1 Dulkis

Measure Word For Essay In Chinese

Measure words



Other terminology:量词.


1. How many measure words are there?


There are four kinds of measure words.


1. Measure words which are only used in Chinese but not in English. (See Table One)

(mw for nouns)                                    (mw for actions)

yì     zhāng   piào                                   èn      yí    xià

一  张       票                                     摁    一   下

ONE SHEET OF TICKET                                        PRESS ONE XIA

A ticket.                                               Press once

2. Nouns which indicate certain kinds of non-standard measurements (but not standard measurements). These measure words are used in a similar way in English. (See Table Two)

sān         píng         jiŭ

三       瓶        酒


Three bottles of wine.

3. Some Chinese nouns have "built-in" measure words, in other words they don't need additional measure words. They can be used just as they are in English (number word + noun). Not many nouns can be used in this way.

qī       tiān              

七       天


Seven days. 


4. The words in this category are used for standard measurements. (See Table Three)

三       寸


Three inches.


2. When do I need a measure word (category 1) in a sentence?


Measure words (category 1) are needed in the following situations.

  1. When a quantity is involved, for instance, if you use a number in front of a noun.
  2. When you want to specify a noun, in other words if you use 这this, 那that, 每every.
  3. When the question words 哪which and 几how many are used.

tā  yŏu   yìbĕn hányŭ    shū                                nă     ge  lăoshī      jiāo     nĭmen kǒuyǔ

他有  一 本  汉语    书.                               哪    个老师      教     你们口语?

HE HAS A  BEN CHINESE BOOK                                          WHICH GE TEACHER TEACH YOU  ORAL

He has a Chinese book                                   Which teacher teaches you the spoken language?


3. Where should I place a measure word in a sentence?


The following sentence pattern shows how a measure word is used with the object of the sentence.


s.           v.       number/这/那/每/哪/几 +mw+    description of                           的 noun




sān   bĕn

三    本

3         BEN

 jiāo    wàiguórén xué     hànyǔ   yòngde shū

 教    外国人   学     汉语    用  的书.


I have three books which can be used for teaching foreigners (to learn) Chinese.


4. Are there any other tips on the use of measure words?


  1. The question word 多少 doesn't need a measure word, where as 几 needs one.

zhōngwénxì    yŏu duōshao    ge xuésheng

中文    系    有  多少         (个) 学生?


How many students are there in the Chinese department?


  1. If the quantity is one, the word “one” is often omitted in spoken Chinese, but the measure word remains,

tā xiě      le   yí     ge zì               tā   zuò le   yì  xiē   liànxí

他写    了 (一) 个字            他作了 (一) 些  练习

HE WRITE LE  (YI)  GE ZI                     HE  DO LE  (YI) XIE EXERCISES.

He has written a word.             He has done some exercises.


5. Should the word 多 (more, over) appear before or after a measure word?


多 can appear either before or after a measure word, but it is important to know that the word before 多 is a kind of measurement,

sān      shí duō     ge rén

三       十  多   个人.


Over thirty people. (Usually it means that there are 30 - 40 people.)

As you can see, the word before 多 is 十. In this case, 多 means less than that measurement 十 (ten). Therefore, 三十多 means that three tens plus多 which is less than ten (十), so the number appears to be between 30 - 40. Let's see another example.

三    个多   苹果.


Three apples and a bit.


Table One

Measure words used in Chinese but not in English.




Used for           



small objects which can be held in the hand

knives, chairs, umbrellas, teapot

两把刀; 一把椅子; 一把伞, 一把茶壶



book-like objects 

magazines, novels

四本杂志; 三本小说



action measure (going through a completed process)

watch (a film), read (a text)  电影看了两遍; 课文念了三遍


machinery, vehicles production of a play

cars, plays

六部轿车; 一部话剧



sth. which lasts for a short period

performances, rainfall

演了三场戏; 下了一场雨



floor (Similar to 楼)





to pay visits, to do sth

去了一次中国; 这件事作了两次



sth to put over one's head

hats, tents, umbrellas

一顶帽子; 五顶蚊帐



actions which last for a short period

to eat a meal, to beat sb. up 吃了一顿饭; 把他打了一顿



flower-like objects

flowers, clouds, mushrooms

七朵花; 一朵云彩; 几朵木耳




newspapers, jobs

一份报; 一份工作



sth. sealed in an envelope

letters, telegram

两封信; 一封电报


picture-like objects

paintings, banners

三幅画; 一幅对联; 八幅标语



units of sth. (common measure word, for both abstract and physical objects)

people, schools, ideas...

