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Measure words with "this" and "that"

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In English, when you refer to "this table" or "that girl" you only need two words: "this" or "that" plus the noun you're referring to. In Chinese, though, you also need a measure word in the middle between the two. In the very beginning you can get away with using 个 (gè) for everything, but pretty soon you're going to have to start using other measure words in these simple phrases.

Structure

If you use 这 (zhè) or 那 (nà) before a noun, you also need to include a measure word before the noun.

这 / 那 + Measure Word + Noun

Examples

Note: In this usage, the tone of 个 (gè) tends to soften, so it's represented below as a neutral tone.

  • ge rénthat person
  • zhè běn shūthis book
  • jiàn shìthat matter (in the sense of business, affair, or thing)
  • 啤酒 zhè píng píjiǔthis bottle of beer
  • 房间 ge fángjiānthat room
  • 电脑 tái diànnǎothat new computer
  • zhè zhī māothat cat
  • tiáothat river
  • 衣服 zhè jiàn yīfu this piece of clothing

Although we didn't get into it here, the same pattern holds true when you use 哪 (nǎ) to ask "which?"

See also

Sources and further reading

Books