232 Chinese measure words you need to know: A useful guide

A measure of success in the Chinese language is how well you can use the Chinese measure words.

Although you’ll likely hear that there are shortcuts to avoiding the measure words, the truth is that you won’t attain true Chinese mastery unless you have a good handle on the measure words. Luckily for you, measure words shouldn’t be a completely foreign concept — English uses measure words quite frequently. The difference is that measure words aren’t always required in English, whereas they are always required when quantifying in Chinese.

In English, most nouns have pretty universal measurements, making the use of measure words unnecessary in most situations. For example, if you say you want to have a beer or a coffee, few people would have trouble picturing what you’ll be drinking. But the same isn’t true if you said you want “an ice cream.” Are you having a scoop of ice cream? A pint? A cone? A sundae? You’ll have to be more specific and say you want a pint of ice cream (no judgment!).

In Chinese, you always have to specify the unit of each noun, making measure words infinitely more important than in English. So, in this guide, we’ll get into everything you need to know about measure words, including what they are, what the most indispensable ones are, and — of course — some handy tips for learning measure words quickly.

If you can’t count the minutes until you’ve learned a few helpful measure words, we’ll get started right away!

How Chinese measure words function in the language

A measure word helps us indicate the amount or quantity of a specific noun or verb. In Chinese, these are known as 量词 (liàng cí) and are also known as classifiers.

For example, when you go to a restaurant, you might start by asking for a cup of water, followed by a bowl of noodles and perhaps one or two bottles of beer or a can of soda. The words cup, bowl, bottle, and can are all measure words, as they help quantify how much of something you want.

Mandarin measure words are used similarly to English measure words, and they generally follow this simple structure:

  • =Number + Measure word + Noun

Here are some examples of the structure in action:

Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation English
两瓶啤酒 lái liǎng píng pí jiǔ. lai leang pyng pyi jeou. I’ll have two bottles of beer.
我养了三只狗 wǒ yǎng le sān zhī gǒu. woo yeang .lhe san jy goou I have raised three dogs.
我想买一辆车 wǒ xiǎng mǎi yí liàng chē. woo sheang mae yi lianq che. I would like to buy one car.


10 must-know measure words in Chinese

Before we show you our ultimate list of Chinese measure words, we want to make sure that we can steer you in the right direction. Spending your time memorizing measure words definitely won’t be a productive use of your time. Although being able to pair the right measure word to the appropriate noun is the true sign of an advanced speaker, you won’t have to worry about that for a long time.

Luckily, there are a few measure words that are much more common than the others. That means that mastering even just ten measure words will put you ahead of the rest, and you won’t have to worry too much about the rest of the measure words until you significantly grow your vocabulary.

Here are ten of the most helpful measure words in Chinese.

个 ()

The first measure word on our list simply has to be 个 (). This is perhaps the most basic of the measure words, and it simply means “individual” or “units.” Although not all Chinese nouns use this measure word, you can think of this as a universal measure word that you can use when in doubt. Though it will still sound weird if you use 个 () for a noun that goes with a different measure word, it will be less weird than using the incorrect measure word. So, when in doubt, go with 个 ()!

With that said, there are also countless nouns for which 个 () is the appropriate measure word, so it’s still worth being the first one on your list. Here are some examples. Note that 个 () loses its fourth tone when used as a measure word, and instead uses the neutral tone.

Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation English
他是一好人。 tā shì yí ge hǎo rén. ta shyh yi .ge hao ren He is a good man.
问题很难解决。 zhè ge wèn tí hěn nán jiě jué. jeh .ge wenn tyi heen nan jiee jyue This problem is very hard to solve.
小小的误会。 yí ge xiǎo xiǎo de wù huì. yi .ge sheau sheau .de wuh huey A very small misunderstanding.

次 ()

This is one of the most useful measure words for actions. As opposed to 个 (), which is used exclusively with nouns, 次 () is used with verbs to express the number of times something has happened. It is used very similarly to the word “times,” in English. As in English, you’ll need to use some Chinese numbers right before it to indicate the number of times something has happened.

Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation English
我去了两 wǒ qù le liǎng cì. woo chiuh .lhe leang tsyh I went two times.
我每周去学校三 wǒ měi zhōu qù xué xiào sān cì. woo meei jou chiuh shyue shiaw san tsyh I go to school three times a week.
这本书我已经看了两 zhè běn shū wǒ yǐ jīng kàn le liǎng cì. jeh been shu woo yii jing kann .lhe leang tsyh I have already read this book twice.

份 (fèn)

This measure word means “portion” or “part,” and is another very versatile measure word. You can use this for portions of food as well as for things that come in parts or volumes, like gifts, newspaper, magazine, papers, reports, and more!

Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation English
米饭 liǎng fèn mǐ fàn leang fenn mii fann Two orders of rice.
报纸 yí fèn bào zhǐ yi fenn baw jyy A newspaper.
炒面 yí fèn chǎo miàn yi fenn chao miann An order of stir-fried noodles.

家 (jiā)

If you’re a beginner Chinese learner, then you’re probably already familiar with this word. It’s a word that can wear many hats, such as family, house, and schools of thought. On top of that, this word can also work as a measure word for businesses like shops, restaurants, and families.

Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation English
餐馆很好吃。 zhè jiā cān guǎn hěn hǎo chī. jeh jia tsan goan heen hao chy This restaurant is very good.
酒吧已经关门了。 nà jiā jiǔ bā yǐ jīng guān mén le. nah jia jeou ba yii jing guan men .lhe That bar is already closed.
银行 sān jiā yín háng san jia yn harng Three banks.

杯 (bēi)

If you’re still working up the courage to order at Chinese restaurants, then you need to get acquainted with this measure word. Any time you want to order a cup of any beverage, you can use 杯 (bēi). Here are some examples.

Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation English
来四燕麦拿铁。 lái sì bēi yàn mài ná tiě. lai syh bei yann may na tiee We’ll have four oat milk lattes.
我喝了两红酒。 wǒ hē le liǎng bēi hóng jiǔ. woo he .lhe leang bei horng jeou I drank two glasses of red wine.
绿茶 yì bēi lǜ chá. yih bei liuh char A cup of green tea.

块 (kuài)

This is another measure word that’s used for pieces of things, although it also has a very popular use with money. You may have already heard of 元 (yuán) being used for money, which is certainly true. However, 块 (kuài) is used much more frequently in informal settings. So, if you’re shopping for fruits and vegetables on the street, you’re much more likely to hear 块 (kuài) instead of 元 (yuán) to refer to prices.

Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation English
蛋糕 yí kuài dàn gāo yi kuay dann gau One piece of cake.
三百 sān bǎi kuài qián san bae kuay chyan 300 Yuan (RMB).
巧克力 wǔ kuài qiǎo kè lì wuu kuay cheau keh lih Five pieces of chocolate.

片 (piàn)

This measure word is very helpful as it can be used to refer to slices of all kinds of thin, round things. You can use it to ask for a slice of bread or a slice of watermelon. You can also use it to ask for thin and flat things, like cookies and discs.

Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation English
饼干 yì piān bǐng gān yih pian biing gan One cookie.
面包 liǎng piàn miàn bāo leang piann miann bau Two slices of bread.
西瓜 yì piān xī guā yih pian shi gua A slice of watermelon.

条 (tiáo)

This measure word is used for long and skinny things like rivers, snakes, fish, pants, roads, and more. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s also the measure word for dogs! Now not all dogs are long and skinny, but imagine a funky little dachshund when thinking of the right measure word for your favorite pup.

Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation English
yì tiáo yú yih tyau yu One fish.
路很难找到。 zhè tiáo lù hěn nán zhǎo dào. jeh tyau luh heen nan jao daw This road is very hard to find.
我只有四裤子。 wǒ zhǐ yǒu sì tiáo kùzi. woo jyy yeou syh tyau kuh.tzy I only have four pairs of pants.

张 (zhāng)

This object is used for flat things like papers, cards, tables, tickets, beds, newspapers, pictures, and much more. When not used as a measure word, this word can also mean “to open up” or “to spread,” so imagine opening up a newspaper next time you’re thinking of the right measure word for paper.

Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation English
火车票已经买好了。 liǎng zhāng huǒ chē piào yǐ jīng mǎi hǎo le. leang jang huoo che piaw yii jing mae hao .lhe I already bought two train tickets.
画是你自己画的吗? zhè zhāng huà shì nǐ zì jǐ huà de ma? jeh jang huah shyh nii tzyh jii huah .de .mha Did you paint this painting yourself?
我只有一银行卡。 wǒ zhǐ yǒu yì zhāng yín háng kǎ. woo jyy yeou yih jang yn harng kaa I only have one bank card.

只 (zhī)

Although many animals have different measure words, many of them use the measure word 只 (zhī). You can think of this as the general measure word for animals. It’s also used for body parts that come in pairs, like hands, arms, and feet.

Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation English
猫是谁的? nà zhī māo shì shéi de? nah jyy mhau shyh sheir .de Whose cat is that?
sì zhī niǎo syh jyy neau Four birds.
熊猫太可爱! nà zhī xióng māo tài kě ài! nah jyy shyong mhau tay kee ay That panda is too cute!


A handy list of 232 Chinese measurement words

There are over 200 measure words in Chinese, and we’ve compiled a list of 232 of them to help you out in any situation. While this list can seem daunting even to intermediate speakers, keep in mind that not all of them are used on a regular basis. In fact, an overwhelming majority of them are frequently ignored, and native speakers often simplify by using a generic measure word even if there’s a more appropriate measure word.

However, this list can serve as a reference for you as you advance in your Chinese studies, so feel free to bookmark this page! You can always refer to this table if you have a question about what measure word is used

Number Measure word Pinyin Pronunciation Use Examples
1 baa Bunches of things and objects with handles 叉子 - fork, 伞 - umbrella, 椅子 - chair
2 bān ban For classes/groups, work shifts and schedules 飞机 - flight, 学生 - students

