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The 10 Most Useful Cantonese Sentence Patterns

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Struggle to express yourself in Cantonese? No worries—we’ve got you covered! Today at CantoneseClass101.com, we’re covering the ten most basic and useful sentence patterns. Memorize these patterns, and you’ll be able to generate hundreds of natural sentences and converse with ease and confidence.

Without further ado, let’s go through the ten most useful Cantonese sentence patterns together!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Linking Two Nouns: A is B
  2. Using Adjectives to Describe: A is [Adjective]
  3. Expressing “Want”
  4. Expressing “Need”
  5. Expressing “Like” or “Love”
  6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something
  7. Asking for Permission
  8. Asking for Information About Something
  9. Asking About Time
  10. Asking About Location or Position

1. Linking Two Nouns: A is B

Sentence patterns

You can use this Cantonese sentence structure to say that one noun is also another noun. 

Sentence Pattern: [A] 係 [B]。

Romanization: [A] hai6 [B]

Meaning: [A] is [B].

Example sentence 1

Chinese Characters: 我係學生。

Romanization: ngo5 hai6 hok6 saang1

Meaning: “I am a student.”

Example sentence 2

Chinese Characters: 佢係醫生。

Romanization: keoi5 hai6 ji1 sang1

Meaning: “He is a doctor.”

Example sentence 3

Chinese Characters: 雖然佢係其中一個示威者,但係佢無做出任何暴力行為。

Romanization: seoi1 jin4 keoi5 hai6 kei4 zung1 jat1 go3 si6 wai1 ze2, daan6 hai6 keoi5 mou4 zou6 ceot1 jam6 ho4 bou6 lik6 hang4 wai4

Meaning: “Although he was one of the demonstrators, he did not commit any violence.”

Example sentence 4

Chinese Characters: 香港係我嘅家。

Romanization: hoeng1 gong2 hai6 ngo5 ge3 gaa1Meaning: “Hong Kong is my home.”

2. Using Adjectives to Describe: A is [Adjective]

This Cantonese sentence list provides examples of common sentences using adjectives to describe nouns. To create your own sentences, you may find it useful to visit our vocabulary list on the fifty most common adjectives in Cantonese.

Sentence Pattern: [A] 好 [B]。

Romanization: [A] hou2 [B]

Meaning: [A] is very [B (adjective)].

Example sentence 1

Chinese Characters: 綺拉好靚女。

Romanization: ji2 laai1 hou2 leng3 neoi2

Meaning: “Kiera is very good-looking.”

Example sentence 2

Chinese Characters: 彭定康係英國人。

Romanization: paang4 ding6 hong1 hai6 jing1 gwok3 jan4

Meaning: “Patten is British.”

Example sentence 3

Chinese Characters: 香港好靚。

Romanization: hoeng1 gong2 hou2 leng3

Meaning: Hong Kong is beautiful.”

Example sentence 4

Chinese Characters: 佢好得意。

Romanization: keoi5 hou2 dak1 ji3

Meaning: “It is cute.”

Example sentence 5

Chinese Characters: 我好傻,竟然信佢。

Romanization: ngo5 hou2 so4, ging2 jin4 seon3 keoi5

Meaning: “I am foolish enough to have trusted him.”

Example sentence 6

Chinese Characters: 佢好煩,不停懷疑我到底係咪鍾意佢。

Romanization: keoi5 hou2 faan4, bat1 ting4 waai4 ji4 ngo5 dou3 dai2 hai6 mai6 zung1 ji3 keoi5

Meaning: “He is so annoying—he kept questioning whether I love him or not.”

3. Expressing “Want”

a lady raising her hand

Some of the most useful Cantonese phrases are those for letting others know what you want. Here are some examples of how you can do this. 

Sentence Pattern: [A] 想 [B]。

Romanization: [A] soeng2 [B]

Meaning: [A] wants [B].

Example sentence 1

Chinese Characters: 我想去廁所。

Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 heoi3 ci3 so2

Meaning: “I want to go to the toilet.”

Example sentence 2

Chinese Characters: 佢想開party。

Romanization: keoi5 soeng2 hoi1 party 

Meaning: “He wants to throw a party.”

Example sentence 3

Chinese Characters: 我想喊。

Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 haam3

Meaning: “I want to cry.”

Example sentence 4

Chinese Characters: 佢想一腳踏兩船。

Romanization: keoi5 soeng2 jat1 goek3 daap6 loeng5 syun4

Meaning: “He wants to two-time.”

Example sentence 5

Chinese Characters: 我都想開心,但係日日見到呢啲咁sad嘅新聞好難開心喎。

Romanization: ngo5 dou1 soeng2 hoi1 sam1, daan6 hai6 jat6 jat6 gin3 dou2 ni1 di1 gam3 sad ge3 san1 man2 hou2 naan4 hoi1 sam1 wo3

Meaning: “I want to be happy too, but it’s very difficult to do so given that we are hearing sad news stories every day.”

