top of page

Mandarin Chinese: 75 Core Words

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

drawer full of papers with mandarin chinese characters

Use these core words to create your first simple sentences in Mandarin Chinese. Read the word, the translation and see the example sentences to see how the words are used. Have fun!

Hint: The marks above the vowels in the Pinyin denote the tones of each word. These are important and can change the meaning of the word if pronounced differently. To hear how these tones sound and practice them, check out this video by Harbin Mandarin here.

Social Words

yes 是(的) shì (de)

no/not 不 bù

thank you 谢谢 xiè xiè

please 请 qǐng

hello 你好 nǐ hǎo

good-bye 再见 zài jiàn


I/me 我 wǒ

my 我的 wǒde

you 你 nǐ

it 它 tā

he 他 tā

she 她 tā

we 我们 wǒ men

they 他们 tā men

Question Words

what 什么 shén me

when 什么时候 shén me shí hou

where 在哪里 zài nǎ lǐ

who 谁 shuí

why 为什么 wèi shén me

how 怎么 zěn me

(marker for yes/no questions) - 吗 ma


be/is/am/are/was/were 是 shì

do/make 做 zuò

can/will 会 huì

have 有 yǒu

go 去 qù

stop 停 tíng

look 看 kàn

open 开 kāi

close 关 guān

eat 吃 chī

drink 喝 hē

help 帮助 bāng zhù

want 想 xiǎng

need 需要 xū yào

say 说 shuō

know 知道 zhī dào

come 来 lái

read 读 dú

like 喜欢 xǐ huan

think/feel 觉得 jué de

work 工作 gōng zuò

play 玩 wán

give 给 gěi

wait 等 děng

Descriptive words

more 更 gèng

one 一 yī

big 大 dà

little 小 xiǎo

fast 快 kuài

slow 慢 màn

same 相同 xiāng tóng

different 不同 bù tóng

pretty 漂亮 piào liang

red 红色 hóng sè

blue 蓝色 lán sè

yellow 黄色 huáng sè

good 好 hǎo

new 新 xīn

old 老 lǎo

happy 开心 kāi xīn

sad 伤心 shāng xīn

very 很 hěn


at 在 zài

on top/last 上 shàng

under/next 下 xià


this 这个 zhè ge

that 那个 nà ge

some 一些 yì xiē

all 都 dōu


and 和 hé

but 但是 dàn shì


now 现在 xiàn zài

here 这里 zhè lǐ

there 那里 nà lǐ



你好吗? How are you?

我很好。 I’m good.

我想去玩。 I want to go play.

你现在需要工作。 You need to work now.

它在哪里?Where is it?

它在那里。It is there.

他喜欢等吗? Does he like to wait?

他不喜欢。 He does not.

你是谁? Who are you?

什么时候我们去吃? When are we going to eat?

你想喝什么? What do you want to drink?

请给我那个。 Please give me that.

都是红色的。 All are red.

我不知道。 I don’t know.

谢谢!再见! Thank you! Goodbye!

Have fun making your own sentences and share your sentences with us on Instagram! Tag us @languagetvclub. Or send us an email at

If you're way past the core words phase, think about joining us for Mandarin TV Club. I'd love to see you there!

30 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page