3 bàn bann For pieces, segments and section 橘子 - orange, 蒜 - garlic, 西瓜 - watermelon
4 bāng bang Groups of people 匪徒 - gangster / bandit
5 bàng banq Pound (unit of weight) 水果 - fruit
6 bāo bau Things in packages or bags 饼干 - cracker, 礼品 - gift
7 bēi bei Liquids 酒 - liquor, 茶 - tea, 咖啡 - coffee
8 bèi bey Generations 人 - people
9 bèi bey For multiples and multiplications 利润 - profits
10 běn been Books 词典 - dictionary, 护照 - passport, 日记 - diary
11 bii Sums of money 贷款 - loan, 奖金 - bonus, 业务 - business
12 biàn biann One-time actions 朗诵 - recital
13 bo Small groups of people 人 - people
14 buh Films, machines, and dictionaries 词典 - dictionary, 电话 - phone call, 电影 - movie
15 cān tsan Meals 饭 - food
16 tseh Books (with fewer pages) 画集 - an album of paintings
17 céng tserng Floors, levels, and layers 冰 - ice, 楼 - building, 台阶 - flight of step
18 chǎng chaang Events, films, and shows 电影 - movie, 比赛 - competition, 舞会 - a dance
19 chē che Things transported by vehicles 煤炭 - coal, 货物 - goods
20 chéng cherng Degrees or levels 熟 - cooked, 胜算 - degrees of success
21 chí chyr Some bodies of water 污水 - sewage
22 chǐ chyy Unit of length 布 - a cloth
23 chū chu Dramas, plays, and operas 京剧 - Beijing opera, 闹剧 - farce
24 chù chuh Locations 场所 - location, 风景 - landscape
25 chuàn chuann Items that come in clusters 葡萄 - grape, 钥匙 - keys
26 chuáng chwang Sheets 被子 - quilt, 席子- mat
27 tsyh Enumerating 会议 - meeting, 机会 - opportunity, 实验 - test
28 tsuh Bunched objects 鲜花 - fresh flowers
29 cùn tsuenn Unit of length 布 - cloth, 宽 - wide
30 cuō tsuo Small groups of people, livestock or utensils 人 - person, 头发 - hair
31 dar Dozens of things 铅笔 - pencil
32 dài day Things that come in bags or snacks 肥料 - fertilizer, 米 - rice
33 dài day Generations 人 - person
34 dān dan A unit of mass 柴 - firewood, 水 - water
35 dàng danq Grades or levels 商品 - merchandise
36 dào daw Long things 菜 - vegetable, 闪电 - lightning, 手续 - procedure
37 di Drops 汗 - sweat, 墨水 - ink
38 diǎn dean To measure time or to indicate just a little of something 时间 - time, 意见 - idea
39 dié dye Stacked items 钱 - money, 账本 - ledgers
40 dǐng diing Things that have a top 帽子 - hat
41 dìng dinq Ingots 金子 - gold
42 dòng donq Buildings 房子 - house
43 duu Walls and fences 墙 - wall
44 duàn duann Segments or sections of something 时间 - time, 路 - road
45 duī duei Things that come in stacks or piles 沙子 - spoon, 垃圾 - trash, 粮食 - food
46 duì duey Pairs of items 耳环 - earring, 夫妻 - husband and wife
47 duì duey Teams, lines or rows 士兵 - soldier, 骆驼 - camel
48 dūn duen Metric ton 钢材 - steel, 煤 - coal
49 dùn duenn Time and meals 骂 - a scolding, 早餐 - breakfast
50 duǒ duoo For flowers, clouds and things that look as such 花 - flower, 蘑菇 - mushroom, 云 - cloud
51 fa Rounds of gunshots 炮弹 - artillery shell
52 fān fan Occurrences, iterations, situations 好意 - good intention, 话 - talk
53 fāng fang Square things 石碑 - stele
54 fēn fen Cents 钱 - money
55 分钟 fēn zhōng fen jong Minutes 时间 - time
56 fèn fenn Part or portion 报纸 - newspaper, 礼物 - gift
57 fēng feng Sealed objects like letters 邮件 - mail, 信 - letter
58 fēng feng For things look like summit, such as camels 骆驼 - camel
59 fwu Textiles or pictures 地图 - map, 画 - painting
60 fwu Medicine 中药 - traditional Chinese medicine
61 fwu Voltages 电压 - voltage
62 fuh Medicine 药 - medicine
63 fuh Sets of things and facial expressions 表情 - facial expression, 耳环 - earring, 眼镜 - glasses
64 gǎn gaan Things that look like sticks 旗 - flag, 枪 - gun
