Fun and useful ways to learn Chinese measure words

Eleise's picture

Learning Chinese measure words is a challenging task for most students of Chinese, and measure words are essential for speaking and writing fluently. Next month we'll be publishing the Cheng & Tsui Chinese Measure Word Dictionary, and we thought it would be fun to get a discussion rolling on the different ways to aide in the learning of these essential (and sometimes elusive) parts of speech.

For starters, here's a popular little rhyme that pairs a few common nouns with their measure words, and concludes by emphasizing that we should not use poor measure words out of the many that exist:

一 头 牛, 两 匹 马, 三 条 鲤 鱼 四 只 鸭,

五 本 书, 六 支 笔, 七 棵 果 树 八 朵花,

九 架 飞 机 十 辆 车, 量 词 千 万 别 用 差 。

How about you? Have you come across any similar rhymes or tongue twisters to help you learn or teach Chinese measure words? We welcome you to use this space to share your ideas, discuss the etymology of measure words and their usage, or anything else related to the subject!


Cheng & Tsui Editorial Staff Member