Mandarin Chinese Grammar for Pimsleur Students/Nouns

Nouns edit

Examples edit

Countable edit

Nouns that go with the measure word 个 / ge ("unit"/"individual") edit
班机 bān jī flight, airplane
儿子 érzĭ son
飞机 fēijī airplane
飞机场 fēijīchăng airport
女儿 nǚér daughter
rén person
太太 tài tài wife
先生 xiānshēng husband
小孩儿 xiăo hái'er child
小时 xiăoshí hour
Nouns that go with the measure word 条 / tiáo ("string") edit
jiē street
shé snake
Nouns that go with the measure word 家 / jiā ("house"/"family") edit
饭店 fàn diàn restaurant
酒店 jiŭ diàn hotel
Nouns that don't require another measure word edit
家里 jiā lĭ home, family
家人 jiā rén family, household
洗手间 xĭ shŏu jiān bathroom

Not countable edit

chá tea
啤酒 píjĭu beer
qián money
shuĭ water

Others edit

东西 dōngxi thing, something
晚饭 wănfàn dinner
午饭 wŭfàn lunch

Notes edit

Measure words, or classifiers, are placed before nouns and any modifying adjectives. They are generally based on shape, size, amount, animacy, and/or function. Contrary to what some might believe, which classifier is used with a noun is often not strictly one classifier. As such, one should not liken classifiers to the gendered articles found in many languages such as German or Spanish.

When you do not know which classifier to use, guess 个, as native speakers often default to 个 in daily conversation unless the classifier is obvious.

Generally, people and intangible nouns (like ideas, processes, etc.) take 个. To signal respect to a person's job, that role (e.g. teacher) may take the classifier 位 (wei4).

Animals take 只 (zhi1) by default, but for large animals like cattle (牛) and sheep (羊), 头 ("head") is used. For dogs, either 条 or 只 is used depending on the speaker and region, and if the dog seems long in shape.