Useful Expressions

Useful expressions that aren’t always covered in Mandarin classes
  • Damn!

    Damn!

    This conversation has several expressions, that are often used in casual conversation. “Zāogāo” is a useful word indicating that something very annoying just went down. “Zāo” means rotten and “gāo” means cake, together it is: “rotten cakes”. Using this word for a minor annoyance will surely cause you chin...

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  • Of Course.  Very Excellent!

    Of Course. Very Excellent!

    This post introduces 3 useful expressions  “of course”, “delicious”, and “excellent” .  These are the kind of words that help you sound authentic, and are used very frequently. In Chinese there are two words for delicious.  One for food (hǎo chī) and one for drink (hǎo hē). Literally “good eat” and ...

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  • Nali nali

    Nali nali

    Nálǐ nálǐ is a phrase used to deflect praise.  Chinese people always make an effort to avoid appearing pretentious.  These days is more common to hear “méiyǒu méi yǒu”.  Both expressions, have the interesting effect that the originator of the praise is forced to insist, … which results in more praise.  Nálǐ means “wher...

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  • Watch out!

    Watch out!

    Walking around in Chinese cities presents many dangers, motorists, bicyclists, and even other pedestrians. It is a good idea know how to warn people, and know when you are being warned about potential danger.   Dialog PinyinHanziEnglish KidXiǎo xin!小心Watch out!   Vocabulary HanziPinyinEnglish 小xiǎosmall 心xīnheart;mind;feeling;intention ...

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  • Hot to death

    Hot to death

    People love to complain about the weather, and Chinese are no exception. Here is a useful phrase for this time of year that is sure to get a smile. It’s humorous because of exaggeration, and endearing because it is slang, and not often taught in classes.   Dialog PinyinHanziEnglish Runner 1Jīntiān zěnme yàng?今天怎么样?How’s it going t...

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