May 02, 2022

5 Essential Words With Example Sentences When Shopping in China

By Gloria Zheng | A Super Chineasian

Shopping is one of the behaviors that people do EVERY SINGLE DAY. People shop for food, clothes, cosmetics, daily necessities and so on. Sometimes, shopping brings happiness as well! In this post, I’ll introduce 5 phrases you need to know when you go shopping. Jot them down and let’s go shopping!

多少錢?/多少钱?(duōshǎo qián) How much?

Shopping in Asia is quite different from the western countries. The small shops in Asia are known for hidden gems at price bargains. To get the price, it often requires asking in advance. If you cannot find the pricing label, you can ask “ 請問這個多少錢?/请问这个多少钱?” (qǐngwèn zhège duō shǎo qián), which means “May I know how much it is?”

…多少錢?/…多少钱?(duōshǎo qián) can be used with any object to require the price. For example, your friend bought a nice bag (包包, bāo bāo), you are curious about how much it costs, you can ask “包包多少錢? / 包包多少钱?” (bāo bāo duōshǎo qián?)

便宜 (piányí) - Cheap

It is normal to bargain with the seller in the market. Usually, if you buy more kinds of stuff, you can ask for more discounts. For example, you are going to buy 3 pieces of clothes for $18 each. But you can ask “可以便宜一點嗎?/可以便宜一点吗?” (kěyǐ piányí yīdiǎn ma?) – “Could this be a little cheaper?” The owner usually will offer more discount to you, maybe $50 for all in total.

打折 (dǎzhé) - Discount

In Mandarin Chinese, the concept of discount is very different from English. When you see a board with “七折” (qī zhé) or heard people say “打七折” (dǎ qī zhé), it doesn’t mean 70% off, it means “30% off .”

Every brand has its seasonal sale, you can ask the clerk by saying “現在有沒有打折?/现在有没有打折?” (xiànzài yǒu méiyǒu dǎzhé?), which means “Are you on sale?” But don’t be too excited when you hear 打九折 (dǎ jiǔ zhé) since it’s 10% off.

信用卡 (xìnyòngkǎ) - Credit card

Sometimes, we don’t take much cash with us and not every shop and restaurant takes a credit card. To avoid the embarrassment after lunch or dinner, it’s better to ask when you get into a shop or a restaurant “可以刷信用卡嗎? / 可以刷信用卡吗?” (kěyǐ shuā xìnyòngkǎ ma?), which means “Do you take credit cards?”

  1. 刷 (shuā) means “to swipe”
  2. 可以刷卡嗎? / 可以刷卡吗? (kěyǐ shuākǎ ma?) is literally translated as “ Can I swipe the card?”

袋子 (dàizi) - Plastic bag

To be environment-friendly, convenient stores and supermarkets in Taiwan stop providing free plastic bags. So the clerk may ask you if you need bags or not, “要不要袋子?” (yào bù-yào dàizi ?) before you pay. A plastic bag is around USD 5 to 10 cents.

The bubble tea shops still provide free bags if you need them to carry the drinks, but sometime they might be too busy to ask. So you can tell them “請給我一個袋子。/请给我一个袋子。” (qǐng gěi wǒ yīgè dàizi), which means “Please give me a bag.”

Next time when you travel to a Chinese-speaking country, these 5 phrases will be the most frequent sentences to say when shopping around. Or, why not go shopping in Chinatown and try them today?

More authentic and practical topics coming out soon, please stay tuned and tell us what topic you are interested in learning more about! See you next time! 下次見!

Take a look at Chineasy shop and shop any resources and learning materials you find useful!

By Gloria Zheng | A Super Chineasian

Gloria is a native of Taiwan and has been a professional Mandarin teacher since 2013. She has taught in Taiwan, the United States, Korea and South East Asia with clients ranging from company executives and professionals to students and children. As a frequent traveler, she believes that language is best learned through immersion. Therefore, her favorite methods create an authentic Chinese environment.

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