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Basic Chinese Words: Build Your Chinese Vocabulary Beginners

Basic Chinese Words :Pronouns in Chinese

Basic Chinese Words: Build Your Chinese Vocabulary Beginners - WuKong Blog

This word list simplifies Mandarin Chinese for beginners provided in different categories. Pronouns are the beginning for a beginner. We often have learned some words on autopilot. 

After learning a few general words and phrases, learning words for pronouns is the next good thing to start in Mandarin Chinese. These proverbs are essential for basic Mandarin Chinese conversations. Pronouns are also extremely easy to learn and use.

Below are some Mandarin-Chinese pronouns that you can use to engage in casual conversations:

  • 自己 (zì jǐ) – Oneself/Alone
  • 大家 (dà jiā): Everyone
  • 我 (wǒ) – I/me
  • 你 (nǐ): You
  • 那 (nà): That
  • 这些 (zhè xiē): These
  • 那些 (nà xiē): Those
  • 您 (nín) – You (formal)
  • 他 (tā) – He/him
  • 她 (tā) – She/Her
  • 他们 (tā mén) – They/Them
  • 它 (tā) – It
  • 我们 (wǒ mén) – We/Us
  • 你们 (nǐ mén): You
  • 他们 (tā mén) – They/Them

Basic Chinese Words for Directions and Ordering 

Directions can be of incredibly important use when visiting a Chinese city, town, or village.

  • Left: 左边 – zuǒ biān
  • Right: 右边 – yòu biān
  • Straight: 直 – zhí
  • Backwards: 向后 – xiàng hòu

Next are some sentences to order something.

  • Do you speak English?: nǐ huì shuō yīng yǔ ma
  • Bill please: mǎi dān
  • This: zhè
  • That: nà
  • I would like X: wǒ xiǎng X
  • Can I have X?: nǐmen yǒu X ma?
  • Menu, please: qǐng gěi wǒ cài dān

These are some common words and sentences to order anything when buying or asking for something. Use these phrases and impress Chinese people. 

Basic Chinese Words for Questions in Chinese

Basic Chinese Words: Build Your Chinese Vocabulary Beginners - WuKong Blog

Questions are complete sentences in themselves. They prove to be lifesavers when visiting a Chinese city or town. You can express your thoughts quickly with questions and get answers instantly. You can make locals understand by asking questions and using gestures and facial expressions.

Below is a list of question words that you need:

  • 什么 (shén me): What
  • 什么时候 (shén me shí hòu) – When
  • 谁 (shuí / shéi): Who
  • 哪里 (nǎ lǐ) – Where
  • 几 (jǐ): How many
  • 怎么样 (zěn me yàng): How about
  • 为什么 (wèi shén me) – Why
  • 怎么 (zěn me) – How

You can mix these words into complete sentences. A few sentences are given below.

  • Can you write that down?: tā de jià gé shì duō shǎo?
  • What is fun to do in Beijing?: Běijīng nǎ lǐ hǎo wán er
  • Do you have anything cheaper?: nǐ men yǒu pián yi yì diǎn de ma
  • How much does it cost?: tā de jià gé shì duō shǎo?
  • Where is Gini?: Gini zài nǎ
  • Can you show me on a map?: nǐ néng zài dì tú shàng gěi wǒ kàn kan ma? 

Basic Chinese Preposition Words 

Basic Chinese Words: Build Your Chinese Vocabulary Beginners - WuKong Blog

Now that you have enough vocabulary to understand and describe places, it is time to switch to adjoining prepositions to complete your phrase. You can use these most common prepositions in Mandarin Chinese for most situations.

  • 里 (lǐ): inside
  • 下 (xià): under or below
  • 上 (shàng): On or Above
  • 中 (zhōng): Center

Prepositions can also be of great help in connecting words. You can use these prepositions to accurately express your location or the location of any other object or person. There are more prepositions, but this will be great for beginners.

