Measure word "ge"

个 (gè) is the most commonly used measure word. It can be used in a pinch for any noun if you can't think of a more precise measure word. (Although you might not sound quite as smart, you'll still get your point across). Also, for many nouns, 个 (gè) is the only correct measure word.

Counting Nouns


The general structure for 个 (gè) and measure words in general is:

Number + 个 + Noun

Any time you want to state how many of a noun in Chinese, you probably need a measure word. First get used to how they are used with 个 (gè).


  • rénone person
  • 朋友 péngyoufour friends
  • 苹果 手机 sān Píngguǒ shǒujīthree iPhones
  • 星期 xīngqīfive weeks
  • liù yuè six months
  • 老婆liǎng lǎopo two wives
  • 男人, 七 傻, 八 坏。A line from a songShí nánrén, qī shǎ, bā huài.Ten men: seven are fools, and eight are bad.

Omitting the Number


Verb + 个 + Noun

If the number is one (1), you can omit it and use 个 (gè) by itself. This is similar to "a" or "an" in English, for example in "a person" or "an idiot." (The tone on 个 (gè) is normally somewhat de-emphasized in this usage, but still written as fourth tone. You don't need to stress about it, though.)


  • 他 是 老外。Tā shì lǎowài.He is a foreigner.
  • 我 有 儿子。Wǒ yǒu érzi.I have a son.
  • 她 是 好 老师。Tā shì hǎo lǎoshī.She is a good teacher.
  • 你 想 吃 包子 吗?Nǐ xiǎng chī bāozi ma?Would you like to eat a stuffed steamed bun?
  • 老师 , 我 有 问题。Lǎoshī, wǒ yǒu wèntí.Teacher, I have a question.

See also

Sources and further reading