Specifiers

Specifiers are a special group of noun modifiers. The commonly-used specifiers in Chinese include 这 zhè - this, 那 nà - that, 每 měi - every, 哪 nǎ - which. In spoken Chinese, "这" is often pronounced as zhèi , and "那" is often pronounced as nèi.

The noun is often omitted when it is easy to tell from the context what it is. And If the number is “one”, it is often omitted, unless it is needed for emphasis.

SP NU Measure N
zhè sān kuài qián

this 3 yuan

( yí ) ɡè pínɡɡuǒ
(一) 苹果

that apple

měi ( yí ) ɡè xuéshēnɡ
(一) 学生

every student

liǎnɡ ɡè chénɡshì
城市

which two cities

Sometimes we refer to “a few” or “a little” of something, rather than specifying a definite number. In Chinese, this is done by using 几 or 一些. "些" is the plural measure words of all nouns. “一” in “一些” is often omitted.

SP NU Measure N
zhè ( yì ) xiē qián
(一)

these money

ɡè chénɡshì
城市

those cities

“几”, together with “多” can used after a number to have the meaning of “over”. However, the number should always be multiple times of “ten”.

Number 几 / 多 Measure Noun
shí ɡè rén

10+ people

èrshí duō liànɡ qìchē
二十 汽车

20+ vehicles

Have a question? Join us in the discussion below!