65 gāng gang Jug 酒 - alcohol
66 geh Individual or unit 组织 - organization, 人 - person
67 gēn gen Long and slender objects 头发 - hair, 香肠 - sausage, 针 - needle
68 公尺 gōng chǐ gong chyy Meter 布 - cloth
69 公分 gōng fēn gong fen Centimeter 长 - long
70 公斤 gōng jīn gong jin Kilogram 面粉 - flour
71 公里 gōng lǐ gong lii Kilometer 路 -- road
72 公顷 gōng qǐng gong chiing Hectare 田 - field
73 公升 gōng shēng gong sheng Liter 汽油 - gasoline
74 guu Smell, flavor, strength, and more 香味 - smell/flavor, 烟 - cigarette, 志气 - spirit
75 guà guah Things in strings 鞭炮 - firecrackers
76 guǎn goan Tubular items 牙膏 - toothpaste
77 guàn guann Jars or cans 苏打 - soda, 蜂蜜 - honey
78 háng harng Line 泪水 - teardrops, 树 - tree, 字 - letter
79 毫米 háo mǐ haur mii Millimeter 宽 - width
80 毫升 háo shēng haur sheng Millimeter 水 - water
81 hào haw People 人 - person
82 her Things in a box 巧克力 - chocolate
83 hwu Liquids in the pot 茶 - tea, 酱油 - soy sauce
84 huh Households and families 人家 - household
85 huí hwei Acts of a play or sections of a chapter 演出 - performance
86 huǒ huoo Crowds of people 叛徒 - traitor, 人 - person
87 jyi Ranks or levels 风 - custom, 台阶 - flights of steps
88 jih Blows, kicks, shots 耳光 - a slap on the face
89 jih Medicine, chemical substance 药 - medicine, 疫苗 - vaccine
90 jiā jia Businesses or families 酒店 - hotel, 银行 - bank, 医院 - hospital
91 加仑 jiā lún jia luen Gallon 汽油 - gasoline
92 jià jiah Large vehicles and radios 飞机 - airplane, 钢琴 - piano
93 架次 jià cì jiah tsyh Number of flights 一千架次 - a thousand flights of stairs.
94 jiān jian Rooms and houses 教室 - classroom, 卧室 - bedroom
95 jiàn jiann Clothes, items and events 衬衫 - shirt, 家具 - furniture, 急事 - urgent matter
96 jiǎo jeau 10 Cents 钱 - money
97 jié jye Sections and segments 粉笔 - chalk, 木头 - log
98 jié jye Sections and lengths 车厢 - carriage, 电池 - battery, 课 - class
99 jiè jieh Events, meetings, elections, classes 运动会 - sports event, 毕业生 - graduates
100 jīn jin Unit of measurement equal to half a kilogram 苹果 - apple, 肉 - meat
101 jyu Games and matches 棋 - chess/go, 球赛 - sports match
102 jiuh Devices, coffins, and dead bodies 棺材 - coffin, 尸体 - corpse
103 jiuh Phrases or sentences 诗 - poem, 玩笑 - a joke, 谣言 - a rumor
104 juǎn jeuan Rolls 胶卷 - roll of film, 手纸 - toilet paper, 毛线 - wool
105 ke Trees and plants 白菜 - Chinese cabbage , 果树 - fruit trees
106 ke Small spheres 葡萄 - grape, 花生 - peanut, 炸弹 - bomb
107 keh Gram 黄金 - gold
108 keh Lessons 一课 - one class
109 keh Quarter of an hour 一刻 - a quarter of an hour
110 kǒng koong Cave dwellings 窑 - coal, 石 - stone, 桥 - bridge
111 kǒu koou Things with mouths like people, cannons, wells, and more 锅 - pot, 井 - a well, 人 - person
112 kuài kuay Pieces, chunks, and money 钱 - money, 蛋糕 - cake
113 kuāng kuang Baskets of things 菜 - vegetable
114 kǔn koen Bunches and bundles 柴火 - firewood, 葱 - scallion, 书 - book
115 lán lan Baskets of things 蔬菜 - vegetables
116 lèi ley Types, class, and categories 矛盾 - contradiction, 人 - person, 药品 - medicine
117 lii 500 meters 路程 - route
118 lih Round, grain-like things 种子 - seed, 沙子 - sand
119 立方米 lì fāng mǐ lih fang mii Cubic meter 石 - stone, 料 - grain
120 liǎng leang Tea and gold 茶叶 - tea leaves
121 liàng lianq Vehicles 出租车 - taxi, 自行车 - bicycle
122 liè lieh Lines or rows of things 火车 - train, 队伍 - troops, 士兵 - soldiers
123 lún luen Round, for sports, game, meeting, etc 比赛 - competition, 谈判 - negotiation
124 luò luoh Things that can be put in stacks 书 - books, 砖 - bricks
