Present Tense

Cantonese Lesson 13 (Present Tense & Survival)

Duration: 30 mins

This 13th lesson deals with the present tense in Cantonese. In addition I included a vocabulary list about survival and emergencies. I will try to give examples using both vocabulary and grammar. That way it will be easy for you to see the words when they are separate and when they are in a sentence. Going through the whole page should take about 30 min. Make sure to read the pronunciation and hear the audio as well. If you have any question about this course, please email me directly at Cantonese Classes.


The present is one of the 3 tenses (past, present, and future) we will be discussing in the next 3 lessons. So it is recommended not to skip any of them because they are all related.

Below is a list of 15 sentences conjugated into the present tense. I focused on the examples you might come across or use very often. The table contains 3 columns (English, Cantonese, and Audio). Make sure you repeat each word after hearing it by either clicking on the audio button or by reading the pronunciation. That should help with memorization as well as improving your pronunciation.

Present Tense in Cantonese

Present Cantonese
I see you我見到你
ngo5 gin3 dou3 nei5 
I write with a pen我用筆寫字
ngo5 jung6 bat1 se2 zi6 
You love apples你鍾意蘋果
nei5 zung1 ji3 ping4 gwo2 
You give money你俾錢
nei5 bei2 cin2 
You play tennis你識打網球
nei5 sik1 daa2 mong5 kau4 
He reads a book佢睇緊書
keoi5 tai2 gan2 syu1 
He understands me佢明白我
keoi5 ming4 baak6 ngo5 
She has a cat佢有一隻貓
keoi5 jau5 jat1 zek3 maau1 
She knows my friend佢識我朋友
keoi5 sik1 ngo5 pang4 jau5 
We want to learn我哋想學
ngo5 dei2 soeng2 hok6 
We think Spanish is easy我哋覺得西班牙文好易
ngo5 dei2 gok3 dak1 sai1 baan1 ngaa4 man4 hou2 ji6 
You (plural) work here你哋喺度做野
nei5 dei2 hai2 dou6 zou6 je5 
You (plural) speak French你哋講法文
nei5 dei2 gong2 faat3 man4 
They drive a car佢哋揸緊車
keoi5 dei2 zaa1 gan2 ce1 
They smile佢笑緊
keoi5 siu3 gan2 


If you have any questions, please contact me using the Cantonese contact form on the header above.

Survival Expressions

Below is a list of 28 words related to survival expressions such as emergencies, and calling for help. If you can memorize them by heart, you will be able to communicate better when in distress or when providing help to someone else who is in need.

Survival Expressions in Cantonese

ji3 ngoi6 
man5 gam2 
gau3 wu6 ce1 
haau1 cyun2 
ngai4 him2 
ji1 saang1 
tau4 tung3 
Heart attack心臟病發
sam1 zong6 beng6 faat3 
Help me幫我
bong1 ngo5 
ji1 jyun2 
joek6 mat6 
joek6 fong4 
duk6 joek6 
ging2 caat3 
Stomach ache胃痛
wai6 tung3 
zung1 fung1 


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Daily Conversation in Cantonese

Finally, here are some common sentences to strengthen your conversation skills. For a complete list of commonly used sentences, please visit our Cantonese Phrases page. Enjoy!

Common Expressions in Cantonese

Are you okay?你無事嗎?
nei5 mou4 si6 maa1 ?
Call a doctor!叫醫生!
giu3 ji1 saang1 !
Call the ambulance!叫白車!
giu3 baak6 ce1 !
Call the police!叫警察!
giu3 ging2 caat3 !
Calm down!冷靜啲!
laang5 zing6 di1 !
fo2 zuk1 aa1 !
I feel sick我唔舒服。
ngo5 m4 syu1 fuk6 。
It hurts here呢度好痛。
ne1 dou6 hou2 tung3 。
It's urgent!係緊急嘅!
hai6 gan2 gap1 ge3 !
ting4 !
jau5 caak6 !
Where is the closest pharmacy?最近嘅藥房係邊度?
zeoi3 gan6 ge3 joek6 fong4 hai6 bin1 dou6 ?
You look beautiful! (to a woman)你好靚(對女人)
nei5 hou2 leng3 (deoi3 neoi5 jan4 )
You have a beautiful name你個名好靚
nei5 go3 ming4 hou2 leng3 
This is my wife呢個係我老婆
ne1 go3 hai6 ngo5 lou5 po4 
This is my husband呢個係我丈夫
ne1 go3 hai6 ngo5 zoeng6 fu1 

Fun Facts

Language Quote: ❝To have another language is to possess a second soul.❞ ‒Charlemagne

Congratulations! You finished your 13th lesson in Cantonese about the present tense, and survival expressions. Are you ready for the next lesson? We recommend Cantonese Lesson 14. You can also simply click on one of the links below or go back to our Learn Cantonese homepage.