5 Useful Phrases for Shopping in China

China is the perfect country if you are a shopaholic! But you have to learn to speak Mandarin before you shop there, at least some phrases for shopping!

If it exists, you can find it in China, and you can get it cheap… if you are good at bargaining. Here are some basic phrases to help you buy everything you will ever need in China.

A group of people sitting after shopping

The most important phrase, asking how much something costs!

       zhè ge duō shǎo qián ?
How much does this cost?

The literal translation is ‘This how many money’! “这个” (zhè gè) 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.


A dog with many shopping bag


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.

Three girl shopping

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 kě yǐ shì yī xia ?
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 kě yǐ ) meaning “May I….” and then you add what you wish to do.

A man walking by a sale board

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 gè dài zi.
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 kě yǐ tuì le zhè ge ma ?
May I please return this?

This follows a similar pattern that we have used before. Notice the character “吗” 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!



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