Career Magazine

218: Talking About Flowers in Mandarin Chinese

By Learnmandarinnow

It is said that flowers can express a thousand words. Giving flowers to a loved one can mean so much. If you can order in Mandarin Chinese some special flowers to someone who is close to you, you will be sure to be well appreciated, and maybe cement your relationship forever! Of course, you need to be sure you are ordering the right type of flowers—so maybe ask a Chinese friend for some advice!

In this Podcast, you will learn:

(i) How to select the right type of flowers for the occasion you want

(ii) To discuss how many and what type of flowers to order


Two friends are in the florist’s shop:


(Zài huā diàn)

(at the florist’s)


A: Yōu, Xiǎo Lǐ nǐ yě lái mǎi huā? Gěi nǐ lǎo pó mǎi de shì me?

Hey Xiao Li, you are buying flowers, too. Are you buying them for your wife?


B: Āi, Xiǎo Wáng, zhēn qiǎo a. Shì a, wǒ lǎo pó guò shēng rì. Wǒ zhèng fā chóu ne, bù zhī dào sòng nǎ zhǒng huā er hǎo a.

Xiao Wang, what a coincidence. Yes, it’s my wife’s birthday. I am a little bit at a loss here. I don’t know which flowers I should buy.


A: Nǐ lái shàng jiǔ shí jiǔ duǒ hóng méi guī, rán hòu jiā diǎn mǎn tiān xīng. Ràng diàn yuán gěi nǐ bāo dé piào piào liàng liàng de, nǐ lǎo pó yī dìng xǐ huān!

You can get 99 red roses. Then you can add some baby’s breath. Ask the store assistant to wrap them up nicely. Your wife will definitely like them.


B: Hǎo hǎo, xiè xiè. Duì le, nǐ zhè shì yào gěi shuí mǎi huā a?

Okay, okay, thank you. Oh, who are you buying flowers for?


A: Wǒ gěi wǒ mā mā mǎi, wǒ yào mǎi yī shù kāng nǎi xīn.

I’m buying them for my mother. I am buying her a bouquet of carnations.

Chinese words and phrases mentioned in this Podcast:




满天星:baby’s breath, literally means stars all over the sky





向日:face towards the sun

花店:the florists

买花:buy flowers


真巧啊:what a coincidence

过生日:have a birthday

发愁:feeling worried/anxious, here it means he is a little bit at a loss and doesn’t know which to choose

送:give, send, deliver

哪种:which kind

来上:a very casual way to say ‘buy’

朵:the measuring word for any type of flower

加点:add some

店员:store assistant

包:wrap up

漂漂亮亮的:nicely, beautifully



一束:a bouquet of

Cultural/Grammar note:

In China, ‘9’ (jiǔ) (nine) stands for ‘长长久久’ (cháng cháng jiǔ jiǔ) (forever/very long lasting). The more ‘9’ you get, the longer the relationship will last. So you can send 9, 99, or 999 red roses.

Mandarin Chinese learning resources we recommend:

Using 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 School
Keats 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.

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