Ten Ritual Sentences to Entertain Guests

1. 欢迎光临,有失远迎。
  huān yíng guāng lín yǒu shīyuǎn yíng

It is a traditional Chinese greeting, usually for formal occasions. The literal translation is “Welcome (to my home), and (sorry for) not going out to welcome you.” Another formulaic expression “大驾光临,有失远迎,恕罪恕罪” may be used on very formal occasions.

2. 您的到来真是让我们蓬荜生辉啊。
   nín de dào láizhēn shì ràng wǒ men péng bìshēng huīa

The literal translation is “Your presence brings light to my humble dwelling”. It is a traditional way to express the host’s pleasure to welcome the guests, also for formal occasions.

Difference in Chinese and English can be seen in the use of personal pronouns. Chinese has two second-person pronouns, i.e. “你” and “您” with the latter being more polite, whereas English has only one form, i.e. “you”.

3. 你能来真是太好了。
nǐ néng láizhēn shì tài hǎo le

Literal translation: I’m really glad that you could come.
It is a common casual way to welcome people.

4. 在我这儿别见外。
zài wǒ zhèr bié jiàn wài

” 见外” means “to regard somebody as an outsider”. The literal translation is “please don’t regard yourself as an outsider when you are here”. Its English equivalent is “Please make yourself at home.”

5. 你想喝点儿什么?
nǐ xiǎng hē diǎnr shén me
What would you like to drink?
Chinese tea is the most common drink that can be served on such occasions, but the younger generation usually prefers coffee, beer or plain water.

6. 请随意。
  qǐng suí yì
  Please help yourself.

7. 再多吃点吧。
  zài duōchī diǎn ba
  Have some more, please.

It is a very typical Chinese way of entertaining guests. Chinese often express their hospitality by persuading guests to eat more and drink more.

8. 失陪一会儿。
Shī péi yī huìr
Excuse me for a moment.

9. 再呆会儿吧,这么早就走吗?
zài dāi huìr ba,zhè me zǎo jiù zǒu ma
Why not stay a little bit longer? Must you leave so soon?

It is hard to say goodbye. Chinese people usually persuade guests to stay for a bit longer to show that they enjoy their company. And often, they do it a few times.

10. 慢走,下次再来啊。
màn zǒu xià cì zài lái ā

Take care. Please visit us again!

Recite Classic Literature

A driving school in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province, has announced a plan that encourages college students to learn more about Chinese literature.

If you don’ t see the connection, here’ s how it works: If you can recite(背诵) more than 30,000 characters(汉字) from classic Chinese literature works(国学经典), you will be able to take the driving lessons for free(免费). (The original price(原价) for a full course is 3,800 yuan, or 613 US dollars.) If you can recite more than 8,000 characters, you will get a discount(打折) of 1,500 yuan. And more than 1,000 characters, a discount of 200 yuan.

So far(到目前为止), many college students have taken on the challenge(挑战). Le Yanyan, a senior majoring(学…专业) in Chinese literature, even managed to win the free lessons.

Explaining why the school has come up with this plan, principal Ma Deming says he is a big fan of Sinology(国学迷) and wants to do his part in helping promote it. He adds that it contains lots of profound thoughts(深刻的思想) and teaches the basic principles to conduct oneself(做人的基本原则), which can be beneficial to college students.

重点词汇 Key Words:

国学 guó xué
It is the academic study of Chinese culture including philosophy, history, literature, linguistics, architecture, etc. Here it refers to some classic literature works, such as Four Books and Five Classics(四书五经 sì shū wǔ jīng).

The Four Books(四书) illustrate the core value and belief system in Confucianism.
[dà xué] 大学 Great Learning
[zhōng yōng] 中庸 Doctrine of the Mean
[lún yǔ] 论语 Analects
[mèng zǐ] 孟子 Mencius

The Five Classics(五经) are five books that form part of the traditional Confucian canon.
[shī jīng] 诗经 Classic of Poetry
[shàng shū] 尚书 Book of Documents
[lǐ jì] 礼记 Book of Rites
[zhōu yì] 周易 Book of Changes
[chūn qiū] 春秋 Spring and Autumn Annals

背诵 bèi sòng

Eg. 你只是在背诵自己死记硬背下来的东西。
You are merely reciting facts that you have learned by rote memorization.

Each child had to recite a poem to the class.

免费 miǎn fèi
free of charge/free/for free

Eg. 我为你所做的一切都是免费的。
What I do for you is free.

