Chinese Measure Words II

  • We have learnt measure words 量词 ( ) in one of the weekly activities before (here). 
  • A measure word 量词 ((liàng cí), also known as a classifier, is used along with numerals to define the quantity of a given object or with words such as “this” and “that” to identify specific objects. e.g.: 一张纸。(a piece of paper) 那张纸。(that paper) 那一张纸。(that piece of paper)
  • In terms of measure words, the main difference between English and Chinese is that Chinese requires a measure word for most objects. In English, one can say “two books”. In Chinese, we do not say “两书”, but “两本书”.  (本 is a measure word for book 书)
  • However, when a noun is not counted or introduces with “this” or “that”, a measure word is not necessary. e.g. : We do not say “我的本书”, but “我的书”.
  • Most nouns have one or more particular measure words associated with them. The usage depends on personal preference and dialects. e.g: For car, some people use 那辆车 and others may use 那部车 or 那台车 to mean three cars.
  • Today we are going to learn a few more Chinese measure words :  
Measure Word Pinyin Main Uses Example
1 zhī
boats, birds, some animals, some containers, and one of a pair 一只船 (boat)
一只老虎 (tiger)
三只箱子 (suitcase)
那只蜘蛛 (spider)
一只眼睛 (one eye)
两只手 (two hands)
bunches of things, for something with a handle, handful of 一把米 (a handful of rice)
两把刀 (knife)
一把扇子 (fan)
这把雨伞 (umbrella)
一把年纪 (be getting on in years)
拉他一把 (give (or lend) him a hand))
books and films, machines and vehicles, section or part 两部字典 (dictionary)
一部电影 (movie)
两部汽车 (car)
这部机器 (machine)
那部手机 (mobile phone)
4 mén
lessons, subjects of study, cannons, marriage, relatives 两门功课 (subject/course)
这门学问 (knowledge)
三门技术 (skill)
一门亲事 (marriage)
一门大炮 (cannon)
5 dào
long and narrow objects, doors, walls, orders, questions, courses in a meal, stages
in a procedure, etc.
一道河 (river)
万道金光 (golden rays)
一道阳光 (sunlight)
两道泪痕 (tear streaks)
第二道门 (door)
那道墙 (wall)
三道题 (question)
两道命令 (order)
一道手续 (process)
两道漆 (coat of paint)
四道菜 (courses in a meal)
6 suǒ
houses, schools, hospitals, etc. 一所房子 (house)
两所学校 (schools)
这所医院 (hospital)
case, instance, batch, group 一起交通意外 (traffic accident)
一起火灾 (fire)
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