4. Expressing “Need”

Sentence components

Learning Cantonese sentences for expressing what you need is even more important than learning those for expressing want. Take a look at these examples.

Sentence Pattern: [A] 要 [B]。

Romanization: [A] jiu3 [B]

Meaning: [A] needs [B].

Example sentence 1

Chinese Characters: 我要休息一陣。

Romanization: ngo5 jiu3 jau1 sik1 jat1 jan6

Meaning: “I need to rest for a bit.”

Example sentence 2

Chinese Characters: 佢要道歉。

Romanization: keoi5 jiu3 dou6 hip3

Meaning: “She needs to apologize.”

Example sentence 3

Chinese Characters: 我要食朱古力。

Romanization: ngo5 jiu3 sik6 zyu1 gu2 lik2

Meaning: “I need to eat chocolate.”

Example sentence 4

Chinese Characters: 佢要再攞多兩日假。

Romanization: keoi5 jiu3 zoi3 lo2 do1 loeng5 jat6 gaa3

Meaning: “He needs two more days off.”

Example sentence 5

Chinese Characters: 佢同第二個拍拖,我知你好傷心,但係你要振作,咁你先可以喺你嘅真命天子出現時俾最好嘅你佢。

Romanization: keoi5 tung4 dai6 ji6 go3 paak3 to1, ngo5 zi1 nei5 hou2 soeng1 sam1, daan6 hai6 nei5 jiu3 zan3 zok3, gam2 nei5 sin1 ho2 ji5 hai2 nei5 ge3 zan1 ming6 tin1 zi2 ceot1 jin6 si4 bei2 zeoi3 hou2 ge3 nei5 keoi5

Meaning: “I know he’s dating someone else and you’re sad, but you need to stay strong, only that you will be able to show your best self when your true love comes into your life.”

5. Expressing “Like” or “Love”

Facebook likes

Now let’s go over some Cantonese sentence examples for expressing your likes! 

Sentence Pattern: [A] 鍾意 [B]。

Romanization: [A] zung1 ji3 [B]

Meaning: [A] likes/loves [B].

Note: 鍾意 (zung1 ji3) can mean “like,” “love,” or “enjoy.”

Example sentence 1

Chinese Characters: 我鍾意多啦A夢。

Romanization: ngo5 zung1 ji3 do1 laa1 A mung6

Meaning: “I like Doraemon.”

Example sentence 2

Chinese Characters: 胖虎鍾意唱歌。

Romanization: bun6 fu2 zung1 ji3 coeng3 go1

Meaning: “Gian likes singing.”

Example sentence 3

Chinese Characters: 大雄鍾意靜香。

Romanization: daai6 hung4 zung1 ji3 zing6 hoeng1

Meaning: “Nobita loves Shizuka.”

Example sentence 4

Chinese Characters: 靜香鍾意拉小提琴。

Romanization: zing6 hoeng1 zung1 ji3 laai1 siu2 tai4 kam4

Meaning: “Shizuka likes playing violin.”

Example sentence 5

Chinese Characters: 小夫鍾意曬命,但係大雄、胖虎同靜香都仍然肯同佢做朋友。

Romanization: siu2 fu1 zung1 ji3 saai3 meng6, daan6 hai6 daai6 hung4, bun6 fu2 tung4 zing6 hoeng1 dou1 jing4 jin4 hang2 tung4 keoi5 zou6 pang4 jau5

Meaning: “Even though Suneo likes showing off, Nobita, Gian, and Shizuka are still willing to be friends with him.”

6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something

The next type of Cantonese phrases we’ll look at are those for asking someone to do something in a polite way. Check it out:

Sentence Pattern: 請 [A]。

Romanization: cing2 [A]

Meaning: Please [A (verb)].

Example sentence 1

Chinese Characters: 請坐。

Romanization: cing2 co5

Meaning: “Please take a seat.”

Example sentence 2

Chinese Characters: 請等等。

Romanization: cing2 dang2 dang2

Meaning: “Please wait.”

Example sentence 3

Chinese Characters: 請注意。

Romanization: cing2 zyu3 ji3

Meaning: “Please pay attention.”

Example sentence 4

Chinese Characters: 請停一停。

Romanization: cing2 ting4 jat1 ting4

Meaning: “Please stop for a while.”

Example sentence 5

Chinese Characters: 請選擇語言。

Romanization: cing2 syun2 zaak6 jyu5 jin4

Meaning: “Please select the language.”

7. Asking for Permission

a question mark

Knowing how to ask for permission is important in every culture and language. Following are some examples of how to do this in Cantonese.

Sentence Pattern: [A] 可唔可以 [B]?

Romanization: [A] ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 [B]

Meaning: Can [A] [B (verb)]?

Example sentence 1

Chinese Characters: 我哋可唔可以食嘢?

Romanization: ngo5 dei6 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 sik6 je5

Meaning: “Can we eat?”

