Thank you for checking out my blog. Here you will find everything I learn in my two Elementary Chinese courses. Everything on here has been thoroughly checked by me and sometimes even straight from lectures and the textbook. That being said, I am still learning, so I am only 98.5% certain of accuracy. Feel free to leave comments if you have any questions or want to suggest corrections.
- 汽水 (qì shuǐ) used to mean sparkling water, but now it just means soda.
- Always add 在 (zài) in front of place in the sentence structure.
- When you put 不 (bù) at the beginning of a sentence, you are negating the remaining words in the sentence. When you put it in front of something else (but not at the beginning of the sentence), you are negating only that following word.
- You don’t want sentences too short. It’s almost always okay to add 很 (hĕn) to lengthen it. In cases like this, 很 doesn’t take its meaning of “very”, but is used as a filler word.
可口可乐 (kĕ kǒ kĕ lè) – Coca-Cola
百事可乐 (băi shì kĕ lè) – Pepsi Cola
雪碧 (xuĕ bì) – Sprite
矿泉水 (kuàng quán (pronounced “choo-en”) shuǐ) – Mineral water
果汁 (guǒ zhī) – Juice
红茶 (hóng chá) – Red tea/Black tea
绿茶 (lǜ chá) – Green tea
牛奶 (niú năi) – Cow milk
你在哪儿? (nǐ zài năr) – Where are you?
在家 (zài jiā) – At home
- When you are translating from English to Chinese, look up the meaning of what you want to say – not the actual word.
- 吧 (ba) and 一下 (yí xià) are both used at the end of sentences to sound more polite. Usually used after a command.
- 想 (xiăng) and 要 (yào) both mean to want to do something, but 想 is more like you think you want to do something, and 要 is when you are sure you want to do something.
- 可乐 (kĕ lè) which means cola, is phonetically translated so it’s pretty universal.
- 可 (ke) by itself means to make you feel to love something or to do something.
- If using 杯 (bēi) by itself as a noun, which means cup, add 子 (zì) to the end. Example: 杯子
- Use 我们 (wǒmen) when you are sharing something with someone else.
点儿 (diănr) pronounced “dee-ar” – A little bit; Some
可乐 (ke le) – to feel happy
进 (jìn) – to enter
快 (kuài) – Quickly/Fast
来 (lái) – to come
进来 (jìn lái) – to come in
介绍 (jièshào) – to introduce
高兴 (gāoxíng) – Happy/Pleased
漂亮 (piàoliang) – Pretty
坐 (zuò) – to sit
在 (zài) – At/In/On
哪儿 (năr) – Where
给 (gĕi) pronounced “gay” – to give
哎呀 (āiyā) – an interjectory
是吗 (shì ma) – Really?/Is that so? (rhetorical question)
谁呀 (shéi ya) – Who is it?
可吃大 (ke chí da) – Anything edible to eat?
不好意思 (bú hăo yìsi) – Oh I’m sorry/Excuse me
认识你很高兴 (rènshi nǐ hĕn gāoxíng) – Nice to meet you.
杯水 (bēi shuǐ) – Cup of water
哪里 (na li) – modest way of saying you have no way to respond to such a compliment.
- Before the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912 the last Chinese Dynasty), people did not drink coffee.
- 对不起 (duìbuqǐ), which means sorry, used to be as strong a word as 谢谢 (xièxiè). 读不起 was used only when one wanted to greatly apologize. Nowadays, they are both loosely used.
- Most people now take compliments easily; they are less modest than they were several years ago. After receiving a compliment, it was often custom to say 哪里哪里.
I must admit, this lesson has been the hardest yet. Even with Pinyin, it’s been hard remembering placement, pronunciation, spelling, grammar, and the awfully confusing exceptions.
- Consider this: Before you say an action, does it involve going somewhere to do the action? If so, add 去 (qù), which means “to go”.
- 意思 (yìsi) has many different meanings; it’s similar to the number of meanings for the English word “business”.
- Be careful not to mix up 我 (wǒ) and 找 (zhăo). The characters are very similar (the only difference is that 我 (wǒ) has a line connecting and 找 (zhăo) does not) but they mean completely different things.
- 不错 (bú cuò) literally translates to “not bad” but it actually means better than “not bad”.
- When you are stating your opinion, start with 我觉得 (wǒ juéde) which means “I think”. Then speak your opinion.
- Unless you are really old (elderly), you can be addressed as 小 (xiăo) “little” + [your last name]. Example: 小温 (xiăo wén).
- Modal verbs go before action verbs.
- The character 觉 has two different meanings: 觉得 (juéde) means “to feel”, whereas 睡觉 (shuì jiào) means “to sleep”.
- 想 (xiăng) and 觉得 (juéde) both can mean “to think”, but the former is used to express a desire, and the latter is used to express an opinion.
- 想 (xiăng) means “would like to” or “to have a desire to”, whereas 喜欢 (xǐhuān) means “to like” or “to be fond of”. These are different and are not interchangeable.
- You can insert a word between a verb and an adjective, but only if the insertable word is a verb object (VO).
错 (cuò) – Wrong
有意思 (yǒu yìsi) – Interesting
意思 (yìsi) – Meaning
想 (xiăng) – to want to; would like to
只 (zhǐ) – Only
找 (zhăo) – to look for
别人 (biérén) – other people; another person
别 的 (bié)de – Other
算了 (suàn le) – Forget it; Nevermind
好久 (hăo jiǔ) – A long time
不错 (bú cuò) – Pretty good
好小 (hăo xiăo) – So small!
什么意思 (shénme yìsi) – What is the meaning?/What do you mean?
好久不见 (hăo jiǔ bú jiàn) – Long time no see!
- 今天我请客 (jīntiān wǒ qǐngkè) “It’s my treat today”. Young people are more comfortable nowadays with splitting the bill but the older generations are used to fighting over who gets to pay for everybody. The unspoken expectation is that someone else will offer to pay the next time.
- Double 11 (11/11 or Nov. 11) is a famous shopping festival online. It was started by Daniel Zhang (through his company Alibaba) in 2009 who was inspired by the American Black Friday.
- When you want to emphasize something, put that word at the beginning of the sentence and then follow the rest of the grammatical sentence structure.
周末 (zhōmò) – Weekend
客人 (kè rén) – Guest
电视 (diànshì) – Television
音乐 (yīnyuè) – Music
电影 (diànyǐng) – Movie
书 (shū) – Book
有的 (yǒude) – Some
时候 (shíhòu) – a point in time; moment
常常 (chángcháng) – Often
昨天 (zuótiān) – Yesterday
打 (dă) – to hit
看 (kàn) – to do something with eyes
球 (qiú) – Ball
篮球 (lánqiú) – Basketball
棒球 (bàngqiú) – Baseball
足球 (zúqiú) – Soccer/Football
橄榄球 (gănlănqiú) – American Football
唱 (chàng) – to sing
跳舞 (tiàowǔ) – to dance
听 (tīng) – to listen
外国 (wàiguó) – foreign country
外国人 (wàiguórén) – foreigner
(nà) – In that case; Then
所以 (suǒyǐ) – So; Therefore
对 (duì) – Right; Correct
以 (yǐ) – with
有的候 (yǒushíhòu) – Sometimes (becomes a time word)
唱歌 (chànggē) – to sing a song
看电视 (kàndiànshì) – Watch TV
外国电影 (wàiguó diànyǐng) – Foreign movie
看书 (kànshū) – Read book
人影 (rényǐng) – a person’s shadow
请客 (qǐngkè) – to invite guest
我请客 (wǒ qǐngkè) – to pay for someone’s dinner; “It’s on me”