125 leu For wisps (of smoke, mist or vapor), strands, locks (of hair) 头发 - hair, 麻 - linen, 烟 - cigarette
126 máo mau A dime (one-tenth of a yuan) 钱 - money
127 méi mei Coins, stamps, and some weapons 大炮 - canon, 硬币 - coin, 邮票 - postage stamp
128 mén men Large guns, lessons, and study subjects 大炮 - canon, 课程 - class, 学说 - theory
129 mii Meter 绸子 - silk fabric, 距离 - distance
130 miàn miann For flat things 国旗 - national flag, 镜子 - mirror, 墙 - wall
131 miǎo meau Second (time) 一秒 - one second
132 míng ming People 学生 - student, 工人 - worker, 会员 - member
133 muu Land and fields 地 - land, 田地 - farmland
134 muh Plays and shows 歌剧 - Western opera, 话剧 - stage play
135 nián nian A year 一年 - one year
136 pái pair Things that can be arranged in rows 士兵 - soldier, 椅子 - chair
137 pài pay For school of thought, political group, scene, speech etc. 观点 - point of view, 胡言 - mustache, 景象 - scene
138 pán parn Dishes and games 牛肉 - beef, 棋 - chess, 比赛 - competition
139 pāo paw Urine and stool 尿 - urine, 屎 - stool
140 pén pern Water and other liquids 凉水 - cool water
141 pi Horses, mules, and rolls of cloth 马 - horse, 缎子 - satin, 骡子 - mule
142 pi Batches of things or people 员工 - employee, 产品 - products
143 piān pian Paper, pages, articles, and other papers with words. 报告 - report, 论文 - paper, 日记 - diary
144 piàn piann For slices, tablets, a stretch of land, a water surface, scene, atmosphere, sound, feeling, etc. 海 - ocean, 面包 - bread, 肉 - meat
145 píng pyng Liquids contained in bottles 葡萄酒 - wine, 香水 - perfume
146 平方公里 píng fāng gōng lǐ pyng fang gong lii Square kilometer 地 - land
147 平方米 píng fāng mǐ pyng fang mii Square meter 面积 - land
148 chi Things that can be divided into periods of time 杂志 - magazine
149 chii Unpredictable events 车祸 - car crash, 火灾 - serious fire
150 千克 qiān kè chian keh Kilogram 大米 - rice
151 千瓦 qiān wǎ chianwaa Kilowatt 功率 - power
152 qiāng chiang A body cavity 愤怒 - anger
153 qǐng chiing Unit of area equal to 100 mu 土地 - soil
154 cheu Songs 歌 - song, 戏 - drama
155 qún chyun Groups or flocks of people and animals 人 - person, 羊 - lamb
156 人次 rén cì ren tsyh Specifying the number of people participating 三千人次 - three thousand people participating
157 人年 rén nián ren nian Effort estimates, person per year 工作量 - workload
158 ryh A day 一日 - one day
159 shàn shann Windows and doors 窗户 - window, 门 - door
160 sháo shaur Spoon, for liquid like soup 汤 - soup, 药 - medicine
161 shēn shen Body, means “a suits of” or "a body full of" 西服 - suit, 泥 - mud
162 shēng sheng Liter and dry grain 大米 - rice, 汽油 - gasoline
163 shēng sheng Sounds 喊叫 - shouting, 枪响 - gun
164 shǒu shoou Hand, for skills and proficiency 菜 - dish, 绝活 - specialty, 字 - handwriting
165 shǒu shoou Poems and songs 歌 - song, 诗 - poem
166 shù shuh Bundles and bunches 鲜花 - fresh flower, 光 - light
167 shuāng shuang Pairs 脚 - foot, 筷子 - chopsticks
168 sy Wires and strings, also means ​​a little 希望 - a wish
169 sōu sou Boats and ships 帆船 - sailboat, 客船 - passenger ship
170 suǒ suoo Buildings and institutions 幼儿园 - kindergarten, 医院 - hospital
171 tái tair Machines 电脑 - computer, 电视机 - television
172 tān tan For liquid and paste-like substances 泥 - mud, 血 - blood
173 tān tan Things that need to be handled, like tasks or businesses 业务 - business
174 tán tarn Liquids like wine and vinegar 酒 - alcohol, 醋 - vinegar
175 táng tarng Classes 课 - class
176 tàng tanq Times and trips 班机 - flight, 火车 - train, 公差 - errand
