How to use Chinese measure words

Updated: May 18, 2020

大家好!我是Everyday Easy Chinese的何老师。

There are many measure words in Chinese to describe quantity, weight and time. Today we will learn 5 common measure words to describe quantity.

In Chinese, measure words are put in front of nouns to count them. For example, 1 person will be 一个人. In this example 个 is the measure word for person.

1. 个 (Gè)

个 (Gè) is the most commonly used measure word. If you cannot remember a measure word for a noun, you can always use 个. 个 can be used for abstract and physical things such as people, 两个人, schools 三个学校 or ideas 四个注意.

2. 张 (Zhāng)

张 (Zhāng) is a measure word used for flat objects. For example, paper一张纸 (One piece of paper), tickets 两张票 (Two tickets), tables 三张桌子 (Three tables).

3. 条 (Tiáo)

条 (Tiáo) is a measure word used for long objects. For example, fish 一条鱼 (One fish), rivers两条河 (Two rivers), 三条穿 (Three ships).

4. 只 (Zhī)

只 (Zhī) is a measure word used for animals for example, cats,一只猫 (One cat), dogs 两只狗 (Two dogs) or monkeys (三只猴子)

5. 座 (Zuò)

座 (Zuò) is a measure word used for large buildings. For example, 一座大楼. Or mountains such as 一座山.

Thank you taking this lesson on measure words to describe quantity. In our next lessons, we will look at other measure words to describe length, weight and time.

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