五个人; 两个学校; 一个主意



sth. thin and flexible

hairs, threads, strings                           

两根头发; 一根线; 三根绳







actions (similar to次visits but more colloq.)        






companies, restaurants, shops

一家公司; 四家饭馆; 八家商店



machinery, vehicle

aeroplanes, pianos, computers

一架飞机; 十架钢琴



any kinds of room

bed-rooms, kitchens, class-rooms

一间卧室; 两间厨房; 三间教室



top part of clothes, matters

shirts; coats; matters

两件衬衫; 一件大衣; 三件事


sentences, lines of poems

sayings; idioms

三句成语; 一句诗; 两句话


lessons of texts




trees, plants         

pine-tree, roses

三棵松树; 一棵玫瑰



population on a small scale (for a number under 100)

population of a family




vehicles (on wheels)

cars, bikes

一辆汽车; 一辆脚踏车



people (members of...)

party members, university teachers

一名党员; 两名大学教师





一篇文章; 两篇论文



sth. thin and in an irregular shape

leaves, fields, lakes, tablets (medicine)

三片叶子; 一片麦田; 四片药片



sth. vertical with a flat surface

Some Chinese Measure Words

  1. Individual measure for things with a handle.
  2. Bunch
  3. Handful
lock 一把锁 key 一把钥匙 fan 一把扇子 knife 两把刀 spoon 一把勺 ruler 一把尺 violin 一把小提琴 brush 一把刷子 scissors 一把剪子 bunch of flowers 一把花 handful of peanuts 一把花生
  1. Class: group of people.
  2. A run, flight, etc for workers in shifts or scheduled services
a class of youngsters 一班年轻人 next flight 下班飞机 last train 末班火车 three shifts 三班倒
bāoBundle; bale; parcel: container measure for things wrapped or fixed in bundlesrice 一包米 cigarettes 一包烟 sugar 一包糖 candies 两包糖果 cookies 一包饼干
bēiCup, glasswater 一杯水 tea 一杯茶 alcohol 一杯酒 milk 一杯奶
běnVolume: bookbook 一本书 magazine 一本杂志 novel 一本小说 dictionary, textbook 一本字典 pictorial 一本画报
  1. Pen: individual measure for handwriting or painting.
  2. Item; unit: partitive measure for a sum of money or a transaction
handwriting 一笔好字 income 一笔收入 deal 一笔买卖 business 一笔生意 some of money 一笔钱 debt 一笔债 expense 一笔花费 property 一笔财产
biànOnce over; once through: measure for the course of an action from the beginning to the endask 问一遍 think 想一遍 listen 听一遍 write 写一遍 review 复习一遍 preview 预习一遍
  1. Set: individual measure for films, set of books or volume of works
  2. Individual measure for vehicles, machines, telephones
novel 一部小说 dictionary 一部词典 car 一部汽车 machine 一部机器
Volume: individual measure for books especially one of a set of books, periodicalsaccount book 一册账簿 stamp album 一册集邮簿
  1. Storey; floor: partitive measure for the storeys of a building
  2. Layer: for an outer covering
stories(in a building)一层楼 glass 一层玻璃 ice 一层冰 skin一层皮 oil 一层油 dust 一层灰 dirt 一层土 paint 一层漆
  1. Individual measure for the process or course of occurring
  2. Measure for the course of certain actions
snowfall 一场雪 dispute 一场争论 rainfall 一场雨 flood 一场大水 misunderstanding 一场误会 fire 一场大火 catastrophe 一场灾难 cry 哭了一场
chǎngIndividual measure for recreational or physical activitiesfilm 一场电影 opera 一场话剧 game 一场比赛
chuànString: group measure for a number of things of the same kind growing or attached togetherpearls 一串珠子 sugarcoated haws 一串糖葫芦 grilled mutton 一串烤羊肉 grapes 一串葡萄
chuángIndividual measure for quilt, sheetquilt 一床被, 一床褥子 bed sheet 一床被单
  1. Time: individual measure for the number of repetitions in a given period of time
  2. Measure for number of times an action is taken
A. a trial 一次试验 one accident 一次事故 one crisis 一次经济危机 a reform 一次改革 one operation 一次手术 B. go once 去一次 come once 来一次 eat once 吃一次 meet twice 见了两次面 listen to lesson once 听力一次课
Pad: group measure for pile of sheetspaper一沓纸 envelopes 一沓信封 money 一沓钱
dàiContainer measure for things put into a bagflour 一袋面粉 grain 一袋粮食, cookies 一袋饼干
  1. Line, beam: individual measure for things in the shape of a line
  2. Individual measure for wall, fence
  3. Individual measure for orders, math question
A. light 一道光 wrinkles 几道皱纹 B. door 一道门 barrier 一道关 C. order 一道命令 math question 一道题