He got a film ticket for free.

New Chinese-style Outfits

Aside from the serious subjects being discussed during the APEC meeting, alongside attractive cuisine and outstanding cultural performances, group photos of APEC leaders in national costume always manage to attract wide scale attention.

The above picture shows world leaders wearing Chinese-style outfits made of silk, called 新中装(xīn zhōng zhuāng ,New Chinese-style Outfits). The outfit is specially designed to represent China’s rich history and ancient traditions.

For male leaders:

[lì lǐng] 立领 stand up collar
[duì kāi jīn] 对开襟 Chinese-style jacket with buttons down the front
[lián jiān xiù] 连肩袖 the raglan sleeve
[tí huā wàn zì wén] 提花万字纹 Chinese style decorative pattern
[sòng jǐn] 宋锦 the Song Brocade
[shì hǎi shuǐ jiāng yá wén] 饰海水江崖纹 the sea and mountain pattern

For female leaders:

[lì lǐng] 立领 stand up collar
[duì kāi jīn] 对开襟 Chinese-style jacket with buttons down the front
[lián jiān xiù] 连肩袖 the raglan sleeve
[shuāng gōng duàn] 双宫缎 doupion silk
[shì hǎi shuǐ jiāng yá wén] 饰海水江崖纹 the sea and mountain pattern

For female spouse:

[kāi jīn] 开襟 front opening
[lián jiān xiù] 连肩袖 the raglan sleeve
[lì lǐng qí páo qún] 立领旗袍裙 cheongsam skirt with stand-up collar

Expression about ‘Love’

谈恋爱 – Dating

搞对象 – Dating

谈/处朋友 – Dating

恋爱了 – Fall in Love
小王最近训练怎么老走神儿?–> 还用问,恋爱了吧

爱上了 – Fall in Love with

约会 – Dating for one time
今天三环路大堵车,你和小张的约会定的几点钟?-> 7点,什刹海,还有时间。

情感/感情 – Emotion

爱情 – Love

性爱 – Sex, erotic

朋友 – Friend (But in Beijing, it also means Girl/Boy Friend some time.)
我和小赵是好朋友。 –> Friend
介绍一些,这是我朋友。–> Girl/Boy Friend

女朋友/男朋友 –> Girl/Boy Friend

恋人 -> Lovers before marriage

爱人 – Lovers after marriage, husband/wife

老公/老婆 -> husband/wife

那口子 -> husband/wife

老伴 -> husband/wife (Generally be mentioned by elder people)

爱 love; affection,like; be fond of; be keen on,cherish; hold dear; take good care of; treasure,be apt to; be in the habit of
母爱 maternal love; mother love; a mother’s love for her children; maternal affection
父爱 paternal love
父母的爱 parental love
父母子女间的爱 love between parent and child
子女对长辈的爱 filial love
互爱 reciprocal affection
慈爱 the benevolent affections
永远相爱 love each other with an undying affection爱如己出 cherish a child as one’s own
爱恨交织 be overwhelmed by mixed lovehate feelings
爱憎分明 have a clearcut stand on what to love and what to hate
爱莫能助 be sympathetic but have no ability to help; be willing to, but powerless to render assistance
爱校如家 love the school as dearly as one does one’s own home
爱子女 feel affection to one’s children; have an affection for one’s children



















Top 10 Kinds of Foreigners in China

1. Teachers 老师

The predominant field of expats in China is education, and I am myself part of this first class of foreigners. Some foreigners teach in China because they couldn’t find a job in their home country, some because they’ve lived here a long time and have decided to settle down, or some teachers are just up for an adventure teaching abroad. Qualified, seasoned teachers are usually well-educated and versed in Chinese history and culture and may or may not be able to speak Chinese.
我 就部分的属于这一类。教育是外国人就业比较集中的领域。一些外国人来中国教书或是因为他们在原籍国找不到工作,或者已经在这住了很长时间并决定定居下来, 或本身就是老师,打算来一次海外教学的实践。合格的有经验的老师通常受过良好教育,熟知中国历史和文化,可能会或不会说中文。
2. Entrepreneurs/venture capitalists 企业家或爱冒险的资本家

These are mostly young (but can be any age) foreigners who are determined to either start their own business in China, get involved in imports/exports, or find any scheme to “hit it big” in China! These are also your legitimate small business & pub/restaurant owners.
3. Corporate multinationals/media 跨国企业或媒体

Green Card/VIP Material: This group includes distinguished foreigners who work for major corporations abroad. Other smaller multinationals included, these foreigners are your Americans, Germans, Aussies, Russians, Europeans, Africans, Indians and people from all over. These are the rich foreigners or foreigners who are well-established in their own field (media, business, etc) at home as well as abroad.

