Chinese Pronouns

How to Say I, You, She, He, They and We in Chinese

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Learn pronouns in Mandarin: I, me: wǒ: 我 You: nǐ - 你 You (formal): nín: 您 He, Him: tā: 他 She, Her: tā: 她 It: tā: 它. Flashpop/Getty Images

There are just a few pronouns in Mandarin Chinese, and unlike many European languages, there are no subject / verb agreements to worry about. Just a few simple rules tell you everything you need to know about pronouns in Chinese.

Basic Pronouns

These are the pronouns of written Mandarin Chinese.

  • I, me: wǒ: 我
  • You: nǐ - 你
  • You (formal): nín: 您 
  • He, Him: tā: 他
  • She, Her: tā: 她
  • It: tā: 它

You'll notice that there are two ways of saying "you." When speaking to elders or someone in authority, it is more polite to address them formally with 您 (nín) instead of the less formal 你 (nǐ).

While there are six pronouns listed above in written Mandarin, in spoken Mandarin it boils down to just three basic pronouns: I / me, you, he / she / it. This is because 他 / 她 / 它 are all pronounced the same, tā. 

Plurals

Plurals are formed by adding 們 (traditional form) / 们 (simplified form) at the end of a basic pronoun. This character is pronounced "men." See below:

  • We, Us: wǒ men: 我們 / 我们
  • You (plural): nǐ men: 你們 / 你们
  • They, Them:  tā men: 他們 / 他们

Differentiating Gender

As discussed earlier, gender differentiating pronouns like "he", "she", and "it" all have the same sound, tā, but different written characters.

In spoken Mandarin, differentiating between genders is a little less obvious. However, the context of the sentence will usually tell you whether the speaker is referring to a man, a woman, or a thing.

Reflexive Pronoun

Mandarin Chinese also has a reflexive pronoun 自己 (zì jǐ). This is used when both subject and object are the same.

For example:

Tā xǐ huàn tā zì jǐ
他喜欢他自己 / 他喜歡他自己
He likes himself.

自己 (zì jǐ) can also be used directly after a noun or pronoun to intensify the subject. For example:

Wǒ zì jǐ xǐ huàn.
我自己喜欢 / 我自己喜歡
 I, myself, like it.

Sentence Examples Using Chinese Pronouns

Here are some sentences using pronouns. See if you can use these examples as a guide or template to creating your own sentences.

Audio files are marked with ►

Wǒ: 我

I am a student.
Wǒ shì xuéshēng.​
我是學生。 (traditional)
我学生。 ​(simplified)

I like ice cream.
Wǒ xǐhuān bīngqílín.
我喜歡冰淇淋。
我喜欢冰淇淋。

I don’t have a bicycle.
Wǒ méi yǒu jiǎotàchē.
我沒有腳踏車。
我没有脚踏车。

Nǐ: 你

Are you a student?
Nǐ shì xuéshēng ma?
你是學生嗎?
你是学生吗?

Do you like ice cream?
Nǐ xǐhuan bīngqílín ma?
你喜歡冰淇淋嗎?
你喜欢冰淇淋吗?

Do you have a bicycle?
Nǐ yǒu jiǎotàchē ma?
你有腳踏車嗎?
你有脚踏车吗?

Tā: 她

She is a doctor.
Tā shì yīshēng.
她是醫生。
她是医生。

She likes coffee.
Tā xǐhuan kāfēi.
她喜歡咖啡。
她喜欢咖啡。

She doesn’t have a car.
Tā méi yǒu chē.
她沒有車。
她没有车。

Wǒ men: 我們 / 我们

We are students.
Wǒmen shì xuéshēng.
我們是學生。
我们是学生。

We like ice cream.
Wǒmen xǐhuan bīngqílín.
我們喜歡冰淇淋。
我们喜欢冰淇淋。

We don’t have a bicycle.
Wǒmen méi yǒu jiǎotàchē.
我們沒有腳踏車。
我们没有脚踏车。

Tā men: 他們 / 他们

They are students.
Tāmen shì xuéshēng.
他們是學生。
他们是学生。

They like coffee.
Tāmen xǐhuan kāfēi.
他們喜歡咖啡。
他们喜欢咖啡。

They don’t have a car.
Tāmen méi yǒu chē.
他們沒有車。
他们没有车。

Zì jǐ: 自己

He lives by himself.
Tā zìjǐ zhù.
他自己住。

I will go myself.
Wǒ zìjǐ qù.
我自己去。
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Su, Qiu Gui. "Chinese Pronouns." ThoughtCo, Oct. 14, 2017, thoughtco.com/mandarin-pronouns-2279477. Su, Qiu Gui. (2017, October 14). Chinese Pronouns. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/mandarin-pronouns-2279477 Su, Qiu Gui. "Chinese Pronouns." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/mandarin-pronouns-2279477 (accessed November 19, 2017).