Partitive measure for dropping droplettear 一滴眼泪 sweat 一滴汗 water 一滴水 blood 一滴血
diǎnPartitive measure for point, item, etcopinion 一点意见 suggestions 几点建议
dǐngIndividual measure for objects with protruding topcap 一顶帽子 tent 一顶帐篷
dòngIndividual measure for house or other structurebuilding 一栋楼房 house 一栋房子
Individual measure for encompassing fixtureswall 一堵墙
  1. Section, length: partitive measure for a part
  2. Partitive measure for a length of time or distance
  3. Partitive measure for part of a song, talk, music, story, recalling, etc.
A. railway track 一段铁轨 tube 一段管子 B. time 一段时间 distance 一段距离 travel distance 一段路程 experience 一段经历 C. cross talk 一段相声 talk 一段话, music 一段音乐
duīPile, crowd: partitive measure for a people and thingsthings 一堆东西 stone 一堆石头 clothes 一堆衣服
duìPair, group measure for couple, matched pair coupletscouple 一对夫妻 vases 一对花瓶 earrings一对耳环
  1. Individual measure for regular meals
  2. Measure for verbs of criticizing, abusing
a meal 一顿饭 beating 一顿打 quarrel 一顿吵 scolding 一顿骂
duǒIndividual measure for flowers, cloudsa flower 一朵花 a cloud 一朵云
Individual measure for bullets, shellsa bullet 一发子弹
  1. Once over, individual measure for the course of any action which takes time and energy
  2. Kind, individual measure for kindness
hard work 一番苦功 talk 一番话 setbacks 一番周折 repeatedly 三番五次 B. kindness 一番好意 (一番心意,一番好心)
  1. Partitive measure for portions
  2. Partitive measure for multi-page documents
A. a gift 一份礼物 a meal 一份饭 a fast food 一份快餐 B. a document 一份文件 material 一份材料 a job 一份工作
fēngIndividual measure for things that can be sealeda letter 一封信 telegram 一封电报
  1. Individual measure for picture-like objects
  2. Individual measure for a scene in drama, fiction
painting 一幅画 scene 一副景象 sight 一幅场面
Group measure for amount of herbal medicine taken at one time a herbal medicine 一服中药
  1. Pair, set: group measure for objects which come in pairs
  2. Individual measure for an expression on one's face
earphone 一副耳机 couplet 一副对联 B. smiling expression 一副笑脸 a serious looking face 一副严肃的面孔
  1. Individual measure for persons
  2. Individual measure for time, date
  3. Individual measure for area, country or unit
  4. Individual measure for material things
  5. Individual measure for some abstract nouns denoting reason or state of affairs
  6. Individual measure for certain actions, usually used between verb and its object
A. a worker 一个工人 a student 一个学生 B. one morning 一个早上 a month 一个月 C. a factory 一个工厂 a shop 一个商店 D. a cup 一个杯子 an egg 一个鸡蛋 E. a problem 一个问题 a reason 一个理由 F. made a dream 做了一个梦 to yawn 打了一个哈欠
gēnIndividual measure for thin, slender objects, flexible strandsa rope 一根绳子 a needle 一根针 cigarette 一根烟
  1. Stream, strand: partitive measure for a stream of water or air
  2. Puff: partitive measure for a short, quick sending out of breath, air
A. cold current 一股寒流 B. fragrant smell 一股香味 a gust of wind 一股风 stink 一股臭味
guàGroup measure for series of things threaded on a stringfirecrackers 一挂鞭炮
guǎnTube: individual measure for things in the shape of a long, hollow cylindertoothpaste 一管牙膏
hángGroup measure for objects which form lineslines of characters 几行字 a line of trees 一行树
Container measure for a box of...a box of candies 一盒糖
Individual measure for householda household 一户人家
  1. Individual measure for a matter, a thing
  2. Measure for number of times an action is taken
A. the thing is like this 是这么一回事 B. have once been there 去过一回
huǒGroup measure for gangs or hoodlumsa group of hoodlums 一伙流氓 a group of scoundrels 一伙坏人
  1. Individual measure for stair, step
  2. Individual measure for grade, rank, level
climb 60 stairs 上了60级台阶 second-grade chef 二级厨师
Group measure for a dose of medicinea dose of herbal medicine 一剂汤药
  1. Individual measure for a family
  2. Individual measure for institutions, enterprise