4. Diplomats 外交官

This category includes foreigners who represent their government in China (officials, dignitaries, embassy workers, bureaucrats, etc).
5. NGOs 非政府组织

A smaller group but becoming larger, these foreigners are mostly young foreigners/30-somethings who are truly involved in making “One World, One Dream” a reality and the world a better place as a whole.
6. Students/China hands 学生或“中国粉”

This group includes students studying abroad in China or another class, I term, “China Hands”. China Hands are foreigners who live here purely out of love of the culture, language and people. They may be any age group, in any profession, but live here mostly for love of China. Think Da Shan. Both students and China Hands have the best understanding of Chinese culture and language. These are your intellectuals.
在中国留学 生还有另一种我定义为“中国粉”(China Hands)。中国粉是纯粹出于对中国文化、语言和人民的热爱而住在这里的外国人。各个年龄段各个职业的人都有,他们在这里唯一的理由就是热爱中国。相声 名人大山可以算作代表。留学生和中国粉都对中国文化语言个方面有深入了解。这些可都算作“文化人”。
7. Against their will 不情不愿的“中国黑”

These foreigners live in China, but unlike China Hands, they hate it! They are here against their will (purely for employment) in whatever field they are in. They are in China simply for the work and have most likely been told by their employer back home in Helsinki that they are to be moved to China. These foreigners will criticize and bash China unabatedly, and go out of their way to complain in any situation. At any rate, they’ve been here too long. (Really they’re just homesick.)
8. Hipsters/Hutongsters 潮人

This category includes mostly 20-somethings or trust-fund grads who want to rebel and live in China for a year or two, rent a stinky old Beijing hutong house with four buddies, start a rock band or call themselves DJ BJ and basically get drunk and act cool all the time. Slackers in their own countries, they are easy to spot, and easily stand out in a crowd. They might do some side teaching for EF (EF is an English training institute in China) if they really need the money, or start a local e-magazine about the “scene”.
大多数20多岁,大多都身背着大学期间的贷款,自视具 有反叛精神打算在中国自我放逐一两年。通常是三四好友蜗居在气味浓重的胡同平板房里,然后创立一支摇滚乐队,自称是北京DJ ,整日醉醺醺的衣服时尚潮人的样子。在本国他们也多是吃政府救济的一类人。如果他们手头紧了,可能会为英孚做些临时教学工作,或开办一当地“情景”电子杂 志。
9. No other choice 高危人群

These are foreigners who have run out of options back home and need to leave their home country for whatever reasons (legal, divorce, family/money problems, etc). They can also be involved in illegal activities (drug dealing, prostitution, etc) once here. They can be desperate or dangerous.
10. Reverse Chinese 回流的中国人

These are Chinese people who were born in China, but moved abroad to either study or get married in the US, became a citizen of the US (usually from the USA, sorry!) and have returned to China for work or whatever purpose now as a US citizen. They often like to complain too! They also have a bit of a superiority complex when talking with common Chinese folk back in China. They can be really annoying with their newfound entitlement, but also can be very good for China when put to good use!
这些人出生在中国,但因学业或婚姻移居国外,变成了美国公民(美国回来的居多,就以美国来代表了。),之后为工作或其它目的又 以美国公民身份回到中国。他们也经常喜欢抱怨!并且在与他们的中国同胞聊天时表现出一种优越感。有时这种人确实不招人待见。但是实话实说,人尽其用还是对 中国的发展十分有利。


Top 9 Things Never to Do in China

Objchina is from Nigeria; he shares his top 9 things that foreigners should avoid doing in China while interacting with the Chinese in order to save them from “certain embarrassment and possibly even outright humiliation.” What do you think about the list?

