Duibuqi vs. Baoqian

Dui4buqi2 (对不起) is the Chinese word for “sorry.”  It can also be used to mean “excuse me,” for example if someone has to ask you to move aside on the bus or elevator when he or she wants to get off.  A westerner may find it strange for someone to be apologizing to him on such occasions.  It can also be use to interrupt someone while he or she is speaking, if necessary. Bao4 qian4 is a more direct way of apologizing and is not often used to excuse one’s self. You can practice Dui4buqi2 (对不起) here.

Here’s a lesson by Peggy in Taiwan.  She uses bu hao yisi, “I’m embarrassed,” to mean “excuse me” and duibuqi to mean “I’m sorry.”  The boy replies meiguanxi, meaning “it doesn’t matter” or “no sweat.”

Here’s a song.  Dui bu qi.  The Pinyin is here. Get someone to explain it to you in English.

And another one you might enjoy.  Beginning Chinese learners, I guess. Duibuqi. Wo shi Meiguoren. Wode Zhongwen buhao.  Meiguanxi.

Ji or Duoshao?


People just starting Chinese need to know the difference between ji and duo shao. Both mean ‘how many.’ However, duo shao is used with larger numbers or amounts of things, while ji is used with smaller numbers of things. Jǐbēi? (几杯?) “How many glasses or cups?” Go to this free easy lesson to hear it and practice it in context. It’s fun.

Mandarin Click by Click: Cages Open, Chinese Unleashed!


Six months ago, thanks to special funding, I made Mandarin Click by Click totally free. However, you had to sign up and had to follow the lessons in order. (Read pain in the .. )

And now after several months of deliberation, and with the suggestions and immense help of Dave at Chinese Hacks dot Com, I have totally opened the educational site up. Mandarin Click by Click is more immediately accessible.   Now no more signup. Now practice any lesson you like in any order you like.  Let’s just nickname it Click by Click Unleashed or Mandarin Click by Click Open House.  Maybe the Chinese Banquet Buffet!

It also has a new cleaner front page with the lessons listed right up front. Nothing between you the lessons. Window shopping without the windows!  Just reach in and grab. Have at it!

There’s a little bit more tweaking to do, a culture lesson here and a Google ad and search there, and the other languages.  But we have literally put Chinese right at your finger tips.

Now you can go directly from the index page to any of the twelve practice packed lessons without signing up: (1) Ordering Drinks (2) Chatting in Chinese, (3) Making Phone Calls, (4) Filling Out Forms, (5) Telling Time, (6) Arranging Dates, (7) Discussing Dating Schedules, (8) Discussing Dates, (9) Socializing, (10) Getting Around, (11) Daily Shopping, and (12) Shopping for special things and getting service.  If you a learn-by-doing person, you will find yourself light years beyond your first-year classmates!

I urge you to revisit the index page. Play around with it. Give me some positive suggestions in the comments.  The little balloon caption in the topic right hand corner of this post.


Mandarin for Buying Chinese Writing Brushes at a Stationary Store

Mandarin for Buying Chinese Writing Brushes at a Stationary Shop

Mrs. Chen                 (Pointing) Gěi wǒ kàn neìzhī máobǐ.

(Give me see that MW sumi brush.)

Clerk                           Hǎo. Zheìzhī yǐjing yǒu shuǐ zài lǐmìan.

(Okay. This MW already has ink inside.)

                                    Bú yǒng lìngwài mǎi muòshuǐ.

(No need to additionally buy grinding ink.)

Mrs. Chen                   Kěshì, huìbúhuì hěn kuàide jiù gān?

(But will IT quickly dry up?)

Clerk                            Huì.


Mrs. Chen                   Duōshāo qián yīzhī?

(How much money for one MW.)

Clerk                            Yīzhī sānkuài qián. Nǐ yào mǎi jǐzhī?

(One MW*  three dollars money. You want to buy how many?)

Mrs. Chen                    Hěn piányi. Gěi wǒ sānzhī.

(Very cheap. Give me three MW).

Clerk                            Yīzhī, liǎngzhī, sānzhī.  Jiǔkuài qián.

(One MW, two MW, three MW. Nine dollars money.)

Mrs. Chen                    Hǎo, Shíkuài qián. (Hands him a ten dollar bill.)

(Okay. Ten dollars.)

Clerk                            Sānzhī bǐ. Yíkuài qián. Fāpiào. Yáo dàizi ma?

(Three writing utensils. One dollar money. Invoice. Want a bag?

Mrs.  Chen                   Bú yòng. Xièxie.

(No need. Thanks.)

Clerk                            Xièxie xièxie.

(Thanks. Thanks.)

MW = measure word, like head of lettuce, piece of toast, etc.


1. What is ‘zhī’?

2. What is the difference ‘neì’ and ‘Zheì’?

3.  What is the difference is ‘jǐ’ and ‘Duōshāo’?

4.  What does ‘bú yòng’ mean?

5. How do you say ‘cheap’ in Chinese?

6.  How do you say ‘invoice’ in Chinese?

7.  How do you say ‘one, two, three’ in Chinese?

Answers:  1.  measure word for pen. 2. That, this. 3. how many, how much.  4. no need, not necessary.  5. piányi. 6. fāpiào.  7. yī, liǎng/er, sān.


Ask a Chinese person to explain how to use ‘liang’ and ‘er’ in Chinese.

For a similar but easier lesson, go here.

Here is a related video with some other measure words.