a few families 几家人 a shop 一家商店
jiàIndividual measure for a machine, vehicleaircraft 一架飞机 piano 一架钢琴
jiānIndividual measure for room or spacesthree rooms 三间屋子 one office 一间办公室
jiànIndividual measure for clothes, furniture, affairsa luggage 一件行李 a piece of clothes 一件衣服 a thing 一件东西 matter 一件事
jiéPartitive measure for things with joints B. Partitive measure for a class period, a sectiona bamboo 一节竹子 a battery 一节电池 a period of lesson 一节课
jiéPartitive measure for a part of long, narrow thinga cut wood 一截木头 part of a rope 一截绳子
jièIndividual measure for regularly scheduled sessions or meetings, graduation class, term of officetwo sessions of graduates 两届毕业生
Sentence: individual measure for a sentence, a talk or a line of poemtalk of a few words 几句话
juǎnRoll: partitive measure for things made into the shape of a cylinder by being rolleda roll of paper 一卷纸 a roll of something 一卷东西
Individual measure for plants, trees grassa big tree 一棵大树 a grass 一棵草 scallion 一棵葱
Individual measure for small and round objects a kind heart 一颗善良的心 a pearl 一颗珠子 a star 一颗星
Individual measure for lessons10 lessons 十课
  1. Individual measure for human beings,wells
  2. Mouthful
four members in a family 一家四口人 a mouthful of water 一口水
kuàiPartitive measure of a lump, a piece with or without a regular shapea soap 一块肥皂 cloth 一块布 a piece of wood 一块木头 a chocolate 一块巧克力 a watch 一块手表 a glass 一块玻璃
lèiGroup measure for class of persons or objects of the same type or natureone kind of people 一类人 this kind of problem 这类问题
Grain, individual measure for small, hard things like rice, sand, seeda seed 一粒种子 uncooked rice 一粒米
liàngIndividual measure for wheeled vehiclesa bike 一辆自行车 a bus 一辆公共汽车 a car 一辆轿车 a lorry 一辆卡车
lièTrains, group measure for a line of vehicles or thingsa wagon 一列货车
méiPiece: individual measure for badges, stamps, or some small flat or round shaped thingsa medal 一枚勋章 a stamp 一枚邮票 a coin 一枚硬币
  1. Individual measure for cannons, artillery
  2. Individual measure for courses in a school, branch of knowledge, subject of instruction
a cannon 一门大炮 a course 一门课 a science 一门科学
miànIndividual measure for flat and smooth objects like mirror, drum, flag, wall with roof, shielda mirror 一面镜子 a drum 一面鼓 a flag 一面旗
míngIndividual measure for high-rank persons in generala scholar 一名学者 a doctor 一名医生
páiGroup measure for a line of people or objects grouped in rowsa row of building 一排楼房 a row of fruit trees 一排果树 a row of people 一排人 a row of chair 一排椅子
  1. Coil: individual measure for flat objects or reels like video or audio cassette, small plate, coil of incense
  2. Container measure for contents of a plate
a cassette 一盘磁带 mosquito coil incense 一盘蚊香 a plate of dish 一盘菜
Batch: group of measure for a group of persons or thingsa group of people 一批人 a batch of products 一批产品
  1. Individual measure for horses, mules, camels
  2. Individual measure for bolts of cloth
a horse 一匹马 a bolt of cloth 一匹布
piānIndividual measure for writings, prose, essays, biographya novel 一篇小说 thesis 一篇论文
  1. Slice: partitive measure for part or bit of a solid substance
  2. Stretch: partitive measure for a vast expanse of something
  3. Partitive measure for scene, sound, speech, intention
A. a slice of bread 一片面包 B. a rice field 一片稻田 a residential area 一片居民区 an open ground 一片空地 C. a great rejoice 一片欢腾 noise 一片嘈杂
píngBottle, jar: container measure for bottlesalcohol 一瓶酒 drink 一瓶饮料
Issue: Individual measure for a magazine or other publication which appears at regular intervalsa periodical magazine 一期杂志 first training course 第一期培训班
Individual measure for an accident, event or happeninga traffic accident 一起车祸 a happening 一起事故
qúnCrowd,flock:group measure for a number of people or herda group of people 一群人 group of sheep 一群羊 a group of ducks 一群鸭子