1. Never get upset in public

Public displays of anger are frowned upon by the Chinese and are most uncomfortable for them to deal with — especially if the people getting angry are foreign tourists, for example. This goes right along with making someone (usually the Chinese host) lose face, which you should avoid at all costs. The Chinese place a premium on group harmony, so foreigners should try to swallow hard, be polite, and cope privately.

portant; float: none;”>2. Never accept a compliment graciously
portant; float: none;”>You may find yourself at a loss for words when you compliment a Chinese host on a wonderful meal, and you get in response, “No, no,the food was really horrible.” They expect you to say works like ” mama huhu(马马虎虎)” or ” Na li, Na li哪里哪里” whenever they tell you words like, “your Chinese is very good” while some will say, “your Chinese is very guda” (No, disrespect but just keeping it real). These people aren’t being nasty…just humble and polite. A little less boasting and fewer self-congratulatory remarks go a long waytowards scoring cultural sensitivity points with the Chinese.
portant; float: none;”>当 你赞美中国朋友厨艺精湛时,在听到中国人的回答“不,不,我做的饭挺难吃”时,一定感到困惑。中国人对你说“你的中文很guda(这样说没有任何的鄙视之 意,只是保持中国人真正的发音而已)”,他们希望你的回答是“mama huhu(马马虎虎)或者Na li, Na li(哪里哪里)”。他们并不是难相处,而只是过分谦虚而已。少一点自夸自擂能让你与中国人保持更长久的关系。

3. Never address people by their first names first

Chinese people have first and last names like everyone else. However, in China, the last name always comes first. The family (and thecollective in general) always takes precedence over the individual. For example, my Chinese name is L? Míng, assuming I am a Chinese, you can safely refer to me as Mr. L? (not Mr. Míng).

Unlike people in the West, the Chinese don’t feel very comfortable calling each other by their first names. only family members and a few close friends ever refer to the man above, for example, as simply “Míng.” They may, however, add the prefix lao (lao; old) or xiao(xiao; young) before the family name to show familiarity and closeness.


4. Never make someone lose face

The worst thing you can possibly do to Chinese acquaintances is publicly humiliate or otherwise embarrass them. Doing so makes them lose face. Don’t point out a mistake in front of others or yell at someone.

The good news is that you can actually help someone gain face by complimenting them and giving credit wher credit is due. Do this whenever the opportunity arises. Your graciousness is much appreciated. For example, “Give a round of applause for Laoshi, for giving us a wonderful lesson today,” THEY LOVE THAT.


5. Never let someone else pay the bill without fighting for it

In the past, I was stunned the first time I witnessed the many fairly chaotic, noisy scenes at the end of a Chinese restaurant meal. The time to pay the bill has come and everyone is simply doing what they’re expected to do — fight to be the one to pay it. The Chinese consider it good manners to vociferously and strenuously attempt to wrest the bill out of the very hands of whoever happens to have it. This may go on, back and forth, for a good few minutes, until someone “wins” and pays the bill. The gesture of being eager and willing to pay is always appreciated.

6. Never show up empty handed

Gifts are exchanged frequently between the Chinese, and not just on special occasions. If you have dinner in someone’s house to meet a prospective business partner or for any other pre-arranged meeting, both parties commonly exchange gifts as small tokens of friendship and good will. Westerners are often surprised at the number of gifts the Chinese hosts give. The general rule of thumb is to bring many little (gender non-specific) gifts when you travel to China. You never know when you’ll meet someone who wants to present you with a special memento, so you should arrive with your own as well.

中 国人经常互送礼物,不仅仅是在特别的场合。如果你要去中国人家里去见未来的商业伙伴或者去参加会议,双方通常会交换象征着友谊长存和美好祝愿的礼物。西方 人在看到中国人送的礼物数量时都会惊呆的。当你到中国旅游时,一般的经验是带点儿小(不限性别)礼物。你不知道你将见到谁,不知道他是否会送你特别的礼 物。所以,你去拜访他时也要带上礼物。
7. Never take the first “No, thank you” seriously

Chinese people automatically refuse food or drinks several times — even if they really feel hungry or thirsty. Never take the first “No, thank you” literally. Even if they say it once or twice, offer it again. A good guest is supposed to refuse at least once, but a good host is also supposed to make the offer at least twice.

8. Never accept food, drinks, or gifts without first refusing a few times

No self-respecting guests immediately accept whatever may be offered to them in someone’s home. No matter how much they may beeager to accept the food, drink, or gift, proper Chinese etiquette prevents them from doing anything that makes them appear greedy or eager to receive it, so be sure to politely refuse a couple of times.

