Essential mandarin guide

Get Started with Basic Mandarin

There are four sections we’ve used to teach you basic Mandarin below. Start with the English, learn how to write it with the Chinese Pinyin Keyboard (whilst learning the tones), read it with English phonetics and then confirm what you’ve written with the Chinese characters. The words we’ve provided are high-frequency language that will enable you to become more immersed in the Chinese culture, and get by on daily activities.


Hello – Nǐ hǎo – Nee how – 你好
Thank you – Xièxiè – Shieh-shieh – 谢谢
You are welcome – Bù kèqì – Boo kuh-chi – 别客气
How are you? – Nǐ hǎo ma – Nee how ma – 你好吗
Good morning – Zǎoshang hǎo – Zhow-shang-how – 早上好
Good afternoon – Xiàwǔ hǎo – Shyah-woo how – 下午好
Good evening – Wǎnshàng hǎo – Wan-shung how – 晚上好
Good Night – Wǎn’ān – One-un – 晚安


Dumplings – Jiǎo zhī – Jyow-zz – 饺汁
Bread Rolls (filled) – Bào zhī – Bow-zz – 鲍汁
Fruit – Shuǐguǒ – Shway-gwarh – 水果
Vegetables – Shūcài – Shoo-tsai – 蔬菜
Rice – Mǐfàn – Mee fan – 米饭
Noodles – Miàntiáo – Mee-en tee-ow – 面条


I want to go to – Wǒ Yào qù – Waw yao chyoo – 我要去
Right side – Yòubiān – Yo bien – 右边
Left side – Zuǒbiān – Zaw bien – 左边
This place – Zhège dìfāng – jigga dee-fang – 这个地方
Here – Zhèlǐ – jur lee – 这里
Stop! – Tíng – ting – 停


One – Yī – ee – 一
Two – èr – ar – 二
Three – sān – san – 三
Four – sì – srr –
Five – wǔ – woo –
Six – liù – leo –
Seven – qī – chee –
Eight – bā – ba –
Nine – jiǔ – jeo –
Ten – shí – shrr – 十

Common Words

Yes – Shì – Sheh – 是
No – Bù shì – Bu-Sheh – 不是
Good – Hǎo – How – 好
Bad – Bù hǎo – Boo-how – 好
Today – Jīntiān – Jeen-tian – 今天
Tomorrow – Míngtiān – Meeng-tian – 明天
Yesterday – Zuótiān – Zwuh-tian – 昨天
Goodbye – Zàijiàn – Zhai-jian – 再见

Useful phrases

How much? – Duō shǎo? – Dwuh shauw? – 多少
It’s too expensive – Tài guìle! – Tie gway luh! – 太贵啦
Beautiful – piàoliang – peow-liung – 漂亮
Delicious – Hào chī – How chir – 好吃
I don’t understand (when listening) – Wǒ tīng bù dǒng – Waw ting boo dong – 我听不懂
I don’t understand (when reading) – Wǒ Kàn bù dǒng – Waw can boo dong – 我看不懂
Let’s go! – Wǒmen zǒu ba! – Wuh-men zoew bah! – 我们走吧

Ask Us A Question

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Mandarin Proficiency Tests - HSK

The HSK (Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì) is China’s only standardised test for determining a non-natives proficiency in the Chinese language. The tests come in six parts and require an increasing amount of time per test. From HSK 1 requiring 3 hours of studying a week for one semester and remembering 150 words with simple grammatical structures, to HSK 6 requiring almost fluency in the language by remembering over 5,000 words. Click here to purchase the first HSK book on Amazon, and here for TaoBao.

Litao Chinese – Learn Chinese Mandarin HSK 1
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Elementary Chinese Course - HSK 1

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HSK 1 tests everyday Chinese and you’ll have to remember 150 commonly used words as well as grammar patterns. View ‘Learn Mandarin with Litao’ a useful YouTube playlist that will guide you through HSK 1. 

Elementary Chinese Course - HSK 2

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HSK 2 tests you on 300 commonly used words and grammar patterns that will test you on listening & reading comprehension and contains a total of 60 items. Watch ‘Learn Mandarin with Litao’ on YouTube as he guides you though HSK 2 and supplements your learning.

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ESL Job Board

Access all our Teaching Vacancies in China on our ESL Job Board

Your FAQs

We’ve put together a Resources Page to answer your most frequent questions. From Saving Money, to Getting Your Z-VISA, we have gone into detail there.

Your school will apply for your VISA for you to work directly for them. We’ll be with you every step of the journey. We’ve created our own VISA Support Page. Remember, the VISA you’re applying for is a Z-VISA.

You will have a minimum of a one-year contract, that will be full-time. You can save a lot of money teaching in China, and we’ve put together more information for you to read.

When you are directly employed by the school, they will offer you insurance. This means private level care. Be sure to check your contract for sick days.

You will have to go through your bank to legitimately send money home. To do this, follow the steps they give you. Your school will help support you and will be able to translate anything you need.

That is fantastic news! Not speaking Chinese is great for your students, as you will be able to immerse them in English more. We’ve also put together an Essential Mandarin Guide, and Benefits For Learning Mandarin when you’re exploring.