Expressing "multiples" with "bei"
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
For this pattern, we're stating how many times more amount A is compared to amount B. Pretty straightforward.
A + 是 + B + 的 + Number + 倍
- 他 现在 的 工资 是 两 年 前 的 四 倍 。 His current salary is four times what it was two years ago.
- 公司 现在 的 规模 是 十 年 前 的 五 倍 。The company's current scope is five times what it was 10 years ago.
- 今年 的 产量 是 去年 的 两 倍 。This year's output is twice as much as last year's.
Expressing "More" with Multiples
This pattern involves an adjective, one of the most common being 多 ("many"). 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.
A + 比 + B + Adj. + Number + 倍
One very important linguistic 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!
- 我 家 客厅 比 你 家 客厅 大 一 倍 。My home's living room is double the size of your home's living room.
- 这个 15 岁 的 男孩 比 一般 的 孩子 重 一 倍 。This fifteen-year-old kid weighs double what a normal kid at his age should weigh.
- 你 的 速度 比 我们 快 两 倍 。Your speed is three times as fast as our speed.
- 他 现在 的 工资 比 两 年 前 多 了 三 倍 。His salary is four times higher now than what it was two years ago.
- 中国 人口 比 美国 人口 多 四 倍 。China's population is five times as large as the USA's.
- 他 的 车 比 你 的 车 贵 十 倍 。His car is 11 times more expensive than your car.
Sources and further reading