9. Never drink alcohol without first offering a toast

Chinese banquets include eight to ten courses of food and plenty of alcohol. Sometimes you drink rice wine, and sometimes you drink industrial strength Máo Tái, known to put a foreigner or two under the table in no time. One way to slow the drinking is to observe Chinese etiquette by always offering a toast to the host or someone else at the table before taking a sip yourself. This not only prevents you from drinking too much too quickly, but also shows your gratitude toward the host and your regard for the other guests. If someone toasts you with a “gan bei!” you should accept it in a polite way.

“Gan bei” means “bottoms up, or drink all,” and you may be expected to drink the whole drink rather quickly. Don’t worry. You can always take just a little sip instead.

中 国人的宴会会上8至10道菜,随后会上许多酒。有时你喝的是米酒,有时喝的是著名的茅台。茅台酒劲大,外国人很快就会喝醉。一个减缓喝醉的方法就是观察学 习中国人的酒桌礼仪。中国人通常会向主人祝酒,而酒桌上的其他人只会啜饮一下。这不仅会放慢你喝酒的速度,也能显示你对主人以及酒桌上其他人的尊重。如果 有人和你干杯,你应该起身与他干杯。


Question Words In Chinese

Here are the most commonly used question words list

Placement of Question Words in Chinese

In English, question words are usually placed at the beginning of the sentence. In Chinese, you do not need to change the word order. Just place a question word instead of the thing/person/place, etc. you want to ask about.



Chinese Interjections

感叹词 [ gǎntàncí ] – interjection / exclamation

The Chinese language involves many exclamations and interjections. They are used in everyday speech to express various kinds of emotional response. Exclamations are also used in informal writing (e. g., on Internet forums).

The Analects of Confucius: Sayings about Learning

sān rén xíng, bì yǒu wǒ shī

This well-known Chinese idiom is literally translated into English as “When I walk along with two others, from at least one I will be able to learn” (James Legge). Nowadays, this wise saying is commonly interpreted as “You have something to learn from everyone”.

The idiom derives from “The Analects” which is one of the most important texts of Confucianism. This famous collection of ideas attributed to Confucius is thought to have been written by the philosopher’s followers.

One of the fundamental topics of “The Analects” is the importance of learning and education. According to Confucius, a good student is one who learns from what his teacher says and does. Actually, he never “lectured” about any subject (at least, there is no such evidence in “The Analects”). Instead of this, the students asked him questions, and he answered, citing the classics and using analogies.

For Confucius, intuitive self-study was as much important as formal learning. The following saying illustrates this idea:

xué ér bù sī zé wǎng sī ér bù xué zé dài
To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.


Using 想 (xiǎng) To Express Desire

In Chinese language, 想 (xiǎng) basically means “to think”, “to reckon” or “to miss”, but it also acts as an auxiliary verb expressing modality.

In this case 想 is translated as “want to…” or “would like to…”.
The grammar pattern is as follows:
Subject + 想(xiǎng) + Verb (Object) 
The verb provides the main content of the clause, while 想 expresses the desire to do something.


我想去上海。- Wǒ xiǎng qù shànghǎi. – I want to go to Shanghai.
他们想吃饭。- Tāmen xiǎng chīfàn. – They would like to eat.
他想喝绿茶。- Tā xiǎng hē lǜchá. – He would like to drink green tea.

Questions with 想

A common way to form questions with 想 is so-called affirmative-negative question” ( Verb + 不 + Verb): 
你们想不想去?- Nǐmen xiǎng bùxiǎng qù? – Would you like to go?
想不想喝酒?- Xiǎng bùxiǎng hējiǔ? – Would you like to drink wine?
你想不想吃饭? – Nǐ xiǎng bù xiǎng chīfàn? – Would you like to eat?

Yes-no questions with “ma” are also commonly used:
你想吃饭吗?- Nǐ xiǎng chīfàn ma? – Would you like to eat?
你想看这本书吗?- Nǐ xiǎng kàn zhè běn shū ma? – Would you like to read this book?
你们想去旅行吗?- Nǐmen xiǎng qù lǚxíng ma? – Would you like to travel?

Negative sentences with 想

For negating the following pattern is used:
Subject + 不 (bù) + 想(xiǎng) + Verb (Object) 
It is translated as “would not like to…”
我不想上班。- Wǒ bùxiǎng shàngbān. – I wouldn’t like to work.
我不想做作业。 – Wǒ bùxiǎng zuò zuo yè. – I don’t want to do homework.
她不想去散步。 – Wǒ bùxiǎng zuò zuo yè. – She does not want to go for a walk.