Chinese Phrases with That’s Mandarin: I want to drink a cup of tea

Today I’m happy to be able to bring you a short beginner’s lesson courtesy of That’s Mandarin. We’ll be introducing Chinese phrases character by character and then combining everything together into a whole.

Today we’ll be learning the short Chinese phrase for “I want to drink a cup of tea”. That’s Mandarin have kindly provided these beautiful pictures to introduce some really important Chinese characters.

Each graphic has a short mnemonic (memory aid) to help you remember how to pronounce the word, which is super useful!

If you like these images make sure you share them with other people you think might find them useful and check out That’s Mandarin for more useful Chinese learning content.

thats_mandarin_1Do you know how to pronounce tea in Mandarin?

It’s pronounced chá and sounds like “char” from Charlie.

Technically you can now go into a Chinese cafe and order a cup of tea just by saying chá! You could stop there but let’s continue and flesh out our tea ordering skills.
Some people love Ebay while others hate it.

But did you know that Ebay sounds similar to a #Chinese phrase which means “a cup of”?

So “a cup of tea” is 一杯茶, yībēi chá.

Next we’ll start to put together a sentence to ask for a cup of tea, yībēichá.
thats_mandarin_2Next is ‘to drink’.

In #Mandarin, it’s pronounced “hē” and sounds like the English word “her”.

Can you make the phrase “drink tea”?

It’s “hē chá (喝茶)”.

The basic grammatical order of Chinese is similar to English – it’s “drink tea” rather than “tea drink”.

What about “drink a cup of tea?”

喝一杯茶, hē yībēi chá

You’re doing well. Now let’s say that we “want to drink a cup of tea”.
Do you recognise this tall guy?

The clue is the basketball behind him. It’s YaoMing, one of the most famous basketball players in China.

By coincidence, his family name Yao sounds like the word “to want” in #Mandarin.

It is pronounced “yào”. You can put both nouns and verbs behind it, just like English.

Now we have enough to be able to say “want to drink a cup of tea”.

要喝一杯茶, yào hē yībēi chá

This is already an understandable sentence that you could use to order a cup of tea in a Chinese cafe or restaurant. But we’ve come so far already so let’s add one more character to make it a full, complete sentence. We need to say who wants to drink a cup of tea!
thats_mandarin_3Have you watched the movie Wall-E?

In #Mandarin, “wǒ” means “I” and its tone even sound a bit like the way Wall-E says his name!


Finally, let’s put everything together and say “I want to drink a cup of tea” in Chinese.


wǒ yào hē yībēi chá

Wall-e, YaoMing, Her, eBay, Charlie Brown!

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