Some words may not seem important to add, but their learning could be pivotal for basic Mandarin Chinese. They add an extra advantage to Mandarin Chinese learning. If you necessarily need to add something, we will suggest these Chinese common titles:

  • 太太 (tài tai): Madame
  • 老师 (lǎo shī) – Teacher
  • 医生 (yī shēng) – Doctor
  • 先生 (xiān sheng) – Mr./Sir
  • 小姐 (xiǎo jiě) – Miss

Basic Chinese words to describe things

Basic Chinese Words: Build Your Chinese Vocabulary Beginners - WuKong Blog

There are words in each language that come up in conversation that you need to use to describe things. This can also be a scenario in official documentation as well as in the formal and informal use of Mandarin Chinese. You may have to describe a location or destination. For example, you may have to take a car or share your destination. These words can also be needed in official documentation, bills, and other such places. This could come in handy if you are lost and looking for a way to reach home.

Following are some common words that you may have to describe in conversation and other similar situations:

  • 国家 (guó jiā): Country
  • 中国 (zhōng guó)—China
  • 公司 (gōng sī) – Company
  • 那里 (nà lǐ): There
  • 地方 (dì fāng) – Place
  • 学校 (xué xiào): School
  • 这里 (zhè lǐ): Here
  • 城市 (chéng shì) – City

These words could be of great use when building a foundation to learn higher-level words. If you have any plans to visit China, then these are going to come in handy. You can use it to read signboards, display boards, and directions in Mandarin Chinese. 

Basic Chinese words for conversation

Basic Chinese Words: Build Your Chinese Vocabulary Beginners - WuKong Blog

You can easily have a conversation in Mandarin Chinese once you have memorized some pronouns and question words. They form the basis for daily private conversations.

With these words, you can easily construct sentences, whether shopping, talking to a neighbor, or even talking to your family members in Mandarin Chinese. Conversational words work best when engaged informally in the style of writing or speaking.

These words are:

  • 还 (hái) Still, Yet, Also
  • 为 (wéi): By or for the sake of
  • 又 (yòu) – Again
  • 不 (bù): not
  • 很 (hěn) – Very
  • 的 (de): Of
  • 这样 (zhè yàng): This way
  • 可能 (kě néng): Maybe
  • 从 (cóng): From or since
  • 再 (zài): Again

These words can be helpful to kick off an ordinary conversation. Words provide linkage to join the other Mandarin Chinese words that you learn. Use these words to think in Chinese, and speak complete sentences.

Mandarin Chinese for common things can be intimidating. Most importantly, it is hard to know where to start. Choosing which words to start with is hard because there are many useful words. So, here’s a list of some common Mandarin Chinese words.

  • 家 (jiā) – House/Home
  • 车 (chē) – Car
  • 问题 (wèn tí) – Question/Problem
  • 东西 (dōng xi) – Thing
  • 事 (shì) – Thing, Matter, Circumstance


Learning basic Chinese words can be of great help, as China is the second-biggest economy and most populous nation in the world. Furthermore, it is always an advantage to learn something used by millions of people around the world. A basic Mandarin Chinese word list can help beginners learn things quickly. You can learn more about the language as well as have real-life conversations.

Learning these Mandarin Chinese word lists means you are ready to move to the next level. You can engage yourself in ordinary conversations and even learn to become fluent. This will help you become able to read, comprehend, write, and converse in Mandarin Chinese.


Are Chinese and Mandarin different?

Chinese and Mandarin are widely spoken in China and Taiwan. Nevertheless, Chinese is specifically a term used for all dialects, and Mandarin refers to a single dialect in modern Chinese. So non-Chinese speakers refer to Chinese as the Chinese language; they don’t specify any dialect. Conversely, Mandarin is an official language. Moreover, Mandarin is standard Chinese and is spoken by most Chinese people. Basic Chinese words give an idea of how to understand many ordinary and informal conversations.

How can I introduce myself in Chinese?

You can introduce yourself in Chinese in the following ways:

  • Your name, wǒ jiào (your name), or my name is (your name).
  • wǒ shì měiguó rén / I am American.
  • I am eighteen years old.
  • wǒ huì shuō zhōngwén / I can speak Chinese.
  • wǒ bù huì shuō yīngyǔ / I cannot speak English.

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