Mandarin Chinese Words List: 50 Words for Beginners

If you have recently started learning Mandarin Chinese, it must be difficult to understand conversations, movies, or songs in the new language. When you start a new language, it takes some time to reach a point where you can finally begin to speak and understand full sentences. So, you can begin with words. We have compiled a word list of 50 popular Mandarin Chinese words to help you skip to the part where you can grab the basic meaning in any sentence.

This word list simplifies Mandarin Chinese for beginners by providing five categories of the most commonly used Mandarin Chinese words.

Common things

Mandarin Chinese for beginners can be intimidating. You can never be sure as to where to begin. There are so many words, and all of them seem useful. So, here is a list of basic words that describe common things that you can start with:

  1. 东西 (dōng xī) – Thing
  2. 事 (shì) – Thing, Matter, Circumstance
  3. 家 (jiā) – House/Home
  4. 车 (chē) – Car
  5. 问题 (wèntí) – Question/Problem


As discussed above, Mandarin Chinese pronouns are a good place to start after learning a few general words. They are usually sentence starters. Mandarin Chinese Pronouns are essential in basic Mandarin Chinese conversations. They are also easy to learn and use.

Here are some Mandarin Chinese pronouns that can help you engage in casual conversations:

  1. 我 (wǒ) – I/ me
  2. 你 (nǐ) – You
  3. 您 (nín) – You (formal)
  4. 他 (tā) – He/him
  5. 她 (tā) – She/Her
  6. 我们 (wǒ mén) – We/Us
  7. 你们 (nǐ mén) – You (formal)
  8. 他们 (tā mén) – They/Them
  9. 它 (tā) – It
  10. 这 (zhè) – This
  11. 那 (nà) – That
  12. 这些 (zhè xiē) – These
  13. 那些 (nà xiē) – Those
  14. 自己 (zì jǐ) – Oneself/Alone
  15. 大家 (dà jiā) – Everyone

Question words

Question words are sentences in themselves. While visiting a Chinese city or town, they can prove to be lifesavers. Without the use of many words, they help you express your thoughts and quickly get an answer. Hand gestures and facial expressions, when used along with question words, can help locals understand what you are trying to say.

Here’s a list of all the question words you need:

  1. 什么 (shén me) – What
  2. 几 (jǐ) – How many
  3. 谁 (shén me) – Who
  4. 什么时候 (shén me shí hòu) – When
  5. 哪里 (nǎ lǐ) – Where
  6. 为什么 (wéi shén me) – Why
  7. 怎么 (zěn me) – How
  8. 怎么样 (zěn me yàng) – How about

With this set of words, you can frame all kinds of basic questions. You can join them with the words you learn further and construct more specific questions.

Conversational words

Once you have memorized a few pronouns and question words, you can have a conversation in Mandarin Chinese with the help of the following list of conversational words. These words form the basic foundation of daily private conversations.

Whether you go shopping or talk to a neighbor or even to your family members in Mandarin Chinese, these words help construct easy sentences to express your thoughts and ideas informally. Conversational words are most frequently used when the style of writing or speaking is informal.

  1. 不 (bù) – Not
  2. 很 (hěn) – Very
  3. 的 (de) – Of
  4. 还 (hái) – Still, Yet, Also
  5. 为 (wéi) – By/for the sake of
  6. 又 (yòu) – Again
  7. 从 (cóng) – From/Since
  8. 再 (zài) – Again
  9. 这样 (zhè yàng) –This way
  10. 可能 (kě néng) – Maybe

These basic words will help you hit off an ordinary conversation. It will provide you with the right linkages to join the other Mandarin Chinese words that you learn. You can now think of speaking complete sentences and even aim for fluency.

Words to describe places

These words commonly come up in conversations, official documentation, and other formal and informal use of Mandarin Chinese language. They help you describe a location or destination, such as when you take a cab or have to share your address in a delivery app. It will also help you fill out addresses in official documentation, bills, and other such places. And yes, it might come in handy if you are lost and have to find your way home!

  1. 这里 (zhè lǐ) – Here
  2. 那里 (nà lǐ) – There
  3. 地方 (dì fāng) – Place
  4. 学校 (xué xiào) – School
  5. 城市 (chéng shì) – City
  6. 国家 (guó jiā) – Country
  7. 中国 (zhōng guó) – China
  8. 公司 (gōng sī) – Company

These few words can be your foundation to learn higher-level words to express yourself. If you plan to visit China, these words will help you read signboards, display boards, and directions in Mandarin Chinese.


Now that you have learned about the common words used to describe places, you can learn the adjoining prepositions to complete your phrase. Here are the 4 most commonly used prepositions in Mandarin Chinese:

  1. 上 (shàng) – On or Above
  2. 中 (zhōng) – Center
  3. 里 (lǐ) – Inside
  4. 下 (xià) – Under or below

Prepositions are also useful to connect main words. These few prepositions can express your location or the location of any other object or person accurately. There are more prepositions, but at the beginner’s level, this shortlist will serve you best.

Common titles

Titles may not seem useful when you are learning basic Mandarin Chinese words. But it might surprise you how often they are used in daily conversations. They are like an added advantage you have when conversing in Mandarin Chinese. This is especially true for official letters and complaints.

Here are some basic Chinese titles that can come in handy during official interactions:

  1. 先生 (xiān shēng) – Mr./Sir
  2. 小姐 (xiǎo jiě) – Miss
  3. 太太 (tài tài) – Madame
  4. 老師 (lǎo shī) – Teacher
  5. 医生 (yī shēng) – Doctor

Respect is an integral part of Chinese culture. You must be courteous while addressing people, whether they are family or outsiders. Elders are treated with special respect, and these words come in handy while calling out to anyone in Mandarin Chinese without inadvertently offending them.


Having a basic Mandarin Chinese word list helps beginners gain quick knowledge about the language and helps them use it for real-life conversations.

Equipped with the information from this Mandarin Chinese word list, you are now ready to advance to the next level. It will not only help you read and comprehend but also to write and converse in Mandarin Chinese.

If you only need to know basic Mandarin Chinese, this list is enough for you. You can also learn more words like these using this list as a guide. You can master basic Mandarin Chinese and advance to higher levels with regular practice.

If you want to help your child to get started with the Mandarin Chinese language, sign them up for a free trial lesson with us today.

At LingoAce, children have the opportunity to learn from the language experts who have extensive teaching experience in Mandarin Chinese. Also, LingoAce offers classes that are not only fun but developed, keeping children’s perspective as the priority with high-quality control checks. It ensures that every class is easy to understand.

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