China is the perfect country if you are a shopaholic! If it exists, you can find it in China, and you can get it cheap… if you are good at bargaining. But you have to learn Mandarin Chinese before you shop there, at least some Chinese phrases for shopping! Here are some basic phrases to help you buy everything you will ever need in China.
The most important phrase, asking how much something costs!
Zhège duōshǎo qián ？
How much does this cost?
The literal translation is ‘This how many money’! “这个” (zhège) is an important word to know. If you want something you just need to point and say “这个”. It was the first and most important word I learned in my first week in China.
Sometimes the shopkeepers may inflate the price, or you just think paying 200 RMB for a purse is too much. So you need to express yourself.
Tài guì le
That’s too expensive!
This phrase is used a lot. When it’s spoken, most people often sound like they are surprised, shocked, and angry. That’s because of the fourth tone. “太” (tài) means “extremely”, “贵” (guì) is expensive and “了” (le) is used as a mark of action.
When you are out shopping you might want to try some of the pieces you are buying so here is how you ask.
Wǒ kě bu kěyǐ shì yíxia ?
Can I try this on?
A very typical Chinese way of asking for something using the structure “我可不可以…” (wǒ kě bu kěyǐ ) meaning “May I….” and then you add what you wish to do.
You finally paid for your things but the shopkeeper still hasn’t given you a bag! This is quite normal in China as you pay for bags so if you don’t ask for one they may assume you don’t want it.
Qǐng gěi wǒ ge dàizi.
Please, may I have a bag?
“请” (qǐng) is another good word to know, it means “please” and you can start any sentence with it to show respect.
Turns out when you get home the clothes don’t fit you as well as you wished, so you need to go back to the shop and return them, for that you need to use this phrase.
Wǒ kěyǐ tuìle zhège ma ？
May I please return this?
This follows a similar pattern that we have used before. Notice the character “吗” (ma) at the end of the sentence. Any sentence that has this character at the end is a question.
I hope these phrases are useful, are there any other handy Mandarin phrases you would like to learn? Share with us in the comment!