중국어 입문/5과

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Lesson 5: Measure words[+/-]

Measure Words/量詞(liang4ci2)[+/-]

In Chinese, most specified or numbered nouns must be preceded by measure words according to the type of object. It is like the English use of “pair” in the phrase “two pairs of pants”. Like the word “pair,” Chinese measure words are placed between the noun and the preceding number or demonstrative pronoun.

1. 這本書裏沒有一個漢字。

Zhè bĕn shū lǐ méi yŏu yí gè Hànzì.
This book doesn’t contain one Chinese character.

2. 那間宿舍有六十個學生。

Nà jiān sùshè yŏu liùshí ge xuésheng.
That dorm has sixty students.

Some Common Measure Words[+/-]

Column key: Trad. is Traditional, Simp. shows changes made for the simplified variant (if any).

Trad. Simp. Pinyin Main uses Example
ge (gè) individual things, people — usage of this classifier in conjunction with any noun is generally accepted if the person does not know the proper classifier. 一個書包 yí gè shū bāo, a schoolbag
"handful" — objects that can be held or grabbed (knives, scissors, keys; also chairs) 一把刀 yì bă dāo. One knife.
bāo "package", "bundle" 一包紙巾 yì bāo zhǐ jīn; a package of paper towels
bēi "cup" — drinks 一杯水 yì bēi shuǐ. A cup of water.
běn "volume" — any bound print or written matter (books, etc.) 一本書 yì běn shū. A book.
slimmer volumes of books
"time" — opportunities, accidents
"droplet" water, blood, and other such fluids 一滴水 yì dī shuǐ. a drop of water
diǎn ideas, suggestions, can also mean "a bit"
duǒ flowers, clouds 一朵花 yì duŏ huā. One flower.
gēn thin, slender objects, lit. "a root of a..." (needles, pillars, grass, vegetable roots etc.) 一根針 yì gēn zhēn. A needle
jiā gathering of people (families, companies, etc.)
jià objects with a "frame" or structure; generally used for machines or mechanical objects (esp. cars, planes, etc.) 一架車 yì jià chē. One car.
jiàn matters, clothing, etc. 一件衣服 yí jiàn yī fù
jié "a section" — of bamboo, tutorials and classes, etc.
liàng automobiles, bicycles, vehicles, etc. 一輛車 yí liàng chē. One car.
miàn any flat and smooth objects, lit. "a surface of a..." (mirrors, flags, walls, etc.) 一面鏡子 yí miàn jìng zi. One mirror
horses and other mounts, or rolls/bolts of cloth 一匹馬 yì pǐ mă. One horse.
piàn "slice" — any flat objects, like cards, slices of bread, tree leaves etc. 一片葉子 yì piàn yè zi. One leaf.
píng "bottle" — drinks
sōu ships 一艘船 yì sōu chuán. One ship.
suǒ any buildings, apartment
tái heavy objects (TVs, computers, etc.) and performances (in theatre esp., etc.)
tiáo long, narrow, flexible objects (fish, trousers, etc.) 一條魚 yì tiáo yú. One fish.
tóu "head" — herd animals (pigs, cows, sheep etc., never for fowls or birds), hair 一頭牛 yì tóu niú (Literally translated into English, "頭" means head. So literally we are saying one head of cattle.)
wèi polite classifier for people (e.g. "gentleman", "professors")
zhāng "sheet" — squarish or rectangular flat objects (paper, tables, etc.), faces, bows, paintings, tickets, constellations 一張紙 yì zhāng zhĭ. One piece of paper.
zhī stick-like objects (pens, chopsticks, etc.) 一支筆 yì zhī bî. One pen.
zhī one of a pair (e.g. hands, limbs), animals (birds, cats, etc.) 一只狗 yì zhī gŏu. One dog.
zhǒng types or kinds of objects, ideas, etc.

A more complete reference list of Chinese measure words can be found in the Wikipedia.