shànIndividual measure for things that open and close on hingesa door 一扇门 a window 一扇窗户
sháoSpoon: container measure for contents in a spoona spoonful soup 一勺汤 a spoonful of food 一勺饭
  1. Suit: group measure for a suit
  2. Body: temporary measure for being covered all over by something
a suit 一身西服 splash all over with water 溅了一身水 sweat all over 出了一身汗
  1. Individual measure for that which can be heard
  2. Measure for shout, cry, laugh, yell
a sound 一声响 just tell 告诉一声
shǒuHand: individual measure for a kind of skillwrite good characters 写一手好字 show off one's skill 露一手
shǒuIndividual measure for a piece of a poem or songa song 一首歌 a poem 一首诗
shùBunch, bundle: group measure for a collection of things of the same sort placed togethera bunch of flowers 一束花
shuāngPair: group measure for objects which naturally come in pairsa pair of shoes 一双鞋 chopsticks 一双筷子 a pair of socks 一双袜子
sōuIndividual measure for shipsa steamer 一艘轮船 a freighter 一艘货轮
suǒIndividual measure for a house or other structurea bank 一所银行 a school 一所学校 a factory 一所工厂 a post office 一所邮局
táiIndividual measure for heavy objects, machinesa TV set 一台电视机 a computer 一台电脑
tángIndividual measure for a class perioda class period 一堂课
  1. Individual measure for a scheduled transportation service
  2. Measure for certain actions such as come and go
A. a flight 一趟班机 this bus 这趟车 B. 来一趟,去一趟
tàoSet: group measure for a set of thingsa set of text books 一套课本 a set of furniture 一套家具 a suit 一套西服 a tea set 一套茶具
  1. Individual measure for objects of long, narrow flexible objects
  2. Individual measure for certain insects or plants
A. a rope 一条绳子 pants 一条裤子 necktie 一条领带 skirt 一条裙子 a boat 一条船 heroic person 一条好汉 B. a fish 一条鱼 a snake 一条蛇 a dog 一条狗 a road 一条路 a river 一条河
tóuHead: Individual measure for domestic or wild animalsox 一头牛 donkey 一头驴 pig 一头猪 elephant 一头象
tuánLump, mess: partitive measure for material gathered, rolled or wound into a round mass a ball of waste paper 一团废纸 a cotton ball 一团棉花
wǎnBowl: container measure for deep, round, hollow vessela bowl of dish 一碗菜 a bowl of rice 一碗饭 a bowl of soup 一碗汤
wèiIndividual measure for people in a polite wayan old person 一位老人
Nest: group measure for all sorts of small animals or insectsa nest of birds 一窝鸟
xiàMeasure for verbs indicating the time an action is donethink for a while 想一下 have a look 看一下
xiàngItem: individual measure for something stipulated, planneda task 一项任务 a project 一项工程 a condition 一向条件
xiēSome, an amount of, a number of: partitive measure for indefinite amount or numbersome people 一些人 some things 一些事 some problems 一些问题
yàngKind, sort: individual measure for a variety of material objects a few kinds of dishes 几样菜 three kinds of fruits 三样水果
Page: partitive measure for one side of a sheet of paper in a book, periodicala page of teaching material 一页讲义 read a few pages 看了几页书
zhǎnIndividual measure for lampsa few colored light 几盏彩灯
zhāngSheet: individual measure for flat things or with a flat surfacea sheet of paper 一张纸 a map 一张地图 a ticket 一张票 a picture 一张照片
  1. Individual measure for troops
  2. Individual measure for songs, melodies
  3. Individual measure for long ,stick-like objects
an army 一支军队 a troop 一支队伍 a song 一支歌 a melody 一支曲子 a folk song 一支民歌 一支铅笔
zhīOne of a pair: individual measure for one of two things of the same kind used togetherhand 一只手 a foot 一只脚 a cat 一只猫 a fly 一只苍蝇
  1. Branch: individual measure for a branch of a tree or plant
  2. Alternative form of 支
flowers 几枝花 a writing brush 一枝毛笔
zhǒngSpecies, kind: group measure for a number of persons or things of the same kindone kind of people 一种人 a kind of thing 一种东西 a kind of habit 一种习惯
zuòIndividual measure for a big building, structure, mountaina mountain 一座山 a temple 一座庙 a city 一座城市 a bridge 一座桥

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