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Expressing "multiples" with "bei"

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The word 倍 (bèi) is used to express the idea of multiples, as in "3 times as many" or "5 times more." Its usage can be a little tricky (different from English), so pay close attention to the pattern below.

Directly Expressing Multiples

Structure

A + 是 + B + 的 + Number + 倍

Examples

  • 他 现在 的 工资 两 年 前 的 四 Tā xiànzài de gōngzī shì liǎng nián qián de sì bèi. His current salary is four times what it was two years ago.
  • 公司 现在 的 规模 十 年 前 的 五 Gōngsī xiànzài de guīmó shì shí nián qián de wǔ bèi.The company's current scope is five times what it was 10 years ago.
  • 今年 的 产量 去年 的 两 Jīnnián de chǎnliàng shì qùnián de liǎng bèi.This year's output is twice as big as last year.

Expressing "More" with Multiples

This pattern involves an adjective, one of the most common being 多. You'll see other adjectives related to quantity appearing in this pattern as well, such as 大 (big), 贵 (expensive), 高 (tall), 长 (long), etc. In Chinese, it is not common to use the "negative opposite" adjectives in these kinds of comparisons, so you won't normally see the words for small, cheap, short, etc. appearing in this pattern.

Structure

A + 比 + B + Adj. + Number + 倍

One very important language difference between English and Chinese to note here is that in Chinese, you're typically talking about how many multiples in addition to the original amount. So 多一倍 is "x + 1x," in other words "double" the original amount. Naturally, 多两倍 would be triple the original amount (x + 2x). This little detail is sometimes confusing even for native speakers, so if you're talking about multiples and 多 is involved, be sure to use actual numbers to confirm both sides are on the same page!

Examples

  • 我 家 客厅 你 家 客厅 Wǒ jiā kètīng nǐ jiā kètīng bèi.My house's living room is double the size of your house's living room.
  • 这个 15 岁 的 男孩 一般 的 孩子 Zhège 15 suì de nánhái yībān de háizi zhòngbèi.This fifteen-year-old kid weighs double what a normal kid at his age should weigh.
  • 你 的 速度 我们 Nǐ de sùdù wǒmen kuài liǎng bèi.Your speed is three times as fast as our speed.
  • 他 现在 的 工资 两 年 前 了 三 Tā xiànzài de gōngzī liǎng nián qián duō le sān bèi.His salary is four times higher now than what it was two years ago.
  • 中国 人口 美国 人口 Zhōngguó rénkǒu Měiguó rénkǒu duōbèi.China's population is five times as large as the USA's.
  • 他 的 车 你 的 车 Tā de chē nǐ de chē guì shí bèi.His car is 11 times more expensive than your car.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books