177 tào taw Collections or sets 书 - books, 设备 - equipment
178 tiān tian Day 三天 - three days
179 tiáo tyau Long and narrow things, bar-shaped objects, and life 腿 - leg, 人命 - human life, 路 - road
180 tiē tie Things that can be stuck on 膏药 - herbal plaster applied to a wound
181 tīng ting Canned beverages 苏打 - soda
182 tǐng tiing Machine guns 机枪 - machine gun
183 tōng tong For communications like phone calls and conversations 电话 - phone call
184 tǒng toong Things contained in canisters 茶叶 - tea leaves
185 tǒng toong Things contained in barrels 石油 - petroleum
186 tóu tour For animals, livestock, and garlic 大象 - elephant, 牛 - cow, 蒜 - garlic
187 tuán twan For something in the shape of a ball 火 - fire, 毛线 - wool
188 tuó two For lumps of soft things 泥 - mud
189 wán wan For something in the shape of a small ball, like chinese medicine 药 - medicine
190 wǎn woan Things contained in bowls 汤 - soup, 米饭 - cooked rice
191 微米 wēimǐ ueimii Measuring unit (one thousandth of a millimeter) 宽 - width, 长 - length
192 wěi woei For things with tail, like fish 鱼 - fish
193 wèi wey People 官员 - an official, 科学家 - scientist
194 uo Nest, for animals 蚂蚁 - ant, 猪 - pig
195 shyi Banquets and conversations 话 - conversation, 盛宴 - banquet
196 系列 xì liè shih lieh Series 报道 - report, 文章 - essay
197 xià shiah To indicate the repetition of an action 几下 - a few times
198 线 xiàn shiann Ray or hope 亮光 - beam of light, 希望 - a wish
199 xiāng shiang Cases of things 苹果 - apples, 衣服 - clothes
200 xiàng shianq Items, tasks, and projects 方案 - program, 合同 - contract, 业务 - business
201 xiē shie A few or some items 零钱 - small changes, 耐心 - patience, 人 - person
202 宿 xiǔ sheou Night 一宿 - one night
203 yǎn yean For big hollow things 井 - well, 泉水 - spring water
204 yàng yanq Patterns and types 点心 - dim sum, 工具 - tool
205 yeh For thing in pages 传单 - leaflet
206 yeh Night 一夜 - one night
207 英亩 yīng mǔ ing muu Acre 土地 - land
208 yuán yuan Certain kinds of people 猛将 - valiant general
209 yuán yuan Unit of money, RMB 钱 - money, 人民币 - RMB
210 tza Number of revolutions 一匝 - one revolution
211 zǎi tzae Year 三载 - three years
212 tzer Short sections of written documents 新闻 - news
213 zhǎn jaan Lamps 灯 - lamp
214 zhàn jann Station 路 - road
215 zhāng jang Chapters 小说 - novel
216 zhāng jang For objects with flat surfaces 脸 - face, 邮票 - stamp, 床 - bed
217 zhàng janq Unit of length equal to 3.3 meters 布 - cloth
218 zhèn jenn Events of short duration 雨 - rain, 笑声 - laughter
219 zhèng jenq Pictures and frames 画面 - picture
220 zhī jy For long, thin, inflexible objects and musical compositions 蜡烛 - candle, 歌 - song
221 zhī jy Mostly for animals, but can also used for other certain things 猫 - cat, 耳朵 - ear
222 zhǒng joong Kinds or types of things 本能 - instinct, 动物 - animal
223 zhóu jour Rolls and spools 线 - money, 画 - painting
224 zhū ju Trees and plants 麦子 - wheat, 树苗 - sapling
225 zhù juh For deals or sums of money 彩票 - lottery ticket
226 zhuāng juang Conditions and business transactions 案件 - (law/crime) case, 买卖 - business deal
227 zhuàng juanq Buildings 大厦 - skyscraper
228 zhuō juo Table, for meals and food 西餐 - Western food, 宴席 - banquet
229 zōng tzong For matter, loan, etc. 货款 - payment, 生意 - business
230 tzuu Groups of things or people 电池 - battery, 雕塑 - a statue
231 zūn tzuen Cannons and statues 大炮 - canon, 雕塑 - a statue
232 zuò tzuoh ​​Buildings, mountains, and large things 宫殿 - palace, 山 - mountain, 雕像 - sculpture

