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Which measure words do Chinese really use?

As a friend who recently arrived in China said, "Yes but do they really USE all of those measure words?" I don't know about all. But yes, unfortunately, they do use a great deal of them.

These are all the measure words I have heard in natural conversation. Maybe not worth memorizing, but as one learns to speak Chinese, and especially for listening, they're certainly worth being able to recognize (I can get stumped pretty easily when I hear a seemingly out of place word). ll also give the context I heard the word used in.

If you want to know what other things that measure word applies to, I suggest consulting the back of Chubby or some other measure word reference.

Measure word > for what kind of thing

bǎ 把 > stuff with handles (knives), chairs

qǐng lái sān bǎ sháozi 请来三把勺子= please bring 3 spoons

bān 班 > scheduled transportation

zhè bānxiào chē shì bú shì zuì hòu yì bān? 这班校车是不是最后一班?= Is this the last school bus?

běn 本 > bound stuff (books, magazines)

wǒ yǒu sān běn cídiǎn 我有三本辞典= I have 3 dictionaries

bǐ 笔 > sums of money

wǒ bìxū huā yì bǐ qián 我必须花一笔钱= I have to pay a sum of money

bù 部 > cell phones, sequels of a book/movie

nǐ wèishénme yǒu liǎng bù shǒujī? 你为什么有两部手机?= Why do you have 2 cell phones?

duàn 段 > sections of long stuff, parts of songs

yí duàn fěnbǐ 一段粉笔= a piece of chalk

duǒ 朵 > flowers

I can't remember the sentence, but it was definitely about flowers.

fèn 份 > bundles/batches (servings of food, multi-page documents)

yào jǐ fèn? 要几份= How many servings (do you) want?

jiā 家 > stores

zhège chéngshì yǒu jǐ jiā wòěrmǎ? 这个城市有几家沃尔玛?= How many Walmarts does this city have?

jiān 间 > rooms, houses (one room)

zhège xuéxiào de sùshè jǐ gè rén yì jiān? 这个学校的宿舍几个人一间 = How many people are there in one dorm room at this school?

jiàn 件 > shirts

yí cì zuì duō zhǐ néng ná sān jiàn 一次最多只能拿三件= the most you can take at one time is 3 (shirts)

*what the girl at the fitting rooms said

jiǎng 讲 > long (usually 2 hour) class periods that may include a break (as opposed to "jié")

jīntiān nǐ yǒu jǐ jiǎng kè 今天你有几讲课?= How many classes do you have today?

jié 节 > 1 hour class periods

jīntiān nǐ yǒu jǐ jié kè?今天你有几节课?= How many hours of class do you have today?

jù 句 > sentences

wǒ zhǐ huì shuō yí jù Kūnmíng huà 我只会说一句昆明话= I can only say one sentence of the Kunming dialect

kē 棵 > trees

jīntiān wǒmen zhòng le èrshí kē shū 今天我们种了二十棵树= today we planted 20 trees

kǒu 口 > people, family members

nǐ de jiā yǒu jǐ kǒu rén 你的家有几口人?= How many people are there in your family?

*you could also use "ge 个"

kuài 块 > chunks of tofu/yuan money

ná yí kuài dòufu 拿一块豆腐= I'll take one piece of tofu

lèi 类 > kinds of people

wǒmen shì yí lèi rén 我们是一类人= we are (the same) one kind of person

lì 粒 > small round stuff

wǒ shènzhì bù néng chī yí lì huāshēng 我甚至不能吃一粒花生= I can't even eat one peanut

liàng 辆 > vehicles with wheels (but not trains)

wǒ yǒu liǎng liàng zìxíngchē 我有两辆自行车= I have 2 bicycles

mén 门 > subjects (academic)

nàge kǎoshì yǒu sān mén 那个考试有三门= that test has 3 subjects

*e.g. math, English, history

miàn 面 > mirrors

wǒ xiǎng mǎi yí miàn xiǎo jìngzi 我想买一面小镜子= I want to by a small mirror

pái 排 > rows of seats, lines of people

zhàn chéng yì pái! 站成一排!= line up! [stand become 1 line]

pǐ 匹 > horses

yì pǐ mǎ gòulái le 一匹马过来了= a horse came over

*from a children's story

piàn 片 > slices, expanses (like clouds, beaches)

yí piàn ròu 一片肉= a slice of meat

shēng 声 > utterances, sounds

wǒ yào xiān duì nǐ shuō yì shēng "xièxie" 我要先对你说一声"谢谢"= I want to say "thanks" in advance

shǒu 首 > songs, poems

zhè shǒu gē shì shéi de? 这首歌是谁的?= Who's song is this?

*this is how I ask about the music blasting over the speakers on campus

shuāng 双 > pairs (chopsticks, shoes, eyes)

wǒ yào mǎi sān shuāng tuōxié 我要买三双拖鞋= I want to buy 3 pairs of slippers.

tái 台 > big electric stuff, pianos

wǒ yǒu yì tái xǐyījī 我有一台洗衣机= I have a washing machine

tào 套 > apartments, houses (multiple rooms)

nàbian de fángzi yào duōshao qián yí tào? 那边的房子要多少钱一套?= Those houses cost how much per house?

tiáo 条 > roads, long stuff (rivers, snakes, pants)

zhè tiáo lù jiào shénme míngzi 这条路叫什么名字?= What's this road called?

tóu 头 > pigs, cows

yì tóu máoniú 一头牦牛= one yak

wèi 位 > people (polite)

jǐ wèi 几位= How many people?

*in your party at a restaurant

zhāng 张 > flat stuff (pieces of paper, tables, CDs)

ná shí zhāng kòngbái de CD 拿十张空白的CD= I'll take 10 blank CDs

zhī 只 > cats, birds

"liǎng zhī lǎohǔ 两只老虎" = "2 tigers" (sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques")

zhī 只 > one of a pair

bā zhī yǎnjing 八只眼睛= 8 Eyes

*the name of a 4 person singing group

zhī 支 > stick-like stuff (pen, chopstick, shoe, eye)

yì zhī bǐ bú gòu 一支筷子不够= 1 pen isn't enough

zhǒng 种 > types of stuff

yǒu liǎng zhǒng júzi 有两种桔子= there are 2 kinds of oranges

zuò 座 > mountains

zhōngguó zuì yǒumíng de sān zuò shān 中国最有名的三座山= China's 3 most famous mountains

2016-06-21

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