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3.7.2: Measure word "ge"

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    个 (gè) is the most commonly used measure word. It can be used in a pinch for any noun if you can't think of a more precise measure word. (Although you might not sound quite as smart, you'll still get your point across). Also, for many nouns, 个 (gè) is the only correct measure word.

    Counting Nouns


    The general structure for 个 (gè) and measure words in general is:

    Number + 个 + Noun

    Any time you want to state how many of a noun in Chinese, you probably need a measure word. First get used to how they are used with 个 (gè).


    • 人yī rénone person
    • 朋友sì péngyoufour friends
    • 苹果 手机sān Píngguǒ shǒujīthree iPhones
    • 星期wǔ xīngqīfive weeks
    • 月liù yuèsix months
    • 老婆liǎng lǎopotwo wives
    • 男人, 七 傻, 八 坏。A line from a songShí nánrén, qī shǎ, bā huài.Ten men: seven are fools, and eight are bad.

    Omitting the Number


    Verb + 个 + Noun

    If the number is one (1), you can omit it and use 个 (gè) by itself. This is similar to "a" or "an" in English, for example in "a person" or "an idiot." (The tone on 个 (gè) is normally somewhat de-emphasized in this usage, but still written as fourth tone. You don't need to stress about it, though.)


    • 他 是 老外。Tā shì lǎowài.He is a foreigner.
    • 我 有 儿子。Wǒ yǒu érzi.I have a son.
    • 她 是 好 老师。Tā shì hǎo lǎoshī.She is a good teacher.
    • 你 想 吃 包子 吗?Nǐ xiǎng chī bāozi ma?Would you like to eat a stuffed steamed bun?
    • 老师 , 我 有 问题。Lǎoshī, wǒ yǒu wèntí.Teacher, I have a question.

    This page titled 3.7.2: Measure word "ge" is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by .

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