Cantonese Lesson 4 (Prepositions and Directions)

Duration: 30 mins

This first lesson teaches many important aspect of Cantonese like prepositions, vocabulary list about directions and finally common phrases about how to introduce yourself. 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.


Prepositions are used in almost every sentence. They can be a great tool to link words with each other. For example by simply knowing how to use "to", "with", "from", "after" you can expand your conversation scope. In short, a preposition describes a relationship between words in a sentence, for example: I agree with you.

Below is a list of 27 prepositions that 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.

Prepositions List in Cantonese

Prepositions Cantonese
In front of喺…前面
hai2 …cin4 min6 
hai2 ...hau6 min6 
zi1 cin4 
zi1 hau6 
jap6 min6 
jat1 cai4 
ngoi6 min6 
On top of喺…之上
hai2 …zi1 soeng5 
haa6 min6 
About (in regards to)由於
jau4 jyu1 
deoi3 kong3 
tung4 maai4 
As (similar to)因為
jan1 wai4 
zi1 gaan1 
daan6 hai6 
Instead of替代
tai3 doi6 
waak6 ze2 
zi6 cung4 
so2 ji5 
tip3 si6 
zik6 zi3 

Now we will try to implement some of the prepositions above into full Cantonese sentences. That way you will be able to use the word not only by itself but embedded in a structure.

Cantonese Prepositions in a Sentence

English Cantonese
Can I practice Italian with you?我可唔可以同你練意大利文
ngo5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 tung4 nei5 lin6 ji3 daai6 lei6 man4 
I speak French but with an accent我識講法文但有口音
ngo5 sik1 gong2 faat3 man4 daan6 jau5 hau2 jam1 
I was born in Miami我係邁阿密出世
ngo5 hai6 maai6 aa3 mat6 ceot1 sai3 
I'm from Japan我來自日本
ngo5 loi4 zi6 jat6 bun2 
The letter is inside the book封信係本書入面
fung1 seon3 hai6 bun2 syu1 jap6 min6 
The pen is under the desk枝筆喺枱底
zi1 bat1 hai2 toi4 dai2 
Can I help you?我有咩可以幫你?
ngo5 jau5 me1 ho2 ji5 bong1 nei5 ?


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

Vocabulary List about Directions

Below is a list of 28 words and sentences related to directions that you might need when lost or asking for help. If you can memorize them by heart, you will be able to travel from point A to point B by following directions.

Giving Directions in Cantonese

Directions Cantonese
Can you help me?你可唔可以幫我?
nei5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 bong1 ngo5 ?
Can you show me?你可唔可以指示俾我睇
nei5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 zi2 si6 bei2 ngo5 tai2 
Come with me!跟我嚟
gan1 ngo5 lai4 
Downtown (city center)市中心
si5 zung1 sam1 
Excuse me! (to ask someone)唔好意思
m4 hou2 ji3 si1 
Go straight向前行
hoeng3 cin4 hang4 
How can I get to the museum? 點樣去博物館?
dim2 joeng6 heoi3 bok3 mat6 gun2 ?
How long does it take to get there?去嗰度要幾耐?
heoi3 go2 dou6 jiu3 gei2 noi6 ?
I'm lost我蕩失咗路
ngo5 dong6 sat1 zo2 lou6 
I'm not from here我唔係本地人
ngo5 m4 hai6 bun2 dei6 jan4 
It's far from here離呢度好遠
lei4 ne1 dou6 hou2 jyun5 
It's near here就係附近
zau6 hai6 fu6 gan6 
One moment please!等一陣
dang2 jat1 zan6 
Turn left轉左
zyun2 zo2 
Turn right轉右
zyun2 jau6 
ne1 dou6 
fu6 gan6 
zik6 hang4 
go2 dou6 
To drive去/到
heoi3 / dou3 
To turn
To walk行路
hang4 lou6 
Traffic light交通燈
gaau1 tung1 dang1 
gaau1 tung1 gung1 geoi6 / wan6 syu1 


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Daily Conversation in Cantonese

Finally, a couple sentences to help you know how to introduce yourself in Cantonese. For a complete list of commonly used sentences, please visit our Cantonese Phrases page. Enjoy!

Common Expressions in Cantonese

English Cantonese
Do you speak English?你識唔識講英文?
nei5 sik1 m4 sik1 gong2 jing1 man4 ?
Just a little少少啦
siu2 siu2 laa1 
What's your name?你叫咩名?
nei5 giu3 me1 ming4 ?
My name is (John Doe)我叫(xxx)
ngo5 giu3 (xxx )
Mr... / Mrs. ... / Miss...X先生/X太太/X小姐
X sin1 saang1 /X taai3 taai3 /X siu2 ze2 
Nice to meet you!幸會
hang6 wui2 
You're very kind!你真係好人
nei5 zan1 hai6 hou2 jan4 

Fun Facts

Language Quote: The language of a society changes slowly but steadily with the result that an educated person will not be able to read or understand words in his language written 500 years ago. Do you feel like you can't talk to your parents? Maybe it's because you belong to the Niger-Congo family. More than 1,400 languages are spoken by different members of this family from Africa..

Congratulations! You finished your 4th lesson in Cantonese about prepositions, and directions. Are you ready for the next lesson? We recommend Cantonese Lesson 5. You can also simply click on one of the links below or go back to our Learn Cantonese homepage.