Lesson 6: Discussing Likes and Dislikes


Before continuing, make sure to review and practice the previous week's lesson here.

We all have something that we just love to do. Personally, I love nothing more than relaxing on the couch with a good book, going to the movies, or if the weather is nice, spending a day outdoors and going for a hike in the mountains. But I don't love everything. I'm not particularly fond of waiting in lines(kinda ironic, as I live in Taiwan) and I'm not the biggest fan of traffic jams, but then, who is? In today's lesson, you are going to be learning how to talk about your likes and dislikes in Mandarin Chinese.

Expressing likes: In Mandarin, we say "我喜歡…", which means "I like…", we can use this as a general phrase to talk about things we like, or we can use it to form more specific sentences. For example, I can say 我喜歡蘋果 I like apples, or I could be more specific and tell you that 我喜歡吃蘋果 I like to eat apples. So let's take a look at the following sentences, and repeat along with me to check your pronunciation.

1. I like to play basketball.
wŏ xĭ huān dă lán qiú.

2. I like to watch movies.
wŏ xĭ huān kàn diàn yĭng .

3. I like to go hiking.
wŏ xĭ huān pá shān.

4. I like reading novels.
wŏ xĭ huān kàn xiăo shuō.

5. I like listening to music.
wŏ xĭ huān tīng yīn yuè.

Watch the attached video file and practice repeating each phrase until you feel confident enough to move on to the next part.


Expressing dislikes: Okay, so now you have the basics down, let's talk about dislikes. To make a negative statement in Mandarin Chinese, we usually add a 不 in front of the firs verb in a statement. This is not always the case, the negative form of the word "to have" 有, is 沒有. Note that a 沒 has been added in front of 有, not a 不, so saying 不有 would be incorrect. Just as when we were talking about likes, we can express dislikes in a general or more specific manner. So let's take our earlier example with the apples, 我喜歡吃蘋果, we can make this into a negative statement by adding a 不 before 喜歡, to indicate that we "don't like…" and it would look like his 我不喜歡吃蘋果, I don't like to eat apples. So let's take a closer look at how this is applied.


1. I don't like waking up early.
wŏ bù xĭ huān zăo qĭ chuáng .

2. I don't like rainy weather.
wŏ bù xĭ huān xià yŭ tiān.

3. I don't like scary movies.
wŏ bù xĭ huān kŏng bù piàn.

4. I don't like traffic jams.
wŏ bù xĭ huān sāi chē .

5. I don't like to wait in lines.
wŏ bù xĭ huān pài duì.

Watch  the attached video file and practice repeating each phrase until you feel confident enough to move on to the next part.

Note, when answering a question, answers are are often cut short, as the topic of the sentence is understood. So, going back to our apple analogy, if someone asks you 你喜歡吃蘋果嗎?It's acceptable to answer 我喜歡吃 or 我不喜歡吃, or just simply say 喜歡(吃) or 不喜歡(吃), rather than a full statement 我喜歡吃蘋果 or 我不喜歡吃蘋果. Don't worry about remembering all of that now, the important point is that you realize Mandarin is a flexible language.

Dialogue: Read and listen to the following dialogue, then answer the questions below.

A: Sara! Where are going?
莎拉! 你去哪裡?
shā lā !nĭ qù nă lĭ ?

B: Oh, hi Thom! You scared me!
喔,你好湯拇 !你嚇我一跳!
ō, nĭ hăo tāng mŭ !nĭ xià wŏ yī tiào !

A: Sorry! I just saw you walking and wanted to see what you were doing.
對不起! 我剛看到你走路,想要知道你在幹嘛。
duì bù qĭ !wŏ gāng kàn dào nĭ zŏu lù, xiăng yào zhī dào nĭ zài gàn ma.

B: It's okay, I'm fine! I'm going hiking with some friends.
沒關係,我沒事! 我要跟一些朋友一起去爬山。
méi guān xì, wŏ méi shì !wŏ yào gēn yī xiē péng yŏu yī qĭ qù pá shān.

A: I can't stand hiking, it's exhausting!
wŏ shòu bù liǎo pá shān, tài lèi le!

B: I like it a lot! I think it's really fun!
我很喜歡! 我覺得很好玩!
wŏ hĕn xĭ huān !wŏ jué de hĕn hăo wán !

A: I like swimming! It feels great on a hot day like this!
我喜歡游泳! 天氣像今天怎麼熱,就很舒服!
wŏ xĭ huān yóu yŏng !tiān qì xiàng jīn tiān zĕn me rè, jiù hĕn shū fú !

B: I like swimming a lot too!
wŏ yĕ hĕn xĭ huān yóu yŏng !

A: Then let's go swimming together next weekend.
nà me, wŏ men xià gè zhōu mò yī qĭ qù yóu yŏng ba.

B: Only if you come hiking with us today!
jīn tiān gēn wŏ men yī qĭ lái, wŏ cái gēn nĭ qù a !

A: Okay okay, it's a deal!
hăo le hăo le, wŏ tóng yì le !

Notes: In Chinese, nouns have a special measure word. The most common one is 個, when in doubt just say 個 and you'll probably be right! I'll be introducing more of these to you in later lessons. Also, the character 了 is used to show a change of state or that something has taken place, such as past action. There are other ways to speak about the past in Chinese, and other ways to use 了, so more on this in the future. 吧 is usually used to indicate a suggestion.

Comprehension Questions: I'm not going to give you an English translation for the following questions, I want to see how much you can intuitively figure out from what we have already learned. Take a minute to email me you answers and I will let you know how you did! Consider it "homework".

1. 誰被嚇到了?
shéi bèi xià dào le?

2. 湯拇喜歡爬山嗎?

tāng mŭ xĭ huān pá shān ma?

3. 誰喜歡游泳?
shéi xĭ huān yóu yŏng?

4. 他們要一起去幹嘛?
tā men yào yī qĭ qù gàn ma?

5. 湯拇同意了嗎?
tāng mŭ  tóng yì le ma?

Essential Vocabulary: Here's a list of some of the most useful phrases that we learned in this lesson. Practice them and record yourself and compare your pronunciation to mine.

1. 你嚇我一跳= you scared me
2. 剛= just
3. 看到= see
4. 走路= walk
5. 知道= know
6. 在幹嘛= doing(what?)
7. 我沒事= I'm fine
8. 一些= a few
9. 朋友= friend(s)
10. 我受不了= I can't stand…
11. 太累了= tiring
12. 覺得= think
13. 游泳= swimming
14. 天氣= weather
15. 像= to be like (something)
16. 今天= today
17. 熱= hot
18. 就= in that case/then
19. 很= very
20. 舒服= comfortable
21. 我們= we/us
22. 下個周末= next weekend
23. 同意= agree


6 Replies to “Lesson 6: Discussing Likes and Dislikes”

  1. Awesome lessons! I enjoy these posts and it brings me back to the time when I studied Chinese!! I hope people take advantage of such great material!! And I have to ask…did you draw the pics included in the lessons? If you did, they are totally cool!! 🙂

    1. Wow, you just made my week! Yes I drew the pics and I hope others find this material useful! I wish there were more online resources when I was just starting out learning, so hopefully I can help others to get started. I’ll upload the videos tomorrow, so please check back!

      1. I just checked out your videos!! Awesome!! But that dog totally ‘video bombed’ your dialogue segment with his scratching and sneezing! 😉 Have a great week!!

  2. Yea, I didn’t realize that until it was finished! He’s a cool dog though. You have a great week too, and check back later for this week’s lesson!

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