes in Chinese

Example 1,

(After dinner…)

Dad: Do you guys want to go get some ice cream? 


Nǐmen xiǎng qù chī bīngqílín ma?

Kids: Yay! Of course! 


Yē! Dāngrán xiǎng chī!


Example 2,

A: I want to go shopping this afternoon? Want to go together?


Wǒ jīntiān xiàwǔ xiǎng qù guàngjiē, nǐ xiǎng yào yīqǐ qù ma?

B: Sure!


Hǎo a! 


**Fun fact 1: When you want to take pictures with your friends from China or Taiwan, you may notice they often post their hands like this, ✌️. Do you know it doesn’t mean “peace?” The hand gesture actually means “yay!” Many Chinese, especially the younger generation, like to pose with a “V” hand gesture while taking pictures.  

**Emoji fun fact 2: If you have a Chinese pinyin keyboard on your smartphone or computer (at least on iPhones and Macs), type “ye” and see what emoji you will find!

Yes, you will get ✌️! 


Saying Yes to agree 


Right, correct 没错 méi cuò

Right, correct 对 duì

Correct 正确 zhèngquè

correct in Chinese

The first one, “没错 méi cuò,” literally means “not wrong.” The usage of the first one and the second one is pretty similar. When you agree with what someone says, you can use both “没错 méi cuò” and “对 duì.”

Even though all three of the keywords above can be translated as “correct,” the last one, “正确 zhèngquè,” is normally used in a formal setting or in documents. 


Let’s see the examples for each keyword:

Example 1,

A: Are you the one who took those pictures?


Nǐ shì zhào nàxiē zhàopiàn de rén ma?

B: That’s right. It was me.


Méi cuò, shì wǒ.


Example 2,

A: Did you choose “B” for question 5?


Nǎi dì wǔ tí xuǎn B ma?

B: Yes, I chose B.


Duì, wǒ xuǎn B.


Example 3,

A: Are those pieces of information correct?


Zhèxiē zīxùn zhèngquè ma?

B: Yes, they are correct.




Saying Yes to permit a request

Yes, OK xíng

Yes, sure 可以 kěyǐ

ok in Chinese

When someone asks permission from you, the question usually contains the phrase “可以 kěyǐ.” But when answering the questions, both keywords above can be used. See two examples below:

Example 1,

Student: Teacher, may I come in?


Lǎoshī, wǒ kěyǐ jìnlái ma?

Teacher: Yes, come in!


Kěyǐ, nǐ jìnlái ba!


Example 2,

Child: Dad, can I go to Joe’s house?

爸爸,我可以去 Joe 的家吗?

Bàba, wǒ kěyǐ qù Joe de jiā ma?

Dad: Sure. But come back before dinner.


Xíng! Dànshì nǐ dé wǎncān qián huílái.


Saying Yes to claim the ownership


***Have 有 yǒu

have in Chinese

If someone is asking if you have, or own, something and you do, you can claim the ownership by using the word “有 yǒu.”


Example 1,

A: Do you have a scooter?


Nǐ yǒujī chē ma?

B: Yes, I have one.


Yǒu, wǒ yǒuyī liàng jīchē.


Example 2,

A: Do you have children?


Nǐ yǒu háizi ma?

B: Yes, I have two children, one boy and one girl.


Yǒu, wǒ yǒu liǎng gè háizi. Yīgè er zi, yīgè nǚ’ér.


***Emoji fun fact: If you are familiar with emojis, you may have seen this “ 🈶️ ” before. Look familiar? Yes, that is the word “have 有 yǒu.”


Saying Yes to express the ability

To know how to huì

To know 知道 zhīdào

ability in Chinese

The word 会 huì means the skill or knowledge you have learned. So when someone asks if you know how to do a certain skill, you can answer yes by saying “会 huì.”

You can also use the phrase “知道 zhīdào to know.” It usually comes with “怎么 zěnme” which means “how, how to.” Check out the examples below:

Example 1,

A: Do you know how to say this character “”?

你知道怎么说 “难” 这个字吗?

Nǐ zhīdào zěnme shuō “nán” zhège zì ma?

B: Yes. This character is “nán,” it means hard, difficult.

知道,这个字是 “nán” ,意思是 hard, difficult.

Zhīdào, zhège zì shì “nán”, yìsi shì hard, difficult.


Example 2,

A: Does your brother know how to drive?


Nǐ dìdì huì kāichē ma?

B: Yes, he just got his license this summer.


Huì, tā jīnnián xiàtiān gāng ná dào jiàzhào.


Saying Yes to express a hesitant OK

OK… Fine… 好吧 hǎo ba


There are other times you are kind of forced to say yes, with a hesitant or unwilling voice. Here is how we say it:


Example 1,

Child: Mom, I am going out with my friend tonight. I probably won’t be home until 11 pm.


Māmā, wǒ jīntiān wǎnshàng yào gēn péngyǒu chūqù, kěnéng yào shíyī diǎn cái huílái.

Mom: No, you need to be home by 9:30 pm. Otherwise, you are not allowed to go out.


Bùxíng, nǐ dé jiǔ diǎn bàn yǐqián huílái, bùrán nǐ bùnéng chūqù.

Child: OK. Fine.


Ō, hǎo ba.


Example 2,

(You are afraid of roller coasters. But you go to an amusement park with some of your close friends, they all want you to try one.)

Your friend: Let’s go on it for just one time, ok?


Wǒmen yīqǐ qù wán yīcì, hǎobù hǎo?

You: OK. Fine.


Hǎo ba.


Saying Yes to express the possibility


Can 可以 kěyǐ


A: Is it possible you could lend me some money?


Wǒ kěyǐ gēn nǐ jiè yīdiǎn qián ma?

B: OK, fine. How much? 


Hǎo ba… Kěyǐ. Jiè duōshǎo?


Saying Yes to your significant one!

I am willing / yes, I do 我愿意! Wǒ yuànyì!

proposal yes

Yes, I do! When someone proposes to you, this is the way to respond in Chinese, say “我愿意! Wǒ yuànyì!”

We also say this at weddings. 


Your officiant: “Will you take this woman/man to be your wife/husband, …” 

你愿意他 / 她成为你的丈夫 / 妻子…

Nǐ yuànyì tā/ tā chéngwéi nǐde zhàngfū/ qīzi…

You: Yes, I do.


Wǒ yuànyì.


Saying Yes to express your doubt


Oh 哦?Ó?

Really? 真的吗?Zhēn de ma?

Yeah? 是吗?Shì ma?


We sometimes do not truly believe what people tell us; your response may be “oh yeah?” “really?” in English. Let’s see some examples:


Example 1,

(20 minutes after Jack got home from school)

Jack: Mom, I finished my homework. I am going to play now.


Māmā, wǒ xiě wán wǒ de zuòyèle! Wǒ yào qù wán le.

Mom: Oh yeah? Show me your homework.


Ná lái gěi wǒ kàn kàn.


Example 2,

A: I heard Kevin is getting married next month!

我听说 Kevin 下个月要结婚了!

Wǒ tīng shuō Kevin xià gè yuè yào jiéhūnle!

B: Yeah? I saw him last week, he said he did not have a girlfriend yet! 


Zhēn de ma? Wǒ shàng xīngqí kàn dào tā, tā shuō tā hái méiyǒu nǚ péngyǒu.


You are welcome to share with us other ways to say “yes” in Chinese! Please make a comment below!