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Expressing "one by one" with "yi"

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Used as "One by One"

注:当这个量词是时间名词"天、年"时,表示的其实是"little by little, gradually",而非字面意思。When 一(yī) is used with a measure word that is a temporal noun like “天 day”or ”年 year“, the meaning changes to “little by little” or “gradually.”

Structure

一 + Measure Word + 一 + Measure Word (+ Noun)

Examples

  • 个 房间 个 房间 检查 。Qǐng gè fángjiān gè fángjiān jiǎnchá.Please inspect room by room.
  • 别 拿 这么 多 , 盒 拿 。Bié ná zhème duō, hé ná.Don't carry too much. Just carry one box at a time.
  • 别 着急 , 点 做 。Bié zháojí, diǎn diǎn zuò.Don't worry, do it little by little.
  • 宝宝 天 在 长大 。Bǎobao tiān tiān zài zhǎngdà.The baby is growing up day by day.
  • 爸爸 妈妈 年 在 变 老 。Bàba māma nián nián zài biàn lǎo.Year by year, mom and dad are becoming old.

Used as "over and over again"

数量短语一旦重叠,意义和用法都会改变。如果使用的是动量如"次、遍",这个短语放在动词前作状语,用于描写动作地方式,或者表示动作已重复了多次。Once a quantitative phrase repeats, the meaning and usage will also change. If you are using verb measure word like "次、遍", is used to describe the action or show that the action has been repeated.

Structure

一 + [Measure Word] (+ 又) + 一 + [Measure Word]

如果说话人想强调动作重复之多,常常加"又"来加强语气。If the speaker wants to emphasize that the action has been repeated many times, using 又 adds emphasis.

Examples

  • 次 问,他 就是 什么 都 不 说 。 cì wèn, tā jiùshì shénme dōu bù shuō.I asked him again and again, but he still wouldn't say anything.
  • 遍 地 跟 他 解释,他 还是 不 听 。 biàn biàn de gēn tā jiěshì, tā háishì bù tīng.I explained it to him over and over again, but he still won't listen.
  • 你 为什么 遍 地 听 这 首 歌 ?Nǐ wèishénme biàn yòu biàn de tīng zhè shǒu gē?Why do you listen to this song on repeat?
  • 他们 次 犯 这 种 小 错误 ,让 经理 很 头疼 。Tāmen yòu cì fàn zhè zhǒng xiǎo cuòwù, ràng jīnglǐ hěn tóuténg.Their manager has such a headache because they keep making the same mistake over and over again.

Other Usage

除了有以上的功能,数量短语重叠还可以做定语,重在描写,表示"众数或数量多",这种情况通常省略第二个"一"。如"一朵朵花、一座座山"等。Besides these usages, repeating quantitative phrases can be used to describe “a large amount”. In this situation, you usually omit the second “一” for example: "一朵朵花、一座座山" etc.

See also

Books