Useful tips for learning Chinese measure words

If you saw the impressive list of over 200 measure words above and didn’t immediately exit the page, we salute you. Although learning specific measure words for each noun can feel tedious, it’s also one key thing that distinguishes serious Chinese learners from casual enthusiasts. Not only will using the correct measure word impress your native-speaking friends, but it’s also something that comes later in the learning journey.

With that said, here are a few tips for learning the Chinese measurement words.

Total immersion is one of the best things you can do for your Chinese learning.

1. Immersion

Total immersion is one of the best things you can do for your Chinese learning. That’s one of the main pillars of the Berlitz Method, which has been helping students increase their foreign language proficiency level for over a hundred years.

Part of the reason this immersive method works so well is that you get to see first-hand how people interact with the language. At the end of the day, you want to be able to communicate with people, not textbooks. That’s the beauty about living languages — people interact with them in creative ways, resulting in a spoken language that differs significantly from the official rules.

So, if you’re looking for a less painful way than simply memorizing hundreds of measure words, then you’ll want to find a way to increase your immersion. The obvious route is to spend some time in a Chinese-speaking country, but here are some other creative ways to experience some Chinese immersion:

  • Use Chinese apps. Let’s face it, we all spend quite some time on social media! Try using Chinese social media apps like Weibo, Xiaohongshu, and WeChat, and start learning Chinese in your free time!
  • Watch Chinese media. It’s very easy to find Chinese movies and TV shows nowadays, even on platforms like Netflix. If you prefer watching YouTube, then check out Bilibili, which is China’s equivalent platform!
  • Visit Chinese-owned businesses. No matter where you live, there’s probably an authentic Chinese restaurant nearby. Even if your pronunciation isn’t fully there, most native Chinese speakers will appreciate that you’re making an effort to learn their beautiful language.
  • Use sticky notes. This is a tried-and-true method that no student should overlook. It consists of using sticky notes for all items in your home. Just add the measure word in front of the noun, and you’ll naturally learn new vocabulary and measure words!
  • Make new friends. Who doesn’t love making new friends? Fortunately, this is one of the best ways to ensure that you spend as much time as possible engaging with the Chinese language. That means more chances for you to see the measure words in action!

Although the first few times you experience full immersion will surely come as a shock to you, the beauty of it is that it gets easier the more you do it. So, don’t be scared to put yourself out of your comfort zone!

2. Memorization

As any advanced Chinese learner will tell you, there is no escaping memorization when learning Chinese. Since there isn’t such a thing as a Chinese alphabet, you’ll have to memorize thousands of characters on your own. While there are tools to help you figure out the sound or meaning of characters — like the Chinese radicals — you’ll have to find an efficient way to memorize new words.

Science has shown time and time again that spaced repetition is one of the best study techniques for memorization. This involves using flashcards or software to schedule reviews of vocabulary based on each word’s difficulty. In other words, you’ll review difficult words much more frequently than words you get right consistently, helping you conquer those tough words.

​​Measure words in Chinese Chengyu

Learning Chinese cannot be separated from learning about Chinese culture and history, and Chengyu are a clear example of this. Also known as the Chinese idioms, Chengyu most often consist of four characters that tell a longer story. Of course, to understand Chengyu, you must also be familiar with the story that is being referenced.

As you progress in your Mandarin Chinese learning journey, you’ll start understanding some of the wise and interesting stories behind these Chengyu. To help you move right along, here are some helpful Chengyu including measure words.

Chengyu Pinyin Pronunciation Literal meaning Chengyu meaning
斤斤计较 jīn jīn jì jiào jin jin jih jiaw To worry about every catty (500 grams) To be precise about every little detail
得寸进尺 dé cùn jìn chǐ der tsuenn jinn chyy Win an inch, want a foot The more you get, the more you want
事半功倍 shì bàn gōng bèi shyh bann gong bey Half the work, double achievement To attain maximum results with minimal effort
半斤八两 bàn jīn bā liǎng bann jin ba leang Half a catty (500 grams), eight 1/16 of a catty A negligible difference

FAQs about Chinese measure words

Chinese money plant.

What are the measure words for money in Chinese?

Chinese uses several measure words for money, including:

  • 分 (fēn) - CNY 0.01
  • 毛 (máo) - CNY 0.10
  • 角 (jiǎo) - CNY 0.10
  • 块 (kuài) - CNY 1.00
  • 元 (yuán) - CNY 1.00

The most common measure word in spoken Chinese is 块 (kuài), while the most common in written Chinese is 元 (yuán).

What are the common Chinese measure words for people?

The most common Chinese measure word for people is 个 (), which also happens to be the most common measure word out there. Chinese also uses the following measure words to refer to people depending on the context:

Describing Individuals:

  • 名 (míng)
  • 位 (wèi)
  • 口 (kǒu)

Describing a group of people:

  • 帮 (bāng)
  • 伙 (huǒ)
  • 群 (qún)

Learn the Chinese measure words to speak like a true native!

Studying Mandarin Chinese is a long process, and it can often feel like your progress is very slow. Lucky for you, learning Mandarin measure words is a quick and easy way to score a significant improvement in your proficiency level.

However, don’t stress yourself out too much by attempting to learn 200+ measure words in Chinese. Just getting a handle on the ten most common measure words will have a tremendous impact on the accuracy of your Mandarin!

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to take a look at our Mandarin Chinese blog, where we publish helpful guides to improve your Chinese. If you haven’t yet, check out our top ten tips for learning Chinese characters to supercharge your learning!

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