Example sentence 2

Chinese Characters: 我哋可唔可以做個朋友?

Romanization: ngo5 dei6 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 zou6 go3 pang4 jau5

Meaning: “Can we be friends?”

Example sentence 3

Chinese Characters: 你可唔可以唔好控制慾咁強?

Romanization: nei5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 m4 hou2 hung3 zai3 juk6 gam3 koeng4

Meaning: “Can you be less controlling?”

Example sentence 4

Chinese Characters: 爸爸,我哋可唔可以唔搭地鐵啊?

Romanization: baa4 baa1, ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 m4 daap3 dei6 tit3 aa3 

Meaning: “Dad, can we not take the MTR?”

Example sentence 5

Chinese Characters: 你可唔可以將你個女嫁畀我啊?

Romanization: nei5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 zoeng1 nei5 go3 neoi2 gaa3 bei2 ngo5 aa3

Meaning: “Can I marry your daughter?”

8. Asking for Information About Something

At some point, you’ll need to ask someone a question about something. Here’s the Cantonese sentence structure you should use to ask for information while in Hong Kong.

Sentence Pattern: [A] 係唔係 [B]?

Romanization: [A] hai6 m4 hai6 [B]

Meaning: Is [A] [B]?

Example sentence 1

Chinese Characters: 你係唔係偉仔?

Romanization: nei5 hai6 m4 hai6 wai5 zai2

Meaning: “Are you Tony Leung?”

Example sentence 2

Chinese Characters: 你係唔係學生?

Romanization: nei5 hai6 m4 hai6 hok6 saang1

Meaning: “Are you a student?”

Example sentence 3

Chinese Characters: 佢係唔係傻㗎?

Romanization: keoi5 hai6 m4 hai6 so4 gaa3

Meaning: “Is she out of her mind?”

Example sentence 4

Chinese Characters: 我係唔係好靚呢?

Romanization: ngo5 hai6 m4 hai6 hou2 leng3 ne1

Meaning: “Am I pretty?”

Example sentence 5

Chinese Characters: 你係唔係未食lunch?

Romanization: nei5 hai6 m4 hai6 mei6 sik6 lunch 

Meaning: “You haven’t had lunch, have you?”

9. Asking About Time

a clock

Learn this simple Cantonese sentence pattern, and never be late for a meeting again! 

Sentence Pattern: [A] 幾點 [B]?

Romanization: [A] gei2 dim2 [B]

Meaning: When [A]  [B (verb)]?

Example sentence 1

Chinese Characters: 我哋幾點食?

Romanization: ngo5 dei6 gei2 dim2 sik6

Meaning: “When should we eat?”

Example sentence 2

Chinese Characters: 你幾點收工?

Romanization: nei5 gei2 dim2 sau1 gung1

Meaning: “When will you be off?”

Example sentence 3

Chinese Characters: 你幾點瞓覺?

Romanization: nei5 gei2 dim2 fan3 gaau3

Meaning: “When do you sleep?”

Example sentence 4

Chinese Characters: 你幾點方便?

Romanization: nei5 gei2 dim2 fong1 bin6

Meaning: “When will be convenient for you?”

Example sentence 5

Chinese Characters: 我想見下你呀,你幾點得閒?

Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 gin3 haa5 nei5 aa3, nei5 gei2 dim2 dak1 haan4

Meaning: “I want to see you—when are you free?”

10. Asking About Location or Position

Have you ever been lost in a big city, or gotten turned around in an unfamiliar building? Learning this Cantonese sentence structure will be very helpful for your travels in Hong Kong! 

Sentence Pattern: [A] 喺邊度?

Romanization: [A] hai2 bin1 dou6

Meaning: Where is [A]?

Example sentence 1

Chinese Characters: 廁所喺邊度?

Romanization: ci3 so2 hai2 bin1 dou6

Meaning: “Where is the toilet?”

Example sentence 2

Chinese Characters: 車站喺邊度?

Romanization: ce1 zaam6 hai2 bin1 dou6

Meaning: “Where is the bus station?”

Example sentence 3

Chinese Characters: 餐廳喺邊度?

Romanization: caan1 teng1 hai2 bin1 dou6

Meaning: “Where is the restaurant?”

Example sentence 4

Chinese Characters: 商場喺邊度?

Romanization: soeng1 coeng4 hai2 bin1 dou6

Meaning: “Where is the shopping mall?”

Example sentence 5

Chinese Characters: 我見唔到你,你喺邊度?

Romanization: ngo5 gin3 m4 dou2 nei5, nei5 hai2 bin1 dou6

Meaning: “I can’t see you. Where are you?”

11. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Did you know any of these Cantonese sentence patterns already, or are they new to you? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to reach out with any questions! 

Now that we’ve gone through the ten most useful Cantonese sentence patterns, try to express your thoughts in Cantonese! To better your Cantonese even further, we advise you to invest your time in CantoneseClass101.com!

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