In any crowded city, good manners are often in short supply. Most people are tense and stressed. Yet, there is always a place for courtesy and good behaviour and it will be helpful if you can learn to speak with your colleagues and friend, even strangers, about good and bad manners!

In this Podcast, you will learn:

(i) To demonstrate that you have good manners

(ii)How to insist upon doing something which someone politely rejects the first time


A pregnant woman is standing on the underground train:


(zài dì tiě shàng)

(on the underground)


Nǚ shì, nín zuò zhè er ba.

Ma’am, you can sit here.


À, bù yòng la. Wǒ jiù lǐang zhàn jiù xià.

Oh, it’s okay. I only have two stops to go.


Zuò ba, zuò ba, bù yào kè qi.

Please sit, you’re so welcome to.


Hǎo, xiè xie nǐ.

Okay, thank you.



(zài diàn yǐng yuàn)

(at the cinema)


Āi, xiān sheng, nín zěn me jiā sāi er a?

Hey sir, how can you cut in line?


A, duì bù qǐ, duì bù qǐ, wǒ tài zhāo jí le, méi kàn jiàn duì.

Oh, sorry, sorry. I was in such a hurry that I didn’t see the line.


Nǐ děi qù hòu mian er pái duì.

You need to line up at the back.

Chinese words and phrases mentioned in this Podcast:

给孕妇让座:giving up your seat to a pregnant lady

让:give away



两站:two stops

下:get off the train

不要客气:don’t be too polite


加塞儿/插队:cut in line (加塞儿is more casual)

太……:too much



排队:line up

得:need to

后面:at the back

Cultural/Grammar note:

Chinese people are indirect and sometimes they are overly polite. Even though the lady would like to sit in this conversation, she would still say ‘不用了’, so don’t give up when you hear that. If you offer it to her again, she will probably take the seat.

‘让座’ is courtesy and ‘插队’ is really rude.

Mandarin Chinese learning resources we recommend:

round-italki-logo-3d-01Using Italki, a unique system of learning Mandarin Chinese where you interact with real teachers, is widely recognised as an effective way to learn a new language! You’ll make more progress and learn how native Chinese speakers really speak. Plus, Italki is more affordable than offline tutors, offline schools and software, and is convenient to use at your own pace and place!


Keats Chinese SchoolKeats Chinese School, which was founded in 2004, is one of the top Mandarin Chinese language schools in China, offering both one-on-one immersion Mandarin courses and small group Chinese classes. Located in Kunming, Keats develops personalised exercises and materials for students to meet their learning goals and requirements and can arrange a student visa for its 16 week course.

Yes! I’d like to learn Mandarin Chinese more effectively

Narrated by Song Liu

Our Podcast narrator, is a native Chinese speaker and is originally from Beijing, China and is keen to help you get ahead with learning. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Master of Arts in Communication Studies. Song also hosted a Mandarin live call-in news and music radio show in the Bay Area.

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