5 Chinese Daily Useful Phrases Posted by Ayana on Nov 23, 2020 in Vocabulary
Learning Chinese is a complex task. The tones, the sounds, the characters, the syntax, are all new for most learners. But Chinese wording is sometimes very simple, and provides us great ways to express ourselves. Here are five of my favorite short phrases for different situations in daily life.
There are many ways to express your approval, your affection, or your excitement in Chinese. One of my favorite phrases to express it all is 太好了 (tài hǎo le). 太 is an adverb meaning very; 好 is an adjective means good; together with the particle 了 they create a phrase meaning very good, great. This useful phrase can describe anything. It can refer to people, to their words or actions, to situations, to news, and so on. For example:
Zhè ge jī huì tài hǎo le, wǒ men jué bù néng cuò guò.
This opportunity is so good, we must not miss it.
我有事 (wǒ yǒu shì) is a shortening of the sentence: 我有事情去做 (wǒ yǒu shì qíng qù zuò), or我有点事情要去办 (wǒ yǒu diǎn shì qíng yào qù bàn), meaning I have some errands to do, I have things to do. These errands or things can be anything and, as long as you are not being asked, there’s no need to elaborate. Whenever you are busy or have something else to do, you can simply say this three-word phrase, and you will be excused. For example:
Duì, jīn tiān bù néng gēn nǐ chū qù wán le, wǒ yǒu shì ya.
Oh, I can’t hang out with you today, I have things to do.
啊不好意思， 今天帮不了忙， 我有事， 明天吧。
A bù hǎo yì si, jīn tiān bāng bù liǎo máng, wǒ yǒu shì, míng tiān ba.
I’m sorry, I can’t help today, I have things to do, I can tomorrow.
As an adjective, 随便 (suí biàn) means casual, thoughtless. It is used in a sentence to describe an action that is done without too much care or thought. For example: 请大家随便坐 (qǐng dà jiā suí biàn zuò) means please everyone sit down (it doesn’t matter where). As a verb, 随便 means to do as one wishes. For example: 这件事怎样处理你随便吧 (zhè jiàn shì zěn yàng chǔ lǐ nǐ suí biàn bā). Meaning: deal with this matter as you wish.
As a conjunction 随便 stands on its own, and means at your convenience. It’s a short useful phrase to use whenever the speaker has no preference. When planning dinner, for example, your friend asks you: 我们晚饭吃什么？ (wǒ men wǎn fàn chī shén me, what shall we have for dinner?). As long as you don’t mind you can simply answer with 随便. Or for another example, when going out and discussing the transportation options, your friend asks you: 咱们怎么去？走路还是坐车？ (zán men zěn me qù? zǒu lù hái shì zuò chē, How are we going? Should we walk or take a car?). If you are OK with both choices, you can answer 随便, which can be translated as: no matter, whatever.
The literal meaning of 不好意思 (bù hǎo yì si) is not a good meaning. The phrase is frequently used as a way of apologizing. If you bump into someone on a crowded street, if you rang the wrong phone number, if the object you just handed someone fell to the ground, if you gave someone the wrong direction, etc. When you need to interrupt someone for a question, such as asking for the restroom, you can also use 不好意思, before the phrase 请问 (qǐng wèn, I would like to ask).
加油 (jiā yóu) literally means to add fuel, or to add oil. Both meanings are referring to a substance which needed to be added in order to keep going. The car should be refueled to keep on driving, the flame needs oil to keep burning. Figuratively, 加油 means go! Go! Go!, or keep it up!. It can be used as a cheer, or as a form of encouragement in many situations. For your favorite sports team, for a diligent student, for a friend who needs support. For example:
Wǒ hěn lèi a, měi tiān dōu nǔ lì xué xí, hòu tiān yǒu zhòng wén kǎo shì.
Jiā yóu, wǒ wèi nǐ zhù fú!
I am very tired. I study hard every day, and I have a Chinese exam the day after tomorrow.
Do your best, good luck!
Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.